.net or PHP? and where is a good .net developer?

I have website which has been designed from scratch, without off the shelf packages by a pseudo .net designer. He has now left web-design and taken a job in an unrelated industry. I am restricted by a very inflexible site. Most of the pages except for product pages are hardcoded into the site.

After searching through a number of .net web developer companies I found that no one was willing to work in our existing code. Each company has proposed a package based rebuild. One company has offered Able Commerce 7.0 shopping cart program as fundamental package that will function as both the cms and the shopping cart. The cost is around $60,000 to $80,000.

Able Commerce is being promoted to us as one of the most powerful ecommerce solutions on the planet. Particularly for it;s SEO tagging etc.

I am fundamentally unsure of :
1. whether to stay with .net.
2. whether, if I do, the price is right.
3. whether I should go to PHP?

Our site is aspx but since it has to be rebuilt anyway. I guess we can go anywhere.

Does any one know a reasonably priced .net design company?

We have a yoga meditation and therapy site (very small revenue presently),
and want to make online learning our main product offering.

Thoughts from professionals very appreciated!

billa, 8 years ago

If you have an existing code base in .net, and have already made an investment to get this far it could be worth your while to stick with .net.
To give an analogy - if you're climbing Mt Everest and you make it to 1st basecamp but your sherpa falls over dead. You don't want to walk back to the bottom to get another. Sure it might seem like you're in the poop, but there are plenty of other qualified sherpa's that can help you get to where you want to go.

scott@billa.co.nz (Alpine tour guide) Send through your original spec and documentation to fill me in with the road traveled thus far.

Stormy Stormy, 8 years ago

I'd disagree with the analogy slightly - from the sounds of it you've basically got a site that's designed to be updated by editing the code, rather than with a decent CMS. To continue with the analogy, it's more like getting to the 1st camp and your sherpa falling over dead, then discovering the supplies they'd packed aren't sufficient to get you further anyway.

Really you want a Content Management System (CMS) based site - this would allow you to update general content etc... reasonably easy in-house, without needing to get a developer to do everything for you at their convenience.

In my opinion, if you need to convert over to a CMS and it's being rebuilt anyway, there isn't really a great deal of necessity to stick with a particular platform (php, .net, etc...). I'd recommend being upfront about your budget to designers, otherwise they're just going to give you what would in their eyes be 'best' without considering your cost requirement.

If your budget is that restrained, you could always go for an open-source solution. I've managed Joomla!-based sites before with a lot of success, and they've got quite a good eCommerce solution as well (VirtueMart).

No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
billa, 8 years ago

CMS based systems are an awesome idea for an out of the box solution. I was coming more from the business perspective of applying the new depth of knowledge in the problem domain. They already have a product in market. They talk in Domain driven design of how the problem domain shifts with added knowledge of the problem domain.
This shift is usually because of a business or marketing opportunity in the market that they wish to achieve. The alternative would be significant pain points that you have on existing business processes.
You need to get to the core of what is causing you to want to change things. You might find that what you were looking for was merely a symptom of some underlying alternative.

Stormy Stormy, 8 years ago

Hi Billa,


I am restricted by a very inflexible site.


Our site is aspx but since it has to be rebuilt anyway. I guess we can go anywhere.


We have a yoga meditation and therapy site (very small revenue presently), and want to make online learning our main product offering.

I think you've got there the exact cause of the need to change. A desire to have a site than can be updated easily and provide online educational products.

Inflexibility is the problem. That's not a symptom of some other issue. There is a very good reason that CMS solutions are so popular - their flexibility and power. If their site isn't CMS driven and they want a flexible site, then really I'd say that's the route to go to. Having to bolt-on a management system to an existing site most often results in quite a hodgepodge of systems, code and resources. I'd suggest taking the opportunity to go from scratch, and make a site that's designed from step one to do what it's desired to do.

No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
billa, 8 years ago

I would say the most core of the problems would be something more alike to "Our website isnt making enough money.", or "we've spent all this money getting this thing built, and now it's not working how we want it to be."
The other thing I would like to take a look at are some web analytics. See from her current iteration how the usability really is and where the conversion is falling over.
They also note SEO Tagging as a prominent feature of an option that has been presented to her. That sounds to me like there are gaps in say Internet marketing strategy. I note from inspecting the site that while some efforts had been made that it wasn't really optimized for SEO. They also didn't have prominent rankings for targeted keywords. Could all of this lead to a deeper problem of our site isn't working for us to make money.

While im technical at heart and love to get into the technology involved, I often find that you really have to get the work upfront in terms of the business space before I can look to the technical solution. I completely agree with you that a CMS would be a good way to go. I agree about the inflexibility but I would need to have  a good whiteboard-like session to get to the core of where the issues really are.

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