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  1. #51
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    Use the best tool for the job.

    These big name CMS's are great for building typical run of the mill websites. What happens when you start working with clients who want edginess in their site?

    In my experience things like Drupal and Joomla are by default somewhat slow and clunky. Yes they build sites and satisfy requirements well, but when it comes to intricate user interface and optimizing queries, running things on strange server set ups.. something like Drupal becomes more of a "ok, now we need to figure out how to make drupal do this".

    Another thing about using Drupal is that it starts to drive requirements and capabilities. The company I am at a lot of the time will use Drupals in ability to do something as a scapegoat to get out of spending time developing a feature.

    Anyways, the alternative to Drupal or WP or whatever isnt a custom coded application. I agree that in this day and age writing validation code for email addresses or writing database access code is a complete waste of time. Those sorts of things have been abstracted to the point where we have things like ORMs and form validation tools, user authentication etc.

    Application development frameworks such as Symfony, Kohana, Ruby on Rails etc give the developer the chance to take advantage of ORM's, validation, emailing etc etc while allowing them to build user interfaces that make sense, are interest, unique, and not clunky and generic like so many Drupal and Wordpress sites end up being. Its not all about spending less money, its about spending the right amount of money to captivate your audience.

    I can always tell a wordpress blog when I go to one, because they all look the same. I find some people are forgetting about the element of creative expression when they are building apps. Its almost as if Drupal and Wordpress are making it too easy for people who don't know what they are doing and dont understand all the different web technologies to call themselves a web developer and build little magazine style websites.

    All in all, you get what you pay for. Anyone who goes to brain surgury school can call themselves a brain surgury and convince you to let them in your head, but do you really want the guy who uses some all encompassing brain surgury kit? Or do you want someone who has selected tools based on preference and their passion for being a brain surgeon and understands what tools they are using and why.

    This isnt to say that I think Drupal and word press are for beginners and only noobs use them. They have their place. But Drupal and Wordpress have a misconception of being an easy web solution. It has a lot of features that make menial tasks take a lot less time and allow you to focus more on building the over all product. But you still need to know what you are doing. You still need to understand http request and response. You need to know how and why ajax works. You need to know about caching. Data models. Don't let the plague of "Drupal is easy" let you guide your choice of platform. You need to understand the web and choose a solution based what you need.

    I use symfony because I prefer looking at code than a settings page. I find I can do things faster with symfony because it is immediately obvious how to do something because it uses software architecture and design principles. Symfony's code generation makes it really easy to setup sites. Things like migrations, Doctrine, all the validation, fixtures, etc etc make it soooo fast to build sites. Not easy. Fast. You still need to understand requirements and build a way for users or your client to deal with their problems effectively.

    Alot of CMS's have plugins that have some sort of generic functionality out of the box for sure, but sometimes its better to implement that your own way to make it work better for a specific case.

    I don't think clients should really care what you use to build a site.. but don't let Drupal and Wordpress destroy your knowledge of how to build websites and start charging up the yang because you don't know how to build anything that there isn't a plug in for.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoomagic View Post
    Use the best tool for the job.

    These big name CMS's are great for building typical run of the mill websites. What happens when you start working with clients who want edginess in their site?
    I do a lot of corporate stuff and as a result I know and will admit wholeheartedly that my edginess meter is skewed however it doesn't take much looking around to find non-run-of-the-mill websites built on big name CMS's (my choice is Drupal):
    http://buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites
    http://www.drupalsites.net/


    Quote Originally Posted by voodoomagic View Post
    In my experience things like Drupal and Joomla are by default somewhat slow and clunky. Yes they build sites and satisfy requirements well, but when it comes to intricate user interface and optimizing queries, running things on strange server set ups.. something like Drupal becomes more of a "ok, now we need to figure out how to make drupal do this".
    Yup.... MVC and some better engineering of how to optimize the use of modular code would help with any of the big 3 (Drupal, Joomla, WP) but I have run Drupal successfully on less than optimum servers quite handily, including Windows Server 2003 and Server 2007. Load balancing and caching hasn't been an issue, mind you we're talking about sites that aren't under huge volumes of traffic; only around 5,000, 8,000 visitors a month so I'm not sure what would happen if they really had to scale like the site at whitehouse.gov which is built with, you guessed it... Drupal.

    Quote Originally Posted by voodoomagic View Post
    Another thing about using Drupal is that it starts to drive requirements and capabilities. The company I am at a lot of the time will use Drupals in ability to do something as a scapegoat to get out of spending time developing a feature.
    I'm sorry but that is a cop-out... If the CMS is a modular framework with hooks, then it's up to the developer to write the code and integrate it with the CMS. However clunky you, I or your organization feel Drupal may be, it does have a well documented and standardized API. It's been my experience that if you can write a custom feature as a standalone app, you can write the same feature as a module or custom code for Drupal but you need to know the framework in order to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by voodoomagic View Post
    I can always tell a wordpress blog when I go to one, because they all look the same. I find some people are forgetting about the element of creative expression when they are building apps. Its almost as if Drupal and Wordpress are making it too easy for people who don't know what they are doing and dont understand all the different web technologies to call themselves a web developer and build little magazine style websites.
    See above... That's not the CMS, that's the developer and I'm sure some of my sites look like WP, Joomla or Drupal sites because I haven't pushed the boundaries but that doesn't mean they have to look that way. Given knowledge of the CMS and it's theming engine, you should be able to make it do whatever you want.

    All that said, I hear you... Popular CMS's do try to be everything for everyone and as a result are bloated, can be difficult to really customize, etc... however if I were to build a custom app or community or portal, whatever, I think it would be a benefit to build it on top of a well supported CMS at least to begin with and then migrate it over to a custom MVC or whatever framework once the specification had been hardened. That would be version II.

    That's just my 2 cents anyway.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  3. #53
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    I agree with all your points. I just find as a general trend these "CMS", or CMF if you will type packages, just seem to be having an influence on what and how a site ends up being built.


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