NYCPHP Meetup

[nycphp-talk] CMS - Estimating Hours

Marc Antony Vose suzerain at suzerain.com
Thu Mar 27 17:08:36 EDT 2008


Hi:

It sounded like in the beginning that you had some experience with a  
static site, and now you're going to build something that's dynamic  
and has a shopping component.

If I had to pass along any advice about this in general, I'd say that  
actually sometimes templating things instead of laying them out  
statically can be quicker, in terms of building.  But when you move  
into dynamic stuff, and especially e-commerce-related stuff, do not  
underestimate the time needed for testing.

You are going to make mistakes.  Lots of them.  And, you'll have  
situations where to get to problem x, you might need to go through  
steps a, b and c to get there, which takes time and is mind-numbingly  
boring.  You don't need to do this kind of stuff on static or simple  
sites.  And when it comes to e-commerce, it has to work; bugs are not  
acceptable because you're dealing with people's private data and all  
that, and customers will get nasty when things don't work right.

(For example, I decided to drop Zen Cart into a project once circa  
2006 or so.  It's basically a steaming pile, as I discovered, but  
that's beside the point. They had an authorize.net module, which it  
turned out after a ton of testing had a bug in it with respect to  
error reporting. This couldn't be ignored; I had to go into the module  
and fix it.  So, if you're using Drupal, and something in Drupal or  
some third-party module doesn't work like it should, you need to be  
prepared to go in there and get your hands dirty if necessary.)

So, budget for testing.  Whatever time you think you'll spend  
building; add on another 200% for the back and forth, the testing, the  
unexpected client requests, etc. and so on.  If you can swing it, pay  
your most anal-retentive friend or perhaps a professional tester some  
money to test things for you; just like it's very hard to edit your  
own writing, it's often very difficult to spot bugs in a system you  
are building, because you naturally tend to fall into certain usage  
patterns that don't test everything.

Oh, and remember to budget for testing.  Did I mention that?

Cheers,

Marc Vose
http://www.suzerain.com



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