On Sep 6, 2011, at 7:20 PM, Heather Rayl wrote:
> ** apologies for cross-posting **
> Hi there,
> We have a database of performers that we use in our libraries. Currently,
> the data is stored on one person's computer in a file maker pro db that only
> this one person has access to (Hooray for legacy systems!). In order for the
> rest of the staff to have access to the performer listings, this one person
> runs yearly reports and they are posted on the staff intranet in a
> rather unwieldy series of pdf documents for staff to browse. For a sense of
> scale, we have over 80 libraries, about probably around 300-400 staff people
> accessing these documents, and there are probably around 400 or so
> performers in the database. Clearly, we need a new system of managing these
> So here's what we're grappling with:
> 1. We can purchase a product that would give us the framework to do this. I
> realize that something like a wiki would let us do some of these things, but
> really we are rather freaky about our content control, and a wiki is just
> too free-wheeling!
> 2. We can hire a developer/programmer to design a custom solution for us.
> So my questions for the list are:
> 1. do you know of any products that do what we want?
FileMaker. The more recent versions have a 'instant webpage' option:
If you're expecting a lot of traffic, you'll want to go to FileMaker Server, or
I admit, I haven't used any of the versions since they've added this
feature ... my FileMaker experience is 10+ years old at this point, so
I don't know how much work 'instant' is. I believe they offer 30 day
free trials on all of their software these days, so you might be able
to download it and see what it can do.
> 2. if we were to hire someone, how much is a "reasonable" fee - we have some
> money in our budget, but we don't really know what a real person would
> charge for this, and if the money in our budget would cover it. And I don't
> want to go through writing an RFP for it if in the end we won't be able to
> afford it anyway.
As for cost, it varies widely. Part of the issue is how the data's currently
structured, and if you're going to keep the same structure, or change
it as part of the re-design. FileMaker had some fields that were basically
enums, and so the database handled what you'd have to do in most
RDBMSes as a lookup table.
As strange as it sounds, someone who is more skilled at this might
actually do it more cheaply than someone of moderate skill, because
they can get it done quickly, even at a higher per-hour rate, it's going
to be cheaper ... but I'd still try to get them to bid for the project, not
per hour, as you don't want someone who's going to vastly under-
estimate the hours, then end up billing you 2-3x their estimate ... of
course, bids for the whole project means they have to pad it out some,
so it'll seem higher up front, but it'll likely be lower in the end.
Of course, you also risk someone who underestimates the work,
bids it out, but then gets in so far over their head that they give up,
and you never see anything ... so I'd recommend checking references,
to try to mitigate this problem. Working with a company rather than
an independent person usually helps with this case, as they don't
want the bad reputation from something like this happening ...
and they can throw extra people at it to get it done and out of their hair