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Building a Social Network: Have it Coded it or Use a Script?

After quickly realizing this website was far beyond anything I could do with any kind of html editors, I started requesting quotes from multiple web design firms online by providing a generic description of what I was hoping to achieve. The results were mind blowing, ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 with the sky being the limit. This was almost a dream crusher for me but due to the recommendation from one of the firms I emailed I began looking into to pre-made scripts; an example would be phpfox.

Before I go into my hypothesis on scripts I feel it is important to offer a bit of advice. This may seem like a bit of common sense, and really it is, but it could be overlooked: Protect yourself and your intellectual property.

Your idea is yours and yours alone right up until you start spilling the beans to these design firms as you’re attempting to get a quote. Quite frankly, they are the last people you should even mention your idea to; if they were to find out and agreed in the ideas potential, these people could bring it to life without you. When requesting quotes just give the bare necessities, they won’t be able to give you a precise number but it will give you a ball park figure to work with.

I must have spent a solid month looking at different scripts, weighing one against another trying to figure out if it would work for me. The answer is that it could have, but would have ended up costing me a fortune to have it modified to suit my needs, putting efficiency of the website into question. My biggest problem with scripts is they are bloated; much like MySpace they are built with endless features to entice people to purchase the software and when I say purchase I mean license the software. You’ll have to shell out a lot of extra money to receive unconditional use of the script and some companies do not offer that as an option. There is also some open source or more specifically, communities similar to the Linux following that offer source code for free and use the community to continue the progress and development. First, I applaud communities that do this; it is great for people like me with a very limited budget. However, if I had chosen to use one of the free scripts, my lack of knowledge in php, mysql, html, java, etc. would have left me in a bind when it came to being able to modify it to suit my needs.

It became a grim reality that the cost of the main stream web developing firms would stretch far beyond my budget. This left me with a couple of options. First, go overseas (India) for affordable web development solutions. I personally did not feel comfortable doing that for a multitude of reasons but primarily because I wanted to do business with someone who I could eventually meet face to face and I had no intentions on traveling to India. Option two was to search for a freelance developer in the states. I spent countless hours scouring the internet looking for possible developers and began shooting emails out for quotes. I received several responses explaining my project was beyond their current abilities but then I struck gold. I found a developer who had extensive knowledge and a willingness to learn what was needed in order to complete the project.

For me, using a very intelligent freelance web developer came with some benefits; he was willing to hear me out. Even more surprising he contributed more to the creative aspect of the website than I could have ever imagined. We bounced ideas back and forth for weeks, developing a plan of attack and setting priorities for which features should come first and which ones would be considered down the road. What made things even better was that his situation was a perfect fit for my project. He was finishing his final year at college and had a particularly nice living arrangement where he had limited expenses, enabling him to complete the project within my budget.

2 Responses to “Building a Social Network: Have it Coded it or Use a Script?”

  1. […] one of the firms I emailed I began looking into to pre-made scripts; an example would be phpfox. Read the rest… (link to No Comments, Comment or […]

    Posted on by: Building a Social Network: Have it Coded it or Use a Script?
  2. I am currently also looking for a social network developer….woudl you recommend the one you used and if so, would you provide contact info for the developer?

    Posted on by: S

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