I completed my 2 year degreee in web design. I am quite comfortable with html & css and I am getting comfortable with php & mysql. I see many see many cms sites that have been created in Wordpress or similar cms packages. They look awesome, and I know that Wordpress has so many plugins that would make creating sites so much faster than hand-coding. But .... I am afraid to get into it, as I kind of see it as sort of "cheating" and feel that I will be a "better web developer" in the long run if I "tough it out" and continuing handcoding myself.
On the other hand... I am trying to web design as a living, and with time being a factor, I imagine that I could create sites so much faster using Wordpress and could still use the skills that I have, and that a lot of developers use Wordpress anyway. I go back and forth!
I would just appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you, Buffmin.
If you decide to work seriously with WordPress then a good book to get you started is "Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes" a SitePoint book by Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R Jones and Jeffrey Way. It explains what all of the files in a WordPress theme do so that you can easily make the site look however you want it to look just as if you created it entirely yourself without WordPress.
Without a knowledge of how to do that your WordPress sites will look like other people's Wordpress sites rather than being unique.
I appreciate the fact that you replied, as I know you are versed in web design, and programming and I respect your opinions. I have some Sitepoint books and they are very good. But, again, here is my dilemma......
I feel inside that I should be hand coding all of my websites as I feel that I will get better, and I will get faster, and in the long run it will make me a better and "more successful" web developer.?
(Here is where my dilemma comes in). I am trying to build a Chamber of Commerce website. It needs a business directory "search". Here is a link to example of what I would like to accomplish and it is very appealing http://budachamber.com/member-search/
It looks very professional, and I like the way that the designer displays the results.
Now, I know that I can create the same thing hand coding php & mysql, although it takes me quite a bit of time, other web designers seem to be passing me by with ease using Wordpress (I see this site was built using Wordpress). Would you think that I should forget trying to hand code it all, and just use Wordpress and the tools that are available, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel manually.
I am just trying to get some expert's inputs into which direction to head.
Thank you all. Buffmin
In your opinion, would you think that "that" business directory link that I provided was probably created with some sort of Wordpress plugin? It just seems that there are so many nice plugins that could really speed up my complex website designs as I become more comfortable with Wordpress. People just seem to produce such nice sites, and it is maybe Wordpress is a tool that I might be a fool not to start using.
If you're doing web design for money, then you really don't want to reinvent the wheel. Why spend months making something, when you could use something like wordpress and spend minutes to achieve the same goal.
Why not get comfortable with both? While its true, setting up a WP site is a lot quicker than a custom site, therefore generates quicker money, you will most assuredly run into a client that wants a custom built site that requires a little more customizing than WP can do.
I just dont think a web designer/developer can be limited to ONE or the OTHER, but rather BOTH ways in your skillset.
Thank you guys (or gals). That was exactly what I was hoping to hear. I was worried that I would just be throwing away my programming skills, but I could actually use them to my advantage (and possibly make faster sites, too!). Sweet! After all, WP sites must be made with css and php and all that anyway, and might just be an awesome tool. Thank you again very much. Buffmin
Content Management Systems such as Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal are more in demand by companies than ever before. Some even require it when applying for a job.
It allows different access permissions for users. One person might only be allowed to post an article while another might be the site administrator, etc.
Another reason you would use a CMS is that it saves time and gives users and clients the ability to easily update their own site.
Coding a CMS on your own will take a lot more time than taking 5 minutes to have a CMS installed. Even the average person can install wordpress, then slap on a custom theme they found on the internet.
If you created your own CMS you will need to program your own cms framework, a secure authentication system for users, a method of posting and editing articles, not to mention when you are working with clients they will want custom features. There is a ton of plugins and modules out there that will at least help you to save time because you won't have to make anything from scratch.
You can make your own CMS, which will look pretty decent on a resume if you have a few clients using it and don't have any real experience imo, but it's been done to death. Take a look at the list of CMS out there. To me there is no reason you would want to make your own unless you're highly motivated, have a lot of free time, and/or work for a company that could possibly utilize it as a sales tool.
Knowing php and other languages will help you build upon CMS frameworks and create cool features for clients.
In my current project I decided to go with WP. As with all my WP endeavors, it need a few features here and there to be added. I'm sure there are plugins but, like most plugins, they are bloated and have more "features" than needed.
On the home page alone there are seven new functions added that aren't standard in WP.
I needed a simple slideshow. There are tons of plugins but again, way too much for what I needed. I wrote 20 lines of PHP to read through all the upload folders WP makes, grab the seven most recent images that fit my criteria and spit them out in a loop so the slideshow would handle the rest.
I needed the adjust the_excerpt() function so I made a small function to crab the_content(), split out the number of words I wanted and stip the images from the rest.
I needed to parse out a few external XML files in a couple areas so I needed to write out some PHP for that as well.
I'm also using a pretty good calendar plugin but, I needed to grab information from it to display outside the scope of the plugin it self. So I blew up some arrays and grabbed the needed information. Something the plugin does offer in the "pro" version but, again, something that the code they supply to do this is way to heavy for what it accomplishes.
So I guess what I'm getting at is learn both. WP, Joomla etc... are built on top of PHP and MySQL. Being able to manhandle the code the way you need it usually results in simpler and lighter code than just downloading and installing someones plugin.
Thanks all. These certainly address the issues that I had, and I am excited that I can learn WP, Joomla while still exercizing (or enhancing) my programming skills. I'm am excited about it. I really appreciate your "in depth" thoughts on this. Perfect! Buffmin
Maybe a combination of both will work fine. Learning PHP and CSS is very useful with WordPress. You can do any modification you want without any trouble understanding "what's this", "where do I put this".... these sort of things.