Hoping to get your thoughts - I've been asked for a quote for a community website based around football. Conventional stuff - forum, blog, news and so forth. I'm primarily a developer so familiar with .NET/C#/MSSQL, less so dynamic front ends.
However the website does have, as its centrepiece, something called a drill designer.
I'm not really into football, so if I strip away all the nicities and just distil this to the application requirement:
• The application may be embedded on a page as an object. It will most likely be presented in a pop up window sized to a fixed height and width. The embedded object is fixed height and width and may not be resized.
• The application is split into four main panels: the players, the objects, the pitch and a command button area.
• The players and the objects are simple line-drawings of players/goals/cones etc. which we will supply.
• The pitch can be rotated using buttons to show different aspects (rotate) and to flip the pitch 90 degrees (from portrait to landscape and back).
• The players and the objects can be dragged on to and off the pitch and stay where they are positioned (dropped).
• None of the players or the objects are animated.
• The command buttons enable various arrows (different colours and sizes) to be drawn between the objects on the pitch.
• The command button area and has a space to put notes in which can be saved/printed with the result.
• The command buttons also save the file, and open it for "print".
• The saved "file" is not presented to the user, rather, the representation of the user's creation (probably Xml?) is queryable via the website it's embedded onto and the interrogated data is then saved e.g. as part of that user's profile, one user to many drills.
I've seen two examples of such software. Only one is instantly accessible/web based. It's done in Flash. We want something instantly loadable and browser based.
I've not kept pace too much with all things Flash driven and have never done any Flash development beyond using tools to animate basic graphics etc.
On the one hand, it's just a shape with some drag and drop and some arrows. There's nothing really fancy about it. On the other hand, doing it in Flash prevents anyone simply copying it and using it. But, then, Flash appears to be dying. Silverlight? Does that suffice and have a future?
I accept that neither will work very well on mobiles. But then a mobile is probably too small a device to try designing a football drill on. That's not a showstopper.
I have several choices:
Spend time invetigating HTML/CSS technologies to see if they may suffice. Pros - I learn some new things, it's in house, we can easily modify it. Cons - it might take ages, I might make the wrong decisions, I cannot as I sit here guarantee the outcome (that last one is the one that brings it down for me)
Outsource is as a Flash development <snip> for a self-contained piece, define the interfaces in and out and get someone else to build it.
Outsource it as a development requirement and see what people come back with
What do you lot think? This one's a bit bespoke and unusual and I'd notmally turn such stuff away unless I had some especially keen interest in it, however we'd like to go the extra mile for this client and deliver it where possible.