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I want users to be able to comment on various items on the website, and for these comments to be published in the style of a blog. I don't have the skills the do this. In fact, even after going through PHP and SQL tutorials, I haven't the first clue about where to begin.
Here's the question. Is it better to scrap my own effort and start again with a CMS? If so, which is best? Or is there a relatively easy way to achieve the functionality I want without spending weeks learning new stuff? Perhaps a plugin of some sort? Pre-made scripts?
My gut tells me to persist with "proper" web design, but I don't want to stubbornly stick to something if it will always be inferior. Help!
[edited by: engine at 9:24 am (utc) on Aug. 29, 2009]
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Now even an amateur can create and manage world class websites without going deep into scripting etc.
Going in for your own development will always leave some ends open and would also be expensive as most of the famous CMS are open source packages.
If you are looking for a blogging platform, look no further than Wordpress! It has a lot of available plug-ins to help customize your website like never before.
On the other hand, if you looking to create a portal with lot of dynamic content, the best proposition here would be Joomla!
Once you get a hook of either of the CMS's, you will never look at scripting sites on your own (apart from if you have something really special to create).
All the best :)
Be wary of best security practices when installing any software developed by third parties; be a member on their message boards, opt in to their security alert emails, keep an ear out for vulnerability alerts, install patches when they release them, and you should be fine.
Any new sites I do now, I typically start with an open-source package of some sort (CMS, Bulletin Board, etc). It is just easier, and allows me to ramp up and launch a new site with all the bells and whistles users expect in a fraction of the time.
It isn't necessary to know anything about anything in IT if you hire the right people or buy the right software or both. These are management decisions.
I don't have to 'get under the hood'. But I enjoy it and do as much as I can. The trade-off is the time that does not get put into more 'productive' areas of the business.
My gut tells me to persist with "proper" web design, but I don't want to stubbornly stick to something if it will always be inferior.
It has been my experience that 95%+ of website owners have no business mucking around with their websites, CMS or not. The building of websites is a professional service, no less critical than your accountant or attorney. If I had a set of immutable 'website laws', this would probably be in the top five.