skill set requirements to build a service provider marketing website like SitterCity

which programming language(s) should be used to create a website? what should such a website cost to have developed? what are key questions to ask to determine if a prospective developer has the required skills?

The website I need designed will include a service provider registration, recurring payments, and a client registration, a method for clients to search for a matching service provider given a set of criteria, a method for clients to contact the service provider, and a method for clients to leave feedback on service providers.
craig1632Asked:
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
SitterCity is a Big business and not something one person could create.  For a site and business like that, business, legal, and insurance are at least as important as any web skills.  The biggest problem with something like SitterCity is the liability associated with referring people to take care of kids.  You have to do background checks and employment and credit history.

If your business is something more modest with less liability, you could hire people to create a web site that was similar to SitterCity.  But if you are going to refer service providers to clients, that does involve some liability.  The business aspects will still be more important.
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craig1632Author Commented:
Thank you for the thoughtful response.

I should clarify that I am interested in having a website developed with similar functionality. I refer to SitterCity only as it is well known. I do not expect that level of development. But I am interested in similar functionality.

As to the liability, there are many sites like this that are not offering more than a listing service. SitterCity does not handle any of the financial transaction, scheduling appointments, or anything more than showing the profile of the sitter, along with the background checks that the user has submitted to. Liability exposure may occur if their site does not provide accurate information that they have been provided about a Sitter. Regardless, there are ways to handle this liability. I do not expect the developer to be responsible for this.
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GaryCommented:
Programming language - PHP/.net - which is preferable will depend if you intend to do maintenance yourself and/or which you are more comfortable with.

Database - MSSQL/MySQL - again this will depend on the programming language

JavaScript/jQuery

Geocoding

Payment API's - PayPal, PCI compliance implementation, merchant gateways - again will depend on how you take payments.

HTML5

Mobile platforms - you will need a responsive layout, or templates for smartphones/tablets.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
What you will find is on the front end it seems one way, then as you get into it, it gets more complex.  Take google as an example.  Search is a simple 2 page site, 1 page to search and 1 page for results.  But getting from page 1 to page 2 is complex from crawling "ll sites to get data, automatically analyzing the data, serving data on multiple servers etc.  

At basic you need to know  html/css/js/jquery along with some type of server side language, understand data and databases and data servers, use web api's and understand GUI from gooey interface.

Understanding the tools and putting everything together is a little different.  I would start with a storyboard first.  From there, wireframe and flowchart.  Find all the weak and trouble spots as far as using whatever you are building.  Then work on coding one portion at a time and continually test.    You may want to at least star by building all the screens in static html to your liking,  Then getting help to make it all work.
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craig1632Author Commented:
Padas, Thank you for providing some of the process as it helps me think through what I am trying to do. My basic question does come from my interest in having my website developed.
can you provide a little more detail as to what each language is used for? Where there are options, what factors should be considered? Each developer seems to have their own preferences. Is this something I should be concerned about or are the all basically the same and fairly versatile for most needs given the functionality I am seeking (beyond a webpage).

Someone is suggesting using Ruby On Rails, another is saying Drubal7. I may have trouble finding someone to maintain these later.
Thanks!
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Each developer will want to work in the language they feel most comfortable with.  There are no right or wrong answers as to what is the best language to use.  The most common are going to be (in no particular order) Ruby, Python, .NET and PHP.  Javascript is making a big comeback.  Personally, I like the idea of using a webservice for your data creation, reads, updates and deletes (CRUD).  From there you are just using html, css and js/jquery and can more easily transfer from desktop to native os.

Drupal is not a language, it is a CMS on the line with wordpress. The most CMS options you hear about are wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. There are many others.  There are also all in one options for the do-it-yourslefer like http://www.squarespace.com/, http://www.wix.com/ and http://www.weebly.com/.  

A lot of the development done on the west coast is done in Ruby or Python.  I think the barrier to entry on those languages is higher so the people using those languages will probably be more advanced than the average PHP developer.  There are going to be a lot of PHP developers because it has been "sold" as the easy language.  There are going to be a small percentage of good developers of PHP because of that.  

There are some good articles to read from our own @Ray_Paseur I have included below.  

Before worrying about which language or process to use, you should really start by defining the goals, make a storyboard and figure an honest amount of users in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years.  It is common for people to think their new app or site should be ready for a million unique users off the bat.  If you want to do that, you need to build an expensive infrastructure and you will probably find your initial user base is going to be a very small fraction of that. I have personally ran into this with my own clients and via questions posted here.  

Once you have your goals and storyboard ready, that is what you should give to your prospective developers.  If you narrow down the 2 you like and one wants to use Ruby and the other wants to use a webservice with serverside javascript, they are probably both right and will both have a good argument for using their way.  As long as they can meet your goals around your storyboard, that is what you need worry about.

I don't know how well to trust any of these, but to get a feel for what is used to create sites, these links point to popularity of languages.  Note that objective-c is for ios and java is probably mostly for android and webservices.
http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_languages_used_in_most_popular_websites
http://langpop.com/

Articles by Ray_Paseur
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/A_11769-And-by-the-way-I-am-new-to-PHP.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/A_12239-Introduction-to-Application-Programming-Interfaces.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/A_11271-Understanding-Client-Server-Protocols-and-Web-Applications.html
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craig1632Author Commented:
Ray you are amazing! Thank you so much for such a thorough response! It begs one more question and since you are here I will ask it here but I will post it up rather than keep this thread going. In case you want to move on.

My rough projections:
6 months = 800 - 4,000 paying service providers & 5,000 - 20,000 clients,
1 year = 1,500 -  10,000 paying service providers & 25,000 - 100,000 of clients,
2 years = 10's of 1,000 of paying service providers & 100's of 1,000's of clients,
5 years = 80,000 paying service providers & millions of clients
After one year, or having met projections of even half the first six months low end projects, I will plan to upgrade. What types of things do I need to be mindful of or what type of person would I need on staff to manage this growth?
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craig1632Author Commented:
Ray P really seemed to understand where my question was coming from and gave an appropriate answer. He went on to provide insights and areas of concern I was not aware of to consider without overwhelming this non-techie.  I feel like he really understood my needs and interests and was able to clearly respond to my question. He was also able to provide links for my continued learning and understanding. I wish I could get answers like this all the time. This answer has made my time on Experts Exchange well worth my while. Thank you!
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Thank you very much craig1632!  I'm glad this thread helped you.  

Are you referring to me (padas) or the author of the articles, Ray_Paseur?
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
>begs one more question

I think that what you are looking for is for a new thread.  To answer quickly though, it is not as much about the total users, but the amount of usage during the average minute and your biggest bottleneck is going to be your database.  (See U.S. Healthcare website)
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craig1632Author Commented:
US Healthcare. C= I am glad I will not be that big.

Oh sorry padas and thank you for pointing that out. You deserve all the praise. Again!

Is there a way to edit that comment? I would like to make that correction.
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