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I am a complete newbie at this as have only just made it half-way through 'Perl for dummies'....anyway, I wonder if you experts could shed some light on this for me.
I recently bought some perl-based aution software and am very happy with it, most of it is designed for perl novices and the support is fab if I run into problems.
However, I want to customise the site a LOT more and have put up a few jobs on 'scriptlance'. For example I wanted the layout redesigned, I got a few bids but the first one I asked said, that as the auction was in Perl he could design but NOT implement them through the entire site as it wasn't in php script....the second one also had problems and we ended up with a dodgy home page and only the some colours changed here and there (I didn't pay him!). Perhaps I have just been unlucky but it does seem to be quite hard to customise the features I want, and the look of the whole thing.
Also I have just discovered that my hosting site has already thrown in not 1 but 2 mysql databases for use with my package.
My questions are, 1)Would I be better off (if it's even possible!) getting the whole thing converted to PHP given that the first programmer was very reluctant to take it on + the second one made such a hash of it.
2) Have I just been unlucky with programmers or is perl harder to implement a lot of html and graphics in to?
and 3) Would installing this auction on mysql make things a lot easier to run and manage? And would Perl or Php be better to integrate with. (I did say I was a complete novice at this stuff!). The software programmer said that his script as it is won't work on mysql...so I am unaware of what advantages etc there are to doing this.
I guess I just want advice on what to do from here, I don't really have the time to learn all this from scratch (4 kids and a job lol) but I think I have a good idea (don't we all!)....and would love to get it up an running as smoothly as as easily as possible. I don't want to keep posting up jobs if I am being unrealistic with what I want and the price I am willing to pay!
Any replies to this MOST welcome!
1. Converting a (non-trivial) application from one language to another is not usually very cost effective. I wouldn't bother to pay a developer to do this, unless you can get it done for a reasonable rate, or you just can't live without the features the software provides. If you were adamant to use an auction system written in PHP, I would look for one written in the language natively.
2. Partially, yes. Based on my experience the vast majority of developers (in any language) write sloppy code, usually because they don't know any better. I've been guilty of this in the past, and have made changes that I hope result in elegant and easy to maintain code. I'm getting better every day.
There is nothing about perl that makes it more difficult to write web applications, compared with PHP or other languages. With knowledge of the right techniques and some experience I feel there's no web application that can't be built cleanly using perl/mod_perl.
3. It really depends. If you have alot of users, or plan to have alot in the future, then I would definately use a database of some kind. If the application is built around using files (like CSV) its probably going to take some time to convert it to using mysql. You may be better off chosing a different application, because the changes could be large. The way you access info in files, compared to how you access it with a database is usually quite different at the code level. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the application needs to be rewritten to use a database back-end.. although that's just a guess.
Again, it really depends on the size and complexity of the application, the skill of your developer and the time/money you want to invest in the project. A good developer can make a huge difference in the success of your project. I'd suggest finding the right person first, explain to them your outcome, and work with them to choose the right technical approach.