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Developer Advise

Discussion in 'HTML & Website Design' started by JoshJD, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. #1
    Hey guys,

    If I am looking for a developer on one of the online work marketplaces to build a web 2.0 style marketplace platform similar to the following in style/utility:

    https://path.com/
    http://www.indabamusic.com/

    What skills do I filter developers for to give me the best shot at developing my concept in the shortest window of time? Is there a specific coding language that this type of site requires, etc?
    JoshJD, Mar 27, 2013 IP
  2. deathshadow

    deathshadow Prominent Member

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    #2
    Wow, been three years since I've seen anyone say "web 2.0" and not be using it as an example of meaningless marketspeak, that in terms of 'design' or 'style/utility' has absolutely nothing to do with what the term REALLY meant.

    As to your questions, they result in any developer firing a whole bunch of questions back at you -- like what OS are you hosting it on, what's the budget, what do YOU consider a short window of time? Those can influence the answers greatly...

    As is often said, you can have it cheap, well made, or quickly. Pick only TWO!

    Generally speaking though, it's hard to screw up with PHP, and it's usually the cheapest since the most people use it. Done properly (using what's called PDO) it can target any SQL engine, so there's no lock in and you can move to more robust databases as needed; but a cheap developer might still be using outdated methodologies locking you into mysql... which might be fine as even massive forums like this one run on mySQL and PHP just fine!

    But what SQL engine is available, if PHP is even available (though it most ALWAYS is, other languages... not so much) etc, etc, is often an extension of what OS is on the server it will be running on.

    One big piece of advice? Avoid anyone who wants to build your site with ASP -- their code is most always 100% rubbish since so many of the developers working in it rely on development suites to make their code for them, saddling them with idiocies like an extra form around the entire content, fictional/made up tags and attributes, and a whole host of other "how not to build a website" garbage. While you CAN build clean code with it, nobody who uses it seems to bother.

    ... and if I was a prospective developer for this (I'm retired) I would be asking dozens more questions -- what's the product type (the two sites you linked to are radically different in approach and what they offer), how many static pages will the site have, how much dynamic content is it going to need to generate? Is it going to have native apps or be web applet only? Is it going to need plugins for other websites to embed your functionality like FB/ShareThis/Twitter do? I could go on and on.

    ... and the answers to those questions could have me quoting you anywhere from a grand to ten grand US, and anywhere from a week to six months development time; maybe more time depending on how 'fancy' you want to get and just exactly what it is you want the site to even do.

    Since you've really NOT said that. I mean, you want to replicate something like facebook, you're looking at basically hiring two to five developers for a YEAR, full time, to come up to speed. Much less you'd need a staff to deal with bugs that WILL occur, as well as to basically wet-nurse the thing.
    deathshadow, Mar 27, 2013 IP
  3. creativewebmaster

    creativewebmaster Active Member

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    #3
    The developers should have great knowledge of PHP/MySQL, HHTML5, CSS3 and as per the new trend the site should be responsive and browser friendly. Also, they know semantic coding style with w3c valid.
    creativewebmaster, Mar 28, 2013 IP
  4. JoshJD

    JoshJD Greenhorn

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    #4


    Hi! thanks for such an in depth reply! Have taken lots of notes.

    Regarding what server I will be hosting on - would I get this information from my domain host? (if I decide to host with them).
    Regarding your "ASP" comment; does this mean that many of the cheaper developers on odesk etc may be using this to build their sites?

    Many of the questions you pose I do not have the answers to.
    In light of the complexity of the project, I am thinking of bringing on a co-founder as CTO.
    Have you any advise on where a good place would be to start putting the word out about my project/looking through developers previous projects? Is there a site like dribbble.com, but for more complex web design?

    Many thanks,
    Josh
    JoshJD, Apr 3, 2013 IP
  5. JoshJD

    JoshJD Greenhorn

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    #5
    Thanks a lot for this - a lot of it is past, but will certainly ask prospective developers if they have the skills.

