FullCodePress: WordPress vs Rails

Matthew Magain

Matthew Magain is reporting live from the FullCodePress web-site-in-a-day competition in Sydney, Australia — an event that SitePoint is sponsoring.

Raena and I arrived at the FullCodePress event just as things were kicking off – the two charities have been announced, and the teams are busy questioning their respective clients and planning how they’re going to build a professional site that meets the needs of these two organisations.

The Australian team’s charity is the Disability Discrimination Legal Centre of NSW, an organisation that provides legal advice to people who have been treated unfairly because of their disability. The client provided the Aussies with two large folders of site designs that they liked and didn’t like, which will be an interesting challenge for Aussie designer Alexi Paschalidis. The post-it notes and whiteboard sketches are slowly taking shape.

The New Zealand team, the CodeBlacks, are building a site for Rainbow Youth, a New Zealand-based sexual advocacy group dedicated to supporting queer youth. The team spent a couple of hours with the client, and are currently in the process of establishing some templates and mapping out an information architecture. Their client was also extremely well prepared (and well versed in what is achievable with the web site), which CodeBlacks project manager Haydn Thomsen informs me was surprising but also means the brief may be more ambitious than anticipated.

FullCodePressOne aspect of the competition that will be interesting to watch is the fact that the Aussies are running with a WordPress solution (based on the client wanting to be able to expand via plugins) whilst the NZ team are using BrowserCMS, an open source Rails-based CMS. Last time this event was held, the Kiwis rolled their own CMS from scratch. Whilst they ended up being victorious, it was certainly an enormous risk that could have gone the other way.

The atmosphere is heating up — possibly because more and more random attendees wandering about the CeBIT conference are getting curious about the event and how each team is tackling their respective projects. I expect that having an audience whilst you work must add quite a bit of pressure to the competitors (as if building a complete web site for a real client in 24 hours wasn’t pressure enough), but so far I can’t see any cracks appearing. Everyone seems calm, composed, and is just getting on with it.

We’ll see if that’s still the case after they’ve had no sleep…

Follow the FullCodePress team online, via Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and the official blog.

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  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    Very exciting. Whichever team wins, a popular open source publishing platform is going to walk away with serious bragging rights.

  • http://pixopoint.com/ ryanhellyer

    How come the Code Blacks aren’t using SilverStripe?

  • agentolivia

    First time hearing about BrowserCMS. But I’m confused, the link provided goes to a “BrowserCMS” that is Java Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based and very very expensive. Doesn’t really sound open source + Rails-based and with the cost, seems a highly unlikely candidate as a tool of choice for this competition. But maybe I’m missing something.

  • Scott @ scottydonald.com

    An open source CMS vs a $20k CMS, is that serious? i think WP will still win.

    I power free blogs using WP, anyone can create a site in a day ;)Free Blogs

  • itbhp
  • cheekymaori

    i think this is the correct link for the BrowserCMS Opensource Rails version

    http://www.opensourcerails.com/projects/53146-BrowserCMS

  • levifig

    I make agentolivia’s words mine as well…
    Other than that, I’d like to clarify that Ruby on Rails is NOT a “publishing platform”… Comparing Ruby on Rails with WordPress is like comparing apples (wordpress) and… the apple tree!

    As a side note, I’ve done WordPress development and now I’m doing Rails development. In terms of speed I’m still faster developing for WordPress BUT that’s won’t be true the better and faster I code in Rails. The biggest advantage with Rails is that you’ll end up with a custom and adequate CMS for the project at hand compared to WordPress which will be “bigger” and harder to “simplify”…

    But this competition is not between peers: it’s between two different paradigms.

  • Digitaleye

    The link for BrowserCMS should point to browsercms.org – this is the open source version

  • http://www.heyraena.com raena

    Thanks for the corrections guys; we’ll update the post :)

  • http://gilcreque.com gilcreque

    The competition is interesting but I find the use of queer in your country more interesting. I was shocked at first to see it but I’m realizing that in your neck of the woods I guess it does not have such a negative connotation as it does in the US as even the charity uses the word on their website.

  • http://www.magain.com/ mattymcg

    @gilcreque You are spot on — the use of the word queer is considered offensive in some cultures but in others it’s empowering and unifying. In New Zealand it’s the latter, and the term is used to describe a range of sexual orientations. This was something that the NZ team also learned when discussing the brief with their client!