I have been asked to help estimate the time it would take to develop a web application. I will not be involved in the actual programming, but I am participating as an "experienced" programmer. The actual work will probably be handed over to a consulting company, but the client (a university department) wants to have an estimate to have an idea of how much time and money will be needed.
We will try to break down the features to implement and then try to create some kind of grand total estimate (even though Joel Spolsky says this will not work), but I thought that these kinds of web applications have been done hundreds of times and that there must be lots of experience to draw from on one or another of the stackexchange sites.
Is it possible to answer this question:
How many hours/weeks does it generally take for an experienced programmer, using their language and framework of choice (be it Java, Ruby on Rails, or some other fairly big technology), to create a web application, given that:
- It is fairly standard, meaning that there is a database, an administration interface and a presentation layer for the general public.
- It is written from scratch, but there are old systems to draw experiences from.
- The administrators (think they) know fairly well what they want.
I know this is very vague, but I am looking for your experiences:
(made up examples follow)
"We have bought these kinds of systems several times, and they generally take twenty staff-months to complete."
"Using Python and Django, I'd say most web apps are up and running in 6 staff-months, top."
- I my question most information about this project is missing. The client has written a detailed specification draft on the system and there is also a requirement analysis based on user feedback on the old system.
- I want to state, again, that I am looking for your experiences (see my example answers), not a quote for this system.
Thanks for all the insightful answers, though!