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Creating Database-Driven Web Site?
Looking to get a ballpark idea

 7:14 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Okay, here's the deal:

Someone I know wants to build a database-driven website for their non-profit organization. I don't do databases, so I really don't know how much to tell them it will cost. For some reason they think it will be really cheap (under $10,000) while I think it will be a lot more expensive, but I could be wrong.

I really don't want to bid this out because I would hate to see anyone go through the bidding process for a project I doubt will ever happen. These folks just don't have much money, but really big ideas. Sounds like a great customer, eh?

Basically I want to kill this thing before they get their hopes up, but I need a ballpark number to give them in order to do that. If you stickymail me I can give you the url of a site very much like what they want to build, if that helps. (I have contacted the creators for that site, but they are not getting back to me very quickly.)

I'm sure someone at WW can look at this thing and in about two minutes give me a fairly good guestimate. The database would probably contain about 400 different sets of records and about 10 to 15 fields per record.




 10:39 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Most sites today run off databases. If you look at any open-source CMS it typically will have a database on the backend.

I don't think it adds much to the complexity of the site. In fact, I think it makes it easier to build and maintain than a static site...

And only have 400 records is a extremely small database, so you don't need to worry about database tuning for performance, etc...

We have built sites for clients that use databases for under $500... up to $5000... it is not the database that is the deciding cost factor... but how big of a site they want in regards to functionality... Graphics work, etc.


 11:32 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am familiar with several different CMS programs. The question for these folks would be their ability to update it themselves. I would prefer not to get involved in it, but they are not very tech savy, so the question is how easy would it be to maintain? Could they even do it themselves?


 2:31 am on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some CMS systems are more friendly than others. Check out Joomla, I hear it is one of the more end user friendly interfaces.


 11:16 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been hearing a lot lately about Joomla. Anyone had direct experience with it?


 1:54 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

You might want to poke around the content management [webmasterworld.com] portion of this site.


 10:40 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have had experience with a few smaller non-profits in my area. The ones I deal with are very deficient in the tech department. I built their sites for free, charge a small amount for hosting and whatnot.

The only words of advice I can give is don't over complicate things if they are not tech savvy you will be the one that gets all of the calls about how do I...<insert completely reasonable question here>

The initial setup for one of the non-profits was way to complex there was just way to much they could do and the common deer in headlights situation begins, before you know it your doing all of the updates anyway.

If you are going to work with them it is also sometimes part of the job to steer prospective clients away from unnecessary functionality they wont use.

I think it is common for us as developers to minimize the dificulty of a task because it is easy for us we think it is easy for them, this is not always the case.

Also be wary of what I call developer ego.

And only have 400 records is a extremely small database, so you don't need to worry about database tuning for performance, etc...

I think he was referring to the number of tables not records.

I've been hearing a lot lately about Joomla. Anyone had direct experience with it?

I think as CMS scripts go it is ok but again sometimes it is overkill to what people need.


 9:13 pm on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

i'd start them off with a wordpress system - get the non-profit to find a free template they like and then find a decent web-dev who should be able to stick it together in less than a day.

do a google search for "essential wordpress plugins" and get those (that make sense) installed.

host it under the non-profit's own domain name (this is important).

if they learn how to use it, use it, like it and continue to use it, THEN they might think about spending some money to improve it. not before.


 1:40 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Im a big fan of Drupal. This is just my opinion, but I wrote an article about this very issue.

[edited by: coopster at 2:45 pm (utc) on May 19, 2009]
[edit reason] no personals please TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


 1:59 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Depends on what they want to do with a database. If it is just a directory structure with a search that is easy. Even doing something with Google maps is easy. If they want a full blown application that is where it gets expensive.


 11:53 am on Jun 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am a huge fan of Joomla and highly recommend it for any nonprofit. It allows for a simple interface for the nonprofit to update their own content. You really can't go wrong with this system! An example is the Saginaw YMCA.

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