    Many thanks
    JoshJD, Apr 3, 2013 IP
  6. shahilroyhere

    shahilroyhere Active Member

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    #6
    2 suggestions -

    1) Web 2.0 is much old now and we are on Web 3.0 of user interaction.
    2) Technology doesn't matter. Open source technologies like PHP, MySQL would save some cost for you definitely. But if you wish to develop your concept for some quick testing or testing the market, then better use quick wireframing tools like Axure, Balsamiq, or even just Visio.
    shahilroyhere, Apr 3, 2013 IP
  7. deathshadow

    deathshadow Prominent Member

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    #7
    Whoever the actual site is hosted with, that's who would tell you. Generally speaking the majority of the web is on some form of *nix -- linux or freeBSD, both are great choices.

    To me, *nix is for servers, Windows are for desktops -- and never shall the twain meet. Mix at your own peril.

    Funny thing is, ASP developers tend to charge MORE -- a laugh since their work is usually not as good. Really good developers who have years of time into it can do ASP, PHP, PERL or a whole host of other languages.

    NOT that ASP is really a 'language' so much as a method of using ANY of the languages Microsoft provides to build a website -- this is more true since they compile to ".NET" (a bytecode interpreter and just in time compiler akin to the Java engine -- I dislike calling it a 'virtual machine'). Used to be ASP was Windows specific, but with .NET it is possible to run it under "MONO" - a cross platform .net implementation, though the result can be... less than desirable.

    I'd suggest just going with someone who knows PHP and stick to PHP -- it's simple, it's EVERYWHERE, it's ridiculously well documented.

    Anyone writing PHP should have a firm command of HTML. I suggest HTML 4 STRICT or XHTML 1.0 STRICT (I prefer the latter) -- and DO NOT hop on the HTML 5 bandwagon. There are no legitimate real world advantages to HTML 5 so far as writing markup, and it seems carefully crafted to satiate the needs of people who never managed to pull their heads out of 1997's backside. Command of CSS and proper use of semantic markup, separation of presentation from content, and how to implement "responsive layout" should be considered a 'must have'.

    You mention finding a partner -- that's often the rub; in general finding people to work with is painful as the best people I've ever worked with, all burned out early and no longer even touch the subject; assuming they are even still breathing. Generally speaking I've never seen one of the online workhouses that had anyone in it I'd give the time of day.

    But I'm a lot more strict about what I'm looking for and how I do things than others... admittedly that's part of why I'm officially retired from this stuff. (though I did just belt out a quicky for one person. Financially I might have to come out of retirement regardless of doctors orders)

    Oh, and ignore anything posted by shahilroyhere, as that post has to be the IDIOTIC thing I've seen on DigitalPoint -- and that takes some serious effort. There is no such thing as "Web 3.0" and even if there was it would be as meaningless marketspeak and abuse of a term as "Web 2.0" was.... much less what the blue blazes software for making flowcharts and circuit diagrams has to do with building a website?!?

    Seriously, @shahilroyhere, do the world a favor and take a double helping of Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform until you are qualified to open your mouth on the subject. People are dumber for having seen that post! Of course, given the inaccessible train wrecks in your signature, this is hardly a shock. Particularly that "DesLabs" garbage that I truly pity anyone ignorant enough to want to use.
    deathshadow, Apr 3, 2013 IP
  8. deathshadow

    deathshadow Prominent Member

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    #8
    Actually, this would be a really good time to toss together a quick little guide on how to judge if a 'designer' or developer is worth a flying purple fish. Assuming they have a fully built page, check the following:

    First, resize your browser window until it gets narrower. Does it auto-adjust the width to fit? Does it strip off columns to move them to the bottom so you don't have to scroll sideways? If not it's called a 'fixed width layout' ...and as such they don't know what they are doing and have no business building websites.

    Open up Chrome, go into settings, select "show advanced settings" and under "Web Content" change "font size" to "large" instead of the default "medium" -- LEAVING THE ZOOM AT 100% -- did the majority of the content, particularly the parts you might actually want to read enlarge 25% or so? If not they designed the page with "fixed metric" -- aka px -- fonts ...and as such they don't know what they are doing and have no business building websites.

