• # October 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm


    When I create a site I open a basic template that I have created that consists of a css file an index page and a few php inserts for the header, nav and footer.

    It works fine and I am happy with it but I keep seeing posts / comments on the net saying that all websites should be dynamically loaded etc and all content on pages should be database driven, so on and so on.

    How does everyone else setup a basic site. I dont want to use a CMS like wordpress or joomla. I looked into CakePHP but apparently you should not use it unless you are creating a blog, forum etc. Here I was thinking CakePHP was a basic sort of framework that you can add features to.

    I need help deciding the best way to do things, I have created sites that pull info from databases before but it was still all hand coded.

    Help from anyone expereinced in this topic is very much needed… :)

    # October 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    If you’re not willing to use a CMS, sounds like you’re doing it exactly how I would.

    # October 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I used wordpress once but there is just too much crap… are other cms’s better and are they easy to alter?

    I dont want to alter their templates each time I build a site, I would rather build my site and then somehow implement a CMS or framework, I just dont know how to go about it.

    When I used wordpress I couldn’t even add javascript to pages as it doesn’t work apparently.

    # October 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I think that might just be a touch of naivety when it comes to WordPress, which is fair enough – even though the idea of it is simple, it can be a little tough to wrap your head around everything. I finally have a half-decent idea of how to whip up a WP template and now it doesn’t really seem so daunting.

    There are some CMS’s like you’ve mentioned, where there are no templates at all, more just like elements on a page that you can edit. I don’t particularly like those systems myself, I feel like they are too limiting, but I’m sure somebody else can chime in on that one.

    # October 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Are you able to give me any advice or point me somewhere where I can learn to customise wordpress properly?

    # October 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    You might think about starting with these. The first link is to a screencast specifically about WordPress’ CMS capabilities.
    The second one is actually the first of a great three-part series that Chris Coyier put together a little while ago. They both helped me out a ton!

    # October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm
    "brad_langdon" wrote:
    Are you able to give me any advice or point me somewhere where I can learn to customise wordpress properly?

    Also check out this thread in the CMS sections of the forums:

    Do You Suck at WordPress? Your answer could be here!

    # October 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    As an alternative, if you don’t decide to go the WordPress route, (which personally, I recommend using WordPress) you could try Concrete 5. It still uses a template system, but it’s plain and simple css/html. You can also implement javascript very easily, and still use your php includes that you’ve already got set up. I’d give it a try. If it doesn’t pan out for you, you can always go with something else.

    Here’s a site that I’m currently working on that’s using Concrete 5. Don’t look at it in IE6, cuz I’m sure it’s craptastic.

    # November 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    This reply has been reported for inappropriate content.

    I think you may be approaching this in an all of nothing mindset. It really depends on what the client wants and is willing to pay for.

    Most average small business clients don’t want to make updates, don’t want to spend alot of money, and don’t mind paying someone to make some changes now and again. So for these folks I focus mainly on visuals, and just simply code HTML like you are describing – includes brought into the page and some static content.

    If you want a more robust system that is expandable, has flexibility and the client wants to spend the money to do it right, then solutions like WordPress become the best choice. I’ve used Joomla, Drupal, and CMS Made Simple, and while they all have their place, WordPress is by far the best choice for the needs of a typical client.

    So, like anything you read on the web that have to do with trends – take it with a grain of salt. If we all followed what the web said about how all the new trendy websites have x, y and z on them, we’d all program nothing but HTML5 and CSS3. But in reality you can only apply those things where it makes sense, just like database driven websites.

    As to advice on how to make it work? Well, that can’t be put into one post unfortunately. Like anything with complexity that is worth learning, you kind of have to approach it slowly and understand the layers.

    This is a good website, I might recommend the screencasts for some basic references. is a sister site with great info. You will also want to do some google searches on how WordPress is put together, and seeing 3-4 tutorials you will start to understand how the code is put together and how templates are formed. Then you may want to download a couple templates and try your hand at customizing them. And then finally maybe download a blank template like Starkers and try to make a full website from scratch based in WordPress.

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