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Can one man still create a complex website
March 5, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Hello, brightminded and helpful mefi's. I have an idea for (IMO) an awesome new website that I believe will be huge. Is it still feasible in this day and age for a person to buy a stack of books and learn the coding skills needed for a website with very robust features, to say the least? Or will I have to acquire the funding to hire the people to do this? Funding is non-existent at the point in time.
posted by DesmondDoomsday to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't mean to sound flippant, but: ideas are a dime a dozen; execution is priceless.

Yes, you will need to spend a lot of time learning coding skills (or have plenty of money) to build a website with very robust features. To start any website, you need money to pay for a domain and hosting.
posted by mattbucher at 11:29 AM on March 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Investigate existing CMSes. It's possible you will be able to get started with a Wordpress or Drupal site lightly customized and with well-chosen plugins/modules, but be aware that the more complicated your site gets, the higher the chance of discovering some of those things are not mutually compatible.
posted by zadcat at 11:32 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Design ideas are so cheap and plentiful that you do not need to keep it secret. Anyone who would be interested enough to steal it probably has already thought of it. Innovation lies in execution and marketing. For example, a music sharing site directed at musicians for collaborating on works in progress is an old idea that is also good and should be fairly easy to implement, but I have yet to see a good one emerge nor have I been able to get any serious interest in putting one together as a team effort.
posted by Ardiril at 11:39 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is feasible in this day an age for an unexperienced developer to buy a stack of books and create a mock-up prototype website which can then be used to reel in venture capital, which can in turn be used to hire professionals to build a deployment-ready website.

Building a scalable, secure, robust website of any complexity is non-trivial.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:44 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure! I think so. Check out Django.
posted by steinsaltz at 11:53 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can it be started out small, and scale up? Matt created Metafilter in his spare time, and the site now has several full-time staff. Or, can you find partners?

The web is still quite new, and there are lots of ideas, but really great ideas still fail because the implementation was poor.
posted by theora55 at 11:59 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


MeMail me.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:11 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you aren't a programmer, the real problem isn't your lack of coding skills, but your lack of knowledge of what kinds of skills you'd need to execute your vision.

There are so many technologies out there that integrate with one another in so many complex ways- you really can't start from scratch and expect to produce a market ready product without bringing an expert in.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 12:26 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is it still feasible in this day and age for a person to buy a stack of books and learn the coding skills needed for a website with very robust features, to say the least? Or will I have to acquire the funding to hire the people to do this

An important thing is that you realize this is the distinction: You will have to learn quite a bit, or you will have to pay people Real Money to do the work. (You probably need to learn quite a bit either way, but less if you go with the second option.)
posted by brennen at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well it's kind of like saying "Can I learn how to build a building on my own or do I need to hire an architect?" You could probably build your own structure, but it would be a lot easier to build a simple barn than a huge complicated sports stadium. And there's a pretty good chance that once you build your first building there will be a lot of weird things wrong with it because you won't be able to absorb a career's worth of architectural knowledge in a short period of time. So it's possible, but depending upon how complex your idea is and how easily you are able to pick up the necessary skills, it may not be feasible.

To start any website, you need money to pay for a domain and hosting.

You need to pay money to actually get the site up and running for the public, but to learn how to make a site and implement a working version of it you can easily do everything for free. For example, you could write a site with Google App Engine for free and have it running online the whole time you are working on it, and when eventually it's good enough for other people to start using it you can link it to a domain and start paying to have a higher quota of bandwidth, cpu time and whatnot.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for all the excellent answers. As always, this site doesn't disappoint.

@mattbucher those small amounts of money aren't an issue at all.

I'm an entrepreneur who has had this epiphany at a time when my once-thriving current thriving vocation has suddenly dropped precipitously. So I have to start any new enterprise on very little cash.

I must say every answer in this thread is good information and I'm going to absorb it all. I think I can design it and experiment using some advice here, and then once a design is thought out, revisit this question at that juncture.

I will also gladly MeMail you, foci, and thanks to all and all thoughts are welcome.
posted by DesmondDoomsday at 5:06 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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