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About finding a contractor to build your website

April 16, 2013

Once again I have been contacted by a consulting firm who asks if I can help them with some specific problem. Some quick poking reveals that the problem is that they are trying to develop a site in Python with Plone, and that they don’t know either Python or Plone. However, since they know ASP or PHP, they simply have assumed that they can do this, because it has to be the same, right? It’s just the same principals but another language?

Well, no it isn’t. And the end result is that they have problems, because they are doing things they should not be doing. And the way to fix those problems, is to stop doing it.

I’ve told them that they have two options:

  1. Hire somebody to teach them Python and Plone and Plone development, which will probably encompass at least two weeks of education for all of their developers, and even after that they will be very inefficient and it will take a long time to make the site.
  2. Cut their losses, tell their customer that they can’t do it, and take the hit of not getting paid for the effort they have put in so far.

I’m sure this hurts, but it’s true. Python is not like PHP or ASP, and Plone is not a web framework, it is a content management application. You can’t start using either without some investment in learning the technology. And there is another lesson here too: When a company tells you they can implement a complex website for a pittance, be prepared that what they come up with is no good. Assuming they come up with anything at all, that is.

Hire a contractor who knows the technology that is selected and is recommended by other people who also knows the technology that is selected. Yes, that will cost more. You won’t be able to hire the $25 per hour guys. But trust me: It is cheaper in the long run. Quality pays, and this is true also for contractors.

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From → plone, python

3 Comments
  1. Yikes. I don’t envy them, there. You definitely did the right thing, though.

  2. Zaur permalink

    Unfortunately becoming a common practice to tackle almost any job that pays money in the hope that they will be able to adapt during the job.

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