New website

It’s been some years since I last changed my website. The previous design was created about 3 years ago. It didn’t exactly look out of place by today’s standards: it used XHTML, CSS and PNG images carefully crafted together to meet W3C standards. What was out of place though was the way it worked.

The site was created using PHP. Among other things, It allowed me to create separate files for the layout and combine them all together for a consistent, easy to maintain layout. It did make maintenance much simpler in general. The problem was the site didn’t use a database to store it’s content. Each page existed as a separate file which had to be manually updated.

I wanted to move to a database based solution so I had three options:

  1. Create a complete content management system from the ground up
  2. Use a PHP framework to ease the development of a content management system
  3. Use an existing CMS/blog system

While I like to create things myself, I’ve come to learn that re-inventing the wheel is not generally the way to go. Creating a PHP CMS system from the ground up is a big undertaking. Sure, it may only take a day to pull together some login and posting functionality but there’s much more to a successful CMS system: years of work by hundreds of people more.

Option number two presented me with the same issues. Development speed would be greatly increased, but there’s no getting away from the amount of work involved. One framework I have looked at recently is CakePHP. CakePHP is a rapid development PHP framework that really does what it says on the tin. It’s certainly compelled me to start thinking up some project ideas, though none of these would be a CMS.

WordPress is a platform I’ve had some experience with in the past and suffice to say, I liked what I saw. Anyone who has used WordPress will know just how quick and easy it is to set up. After a couple of days I had themed the site to a design I created previously and put all my content back together.

What I really want to pull away from is the static, rarely updated homepage. I want my site to be active with the technologies I am working with. Using WordPress creates a real incentive for this. Creating and managing posts is all offloaded, all I have to worry about is the content. When it comes to websites, content is king. The easier it is to create and manage content, the easier the content flows onto the site.

I’ll be creating some posts concerning CakePHP soon. It’s a framework I’ve only just begun to learn but it’s simplicity means you can pull together working web applications really fast.

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