What? You mean I have to *Pay* for that?

I was answering posts in a community forum on the weekend when I came across an entry asking for help to build a data grid. The requirement was complex. The poster had expressed at the time that the functionality needed was available in a 3rd party control, but did not want to spend the money as the price was too high. On investigation he could have spent as little as $895 for the suite of tools. I just don’t understand the mentality ?

If you are working on a commercial piece of software (defined here as software that you are being paid to write by virtue of wages, contracting or future sales), then do the math…


So, Number Of Hours for you to write the tool you are looking for, multiplied by Your Hourly Rate equals Value Of Tool.

Take a basic data grid with grouping, sorting, binding, totals and some nice UI, I’m pretty confident it would take more than a couple of months to get right, but even if we said 4 weeks, or 152 hours, at a nominal rate of $25/hour (who works for that rate?), you are still looking at a cost of $3,800. So the cost of $895 is looking good.

Lets work it back the other way… $895/$25 hr = 35 hours, could you develop what is on offer for that?

Or (based on my estimate of 152 hours) $895/152 = $5.89/hr

I understand when buying tools we have to find balance, but I find it ridiculous when Devs expect everything for free.

There are some great tools out there (my obvious preference being DevExpress) and these companies put a lot of resource into making our jobs as easy as possible, lets show some support and appreciation, if everything became open source no of us would have a paying job.