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I have been messing around with websites for quite some time and have limited knowlege of PHP, MYSQL, and a variety of other scripting languages. I can proficiently install any CMS or E-commerce package aand usually don't have too much of a problem installing mods and making small fixes / modifications.
I have just spent a couple of hours teaching myself css and am coming to the conclusion that I may be better off using css for the look and feel and just using a good file system to organize seo'd static html pages. I can always add in the forums, emailing list managers, etc on an as needed basis and for the most part without a CMS. Am I wrong in this thinking?
I mean it seems as if you would have much more control of how your pages appear to spiders this way.
Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts
have just spent a couple of hours teaching myself css and am coming to the conclusion that I may be better off using css for the look and feel
Whatever you do with the CMS, your time learning css was a good investment. That is a big help build and maintaining a site.
Separate your web app into:
Data (data structure... DB/flat files/CMS)
Business logic (rendering engine, the actual application)
Presentation (rendered by the browser & CSS)
This kind of architecture is superb. For example, I have all of my data in a database, in XML. Depending upon who visits, determines how it is rendered. For example, I might chuck out XML if the user agent supports it, or HTML, or XHTML. I can also provide good fucntionality like exporting any bit of content to PDF (XML->PDF).
The 3 layered approach means that if I need to change presentation (in CSS) then I can just do that and not worry about data or logic. Also it's very useful for trying to comply with W3C guidelines. The last thing I wanted to do was start going through a few thousand JSPs trying to work out where horrible bits of code comes from.
In *theory* if I wanted to go from say... MySQL db to say Oracle, I can simply by mirroring the data structure and changing the common connection. Another great prospect - separation of your code can mean flexibility and scalability.
So in summary: I know this as MVC, however its theory can be (and should be) applied to all web apps.
Use your CSS to handle the visual component of your site and use (I mean really use) the CMS to deal with the content structure of your site.
As I said previously
Basically I can add in all the bells and whistles php / programming items to run in the background after I set up my site appearance up with css. If I have the look and feel controlled by css and add in functionality as I go it gives me a lot more control over seo as I see it because I tell it from the get go what it shows the engines and the users. I see no need for a packaged CMS as I am essentially creating my own simple CMS.
I can easily create scripts to manage those funtions you mentioned. The only time I see it being a problem is if I bring in other people who don't know what they are doing code-wise to add content etc.
Again if I am wrong anyone who can tell me why would be appreciated.
A custom "mini" CMS is the best option by a margin, if you have the time and ability to create it (and keep it secured and up to date).
Many webmasters don't have that time or ability, hence CMS's can be very useful.
The only time I see it being a problem is if I bring in other people who don't know what they are doing code-wise to add content etc.
If/when you reach that point you'll probably just build another little script/page that lets users add content in plain text in a form-filling exercise. It's very easy.