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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist yasha78's Avatar
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    Is building a site from scratch dead?

    I used to build and design my sites from scratch - but, what I usually do now is:

    1. Install WordPress
    2. Find a theme that I like in terms of design / functionality
    3. Tweak it
    4. Add content
    5. Add ad code

    Unless you plan something really specialized, does it really make sense to build a site from scratch?
    -yasha78
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Short answer: Absolutely.
    Long answer: Absolutely.

    No disrespect intended, but you know what people are going to say. I don't need to extoll the virtues of hand-coded, one-of-a-kind sites over tweaked templates.

  3. #3
    got beer? jabo's Avatar
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    why not... creating your own site from scratch makes you know every part of it and it makes sure that everything from that site is originally from you. every code and design. a lot of people still does that and I think it is actually better than seeing another site that has the same template than you

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast Carl Henry's Avatar
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    Hi Yasha,

    Personally I use the best CMS 'foundations' but create totally unique templates, which after all is what the SE's see.

    this way I get to save time and have a unique website, I feel this way I feel I am being the most efficient and I can focus on what the customer sees.

    Cheers!

    Carl Henry
    CHOBS | Carl Henry Online Business Systems
    Helping YOU make money Online with Websites

    Get Your Free eReport:
    Turnkey Websites "Maximise Profits & Effectiveness"

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I build new sites from scratch all the time.

    That said... I do have a few skeleton stylesheets for various common layouts that I implement and then add to.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  6. #6
    #titanic {float:none} silver trophy
    molona's Avatar
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    I tend to build from scratch, although I do have self-created templates for the main and most used layouts.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    I build from scartch simply because I know exactly what is going on then, saying that though, the site I am working on just now has a J! backend and I am creating my own template from scratch simply because I currently don't have the time to build my own CMS...maybe one day though.

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast tiawood's Avatar
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    I build from scratch, Joomla and Wordpress with each of my own personal sites. I decide by scalability. If I want people to only read content/post comments, I'll go with Wordpress. If the site doesn't need to be updated often and is as valuable sitting as with updating, I'll build from scratch. If the site needs to scale with functions and I suspect the site to grow large, I'll use Joomla.

  9. #9
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    it is not dead!! not all dead and it won't die any time soon IMO

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    It really depends on what you're planning to make -- if Wordpress suits your needs, and you like it, then no sense reinventing the wheel. But if you need something that Wordpress can't handle or isn't well suited to accomplish, and you can't find a CMS or other application that does what you want or that you like, then, yeah you'll want to code something unique from scratch.
    Josh is a ghost
    rails & work & twitter

    Organization is the
    death of creativity.

  11. #11
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    I tend to keep my id's and classes the same and have basically a tweaked stylesheet for different themes. I build my CSS from scratch, HTML I modify very slightly, aka content and AD code.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I prefer to build my sites from scratch (design and template wise)... although I will use a base CSS layout that I alter for each design...

    CMS doesn't really matter too much as the HTML output is what search engines see... so I will use Wordpress and Joomla, but make the design I coded from scratch and adapt it into a template for the CMS

  13. #13
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    I am going to have to buck the trend here. For the most part building a dynamic site from scratch can be considered dead unless it is a highly specialized site. The look and feel of a site is really one small part of it these days.

    Why code a forum system when there are hundreds of packages available? Why code a CMS when there are hundreds of packages available. For the most part you will find what you need available somewhere.

    Yes, you may design the output of that application to fit your needs but that isn't building a site from scratch. It is putting a skin on the site's skeleton, muscles and control centers. Even if you build your own PHP/Java/Ruby/.NET, you are most likely going to base it on an existing framework that provides database connections and other structures needed to build a successful site today. You're going to use a Javasript library to add basic AHAH and AJAX functionality as well as a foundation for widgets such as tabs. You might even use a standard CSS reset file like Meyer's, Blueprint, 960, YUI, etc...

    Or you could start from scratch and spend hundreds of hours on this work to reinvent the wheel. Sure it will fit your needs but will it be portable across projects. If it is portable will actually be reusable?
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    For me its starts out with whether or not the site will need a CMS or not. I love coding all my sites with my own PHP template and CSS template and it's easier when the website requires a custom application or scripts. These sites usually don't require much updating and if so the client isn't really interested in handling it themselves.

