Joomla Project Costing - Templating and Production

By Justin Kerr
July 01, 2010

Table of Contents

Joomla Templating

There's a big difference in cost between implementing a third-party Joomla template and launching a Joomla site with a completely bespoke design. With third-party templates, most of the visual design is dictated by the chosen template, and the customization work usually just involves swapping out the site logo and making some other small tweaks.

For a completely custom design, a bespoke Joomla template will be required, and this will take significantly more time to develop and deploy. Joomla templating work can include image slicing-and-dicing, page layout (and layout logic), CSS styling for all Joomla components, module chrome styles, WYSIWYG editor styles integration, and cross-browser testing. This process can easily take 10 hours or more.

Of course, experienced Joomla developers (and Web developers and designers in general) will probably have a toolbox of existing site design frameworks and code which can serve as a starting point for Joomla templating, resulting in significant cost savings. Also, new tools like the Gantry Framework for Joomla have the potential to really save time when deploying completely bespoke designs into Joomla templates.

Content Production

Do not forget to establish the volume of content to be produced as part of a flat-rate Joomla project. This can have a tremendous effect on cost, and it should encompass all types of content elements to be published into Joomla, whether that's com_content article pages, content construction kit-driven listings, documents in a document management system, products in a catalog, etc.

A good benchmark for regular com_content article production is 15 minutes per page (or Article). This includes content layout, text styling, and image prep, uploading and layout. Many pages will take less time, but some will take significantly more (for example, a Web page that contains a complex table, or a bunch of images).

Joomla Chicago Core Team member Miles Baltrusaitis and a couple other folks at the CMS Agencies meeting on June 28, 2010, mentioned the idea of offloading some content production to the client as part of their training process, and as a way to control costs. It may be more desirable for the client to take on some production work internally than to have this entirely outsourced: After all, Joomla is made for this sort of thing.