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Starting a new site and am wondering if I should go with a:
A. custom PHP/MySQL content management system
B. or a HTML website made using Dreamweaver and utilize the library updating feature.
Let me know which method I should go with from the different perspectives below: -
2. search engine friendly
3. server resource friendly
I suspect that if your goal is to get something up and running as painlessly as possible, Dreamweaver is the way to go.
If you don't need a custom CMS, but can use one of the zillions that are available off the shelf and for free, that would be the cheapest by far.
Personally, I have a bias against WYSIWYG editors that is based on a little experience (currently unwravelling a site that someone did in Front Page) and a lot of ignorance (I haven't updated Dreamweaver since Version 3 because I just never used it).
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that most people here are in my boat and wouldn't know where to begin using the Dreamweaver libraries and therefore, how to evaluate them in neutral way.
The one thing I've noticed with PHP code pumped out via Dreamweaver is that it tends to use older, deprecated features of PHP (like $HTTP_POST_VARS). This could be because I've only seen code pumped out by older, deprecated versions of Dreamweaver.
A DW Library item is just a section such as a menu etc that DW can update automatically throughout the entire site. DW will keep a reference of every page the library item appears and update it, then all you need to to is udate the files.
An include file whether in PHP, ASP or whatever is just the ability to include one file within another, this way when you change the included file you dont need to update any pages.
If you have PHP already then that is the way to go, if not then the DW Library is.
1. cost-effective - PHP = free, DW need to buy
2. search engine friendly - no difference apart from the DW code to show where a library occurs
3. server resource friendly - DW =just HTML, PHP = proccesed on the server
We started off just using DW with templates but found that after the site hit ~300 page mark things started to get harder to manage.
If your site is going to be small in the 20 page area then DW will work fine. The problem comes when you have a large site. If you change a template that is used by many pages then you have to upload all of the changed pages to your server. This becomes quite a pain, errors begin to creap in when some files are not uploaded.
With PHP we can change a shared file used by many pages with a single change/upload. This is much easier and much less error prone. Of course, the reverse is that you can completely break your whole site with a single change.
With a PHP site you must have a development system where you can test site changes before they go live. Whilst it is recommeded with a DW site, it really isn't an absolute must.
We are gradually working through our DW templates moving the libraries & such over to PHP includes. When that is done we will in all probability stop using the templates. There is no rush though.
As for advice, it really depends how big your site is. If it is big now then a CMS may be a good choice. If it isn't, then a CMS will just get in the way. A DW static site will be much quicker.
You can always change things later... ;)
The CMS side is really outside my field of expertise. When we started the site we started using Plone. We found that it was too much for us to start with. Documentation was a bit thin, no books etc. I believe that has changed recently.
I would be sceptical that a CMS doesn't involve some compromises somewhere down the line. You usually have to give something up to gain convenience.
We are some distance from requiring a CMS type system. Perhaps, at 1300 pages, you are rather closer to it.
Whatever you do, build yourself a development system & build the system on there. Test a number of different CMS to see which fits your requirements best.