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    Need advice from Web Developers with experience


    Hello everyone,

    I could really use some advice from someone who has any experiences in doing contract work as a web developer. Before I get to specifics I'll give you some background on me (since I am new to this forum).

    I am a comp sci student in my second year of university and I recently started a work term. Basically I was hired to make a dynamic website for the faculty of education at the university that I am enrolled. Well, not long ago someone took notice of my work and wanted me to develop a website for them and I said "that would be great". It is a basic html and css site, simple and they already had all the content written up. Well I got the design done, approved, and then it happened.. They said nonchalantly in an email "Oh, and my office staff only know how to use contribute so build it using a language that can be modified by Contribute."
    The reason this scared me is that I am a web development noob and cms software is new territory for me, and something I've never even looked into before. Oh and even more important then that is that I do not own it and to put it into perspective the software costs 1/3 of what they are paying me to make the site and even that probably won't cover the time it will take. This is where I need an opinion. What should I do? Tell the client I can't fulfill that request unless they buy me the software? Give the client a list of cheap alternatives and include training for their support staff, or at least write up a tutorial for them? I'm not sure what to do. I appreciate any advice you can give me.

    [short: Client sprung on me that the project needs to use Adobe Contribute, I don't own it, can't afford it, nor have I ever used cms software. Any advice?]

    P.S : I am not sure if this is the appropriate place for this thread, I am sorry if that is the case.

    Thanks in advance,
    ~WickerBorn
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    Welcome to DevShed Forums, WickerBorn.

    This seems to be a classic case of "scope creep". This is the kind of issue that I sometimes find myself wrestling with.

    Did you discuss how the content would be updated/maintained at all with the client? Do you have a formal contract with your client or just an informal one?

    P.S : I am not sure if this is the appropriate place for this thread, I am sorry if that is the case.
    It's an okay place, but I'll move it to the Lounge for you to perhaps attract more helpful replies.
    Last edited by Kravvitz; February 6th, 2013 at 01:35 PM.
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    Well to start with most software has a Demo trial version that you can down load to Test Out before you buy it. You could try to use that, but you also might go back to the client and ask for a licence key inwhich download a copy of the software to test and work with as you work on it for them. If you can't get that, then they need to supply you with a copy of the softwrae and valid license to be able to do the job with. If they refuse to do that, and will not except using something else...then just tell them that what they are asking for can not be done because you do not have the software inwhich to do it with. Be honest but firm with them, stand your ground and ask for them to obtain a copy of the software for you to develope and test with to get them what they want.
    Last edited by ByGoneYrs; February 6th, 2013 at 02:52 PM.
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    Hi Kravvitz,

    When we stated the project it was not brought up, This is my first time doing any contract work, although to answer your other question no there is no formal contract. I didn't know what kind of questions to ask in order to make this process smooth and I suspect that is what lead to this situation.

    Originally Posted by Kravvitz
    Welcome to DevShed Forums, WickerBorn.

    This seems to be a classic case of "scope creep". This is the kind of issue that I sometimes find myself wrestling with.

    Did you discuss how the content would be updated/maintained at all with the client? Do you have a formal contract with your client or just an informal one?


    It's an okay place, but I'll move it to the Lounge for you to perhaps attract more helpful replies.
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    Hello ByGoneYrs,

    It does appear that it has a trial, I will likely go that rout if I can not get a copy elsewhere. I will contact them tonight using your advice and update the thread when i get a reply. Thanks for the advice.

    Originally Posted by ByGoneYrs
    Well to start with most software has a Demo trial version that you can down load to Test Out before you buy it. You could try to use that, but you also might go back to the client and ask for a licence key inwhich download a copy of the software to test and work with as you work on it for them. If you can't get that, then they need to supply you with a copy of the software and valid license to be able to do the job with. If they refuse to do that, and will not except using something else...then just tell them that what they are asking for can not be done because you do not have the software inwhich to do it with. Be honest but firm with them, stand your ground and ask for them to obtain a copy of the software for you to develope and test with to get them what they want.
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    Originally Posted by WickerBorn
    I didn't know what kind of questions to ask in order to make this process smooth and I suspect that is what lead to this situation.
    I suspect that asking the right questions is the kind of thing that most people only learn through experience. One of many reasons why I prefer to work as a sub-contractor. (I'm a front-end web developer.)
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    Yeah, seems like that might be less painful. On the upside learning this kind of stuff early on may help me in the future if I decide to go down this avenue after my degree.

    Originally Posted by Kravvitz
    I suspect that asking the right questions is the kind of thing that most people only learn through experience. One of many reasons why I prefer to work as a sub-contractor. (I'm a front-end web developer.)
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    UPDATE:

    Well I messaged the client and they are mulling over what they will do, but they said that it is not really necessary to have until we are done development. I suspect they are going to look into getting a copy for me, but I wont know for sure until they get back to me about it.

    ~Wickerborn
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    Sounds like they do not even have it in use in their own team, one of those like to have...get someone else to set it up and do all the heavy lifting for us so we do not have to do it ourselves.

    I would get the trial / demo software and install it on your PC. One trick to note, get a Gmail account and when the demo runs out, just spin up a 2nd or 3rd Gmail account and re down-load the demo software again until you manage to get your work done. It is a trick to use in these situations...just a FYI. Also learn the tool and and software and work effectively and fast as you can on your project. Realize that maybe this might lead you down a path to help find a real full time job once you get out of school. At the very least it is a real work experience that you can add to your resume to help aid you get your foot in the business world door. Take every opportunity to help yourself when you can, hard work now will help pave the way to getting a real full time job.
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    If you have the extra time it might be worthwhile to find a free CMS and create a version of the code that interfaces with that. The actual function calls etc might be different, but it will help you find the pain points your current code would have with interfacing with CMS.

    It would also allow you to better hit the ground running when they finally do get back to you.

    -MBirchmeier

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