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PHPMotion, Joomla or develop my own?

I'm thinking of developing a common interest online community. It will be have UGC, stats, etc.. functionality, and perhaps an online store. Though cost is an issue at this time, I want to be professional and effective.

  1. Should I use existing free platform templates, like PHP, Joomla, or should I develop my own?

  2. What are the advantages/disadvantages of either option?

  3. As a rough estimate, how much will it cost me to develop and manage my own? And how long will it take.

  4. In general what should I be careful about on this journey?

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Should I use existing free platform templates, like PHP, Joomla, or should I develop my own?

It depends on your technical ability. Are you a proficient coder in PHP, Javascript, HTML? If not, learning as you go along in a serious venture such as this may not be the best idea (it will extend the time and overall cost of the project). It also depends on if these platforms offer the services you want - if they don't you may have to get someone else in to create it themselves, again increasing the overall cost of a project.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of either option?

Hand-Coding Advantages/Disadvantages

The advantages of hand-coding include its simplicity and practicality. Hand-coding your website does not require any special or costly software, and your system’s default text editor will suffice. Also, because you are inputting the code yourself, no additional and unnecessary code will be added. This could lead to a lighter, faster-loading site that is always favorable to the end user. Again, it all depends on your level of coding ability as you may only be comfortable coding HTML but not PHP etc.

The disadvantages of hand-coding are that it requires patience and a broad skill in HTML. It is also a very time-consuming and arduous task — for example, adding an image that could only take you a few seconds in a WYSIWYG editor would require long lines of code that could take minutes to type. A hand-coder must be able to pay attention to detail to ensure that the website will be operational and error-free when displayed.

Platform Templates Advantages/Disadvantages

Template editors are especially helpful with full-scale projects that have time constraints and due dates as they eliminate the need to manually hand-code every aspect of the web page, therefore saving time. WordPress for example is packed with many that can give the user instant effects and designs.

The disadvantages could be that it is more costly (most decent designs cost money) and that depending on how complicated the program will be/where it's hosted, some setup procedures may be slightly complicated for people who aren't used to it. Also, there isn't as much perceived freedom by using templates as opposed to making everything yourself.

As a rough estimate, how much will it cost me to develop and manage my own? And how long will it take.

This is subjective as to exactly what you want, the features you want to implement, the size, the design - so many things need to be taken into account. Always make sure you allow for extensions in terms of time and money as projects rarely ever keep to schedule.

In general what should I be careful about on this journey?

The things that cause the biggest problems in projects are usually bad project planning/procedures, lack of time management, incompatible ideas and lack of knowledge regarding what is actually wanted as the final product.

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Thanks for this, Daniel. –  ican ican Oct 5 '12 at 14:32
    
That's ok. Can you upvote/green tick it if it helped you thanks :) –  null Oct 5 '12 at 14:33
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Very interesting site, this. Will definitely tell my kid brother. He's an aspiring techie. –  ican ican Oct 5 '12 at 14:50
    
Good idea. I recommend looking at this and you can choose which sections you're interested in and can join up to - stackexchange.com/sites# –  null Oct 5 '12 at 14:57
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Are you a experienced software developer?

Is it worth - at this time - to invest [your-hourly-rate * 8 * 20 * n-months] to develop another common interest online community and a shop?

Or just spend $250 for something like vbulletin and a decent shop - and totally focus on the marketing of your idea?

There is the founding myth of Appsumo "AppSumo was originally created in one weekend using an outsourced team Pakistan for $60." (see background on Wikipedia). They always recommend to just give your idea a try with the least effort and if people like it scale later. Of course this is vague - but so is your project description, don't be cross with me :)

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thanks, initall. No, I am not at all a programmer. Just someone with an idea. To save cost and to launch faster, I might start with a free template and then, move to own platform ones we gain a critical mass. - Do you think moving will be easy enough (retrieving history, compatibility, etc..). Of course I'm not cross. The idea is another online community and shop (yes). with UGC file sharing, uploads, downloads possibilities, rating, etc.. Thanks again. Yas –  ican ican Oct 5 '12 at 14:33
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thanks for your very detailed response. I will go over them carefully.

To save cost and to launch faster, I might start with a free template and then, move to own platform ones we gain a critical mass.

  • Would you agree this to be a good approach?

  • Do you think moving will be easy enough. If not, then perhaps I should consider own development from the get go?

Thanks again all.

Yas

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There are really some community tools out there, you'll find a lot, from frameworks or CMS where the features are built on top (think of Drupal, Buddypress, vBulletin, things like that). I would not focus on the design ("template"), more on the feature-set. And if the software works for you you won't have to think about moving. –  initall Oct 6 '12 at 12:52
    
Thanks very much, initall. I totally bought into your idea of first piloting to see how it works before investing hugely on own system. –  ican ican Oct 10 '12 at 8:19
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