    Otherwise, Wordpress is easy to learn for both user and developer and the number of useful plugins are unbelievable. I've always been able to find something to meet the clients needs, and it's so quick to install and get running - so the client is very impressed. It's then a matter of taking a simple template and turning it into an effective design.
    ---
    Paul S. Smith
    technetic | design & code

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard spence_noodle's Avatar
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    Building websites is NOT dead.

    I always try and build my websites from scratch, but if I do see a script thats already made and will save me time then I will use it, build it around my current project too.
    "Don't you just love it when you solve a programming bug only to create another."

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I have a team of designers and programmers and every site I have is build from scratch. You can control much better the site when you know every single detail of it

  17. #17
    Sesame Street Iimitk's Avatar
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    I agree with everything Wayne has said.

    In fact, I really cannot understand why such obvious questions pop out on these forums every now & then. Is it hard to grasp that scripts are not flat HTML files stored in a database? What does "build from scratch" means & in what context? Does it mean planning the site's architecture, designing the database, programming the application's logic, designing the front-end ((X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, ..etc.)? If so then you're simply reinventing the wheel.

    This almost never happen in the real world. Take SitePoint as an example, they have no shortage of talented & dedicated programmers who can code the most complex systems, yet they chose to use vBulletin for their forums & WordPress for their blogs. But when there were no existent satisfying solutions for their marketplace & contests applications, they did write them from scratch. Almost all 500 fortune companies use ready-made solutions all the time, and many of them have actively started looking & deploying free (yeah maybe free as in price for them) open source software. Actually, rewriting things from scratch is considered the single worst strategic mistake anyone can make.

    This all comes - again, to an inherent devaluation for design amongst the wide community of web practitioners, so to speak. If you've been hired by average Jo to "setup" a blog for him to write about his scuba diving adventures, he might well be satisfied with the template you've tweaked for him. However, if you've been hired by a successful business who maintains a strong brand, they won't be happy to realize that their website looks like another thousand one. You can rely on their ignorance and sell them the tweaked template, but that won't last long, neither you in business.

    Off Topic:


    Welcome back, Wayne.
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Einstein

  18. #18
    SitePoint Addict
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    I have a base CSS/XHTML file I usually start from that I can apply to every site..XHTML has header, content, menu, footer, etc divs and then from there I port it to whatever CMS which doesn't take much time at all..so I would say start from scratch

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast keyshey's Avatar
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    so is it safe to say that if you use a CMS and did the template/theme yourself then you are making a site from scratch?

  20. #20
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Well to me, starting from scratch means that you open whatever text editor / programming IDE that you use with a blank page and start coding. The phrase "starting from scratch" means starting from nothing.

    So using a CMS wouldn't be starting from scratch. Using a CSS file with common styling in it wouldn't be starting from scratch.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  21. #21
    I Never Give Up roosevelt's Avatar
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    It depends from user to user. For example, when I used to have free time and had my fan site. I learned PHP, MySQL, CSS, AJAX and basically made everything on my own. But now I have work, business and a girl friend... so I don't have the time to do anything from scratch.

    Whether you make everything from scratch or not, your website will be ranked the same way in search engines and people will like your website for what it is.

    I personally don't prefer to start from scratch anymore but modify what's been already done

    Dead? Yes.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I still build sites using asp.net

  23. #23
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    It's nowhere near dead. I use wordpress for what it's for, blogs. But that's not the only type of sites out there. Plus if it's a site that I don't care about or quick, I will use a template. But if I plan on it being a site that I'm going to stick with, I start from scratch.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Zealot somecallmejosh's Avatar
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    Sites, of course, have different purposes. Are we talking client sites? Are we talking "market testing" sites? Are we talking "my kids sports team" sites? For the latter two, rehashed wordpress templates would suit me just fine. I shouldn't have to spend an inordinate amount of time to create a fly trap for market testing purposes, and of course, I wouldn't spend alot of time on the kid's soccer team site (unless of course they paid me to -- yeh, right!!!)

    However, building a business website, for a client deserves my whole hearted involvement. From the graph paper and pencil, to the hand coded front end work, to the appropriate back end integration.
    Joshua K. Briley
    Website Design and Front End Development

  25. #25
    is craving 'the potato' slayerment's Avatar
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    Starting from scratch is definitely dead. I haven't done anything from scratch for years. There's simply no need to if you can make the EXACT same thing on top of a CMS with more security, functionality and features than you would ever hope for on your own code, in way less time.

    Smaller landing page / money sites are probably the only ones where from scratch may still apply.


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