How to make webdevelopment more efficient?
Hi! I'm relatively new to web development, I've been doing web sites at a branding firm for about 4 months now, it's a very small firm.
The way we do things is: the designer makes the site in photoshop(being a branding firm,design is very important), then I create it from scratch, I do the HTML and the PHP. A colleague does the admin part. Until now I did two online shops, and both of them took 1 month to create, each. It takes me a variable time to create sites, some take a day, some a week and some a month.
The problem is that it's not very productive, I'm moving too slow, the firm is losing money on this side.
Recently we had a client who asked for a hotel presentation site, he wanted besides the presentation: an online interface for payment and reservation, newsletter, rss, announce a friend, user accounts, fidelization programs(discount for users who use make frequent reservations), virtual tour(image slide I suppose), map , skype(?) , directions to the hotel from the airport,train station, and he wanted the site to be in three different languages.
I told him I needed 3 weeks to do the site (note: I work 20-30 hours a week) and I asked 1000 euros(This is in Romania). Then he replied saying that other webdevelopment firms said they would do the site with 550 euros (which apparently is true). If I took the site and asked 550 euros on three weeks work than I'd be losing money for the firm, this means that other firms are doing sites much faster. HOW do they do it?
I'm pretty sure that most firms reuse a lot of their code, I tried reusing code for the two online shops I created but I didn't win much time with it, even though the sites were pretty similar the code needed a lot of customization and tweaking.
I'm thinking of learning OO PHP,maybe this will give me and egde. My boss and the designer from work keep telling me about Joomla and Wordpress. I read about Joomla and it seems to be useful but I doubt that is very customizable. I don't think I could make a complex site like and online shop only with Joomla. One of the online shops I did sells ergonomic chairs, when you buy a chair you can select different options(which differ for every chair), the price differs for each option you choose. The site offers the client an admin where he adds/edits chairs, cathegories... after a purchase the buyer receives an email with a receipt tghat has to be used when he pays at the bank. This was actually the first site I did for this firm. This is a page from the online shop. Could I have done this, or a big part of this with Joomla?
I'm pretty sure OO PHP would've helped me a lot, but I would've still needed a few weeks to do the site.
I guess, basically, I'm asking you how can I modularize sites so I can reuse code? Can you recommend some good articles on this topic? Can you recommend some platforms? Anything would be helpful.
Last edited by imation256mb; 03-01-2009 at 06:56 AM.
First of all, start using OO at PHP5, it's very useful, and if the target is to reuse code, it's perfect.
After that, i'm suggest start using more often open source, with this prices, it's probably chipper for you to use this. (Because yes, this prices are more for installetion and less for codeing your self)
But you only need to remember one main rule, if you are using open source, people should pay you for installation and combine, and nothing more.
If you want one more useful advise, try to add thing from your self (cool thing) to the job like:
If some one want a CMS system, you will suggest him a CMS system + very cool ajax (give him an example). (this way, when some else suggest a lower price, you will not have to automatically fall off)
You might want to create predesigned templates that clients can choose from. Then all your designer has to do is drop in a logo, change some colors and save the graphics for the web. The coders need only to make minor CSS file changes, and the site admins get a boring repetitive task of setting up data bases and making sure the proper file structure is in place on the server.
With this sort of production environment, you can work faster on the technical side than your client can provide you with logos and colors. I've worked on projects with around a 3 day turnaround if all the required info has been collected. I'm talking about going from a client saying "we need a site" to giving them a full site in about 24 to 48 man-hours (and/or woman hours ) of work. This includes a news publication, calendar, slideshow, business directory, dining guide, online poll and full point-and-click admin.
Have your designer spend some time creating stock templates that can be reused by multiple clients, and create a whole work flow. Sure your clients get sites that look similar, but many times speed is of the essence, and a cookie-cutter design is appealing because they can start doing business quicker. For those who want a more unique layout, you get to charge more money for dev/design time.
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