Posts Tagged Content Management System

Linux would have cost $10.8 billion to build… what would Typo3 or similar cost?

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A few weeks ago The Linux Foundation released a report disclosed the approximate cost of developing a typical linux distribution would be $10.8 billion. They reckon the Linux kernel alone would cost at least $1.4 billion to develop.

That got me thinking, as a company we use open source software quite a lot. The idea is that we can pass on the benefits of open source to our clients. It doesn’t always make sense to offer an open source solution to a client, but when it does, we have no issues recommending an “off-the-shelf” open source product. Using open source software gives us the ability to offer our clients high quality, powerful and robust solutions for a for low price.

So the question is, how much money is open source saving our clients?

Let’s take Typo3 Content Management System for example. A standard, 10 page website using Typo3, would cost anywhere from €4k to €10k depending on the company you decided to go with. But what if you were to purchase a similar bespoke option CMS, with all the features of Typo3?

Looking at the code from the basic installment of Typo3, outside the modules and add-ons of course, there’s quite a large amount of work to be done.

Nevermind the brainstorming that would have been involved to get it to where it is today, at a complete guesstimate, I would estimate that there’s at least 7-8 months work in it for not 1, but 2 developers. Design is limited in Typo3, but it would have definitely needed some input from a designer at some stage.

Let’s break that down into the current markpet prices with a rate of €500 per developer (cheap I know)…

2 x Web Developers x 160 days (8 months) = €80,000
1 x Web Designer x 3 days (being nice) = €1,200
Total = €81,200

Of course, VAT isn’t included here – but it’s clear to see that there is quite a saving for the customer by choosing the open source solution.

In most cases, the basic installation of Typo3 isn’t enough to get a decent website going, which means there would be more development required for additional add-ons and modules.

The bottom line is that Open source solutions tend to offer you a lot more than a bespoke solutions and quite frankly costs very little in comparison.

We’ve obviously only discussed Typo3 here, but what about other systems such as Joomla, Mambo, Zen Cart, osCommerce etc etc??? Can you imagine how much you are saving with these systems too?

So the next time you think of developing a website, you should seriously consider an open source solution before even discussing the bespoke option.

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Content Management Systems – should your business pay for one?

It seems everyone wants a content management system nowadays. Every time someone contacts us for a new website design, one of the basic requirements is a content management system. Most people don’t know exactly what they want in a content management system, but they know that they want to be able to update their website without having to contact their web developers.

So with so many options and a seemingly unlimited supply of content management systems available out there, should you bother paying for one?

Well for me the answer is absolutely not – if you can get a free open source CMS to do everything you require, why pay for a bespoke or licensed option?

I spent years with a company who thought the way of the future was building a CMS to sell on. At the time it was a great idea, but that was before there were any decent free or open source ones available.

Right now you would be hard pressed to find a commercial CMS that has the capabilities of a free open source option. Most of the popular open source solutions are maintained by a network of enthusiasts that update the software for fun. Not only do they update the software, they also build many different modules that allow developers to easily plug in new features for your website. Whether it’s a mailing list or video management tool, in general a click of a button is all it takes to give your website this functionality.

The biggest problem nowadays is choosing the right CMS for your business.

For a large website, I wouldn’t look much further than Typo3, Drupal, Mambo or Joomla as the CMS of choice for your business. Both have huge communities of contributors making it easy to find a module to suit your requirements.

At the lower end of the scale, for say a small brochure type website you’ve got WordPress, CushyCMS and many more to choose from.

In this day and age, paying a license fee for a CMS is a total waste of money. In saying that though, there are many cases where an off-the-shelf CMS just won’t suit the plans you have for your website. In this case, your only option is to have one built specifically for your requirements. If you have requirements for a CMS, why not talk to me first and I can point you in the right direction!

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CarZones ridiculous integration options

We’ve been working on a project for a couple of months now, it’s a pretty standard website with the only major piece of coding being the used car search.

The client was already a signed up member of CarZone and really had no need to ditch them because the system worked quite well for them. However, what they did want to do was integrate the search more into their website so that they make it easier to use and get more content on their website.

On approaching CarZone, they gave two ridiculous integration options that in my mind are beyond belief.

Option 1 was to template a hosted solution on CarZones server. This wasn’t a goer for us because the site also had a Content Management System. So if anything changed, like the navigation or special offer etc. we would have to provide them with a new template each time. Obviously this didn’t make sense at all for the client.

Option 2 was for the results to be provided in an iFrame. Of course in my opinion, the further away from iFrames the better. We all know about the compatibility issues surrounding them, never mind the the fact that they can be quite restrictive in terms of layout etc.

After much consultation with CarZone, I was left feeling quite disappointed and badly treated when I tried to find other integration options. They refused to take simple suggestions on board that could have made this an easy integration for both parties. Even waving money in their face didn’t make a difference!

I was told, even after insisting it wasn’t, that the iFrame was an adequate solution. I’m sorry, but from a professional developers point of view anything to do with iFrames is not a solution. Maybe it is for beginners – but certainly not for pro’s who can do other things in a similar timeframe, yet have a much better solution in the end.

What’s really sad is that in this day and age, with all the hype about Web 2.0, one of Ireland’s leading websites can’t make the simple transition to providing basic xml feeds for their clients.

Come on CarZone, be a bit more creative instead of just sitting back and taking your clients money! Start providing a value add!

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