CMS or Custom Code

A friend wants to build a joke site* with the following features:

  • Users can submit jokes
  • Users can rate each other’s jokes and get badges (like
  • Users have profiles that show which jokes they’ve submitted and badges they’ve earned
  • A blog for the site admin to post stuff and users to comment on
  • Forums where users can talk about jokes
  • Unified login between the main site, forum, and blog

I wanted to tell him to use an existing CMS since I didn’t want to code the forum, and since great blogging software already exists, but I’m not familiar enough with the CMSs that are out there to know whether the other stuff can easily be accomplished in any of them or if it would need to be coded by hand.

What recommendations do you have? How do you decide whether to use a CMS for a site or whether to code it yourself?


*Note: This is not the real product. I was asked not to reveal the actual product to protect his business idea.

I think you are looking at a wordpress installation plus a phpBB installation and a bit of custom code to handle the badges and profile pages.

Thanks. After your post I looked around for WordPress forum plugins and found that BuddyPress has even more of the features that my friend is looking for (and includes a bbPress install for the forum).