A collection of CMSs (or, what to use instead of WordPress)

Continuing the discussion from Most common wordpress applications in the client world?:

This started off as a standard reply to the original message, but I’ve decided to fork it into it’s own thread.

I think that, short of using WordPress for a blog (and even then I’m not sure) I’d say avoid it! Instead, take a look at one or more of the following - each of which I’ve had at least a passing encounter with, feature within their own niche, and are listed in no particular order:

Which is the best? That’s impossible to say, because they all do different things in different ways, for different purposes.

For example, my site Fight Club Monkey used to be a WordPress site, but I’ve since rebuilt it using Middleman - this is because I’m the only person that will be updating it (so no need for an actual CMS per se), and because the ambition of keeping up to date blog posts on it was too unrealistic, so I ripped out the blog entirely, and went for a single page thing (you could argue that even Middleman is overkill for a single page site - and I’d probably agree with you).

I also plan on moving my site Lime Blast away from Wordpress, although as this is an active (Cough) blog, I’ll instead build it using something like Ghost (less likely) or Jekyll (more likely).

What I’m trying to say is, don’t limit yourself to one piece of software, Diversify your portfolio, and gain experience in a number of platforms, and when you do get new projects, you’ll be better informed as to what might work best for it.

Another reason why to not use Wordpress is that your clients won’t understand how it works. I’ve spent more time teaching clients how to use Wordpress than I’ve spent building wordpress themes. Contract this with the interface of something like Perch (which isn’t free, but totally worth the £50 asking price - wow, it’s gone up, but still worth it), and I don’t even need to teach my clients how to use it, because it’s so much easier for them to understand.

Will this list save you from using Wordpress? I doubt it. You’re going to have clients and bosses that demand you use it (mainly because they’ve heard of it) and ignore your advice to go for something better (such as one of the above). But please, for any project you can, stop and think, and wonder to yourself “Is Wordpress really the best platform for this site?”, and when you realise that it isn’t, pop back here.

You’re welcome :smiley:

(PS, if anyone even thinks about mentioning the words “e-commerce” and “Wordpress” in the same sentence, I will hunt them down and sit on them until they reconsider their position!)


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Disclaimer - I’ve been (primarily) using WordPress for the past 2 years at the agency I was working at and have had no contact with many of the things in that list.

I’d like to propose a (bit of a) counter argument, based on:

IMHO WordPress still has many things going for it. It’s popularity means that most freelancers and agencies have at least come into contact with it, which gives some peace of mind for clients who don’t want to be locked in to a decision someone made when they ordered their website that ends up costing them time/money looking for someone to take it on at a later date.

It also has a huge selection of plugins that can cut out a lot of development time. For example when I started (still not finished) on my own website, which I wanted to be more of a ‘life-stream’, I had the basics up and running in minutes thanks to plugins. It handles WebMentions, POSSE’s out updates to Facebook + Twitter and imports my Instagram photos, all things that would individually take me weeks to code on my own or isn’t possible/plugins aren’t available with other systems.

Having said all that, I do whole-heartedly agree that there is usually a better, more suitable alternative and that it does become a one-size-fits-all-solution (I’ve seen someone build a one page site with WP :astonished:)

:+1: (see above!)

Please sit on them for a little bit longer, just for me.

The thing is that there are multiple reasons for choosing which CMS to go with and over the past 19 years(!!!) I have seen a few. In fact over the last year I have been working somewhere that had the following php based CMS’s

  • Wordpress
  • Concrete5
  • Expression Engine
  • Laravel (OK it’s a framework but it was being used to build a CMS)

There was also a smattering of Ruby on Rails based stuff and C# based MVC (straight MS), Umbraco and N2

This was a nightmare in that it was impossible for us to efficiently manage support. Often the code base was idiosyncratic and there is no way that anyone can be proficient at all these different languages/implementations.

So with all of that and the ones you have mentioned and theres not even Drupal or Joomla mentioned (nor Magento for eCommerce) what’s a poor dev supposed to chose?

From a business perspective this is REALLY important. Furthermore if you are looking to put a team together you want a pool of at least competent talent to recruit from.

My experience is that to become truly useful in any platform/framework takes about 6 months. This is not for me learning it but as an employer/manager taking folks and getting them up to speed on something. That is a heavy burden when you are trying to earn the dough at the same time.

I have no particular experience with the CMS packages you mentioned but I do know that if I want to get a database driven system up and running quickly I can use RoR and knock it up dead quick. I also know that I cannot get a decent RoR programmer for less than £40k and that in the West Midlands they are like hens teeth. The same applies to C# for money although there are more around.

I would suspect that there is a ‘better’ solution in almost every case for a site than wordpress however that is ignoring the ramp up time in learning or the cost for hiring and then maintaining. I saw some monstrous code in C# and RoR so just that someone is coding in those and using an MVC pattern is not a game winner of itself.

Wordpress’s key advantages are universality (over 60% of all cms sites) and it’s simplicity to get something up quickly. This means that there is tons of support and resource, this is a bit of a trump card…

The one that best supports the project at hand.

If all you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. Any good worker (be it a web developer, a carpenter, a cleaner, or anyone) should have experience with a number of different tools, and use them accordingly.

“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them” - George Bernard Shaw

This is how I view web development - just because you can make a project fit into Wordpress, is it not better to look at the actual project requirements, and fit your tools of choice around the project?

Is this not what makes a good developer?

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For those who prefer Python, BTW, I kindly wish to direct your attention to

I always had a soft spot for Blosxom blogs (as a concept. I’ve never used it)
and ‘now’ there’s but the project doesn’t look very active.

I don’t see why a blog needs to be much more than a text file. Maybe that’s why I don’t expect much of Wordpress either.

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