Is my developer dodgy?

Hi!

I need some help, my partner and I have hired an app development
company to create an iPhone app that allows shops to list their
inventory and advertise their specials, there is also a back end admin
website that shop owners can login to that allows them to update their
inventory and specials. The admin website communicates directly with
the iPhone app so that any changes made are shown on the app, pretty
much in real time. This admin site has been created using Ruby on
Rails and is called "Rails Admin."

When we originally gave the developers our brief with all the features
and functions we required, the developers confirmed that we would be
able to have it so that shop owners could make changes that affect 1
or more of their shops, or all of them at once. This would be done by
having a super admin login where a shop owner could control changes
for multiple shops at once and managers at individual shops would have
a standard admin login with changes only affecting their shop.

As the project progressed, the developers advised that due to the
limitations of "Rails Admin" it would not be possible to have this
functionality and that we would have to choose between having it so
that any changes made to one shop would affect all shops under one
login, or, having it so that any changes made would only affect
individual shops (under one login) so that if there was a change that
affected more than one shop then the change would need to be repeated
for each shop one at time. They have advised that it was not possible
to customize "Rails Admin" and that for us to have the desired
flexibility that we required and originally requested they would need
to have a new admin system built from scratch and we would be looking
at a cost of 3 to 4 thousand dollars.

Since this time they have expressed on numerous occasions that they
have greatly underquoted on our project and they been under financial
pressure to the point where they was not certain if they could
continue their business. They have now emailed us a quote to build a
new admin site. The quote is for 13 thousand dollars but states that
because they can use the design and css files from the current "Rails
Admin" site it will reduce the price to 9 thousand dollars.

What I am wanting help with is to know if they have purchased a Rails
Kit (such as you might find on this link, http://railskits.com/ )
called Rails Admin for our project, are these kits customizeable after
purchase to add to, or modify any functionality within the Ruby on
Rails framework? It kind of sounds to me that he is just going to be
adding the originally requested (and quoted on) functionality that he
advised was not possible, to the admin site we currently have and
charging us 9 thousand dollars to do it.

I am also wanting to know, if we get a 3rd party to develop our admin
site for us with the functionality we require, will it take much work
for our current developers to plug it into our app so that they will
work together?

I don't want to accuse them of trying to rip us off as I don't really
know anything about Ruby on Rails but this just doesn't sound or feel
right. Any replies with technical info or references that I can go
back to them with would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!

Didn't you post this three days ago?

Building out tech is tough and requires give and take, but you need a firm that can provide you more transparency than seems you’ve had and more stability than sounds like they can offer. The best ‘armchair quarterback’ advice I could give is try to get the sources to everything they’ve built for you so far and look elsewhere.

Possibly they are referring to https://github.com/sferik/rails_admin
which is free. I have no knowledge of the details of this but I would
have thought it likely that any competent Rails programmer would have
little difficulty extending it in the way you want. I wonder whether
in fact they have little knowledge of Rails and would prefer to do it
a different way rather than extend the existing system.

Why have you posted this again rather than continuing the previous
thread, where I think you did not respond to the suggestions made
then? It is not good manners to completely ignore the help previously offered.

Colin

If they are having financial difficulties and are struggling to stay afloat; I think you have your answer right there. Run away, keep your money in your pockets, salvage your source code on all projects and look for more solid support

There is a rails_admin gem that is open source, there’s another called active_admin that is more extensible/customizable than rails_admin. But I’ve NEVER heard of an open source gem/project that is not possible to customize. It’s just ruby code anyhow. They likely just don’t know how.

No it’s not a railskit; those railskits are just white-labeled starter projects and none of them resemble at all what you are talking about.

I don’t know if the Ruby on Rails forum is really the appropriate place for your question, as it’s really difficult to gauge you and your developers relationship with a limited amount of details. We don’t know size/competence of the developers or any of your arrangements/requirements; $3000 for us would be about 3 days work.

Best of luck to you. If you don’t trust your developer, why do you continue to use them? Acquire the source and move on.