    Now look at the colors, sometimes a screencap can help with this, but usually you can just tell by looking at it -- how are the contrasts in terms of the page actually being legible. This is a bit harder to do but if you go in and figure out what colors are being used, and run them through this formula:

    L = 0.3R + 0.59G + 0.11B

    ... and the difference between the background and foreground (using a scale of 0..255) is less than 128 (50% luminance), it's illegible to more than half the population... and ideally the difference should be 180 or more (70%).

    If you ask for a sample of someones work, and it fails any of these three simple easy obvious checks, well... they don't know what they are doing and have no business building websites.

    Which oddly enough accounts for 99.999% of the crap on themeforest/templateMonster and most every fly-by-night asshat design/development company out there. See "DesLabs" for an example.
    deathshadow, Apr 3, 2013 IP
  9. JoshJD

    JoshJD Greenhorn

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    #9


    This is great, thanks a lot. Will run it though the motions when I'm reviewing sites..
    To date have just been judging sites based on it aesthetic appeal.
    How safe is it to assume that if something looks simple & beautiful (Path.com, www.shopify.com/build-a-business, for instance) that it may also be well built?
    JoshJD, Apr 4, 2013 IP
  10. deathshadow

    deathshadow Prominent Member

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    #10
    Problem is, what you're calling "simple" isn't... and as a rule that 'beauty' pisses all over accessibility. Take the train wreck that is path.com -- fixed width layout, useless on tablets and phones, and use of massive PX fonts which can be just as bad as the absurldly undersized since it's still fixed... What you're calling 'simple' and 'beautiful' I'm calling bloated, inconsistent and built with zero concern for accessibility/functionalty... taking a look under the hood, it's HTML 5 bloat, nonsensical use of heading tags (oddball mix of HTML 5 and HTML 3.2 practices, just further proving everything I say about HTML 5), gibberish/nonsensical use of HTML 5 tags, DIV for nothing, classes for nothing, "false simplicity" on the inaccessible train wreck of a form -- just another laundry list of how NOT to build a website!

    Shopify is a another stunning example of web design ignorance, with the completely and absurdly illegible menu, px metric fonts everywhere, and again, the fixed width layout -- just like "path" it FAILS MY THREE TESTS!

    Peeking under the hood? HTML 5 crap with that stupid malfing invalid train wreck of IE conditionals around the HTML 5 tag that Paul Irish came up with, CSS being sent to all media targets, endless pointless javascript for **** only knows what (certainly nothing useful near as I can see), non-semantic markup, endless pointless DIV for nothing, endless pointless classes for nothing, "clearfix" and clearing DIV like it's still 2001, gibberish/nonsensical use of numbered headings, static style inlined in the markup, paragraphs around non-paragraph elements, double-breaks doing paragraph's job, lists around non-list elements, paragraphs inside lists (which is usually just wasted markup and improper semantics)... It's 30k of HTML to deliver 6.7k of plaintext, one form, less than a dozen actual content img/object -- anywhere from two to three times the code that should have been used.

    .... and while it might seem "pretty" it's so damned massive what the hell good is it unless you're running 2560x1440? It's USELESS on my 1680x1050 laptop, I'd hate to see what it would do on my netbook!

    The rule of thumb is the more 'beautiful' or 'aesthetic' a site is, the LESS useful it is -- there's a reason the big successes of the Internet are NOT beauty queens.

    Of course since my scammy sense was tingling the moment that page started to load, these findings are hardly a shock... but then there's a reason I would never use EITHER of the sites you linked to -- users like myself are automatically a bounce; I doubt I'd even wait for that crap to finish loading... and boy they take their time loading.

    Here's a tip -- if they have some massive banner or damned near full-screen image when the page loads? It's inaccessible crap vomited up by a 'designer' who's knowledge of Web Development makes them qualified to design exactly two things: and Jack left town, took his **** with him! How the HELL sites like that even have users is beyond me -- I sure as shine-ola wouldn't be one of them.
    deathshadow, Apr 4, 2013 IP