Reinventing The Wheel: Are Content Management Systems The Wa...

Tech | Tangi Amalenge | 2 | 28 May 2013

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Reinventing The Wheel: Are Content Management Systems The Way To Go?

I developed my very 1st website 5 years ago in 2008. Prior to starting, I asked some experts on the best way to tackle the task.

A good friend of mine advised me that I should use a Content Management System (CMS), Joomla to be specific. His reason was that Joomla made it easy to set-up a website without having to worry about learning HTML. I was astonished!

I got myself XAMPP web-server and in no time I was clicking life into my website. No hassles, no coding, and I discovered tonnes of plugins/ extensions that added extra functionality to my website, and not to forget the countless Free templates to choose from. I had no clue how Joomla worked, all I cared was that it WORKED.

So my friend was right (then), there was in fact no need to reinvent the wheel.

In no time I got a client who needed a website, it was time to put Joomla to the test. I got the content for the website, chose a template that fit the client's description, replaced the default template banners with those that the client gave me, an in a week, I was done.

My nightmare started when my client started asking me to edit the template, from the font-family, image sizes, to the column layout, it was a daunting task to make these modifications to satisfy my client. I was forced to learn how Joomla works (learned about PHP, CSS, MySQL and XML). There were certain elements I conceded I could not modify, but eventually, I managed, all thanks to Google.

This ordeal made me realise one thing: Not all clients want the same wheel, chances are that it will need modification!

So I realised I had started off on the wrong foot. I made it my mission to go back to basics and learn HTML and CSS, once I was comfortable, I moved on to PHP and MySQL, and as a bonus I also managed to learn javascript (jQuery). It took me about 3 years to become comfortable in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL and jQuery. I read books, I followed online tutorials, I watched YouTube Videos, and most importantly, I practiced what I learnt. and mind you, there was no stopping in learning, everyday I learn something new.

I've reached a point where I understand how CMSes function and how to modify them. so do I still use CMSes? Nope, I develop my websites from scratch and give them a Joomla-like backend. I don't just do this because I can, but because I got tired of having to read through someone else's code snippets, understand them and then modifying the accordingly, it can become messy at times. I prefer to create my own that I understand 100% so as to give my client exactly what he/ she needs.

I still support the notion of "don't reinvent the wheel", since not every body will have time to go back to basics. So if you can reinvent it, go right ahead, it will be to your advantage.

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My Image x Fillemon said (10 Jun 2013 @ 18h16):

Truly inspirational.. Keep up the good work man. Hope to reading and seeing more of your work

My Image x Tangi replied (10 Jun 2013 @ 19h47):

Thanx Fillemon. Means alot to me ;)

My Image x Kondjaboytjie said (13 Aug 2013 @ 23h45):

But I must also say you need to have the whole time in the world though, or at least focus only on that one particular thing...

My Image x Tangi replied (13 Aug 2013 @ 23h54):

Yep, time is essential, practice does make perfect...