Hi all,

I'm a fairly competent web developer (if I do say so myself) -- I've been writing hobby sites with a LAMP stack for over 5 years. I'm a hardened master of the fundamentals (html,css,js,php), and I'm quite comfortable with ajax, and other 'web2.0' technologies.

However, I have never done 'professional' web development (aside from a government website I did during co-op -- which I used the 'official' framework for). Recently I was solicited to do some freelance web development.

The client has had another web-dev start the site, and this individual was supposed to deliver a simple 'design mockup' with basic user login functionality. The end goal is to have a site with userpages, and ecommerce functionality.

Today I got my first look at what's been done so far, and I don't even know what to say. Its not good. The site is clearly done using joomla -- something I have no experience with. He has apparently put in over 40 hours of work, and has nothing to show but a messy, poorly aligned layout with images of cars and the like. I was told he was referred by a 'friend of a friend' and I get the strong impression he has almost no coding experience at all.

Like I said before, I have no experience with joomla, and at first glance, I fear what may be awaiting me in terms of code...

So my question is this -- given the fact that I have no idea how to use joomla, and the fact that the site is poorly designed to begin with -- is there any point in trying to salvage what's been done, or should I simply start over? Should I bother using something like joomla, or code by hand?

I'm concerned that taking the time to figure out how the current site works, and how joomla is intended to be used, and repairing whatever nonsense has been embedded in this site may be wasted effort.