Do You NEED Custom Work? Or Is There Another Way?
Written by Tim Anderson
Given the relatively short history of the internet, the proliferation of web development tools and options can be mind-boggling.
Here at PC-Limited, we offer two of the best and most powerful methods: Joomla!, a Content Management System (CMS); or a fully customizable website using PHP and MySQL.
What Is Joomla!?
Joomla! is a Content Management System, or CMS, that keeps track of your website's content and provides an easy-to-use interface for nonprogrammers to manage the content themselves without knowing HTML. Joomla! is a CMS that is open source, and thus free. Open-source software can be accessed by developers and modified to fit their needs. Joomla!, which is used by clients ranging from individuals to multinational organizations, is the most popular open-source CMS in the world.
What are PHP and MySQL?
PHP, short for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a general-purpose scripting language. MySQL is a relational database. Together, they interact to produce dynamic sites of any size, shape, and purpose. These are the most widely used programming languages on the Internet today. Even Joomla! itself is based upon PHP and MySQL.
So which one is for you?
Pros of Joomla!
- Lower cost - Your site development project can take advantage of features that have been previously implemented and are available for free. Joomla! has thousands of extensions and plug-ins, most of which are free. This greatly reduces the number of billable hours required to get your website running. Also, many of the implementation decisions have already been made, so less of your own time needs to be spent on designing your site.
- Faster implementation - Because much of the functionality already exists, your site can be operational sooner. Why pay to "reinvent the wheel" if you don't have to?
Cons of Joomla!
- Less freedom - Implementation decisions have already been made, so on occasion, you may find that the manner in which a feature is implemented is not what you had in mind. The task can still be accomplished, but it may require some flexibility on your part.
Pros of Custom Development Using PHP and MySQL
- More flexibility - A custom implementation does not limit you at all in terms of what can be implemented. You control to a greater extent the exact behavior of your site.
Cons of Custom Development Using PHP and MySQL
- Greater cost - The development of your site is less able to capitalize on previously developed features, so your budget must be sufficient to fund the cost of the site’s creation. It isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, with just an additional layer removed from an off-the-shelf solution, but that increased customization comes with a larger price tag.
- Longer development cycles - Each step of the process takes longer, so all else being equal, expect more weeks to elapse before your site is operational with custom development.
- Greater customer involvement - To some, this may be a "pro," but client involvement is a necessity when developing a custom solution. The client must make someone available for tasks such as reviewing process flow charts and making implementation decisions. Due to the increased development costs, getting it right the first time becomes paramount.
In our lives, we are constantly weighing the tradeoffs between increased customization and prepackaged solutions. Any group that has struggled to order a pizza to suit diverse tastes has observed how a made-to-order custom pizza can be more expensive and require more decisions than an all-inclusive supreme. However, if there are particular requirements concerning what must or must not be included from slice to slice, a custom order is the best choice.
For most customers, a site that is developed using Joomla! will be the best option. However, for those with more exacting specifications willing to pay an increased price, a fully customizable solution using PHP and MySQL may prove to be the best fit.