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question about using cms vs. html website

8:45 am on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So my boss has gone off and contracted some third party developers to build a site using drupal. Unfortunately even though I am the IT manager, I had no hand in this decision and I am worried about the consequences.

My (probably oldschool) attitude is that the best websites are written in short concise html with a smattering of php and javascript. This means they are fast, simple, easily editable, easily organisable (on the file system), easily SEO'd and if there is a bug it is relatively easily found.

I have used wordpress (similar to drupal) for a year or so now, and found it incredibly difficult to customise (and I don't mean addons) and at times quite slow. It is difficult to even find the php file that holds a certain piece of text or displays a certain image. And bug fixing can sometimes be a case of wait till the next update. Looking through the file system is a nightmare of millions of tiny php files and configuring access to various directories shouldn't be, but is, quite tricky.

So what do you think? Are my concerns valid? We have a support contract for a year with the developers, but I know there will be plenty of situations in which I will have to work on it, added to that the fact that I like to understand the technologies I am supposedly managing :/


7:56 am on May 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you'd like some information about CMS our Content Management Forum [webmasterworld.com] is the place to look. You might find this recent thread of interest: What is Drupal NOT good at? [webmasterworld.com]
7:46 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Both scenarios can be best practice. I personally prefer to code my own site if it is small, for the reasons you specified (easy to manage and customize and change).

But for large ventures that require a lot of functionality, sometimes I prefer to start with a CMS to save on custom development time of building such a complex system when someone else has already done it. Yes, it can be a bit overwhelming when you try to make some deep customizations, but systems like Drupal are built to be customized.

My only advice, if you go the CMS route, be sure to track your customizations very carefully (file changed, line(s) of code changed, etc). When you go to upgrade, you will be very thankful that you did. In many cases you will need to re-apply your customizations to the new upgraded version(s).

6:39 am on May 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you found Wordpress somewhat diffecult then Drupal will have you ripping your hair out. If your site consists of of a few simple pages, then I would suggest pleading with your boss to talk to these guys and give Drupal the no-go.