I've struggled w/ this decision years before.. i understand all the aspects and benefits of a CMS system such as joomla and drupal, from rapid deployment to extendability... but ever since i've always looked at it as a tool for those who are not that good at design and programming, for a project that is not as demanding or customized... this was years ago..
I for one loved to design and code, hated dealing w/ template systems/libraries, and having to build code classes or plugins just go get something working, and benefited a lot from 100% customizable framework, that is my own... i can go into any part of the website and do whatever .. insert media, a snippet of php, what ever i wanted.... easy... to do these very custom-fitted things w/ a one size fits all CMS system would be ridiculously tasky , not to mention learning the framework and all that.. and lastly, using a CMS w/ code widely available and readable, opens up security holes.. granted these CMS systems are matured and very secure, but you very well know the reason why we still get security updates... now my websites/web apps are probably much less secure than these leading CMS systems, but whatever holes i have in my system, no one can easily exploit because , NO ONE CAN SEE MY CODE.. even with the early CAPTCHA techniques and ready made-pluginto website scripts out there, i never really went for them.. i developed my own.. much more simple LOGIC behind it, but since it's a logic I alone knew about, i never had issues w/ security or bots bypassing it etc...
so for the most part, i ignored these CMS systems and did things my way.. w/ my trusty FLASH, DREAMWEAVER and Eclipse IDEs for PHP and MYSQL.. i was SOLID..
FAST FORWARD years from now and, i must say, MOST so called "web designers/developers" nowadays, in my country (Philippines) are basically WP/CMS deployers and customizers.. I have several friends who can do wonders on WP but can't code a whole script of PHP or even HTML w/ CSS.. but he's had a ton of WEBSITE PROJECTS in his portfolio that can make anyone look good on paper.... i mean i think most small-mid sites out there now run on underlying CMS... and w/ the advent of different screen requirements (desktops to mobile devices), managing cross platform compatibility is really gona be challenging for the most part....
Hence i started to look into CMS again.. I was reading up on the latest on these things and tried a bit of this highly favored Concrete5 CMS... and I am impressed.. CMS Systems has gone a LOONG WAY.. but, as extendable as it is, I, coming from my HANDS ON Ground Up coding style, still has that feeling of BEING INSIDE A BOX (the CMS Framework and APIs) and not being able to FREELY do what I want..
Buttom line, basically it's REAL , PROFESSIONAL and UNRESTRICTED FLEXIBILITY of building sites yourself, vs TIME SAVING approach working off someone elses codes/framework..
NOW... I'm here.. with a new mid sized project... and I just got the new DREAMWEAVER CS6 (finally was able to afford the damn thing), and loving its new features.... now I'm confused...
Should I do another site ground up (using my own existing libraries/codes ofcourse) or should I start doing things the CMS way now and save myself a bunch of headaches??
I know it's hard for us to let go of habits we've been doing for over a decade, and i guess a lot of this frustration is based on that (?), but what do you guys think? How do you guys decide w/c way to go? I mean OBVIOUSLY for large and complex projects, you really need to dive in and do your own thing... but i mean for small-mid size basic to semi advanced and even eCommerce sites, how are you guys dealing w/ these? that ADobe BusinessCatalyst looks really good.. hmmm..
So I asked myself this.. and my answers were:
- well if it's what i love to do , then hard coding way
- but i love having time to relax watch movie and getting things done easy too so go CMS way
- I love the click click deploy aspect of these CMS sites and the fact that i dont have to worry about compliance and bugs and stuff..
- then again, implementing very specific things i want to do would take more than it should on a CMS..
- i love the idea of easier maintenance in the long run of a CMS site
- but then again, sometimes i really hated having to work in an ONLINE ENVIRONMMENT w/ CMS and communicating w/ the Database for changes etc.. eats up my time.. vs having ALL THE FILES on my HDD, pick and modify anyone of them anytime, really fast to test changes, and just upload / syncrhonize when im all done (Dreamweaver feature)..
so yeh technically, i'm still stuck.. dunno w/c way to go w/ my next project (a wedding site w/ a bit of web app and facebook integration going on) and i really am wasting my time pondering about it..
Thank you for reading... more power to us NERDS!