3 things you should ask an OpenCart freelancer before hiring them.
With the recent popularity explosion of freelance marketplaces, there’s a good chance you will consider hiring a freelancer at some point in the future. Sites such as Freelancer or PeoplePerHour provide you with options, but my advice is this. Be careful who you hire. While quality developers do frequent the marketplaces, there’s a whole ocean of cowboys ready to take your money whilst putting in the minimum amount of effort. They will take shortcuts and your site could suffer as a result.
There are two reasons for specifically mentioning OpenCart in this article . Firstly, OpenCart jobs are ubiquitous on freelance markets . And secondly, because of the way OpenCart works. When it comes to extending the functionality of OpenCart, it’s very easy and tempting to make changes directly to the core files. This is all fine-and-dandy until it’s time to update, at which point any, and all, customisation you’ve paid for will be lost.
Here are the 3 things you should ask a freelancer before they work on your OpenCart Store.
1. Will you be working on the live site, or a development site?
This may, or may not apply to you but all too often when a client awards me a job on a freelance marketplace, they do not have a development version of their site. Because of this, I suspect many developers are working directly on the live site. This is not a great idea for the obvious reason that they may break something, resulting in downtime which in turn results in a loss of earnings.
Any developer worth their salt should take issue with developing on a live site, and should have the courtesy to explain the issues with doing so to their clients. My advice is this. Go ahead and ask the question. The worst case scenario is that your developer will bill an extra hour or two for creating a development site. Remember, this is a one off payment. The development site will be in place for all future jobs.
2. Can you take a backup of the site before pushing changes live?
This is a no-brainer. Before pushing changes live, ask your developer to take a backup. This is of course going to be dependent on how your files are deployed. It’s possible (and recommended) that you have a version control system in place, meaning that a backup of the file system is unnecessary – since it’s possible to simply roll back any changes to the previous state.
There’s still no harm in asking though & if this is the case I’m sure the developer will be more than happy to explain. Finally, bear in mind that if database changes are expected, it’s prudent to take a backup of that too.
3. Will the job require making changes to any core files? How do you plan to handle this if so?
This is a biggie for OpenCart since hacking the core is so commonplace. Trust me when I say that the last thing you want is a developer hacking the core files of your website, only to find all of the changes lost next time you update to the latest version.
When asking the question, the answer you are looking for is: ‘I plan to use VqMod to handle any core changes’ (or something to that effect at least). If you don’t know what VqMod is, allow me to explain. It’s a system OpenCart uses to allow core functionality to be overridden without having to modify the core files themselves. Instead, the changes are stored in XML files that will not be overwritten during the update process.
All of this is very basic stuff & I’d expect any half decent developer to know this. If they don’t, my advice is simply this… Run a mile.