A Rundown of RentACoder

Sometimes we all run into programming issues, website design issues, templating problems and a wide array of other issues that come into managing a website. I have found myself turning more frequently to RentACoder.com to find someone who has the skills to help fix my problem quickly and easily. If like me you have found yourself asking “Who can help me fix this site” or “Where can I find a cheap developer to fix a small bug” then hopefully I can pass on my experiences to help you.

Over the past few years I have had eight “Bid Requests” completed and have found the people I selected for the work to deliver great results in a timely fashion. I should also mention that I have used the site to find someone to design logos on more than one occasion as well which have produced some great results (like that of my logo on Eccentric Reality Photography).

However I would like to give a word of caution to those who are considering using RentACoder (or RAC as it is also sometimes known as), on my most recent project that I submitted I decided to take on a new coder with no work history which I have done a couple of times now, the work tends to come out cheaper and I like the opportunity to give someone a go. Generally when doing this I plan ahead with plenty of time to ensure if I have a deadline that the work needs to be done I can always get someone else if the first person falls through.

What I did not contemplate however was that when the other party failed to deliver, the arbitration that RAC has in place (to protect both parties) can actually take significant time. So if money AND time are an issue I would strongly recommend you steer clear of choosing someone with little to no work history on the site.

But for the most part I am very happy, I have now found someone who is working extremely quickly to get my problems fixed on my other site (in this case CSS issues) and in the end it will only cost me $40USD which is a bargain in my eyes.

So, if you are in need of some things on your site fixed I would gladly recommend RentACoder as a good place to find someone to help you out.

The Good:

  • Quite easily thousands of developers from around the world
  • You can find someone to fix pretty much any problem
  • Cost Effective, especially for very small projects <$100USD
  • No obligation to actually select a coder if you are not happy with any of the bids
  • Saved my butt more than a few times getting my own sites fixed when I couldn’t fix a CSS bug
  • As a part of the bid request you set the parameters, what needs to be delivered, how long they have, if status reports are required and so on

The Bad:

  • Results can vary so choose your coder carefully (see “Gotchas” below)
  • Arbitration can tie up your money for a while if there is a dispute (however I would like to mention that the arbitration and mediation processes are very fair and in everyone’s best interests so this is a plus)

Gotchas

  • When you are making a bid, be very explicit in a) what you are giving them to work with, b) what you want to happen, c) the exact end deliverable(s) you want (including any documentation). Anything that is not stated in the original bid request can increase scope and therefore cost, also if you do not state something in the original bid request the coder is under no obligation to deliver it, so be specific.
  • If time is a critical factor you may want to accept two bid requests and have two coders work in parallel, note that you will have to pay both coders in *full* if both complete the work, it is against the rules to race coders and pay only one (and there are measures in place to stop this), if you accept two coders you pay two coders. For some projects that have been critical I have doubled up and had two coders work that way if one fails you still have a backup.
  • If money and time are a critical factor, for example you need a project done in seven days and only have X amount that you can spend make sure you select a coder with a good track record as arbitration can sometimes take time (in the several weeks).
  • If your project is not time restrained, it can be a great cost saving to chose someone who is newer to the site and doesn’t have a work history. I have done this several times and only been stung once thus far. The mediation and arbitration is there to cover both you as the buyer and them as the coder.

So, if you are in need of some code fixes, template coding assistance, logo design, complete site redesign or really any other project from small sites to enterprise systems I would say rent a coder can help put you in touch with someone to help. If you have any questions about my experiences I am more than happy to share them too.

Stuart 😉

Disclosure: Please note through out this post I have used an affiliate link to RentACoder, this has not influenced my post in any way and is purely there to help towards my costs of keeping my website up and running. I have put it there so that if you read this article and decide to use RentACoder it means I can get a few bucks towards my next RentACoder Project 😉

Integrating WordPress and Joomla

Integrating WordPress and Joomla is not an easy feat and it has taken me over three weeks to find this solution.

After trying several plugins (of which I have paid for and a lot really didn’t work) I have found one that I wanted to recommend in the hope that I can save others time and money. CorePHP has developed a custom version of WordPress that hooks directly into Joomla. The WordPress Sidebars are added as Joomla modules and the custom installation comes with a default theme that with a little tweaking should be able to fit into any Joomla theme.

You can see my integration on my Eccentric Reality Photography Blog, at this stage there are a couple of issues in IE due to my lack of skills in CSS but I am looking into fixing that shortly. I have decided not to turn on the categories syncronisation between Joomla and WordPress as I like to keep them separate however it is there as an option for those that would like.

So, if you are looking to try to get a WordPress blog into a Joomla site I can happily save you time and money and say that CorePHP’s WordPress Integration is well worth the $75USD. It takes them a little longer to update when a new WordPress version comes out, but the integration really does just work.

I do have to say you will need some CSS skills to modify it to suit your Joomla theme but that issue is going to arise for any type of integration between the two.

So, my hat goes off to CorePHP and I thank them for designing a solution that has stopped me from pulling my hair out.
Stuart

Dragon Naturally Speaking – My first post!

I sit here at my desk at home, using one of the wonders of modern technology. In order to assist me with my studies at University I recently obtained Dragon NaturallySpeaking Standard Edition.

So rather than typing this post I decided that it would be appropriate to instead Dictate this post using Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Up until now I have spent around five hours training Dragon NaturallySpeaking and at this point I have to admit that I am quite happy with both the responsiveness and the accuracy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

At this stage I’m still training the application to become used to my writing style as well as my personal language style, so as I Dictate more the application appears to be a learning to adapt to my speech patterns and become more accurate.

For sheer enjoyment I will probably write the majority of my posts using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for quite some time. The more that I can Dictate with the application of that will get (or so they tell me).

So for now I think I will sign off on my first post, and look forward to playing more.

Stuart 😉