- Are you standards-compliant?
- What languages do you use?
- Do you do ecommerce?
- Do you do XML?/What is XML?
- Do you do CMS?/What is CMS?
- How can I get hold of you?
- How many times a day should I call?
- Can I have daily progress reports?
- What if I change my mind?
- How long will it take?
- Can you do it quicker - I'm in a hurry?
- Do I need to give you my password(s)?
- When are you available?
Are you standards-compliant?
Yes - but which standards depends on you & your website. If your site is written for HTML 3.0, that's what I'll use.
What languages do you use?
Do you do ecommerce?
Yes. I can link your site to your merchant account and set you up to accept credit cards online. You'll need a merchant account that's appropriate for your business, and I can do the rest.
Do you do XML?/What is XML?/JSON?
XML and JSON are simple ways of storing database-like information. I can add code to your site to wrap and unwrap data in XML and/or JSON, and to send and receive that data between websites. I can also use XML, JSON, or 'flat files' to store information on your site in a primitive 'database'.
Do you do CMS?/What is CMS?
A Content-Management System is a webpage, or series of webpages, that let you change the text on your website. They range from very simple and very powerful to very easy-to-use - and the cost ranges too.
If you don't change your text very often - and most sites don't - you're probably better off paying someone an hourly rate to change the text 'in the code'. Changing the contents of an entire page can take literally seconds (by cutting-and-pasting from your email into the code) and a couple of pounds, compared to maybe hundreds of pounds for a fully-featured CMS and hours learning how to use it.
If you do change your content very often, I can provide a custom CMS built into your site, or one based on a number of off-the-shelf systems.
How can I get hold of you?
Email's best, with phone for emergencies. Skype's also an option, but I usually have it turned off.
How many times a day should I call you?
(Probably) zero. I'm a professional, a craftsman, and an expert in my field - however narrow or crowded that might be. You're hiring me to do something complicated, and I need time and space in which to do it - space to concentrate. You can take all the time you need to write & agree the spec but, after that, you should probably just leave me to it. Feel free to email me but, again, good-and-occasionally usually beats little-and-often.
Can I have daily progress reports?
Probably. I usually keep a log of what I've done and a list of what's still to do. I'm more than happy to email it to you each day with a quick note of what's going on. I've tried sending detailed reports to clients and it doesn't work: the time spent writing (and reading) the nitty-gritty takes away time that would be better spent coding and testing! If the reporting becomes a unnecessary distraction then I'll stop reporting.
What if I change my mind?
It depends on what you've changed your mind about.
Cancelling the project
You can cancel the project at any time. Let me know ASAP, and I'll stop work. I'll then bill you for the work done at the appropriate hourly rate and, when you've paid, I'll send you the code, database, etc. 'as is'.
Changing the spec
You are responsible for providing a complete spec before I start work. If you need to change the spec, let me know ASAP. I'll then quote for the change, or you can cancel the project. Most changes are minor, and you could probably save them for an 'enhancement' project. If you're not willing to wait, you can save time by also telling me to bill you for the extra work at my "standard hourly rate".
How long will it take?
When I quote you for the project, I'll also quote you a 'due date'. That leadtime includes a little time for you to consider my quote, and some more time at the end of the project for you to test the final product and me to make any changes. The only 'hidden extra' is that 'the clock stops' - the deadline moves out - whenever I'm waiting for you. If it will take you a week to give me the go-ahead and another three weeks to test the finished project, add (almost) four weeks onto whatever leadtime I've quoted you. If you've left lots of gaps in the spec, and I have to phone you or email you a lot, that deadline will drift even further out - another reason to write a complete specification.
Can you do it quicker - I'm in a hurry?
If you say that "time is of the essence" then I'll reduce the time I allow for your responses, rearrange other clients' work, plan to work some evenings or weekends, and quote accordingly.
These projects aren't usually more expensive, but may be.
The leadtime I quote you will assume that everything's ready to go - please don't say you need a two-week project doing yesterday if it's going to take you three weeks to send me the final version of the spec and another three weeks to give me a login to your database (and yes, this does happen)! If I have to wait for you - at all - the deadline will move out accordingly. If it becomes obvious that time's not actually of the essence, for whatever reason, I reserve the right to re-plan accordingly.
Do I need to give you my password(s)?
Probably. Every server's different, and I can't know if my code will work on your server unless I can upload and test it. I'll need database access if you want me to do something with your database, FTP and/or SSH access if want me to do something with files and/or settings on your server, and (some) access to your merchant account if you want me to do something with eCommerce. If that doesn't mean anything to you, the answer's "yes"!
When are you available?
Office hours, usually. I often work at least one evening a week, and occasionally on weekends. I typically plan my time at least a week ahead, but I usually leave some room to manoeuvre.