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Fmdpa

Coding Websites From Scratch

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Because I enjoy web programming, I've considered various ways I could profit monetarily from it. If I were to freelance or start a business that coded websites from scratch, how hard do you think it would be to make a profit? Is there a market for that? Do you think it would just take a while to build it up, and then I could start reusing some code from previous applications? Maybe I would have to use a rapid development framework like Rails. What's your input on this?

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As long as the quality of the work your produce is worth the money you charge, then you should be able to make money of it (or get the repeat business that keeps a business afloat). It all depends on your abilities and skillset, in that you can meet a deadline for a given project, and that the compensation you gain from it justifies the amount of time you put into it. As far reusability in developing code, it would probably be a good practice to develop the parts that you think you will use more than once in a generic fashion, so that they can be easily configured and dropped into other applications. In the beginning you may or may not charge for your time spent making this, since it will surely not take as long to implement that same feature in your next site. Ultimately though your client will have a budget, and that will be the foundation for what ever you do. Based on how much you think your time is worth, you will be able to meet, exceed, or be unable to complete all the clients requirements. Trade-offs eventually come into play. But as long as you are honest in your personal evaluation and have something to back that up, you should do fine.

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Ok, that's good to hear. I'm hoping to build competence so I can develop faster and meet deadlines. I actually have a project I'm working on right now for someone else. I told them that it might take me a while, but I quoted a much lower price than they would usually pay for a custom built site. It seems to be working out very well so far. I wonder if any professional developers just set up platforms like Wordpress or Joomla. Seems like that would be cheating.

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Several developers work with something like Wordpress, but I've never enjoyed it. Working with the Wordpress code base always angers me, it feels like something I would have written straight out of college without a lot of experience. It can be difficult to integrate it with other things. I've got a little CMS that I developed with ExtJS that works pretty well for me, I've been able to make it modular enough that it's really quick and easy to add large custom things on top of the base code. It has taken me a few years to get this to the point where it's as powerful as it is, but I also don't do custom web sites much. The site I'm working on now is for my personal trainer, for example. I might do one custom site every 2 or 3 months just for some extra cash while I'm working on my larger projects that aren't paying off yet, so if I was focused on custom sites it probably wouldn't have taken me so long to get my CMS to the point it's at now. But you're on the right track, you generally need to start out doing things for low cost until you have a portfolio and enough experience to let you take on larger projects for more money.

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Thanks! That really helps a lot. I have a much better idea where to go from here now.

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