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  1. #1
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    Database driven question

    New to the web i want to have a database driven site built for me.
    Need a little guidance though, I know you guys can help.

    What i want is a business locator with info for about 15,000-20,000 companies and to display this info with a few pics and some business info.
    (similar to yelp and yellowpages.com)
    Needs to be fast, easy to upload and change info on database and easy to use, like yelp and yp.com

    Trying to find find the right developer. What experience should i look for?
    Where should i look for a developer?
    What lang is best for this kind of site?
    Ballpark figure of what this will cost?

    Any info advice or support is appreciated big time!

  2. #2
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    Do you have any web development skills yourself (such as HTML / CSS)?

    I ask because there are lots of CMSs (content management systems) that handle this sort of thing, allowing you to concentrate on front end matters. The back end functionality is already built, with database connections etc.

    Some web developers would just use an out-of-the-box CMS to do a site like this, while others would build it from the ground up (and possibly provide a system more specific to you need). I suspect the latter would be quite a bit more expensive, but I don't really know.
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  3. #3
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    I have some html and css skills that ive learned over the past few months, and have done some work in dreamweaver but thats about, i've never takin a site live. Was thinking of leaving it up to pro to get things moving quicker.

    Don't know much about cms though, any specific ones i should look at?
    I don't mind doing it this way as long as its not too complicated.

    Im willing to pay for the developer if they can make my life a little easier.

  4. #4
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    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca$h View Post
    I have some html and css skills that ive learned over the past few months, and have done some work in dreamweaver but thats about, i've never takin a site live. Was thinking of leaving it up to pro to get things moving quicker.
    Probably a good idea, as it's best to be fairly confident with these if building a good site—especially one with the functionality you need.

    I would look at local developers, as it's nice to be able to speak to your service provider face to face.

    Don't know much about cms though, any specific ones i should look at?
    I don't mind doing it this way as long as its not too complicated.
    It's worth having a look at something like ExpressionEngine (about $300) or MODx (free), as they are better suited to someone with no backend experience. Others, like Drupal and Joomla, are somewhat more complicated, but they are also free. Drupal is a massive workhorse, but it takes a fair bit of work to get your head around it (I gather, as I gave up early on!)
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  5. #5
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    Yeah pretty sure i'll outsource it all to someone local, ive been looking on elance.
    Should they use php, mysql, perl, coldfusion? Dont know much about it but i gather its a big peice of the puzzle. Any tags to use while searching for the right developer?

    thanks by the way, big help!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca$h View Post
    Should they use php, mysql, perl, coldfusion?
    There are lots of different tools that produce the same job, so in a way it's up to the developers what they use. I guess the important thing is to make sure they are clear on what functionality they need to produce.

    PHP is the most common tool, and it will connect to a database like MySQL, but they may use a different database, though this is unlikely to come up in conversation.

    Again, they may just be happy to use a pre-made CMS, in which case it's worth asking them why they use the one they do.

    These are just a few thoughts, as I don't normally deal with these issues. Feel free to run the responses you get by us!
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  7. #7
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    If you are willing to pay for it than its important that you make it known to possible candidates that you are looking for a solution very specific to your business needs, in regards to data input. The problem that arises with all the major content management systems is that the work flow of entering data is pretty such set in-stone. The work flow is one which best supports generic circumstances, not specific business goals. That is why many times people will refer to systems like Joomla and Drupal, as to "complex". That is because the work flow is one in which supports generic circumstances, not a specific business work flow as far as the interface is concerned. That is a major trade-off of going with any content management system over a customized solution. With a customized solution the entire, experience, including data entry can be molded to a specific business work flow. With open source content management systems a business work flow must be modified to fit the work flow of the software.

    This is what can and often does result in a work flow that ends up being convoluted and not so straight-forward for the end-user, without heavy modification. However, once a content management systems data entry work flow needs to change, its more efficient to build your own. Content management systems dependent are on a certain work flow. Once you pull that away, you pretty much need to start over anyways.

    However, the advantages of an open source content management system is that the development costs will be significantly decreased in comparison to a tailored solution, that fits a business model in every form, from data entry to end user experience. However, if you are willing to pay for the tailored solution it will end up being more pleasant to manage data, than what any open source solution can provide.

    The exceptions perhaps being blogs (wordpress) and magento (ecommerce), also a few others. Those systems provide a much more user rich work flow because they are specific to a certain task, rather than being generic. While each has their problems they are great for managing content of the type they were designed to. Neither seem as if they would fit your goals well, but for blogs and ecommerce solutions they are the best of their type, as far as user experience is concerned.

    The one thing clients can do to make quotes much more concrete, is provide a detailed list of required functionality. The thing that will increase costs and ultimately drive anyone crazy is feature creeping – adding requirements after a project mid-way complete or even near completion. Software is best created considering all functionality required. Adding things that were not anticipated always leads more bugs and hidden problems, increasing development time and ultimately costs.

    The other thing that I forget to mention is that I am referring to open source content management systems in my previous statements, about generic functionality and its impact on work flow. Someone may bring up a framework, which is completely different than a open source content management system. Frameworks provide reusable code to accomplish common tasks. However, they rarely provide any user interface, that still needs to be built. Some common frameworks you may come across are: Ruby On Rails, CakePHP, Symphony, CodeIgnitor, ASP.NET and plenty more, but those are the major ones. Usage of the frameworks listed should not restrict a work flow specific to your business goals from being created. However, they probably won't decrease development costs much either, perhaps some but it won't be nearly as significant as an open source content management solution. Most developers use some type of framework to make common tasks easier, if not not open source its most likely their own.

    Which actually leads me to another point. There is a large majority of people familiar with open source content management systems and frameworks. By using an open source solution the project becomes much more portable to other developers. However, when using a customized solution the project essentially becomes "owned" by person(s) who created it. What I mean by owned is that no one will ever understand it as well as the original creator. Its important to know if you decide to have someone add a feature or fix a bug after the contract is complete, any changes made will be much more prone to bugs and over looked items than something that was created using any open source, widely known solution.

  8. #8
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    oddz ur the man, thanks a lot!! Really helped narrow my focus.


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