CMS choices - The right tools for the trade

With each new web project comes a choice of which technology the web-application should run on. The right choice will lead to a high-performance scalable website which is easy to manage. Getting it wrong can result in poor performance and unnecessary expensive and time consuming upgrades and transitions.

When selecting a content management technology we ask the following questions:

Which technology will be fastest to develop?

We want to build the application as quickly as possible so that we can keep costs down for our clients. At the same time we need to be aware of any possible future requirements for our clients so that we choose a technology which can handle that future functionality.

Which technology will be the easiest for our client to manage?

Our goal with all web projects is to produce websites which can be self-maintained by our clients. Providing a content management system (CMS) which makes content editing easy is therefore essential.

Which technology will be the easiest to maintain?

All web applications require occasional software updates in order to ensure that maximum functionality is available and that any known security threats have been addressed. This cost is usually borne by the client and it is therefore important to choose a technology for which these costs can be minimised.

Our top three website technologies

At Eyes Down we use three technologies for the vast majority of our projects. All are open source and all are based on PHP/MySQL. Each technology has a slightly different function:

The pros and cons of each technology follow:

Wordpress

Wordpress pros

  • Massive development community.
  • Many people already have experience of editing WP sites.
  • Easy to extend with “plugins” if they already exist.
  • When used with ready-made Wordpress themes, good websites can be developed very quickly.

Wordpress cons

  • Security vulnerabilities.
  • Inflexible content structure (everything is post-based).
  • The CMS has too many screens and can confuse some users.
  • Relatively large file base - can be slow with high volumes.

Symphony CMS

Symphony pros

  • Flexible enough to manage most programming tasks.
  • Full control over content structure.
  • Large development community.
  • Built in CMS is very easy to customise and use.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to extend with “extensions”.

Symphony cons

  • Limited off-the-peg functionality.
  • Documentation not as good as Wordpress.
  • Smaller development community.

Laravel

Laravel pros

  • Flexible enough to manage very complex programming tasks.
  • Full control over content structure.
  • Large development community.
  • Lightweight.

Laravel cons

  • No off-the-peg functionality.
  • Extendable through “bundles”, but there require more manual integration than with Wordpress or Symphony.
  • Poor documentation.
  • No inbuilt CMS.

So which one should we use?

There are no hard and fast rules. The ideal technology for your project will depend on your exact requirements.

If it is a brochure site for your business with no complex functionality, Wordpress may well be the solution for you.

If you have a business which requires a bespoke data structure (such as en estate agent or an online application system) Symphony will probably help to manage your data in a structured manner.

If you plan to build a complex web application with very large data sets and high traffic demands, then Laravel may well be the tool for you.

Topics: Content management systems, Laravel, Symphony CMS, Wordpress


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