A very important aspect of any new web project is “what platform should this site be built on”, and there are a multitude of excellent packages out there to help you create whatever it is you’re looking to develop. There are many specialist systems available to specific industries; if you’re in recruitment, you’d likely go for a platform which hooks you into all of the sorts of channels you want to be in sync with, if you’re a hotel, you’d probably need some sort of purpose-built booking software.
I’m not going to go into these specific types of platforms here, rather I am just going to look at the ones we have all come across, and attempt to explain (as I see it), the benefits of why you should look at one over the other in certain circumstances.
Without doubt the most recognisable of all the open-source web platforms, WordPress has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, to the point where it is simply a fantastic system to work with. From a content publishers perspective, there really aren’t any other alternatives which offer anything like the flexibility and ease of use. From a developers perspective, creating compelling websites on WordPress is quickly becoming a dream come true, with object-orientated design and publishing (thanks to Visual Composer), as well as a truely fantastic e-commerce system in the form of ‘Woocommerce’. All kinds of great websites can be created in WordPress and given a slick and professional finish in very little time. It’s becoming hard not to recommend it for most projects.
Possibly not as well known, but equally powerful; Joomla is another open-source platform which is widely used the world over which makes publishing new content to the web a breeze. Joomla’s templating system is a little bit different to WordPress, and from a designers viewpoint can be extremely advantageous. With its interactive interchangable blocks known as ‘modules’, a designer can really go mad in terms of the design and structure of the page, whilst retaining the ability to fill the page with useful functional elements, which further the users interaction with the site. The website’s I have developed for Pro Audio Services, Ramezani Rugs & Anahita Madani all used Joomla in order to emply a powerful CMS alongside very bespoke design work.
What Not to Use
If you’ve researched e-commerce before, you’ve probably come across Magento. This is a purpose-built e-commerce platform which is widely praised for its ability to produce a powerful online shop. In all honesty, i’m not sure if Magento has necessarily kept up with the times. I have had a couple of oppertunities to help clients develop on it lately, and all I see is a system that’s inheritantly difficult to use. Not that it isn’t good at its job, it certainly lets you put a shop online and sell things. However when you want to get down to the finer details, it is a real pig to try and alter and manipulate. I’d recommend other e-commerce platforms all day – until they modernize the software significantly, I don’t believe Magento is a viable option for most, unless it offers some very specific functionality that you can’t get elsewhere.
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Not sure what you need for your website or onlien concept? Please drop me a line at email@example.com with you’re requirements, and I’ll let you know how I can help.