Often times we implement a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or Drupal for the underlying framework of a website. Doing so allows the end-user to have the means to update their website content whenever needed. There are other situations where WordPress or Drupal are not the answer, and a custom solution is necessary.
When to Use WordPress
The strength in WordPress lies in the administrative user interface (UI), which is focused on being super user-friendly, making it easy for anyone to get up to speed rather quickly. We tend to choose WordPress for smaller, brochure websites which are mainly 3-5 page websites along with a blog. A great example would be a small business looking to merely have a web presence.
With WordPress, the owner of the website can easily update the content of pages, add new sub-pages, and post blog entries. In doing so, the user is empowered to keep content fresh, which in turn, lends itself to higher rankings with search engines. Search engines favor a website with an active blog over a static website with no new content.
When to Use Drupal
Drupal has the capabilities WordPress does, but on steroids. The UI is not as slick as WordPress. However, it shifts the focus from the end-user and empowers the web developer to do more, without having to create custom modules, which requires programming. The basis of leveraging Drupal in this manner lies in using a powerful core module called “Taxonomies”.
From Drupal’s documentation, “Organizing content with taxonomies“:
“Taxonomy is the practice of classifying content. It will come in handy for everything from menu and navigation schemes to view and display options. Taxonomy should be driven by the business requirements of your website, with an eye towards possible future functional expansion.”
So, the takeaway point here is that Drupal allows for custom development, without the need for the developer to touch any, or very little code. Custom module development may still be necessary, but the developer still has access to everything in Drupal’s powerful toolbox. In turn, this decreases the time it takes to develop a custom solution.
When to Implement a Custom Solution
A custom solution entails in having the developer create a unique custom-tailored codebase supporting an architecture which departs from a traditional website. At this point, we can reclassify the website as being a full-fledged web application.
A good example of this would be a system which drives core operations within an industry such as a manufacturing plant, or a health provider. Usually a good portion of the “website” is built around an administrative area, or an intranet, where only authenticated users have access. Perhaps the interface allows for heavy integration with existing internal systems, tying the components together in providing detailed reports, or the management of core operations.
Implementing a custom solution takes more time, but allows for the delivery of a system which caters to all of the requirements, without limitations, which may come up when using pre-canned solutions such as WordPress or Drupal.
As anything in life, there are multiple ways to get things done. However it’s the developer’s responsibility to choose what is best for the job, and what’s best for the customer, in cost and ease of use… all the while allowing for future expansion. If you or your business are embarking on a new website, or would like to restructure what you already have, feel free to contact us with any questions.