[thelist] CMS: opensource or hand-roll?

Bob Meetin bobm at dottedi.biz
Fri Sep 12 09:18:37 CDT 2008

Zachary Kent wrote:
>> Generally, the good reasons for doing so are:
>> 1) Learning
>> 2) The fun of doing so
>> 3) Vanity
>> 4) The almost never-occurring situation whereby the requirements are
>> entirely unique and can't be satisfied by an Off the Shelf CMS +
>> modules. In which case, you're probably better off writing a module
>> because the basic content/authentication stuff is handled by the core
>> CMS.
>> And in all the above cases, you're better starting with some kind of
>> application framework anyway.
> I hear ya.  I have thought of those things too.  I see that your site/blog
> is running on Drupal.  What made you chose that CMS over the others?  That
> is the one I am leaning toward trying first.  I have a few web projects
> upcoming and I thought I might test a couple of different CMS that way.
> >From a business perspective, it is more or less ethical (or at least
> expected) to charge more for something that is hand-rolled vs. something
> that is off the shelf (even if free) and customized.
> Zach
My perspective is that you provide the solution that fits the client's 
needs.  Does the client care whether you roll your own or find it on the 
shelf so long as it's supportable if you exit the picture?  He/she just 
has a problem to solve. There can be quite some time involved in 
learning the intricacies of Joomla, Drupal, Magento (eCommerce), etc. in 
addition to getting acquainted with the modules, themes, etc.  If you're 
delving into substantial, inordinate research I do believe it is fair to 
charge the client for that time. If you already have that knowledge then 
perhaps it sets you apart and you can charge more.  This is part of your 
skillset, toolset, technical savvy.

FREE sounds great but along with that greatness comes support by 
committee, i.e. Forum.  Joomla tends to be slow but responsive, 
Virtuemart is doable, no feedback yet on Drupal.  With Magento eCommerce 
there are some major page load, response time problems.  I've gotten no 
where on their forum and I see others in the same boat. 

All that being said I have several sites running Joomla including my 
business site, haven't yet had the time to get to know Drupal (this will 
happen).  However for a family tree/matrix  I chose to develop my own 
with php/mysql, some javascript.  My relatives around the globe are 
technically challenged, mostly never had the need or much older 
generation (even older than me).  With my custom CMS I can respond to 
their needs without making it a whoopla process.  Another advantage of 
doing the family site as I did is that as I learn I template the 
modules. And of course, ego, can't discount ego.

You will sometimes find that the needs are so customized that it will be 
a challenge to box up with the common open source solutions.

Bob Meetin

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