We are in the process of upgrading from 8.2 to 9.0 SR3. There are quite a few differences between the versions as far as Publisher / Server is involved. Developer doesn't seem to be so drastic. I would recommend that you go with QV 9.0 SR3 if you are just starting out. You wont have to learn two different approaches as far as Publisher / Server goes.
Hope this helps.
You can install Qlikview 9 SR3 client to your client side and then you can see what's new document as a qlikview document.So you can analyse what's new or not in the qlikview document and decide to install it to server side or not.
i think it's a good idea to use qlikview to analyse to install the new version of itself :)
If you are "just starting" - why start on 8.5??? Don't over analyze it and start with ver. 9.00 - what do you have to lose?
You get much more streamlined Publisher, "Actions" as a nice replacement for Macros, a few new chart types and a bunch of smaller features. Why even bother with the older version?
just my two cents...