A number of years back (circa 2007) for a company that shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent, I wrote a simple content management system. It was exciting, it was in PHP, backed by MySQL and it was hosted on a shared hosting provider that made life mind-boggling difficult. For me, it was another step of my learning journey of adventure.
For the company that I wrote it for, it helped them communicate to existing and potential clients the kind of work they were doing. It was easy to update for them using TinyMCE by comparison with their previous process of banging out some HTML in DreamWeaver and pushing updates via FTP. Perhaps most importantly it provided a super convenient way for them to share work artefacts with their clients and vice versa that did not quite fit under the email size limits that plagued everyone at that time.
Would you believe that CMS is still live and in use today! I don’t!
At the time, I had grand intentions of sharing it around because at the time I thought that what the world needed was another PHP/MySQL content management system, but this one would be really simple and featureless. Thankfully for you all, I spared the world that particular joy.
So here I am nearly a decade on from that experience and what do I take away from it. Firstly, don’t re-invent the wheel. WordPress existed at that time, odds are that despite the difficulties with the hosting provider I could have made it work. Secondly, and on the flip side of that is sometimes simple is good enough. I recall discussing WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and probably a few other blogging or CMS packages.
The client’s reaction to seeing the Admin screens for any of these – “just keep it simple”. Back then I don’t remember the Admin modules being quite as usable as they is today (this could be a memory failure). Moreover, administering a CMS was not part of the company’s core business and therefore the awesome feature set of any CMS administration and authoring system was not that interesting for them.
I’ve worked on my sales pitch since then.
And what’s motivated me to think about this so long after the fact? I’ve finally started using WordPress to express myself. Actually, I needed to bang out a Wedding site really quickly – WordPress to the rescue. So a big thanks to the WordPress authors, contributors and theme builders, you are bacon-savingly awesome.