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  1. #1
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    When to move from 'simple' HTML/CSS to something more?

    Hello,

    I'm kind of curious as to whether there are any recommended thresh holds or milestones where it would be beneficial to move from a (relatively) simple HTML/CSS based site with a few pages (5-10, maybe more) and perhaps the occasional form with a little bit of php or js script, to something like WordPress or a CMS?

    I realize that there aren't a lot of limits to what can be done with the first option (HTML/CSS plus a little scripting) given time and inclination. Time, I've got (volunteer work for a non-profit org, so it happens when I get to it). Most of the 'content' for the site(s) I'm dealing with are pretty static - not a huge amount of changes. I've seen some very slick looking sites set up with both basic html/css templates and with WordPress - not sure where the line is where I'd be better off with dedicated blogging software like WordPress vs. some periodic (weekly?) updates on the home page about new/upcoming events (majority of site content probably won't change much). Similarly, I'm not real clear on where the other two solutions end, and where a content management system starts becoming necessary.

    Any help or insight would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Monte

  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    There are no real times when a CMS becomes "necessary", it can be useful to have a CMS if you are publishing large amounts of content without doing much work to the core of the websites coding but a CMS simply exists as a method of allowing collaboration or control over what is pubished through the created design. There are no special features that a CMS offers that you cannot replicate through scripting languages (some people make their own CMS's for their websites!). To be perfectly honest if you know your way around the code and find maintaining the websites fairly straight forward (and it's only you doing the content writing) then you probably don't need a CMS. Of course some people like having one from the offset like wordpress because they either want better management, collaboration or they simply want something to tinker with as they have no coding experience. If the website design was coded well, adding new pages should be fairly straight forward, it's only if your managing hundreds or thousands of pages of content you may want to consider a more streamline solution (in my experience).

  3. #3
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    The answer varies, depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

    An off-the-shelf CMS can be a very powerful and useful aid to manage your content and maintain your website as a whole, if used wisely.

    Of course, you could create your own. The usefulness of that is debatable and highly dependent on what you're looking to do with it. Some say it's a waste of time reinventing the wheel while others will argue that any developer/designer should be able to create one to deem themselves professionals.

    On the whole, if you're primarily interested in maintaining larger amounts of frequently updated content, then I would think that using a CMS is a good choice. Furthermore, if you don't intend to update or add content to a site alone and have more than one person managing the site, it can be very beneficial to have a CMS, as it won't require for all participants to have a thorough understanding of HTML and CSS, thus making content updates a lot easier.

    There are plenty more reasons why a CMS might be beneficial or redundant, but for that you'd have to ellaborate a bit more on what your primary goals are.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    ...but for that you'd have to ellaborate a bit more on what your primary goals are.
    Thanks for the responses! Sounds like I'm better off sticking with a bit of hand-coding here and there for my needs at the moment. The site consists of maybe a dozen pages, pretty much all static - website for a local non-profit sports club, with pages describing the various facilities, different venues, a page with a link to a Google calendar, another where members can download a PDF copy of the newsletter, etc. The newsletter page might change once every two months when a new release comes out, the calendar page uses code straight from Google to keep it updates, and then currently I have somewhat of a 'blog' page set up to keep members abreast of upcoming events - special functions, elections, volunteer days, etc.

    Everything was done previously in iWeb, which has some nice features but I keep running into walls trying to do certain things, so I'm pretty much re-writing the site from scratch (leaning very heavily on a free template from styleshout.com).

    One of the nice things that the 'blog' feature of iWeb had was that it would show the top few 'articles' and then give a menu of older, archived stuff. It was set up so it wasn't a 'two-way' communication like a lot of blogs (strictly for disseminating info, not discussion/debate). Then coming to sites like this (Sitepoint) and seeing people talking about WordPress about every fifth post (okay, maybe not, but seems like it!) and I started wondering if maybe it'd be worth re-building the site inside a WordPress template. After thinking about it some more, I don't think our 'blogging' needs merit an industrial grade solution like WordPress - though I may look into integrating Blogger or something along those lines into one of the pages.

    Any other ideas would be welcome,

    Monte

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast jessicalore's Avatar
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    Joomla has been our choice number one since the beginning, we started developing websites in our Houston company like 7 months ago, and I think we have gone such a short way and learning a lot. To be honest, I think with Joomla and decent HTML and CSS skills, you will rock the house. You can have communities, gaming sites, forums, blogs, video sites like Youtube, shopping carts, the limitation here is your imagination and your knowledge. The more you learn the bigger things you can do here on these CMS package. Check it out, and good luck. If I have to choose between Joomla and Word Press, joomla will be my choice.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Norebbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memilanuk View Post
    Thanks for the responses! Sounds like I'm better off sticking with a bit of hand-coding here and there for my needs at the moment. The site consists of maybe a dozen pages, pretty much all static - website for a local non-profit sports club, with pages describing the various facilities, different venues, a page with a link to a Google calendar, another where members can download a PDF copy of the newsletter, etc. The newsletter page might change once every two months when a new release comes out, the calendar page uses code straight from Google to keep it updates, and then currently I have somewhat of a 'blog' page set up to keep members abreast of upcoming events - special functions, elections, volunteer days, etc.
    If you've got a blog that you intend to keep updated, your life will be much easier if you go with a wordpress template (or something similar). The only issue is portability - by going with a database-driven template, it makes it very difficult to move your site to another server if you need to. Of course it can be done, but there are some headaches involved that you wouldn't get if you built everything yourself in HTML/CSS.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast irish-ed's Avatar
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    Ideally, simple html is best for fast loading. Once your site becomes difficult to manage, then it's time to use a CMS. Don't leave it too late or else the upgrade could become a nightmare.

  8. #8
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    As such there is no equation. It just depends on your taking capacity. If you can handle the tough programming, then you can go for it,, and if you are still struggling with the basics, then you should give your pages more time before trying the hard scripts.

  9. #9
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    that's great ppst

  10. #10
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    From experience each project has its own requirements. If you have a one page site with info that changes constantly a CMS or other dynamic solution might be worth it. On the other hand, if you have 100 pages that never change you might be fine with static HTML/CSS.

    Also, consider the security implications and knowledge level of whoever will be updating the site. I've found on a few really simple site it was better to teach the owner how to update the actual HTML rather than try to teach them a CMS. This is particularly true when you will not be maintaining the site as an unpatched site can quickly become a liability.

    All and all, what it comes down to is the question will the CMS make this site better for the customer? Usually the answer is yes however there are occasions when a CMS is not appropriate.

  11. #11
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    CMS also adds some functionality like RSS feeds


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