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I need an expert's opinion - should I use drupal to build a clone mix between justanswers and yahoo answers?

Posted on 2008-06-19
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I'm planning on hiring someone to build a justanswers.com clone (paid question/answer site so it has financial and accounting elements) mixed with some of the social features of yahoo answers. Would drupal work for this or would it be better to build a core from scratch? some of the features of drupal are attractive (at least in my semi-ignorant knowledge) such as being able to create the social networking aspect, or attach a forum , or use ajax all under one common core, rather than building it all from scratch or using phpbb as an appendage(in the example of the forum). How flexible is really drupal and would a complex web application require so much tweaking of the core that it would be easier to build it from scratch?
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Question by:zooks76
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oliverpolden earned 252 total points
ID: 21829374
You would not need to tweak the core.  Drupal is build so you can write your own overriding functions.  I've built a pretty basic site from scratch before and there's so much you don't think about in the beginning.  With Drupal, you don't have to worry about that: form validation and submission is very easy to do, security and SQL injection is all handled by Drupal among other things. I'm pretty new to Drupal myself and have now written a couple of modules.  It's amazing what you can do.  If you can get a hold of Pro Drupal Development by John K. VanDyk and Matt Westgate, have a look building custom modules chapter.  That will give you an insight into how Drupal works.  Even if there isn't a module to handle the financial aspects, it should be pretty easy to write your own and it's very easy to integrate that with your users' permissions etc.

If you're planning to start the site soon then I'd go with Drupal 5 as a lot of the Modules haven't been ported to Drupal 6 yet, although there are several modules that are now included in Drupal core in 6.

In terms of how flexible Drupal is... if you can do it in PHP, then Drupal can do it.

Hope that helps!
Oliver
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by:ray-solomon
ray-solomon earned 248 total points
ID: 21830642
Personally, I would write it all from scratch.
Here is how I usually take on a new project (in a nutshell):
First, I start with a good plan and thing about how the code is going to function under heavy load.
Then I would start off with a good design with some of the pages completed.
Then I would start planning the database structure with scalability and performance in mind.
Then I figure out a good directory structure to keep all files organized on the server.
Then I do some mod_rewrite to the pages.
Then start adding the php code, such as:
User authentication and code for security measures is usually what I implement first.
Create functions for various tasks I would need.
Then create the rest of the code in the pages that make things work, one page at a time.
Any database queries there are will get checked to make sure it is really fast and using indexes properly.
Make sure the html, css, javascript, etc.. is compatible with all the browsers(as much as possible).
I get the basics done over a few days to a week and complete a really big project within a month.
It is fast for me because I do this all the time.

A couple of years ago, I thought of the idea of using a framework like Drupal to build from, but I could not learn it easily because I work too much.
Many people use Drupal, it is good. But for me, I like knowing everything about the code inside and out when I create something and not have to worry about waiting for the many security updates and bug fixes that goes with Drupal or other frameworks. I can fix anything in a jiffy, if there was a problem.

One of my favorite sites uses Drupal:
http://www.theonion.com/content/video/

:-)
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