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How To Let Clients Edit Their Sites [CMS]

New Here ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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I'm new to web development/design, but as a freelance graphic designer, I've resolved that I need to be able to offer this as a service (most of my work is small/medium business). I've looked into using CMS (so, Wordpress then), but I don't want to be tied to templates (or learn PHP to build my own), and giving clients complete contol over their sites worries me. As such, I've started learning HTML, CSS, JScript with a view to using Dreamweaver (plus, I like and understand Adobe products). This gives me the ability to produce sites exactly the way I design/intend them. Perfect. Apart from: How do I allow non-code literate clients (all of them) to make edits to content (whether that be images, text or shopfront)? It would be unreasonable to expext clients to come to me for edits, or for them to buy and learn Dreamweaver. Is it possible to 'bolt on' a simplified CMS to allow edits on predefined sections? So many questions; sorry, I'm new here. 

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New Here ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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Just found DMXZone. Any thoughts/experiences?

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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The only way to achieve what you describe is to use server side code like PHP or Node, and a database. Wordpress seems to be a way to go for those looking to implement a CMS system. I find Wordpress to be bulky and not very secure. Because of the latter, Wordpress comes with frequent security updates making it a pain in the proverbial to maintain the sites.

Edit: To sidestep an irrelevant argument, I have crossed this statement out, mainly because it was based on my limited knowledge of Wordpress. A whopping 60% of CMS sites use Wordpress so there must be a reason for this.

 

Dreamweaver does have 3rd party extensions, the main ones

 

For my CMS creations, I use Wappler which is a low code IDE which can be likend to Dreamweaver with all of the DMXZone extensions already installed. I have started on a YouTube playlis

Wappler, the only real Dreamweaver alternative.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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I find Wordpress to be bulky and not very secure. Because of the latter, Wordpress comes with frequent security updates making it a pain in the proverbial to maintain the sites.

By @BenPleysier

 

Hello @BenPleysier , I think you are a moderator, so if you don't mind, and in order not to confuse the point of the original question, could you please open a new thread related to the quoted comment... or should I ?


I would be interested to have various opinions on the subject. also your opinion on the details you give regarding the difficulty of updating and maintaining...


personally I use I don't know how many instances of Wordpress on various VPS servers, and the centralized maintenance from Plesk and its magnificent tool dedicated to WP is an irreplaceable companion... https://www.plesk.com/wp-toolkit/


everything is automatable, and this in an impressive granularity on a case by case, after a few periods of semi-automatic monitoring it become autonomous... in short ... it rolls alone ... well, we are always informed of every detail by mail and alerts

 

So how do we proceed, you or I open the new thread ?... thanks Ben and sorry guys for the noise on this thread

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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My apologies @B i r n o u , just goes to show that a limited knowledge of a product can produce false claims. I hope that the edited post is sufficient to rectify the situation.

Wappler, the only real Dreamweaver alternative.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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@BenPleysier reading you, I have the impression that I expressed myself badly, in fact my message was simply to open a new discussion, following your remark, in order to compare and debate on the advantages, disadvantages of WP. and not to pollute the original discussion.


In fact, for some time now, in view of budget restrictions, competition from free platforms, and the democratization of templates, developing a site from a blank page can quickly become a costly undertaking.


WP is still an accessible tool, not very expensive, with an impressive range of plugins and a community without equivalent... I thought it would be interesting to discuss together, with our backgrounds, our experience, and our different points of view, the pros and cons of this tool.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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@Martin23313377qhnk I agree with @BenPleysier, that Wrappler can help you manage all or almost all of your expectations (I do, however, have a few caveats depending on the magnitude of your expectations)... but hey... why not? .

 

But I'm afraid you'll have to learn PHP/MySQL, or JavaScript/Mongo/Node to support the server-side management of your application, as much in terms of application ergonomics, security, as many elements of functionality that will result from it....

 

i.e , taking into account the imagery and formatting if your client sends images that are too small, too large, badly oriented, needing cropping, or what ever... not to mention if tomorrow in the new version, you have to add a caption, or a link, or a mini text, or a longer text than what was envisaged, etc... etc... 

 

from experience that the most complicated sites or applications I have had to make have often been those that were advertised as very simple and basic from the start

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New Here ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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Thanks for the input, guys. I guess I need to consider how deep I want to dig into coding, development being an addition to the other design disciplines I'm involved in. Being a purist can be a pain in the proverbial sometimes, though! Again, thanks for your time.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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@Martin23313377qhnk I agree with @BenPleysier, that Wrappler can help you manage all or almost all of your expectations


By @B i r n o u

 

Wrappler when is that being released? Sounds interesting though - I hope it doesnt use a niche workflow like some other solutions!

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LEGEND ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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If you go the Wordpress route then learn Wordpress inside/out and sell your services as a specialist Wordpress developer, you dont really need any other website editor. Be aware though that Wordpress attracts everyone and anyone who can produce plugins for it, a lot are free and poorly written, some are paid for. Just be careful of which plugins you choose as these plugins might not be updated or compatibile with the next version of Wordpress, which you will need to upgrade to to keep security as tight as possible. Wordpress attracts attention from hackers, moreso than other workflows, because its popular amongst a wide group of users.

 

The other issue with Wordpress is its a bit of a bloated monster. The UI is quite confusing and your client may bulk at such a complicated UI. I think there are ways in which you can disallow your client access to some of the Wordpress UI which you would not want them really editing.

 

 

Perch used to be a nice CMS, easy to install and uncomplex, quite extendable. Not much has been said of it in recent years but a Google search seems to indicate its still around:

https://grabaperch.com/

 

EDITED. Whilst Perch seems to be still available, nothing much seems to have happened to it since 2019 so its most likely a 'dead' project and has been replaced by a more expensive solution from the same company:

https://perchrunway.com/

 

On account of this finding I think Worldpress would be your best option, as its open source, free to use.

 

 

Whatever you choose YOU WILL need to deploy a server-side language to achieve interaction with a database. If I were starting over I'd probably bite the bullet and learn Wordpress inside and out and concentrate on being a dedicated Wordpress developer. Although I dont have a great liking for it, I think we are moving into a different era of web-developement where you need to focus on one workflow and be at the top of your game when it comes to knowing the workflow rather than using it and not really knowing what you are doing, which probably accounts for the majority of users.

 

HTML, CSS and Javascript alone wont be enough in this day and age.

 

Personally I wrote all of my own CMSs specifically for the projects I worked on. These CMSs allowed the client to update only specific areas of the website. I wouldnt allow complete access to the client to update everything as you then need to take a simpler approach which can compromise the design PLUS in no time at all your carefully crafted layout will fall into a state of ruin, generally clients don't care, especially those with a low budget, what their website ends up looking like, its a battle I fought until the end and didnt win it. I can say this as I came from a graphic design background and know how 'precious' we can be when it comes to the visual experience, it can be a disadvantage at times.

 

Almost every single client I built a CMSs for came back to me to process the major updates as they didnt have the time or after a few months never updated anything for years.

 

 

 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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Thanks for the amazing reply@osgood_; you put a LOT of effort into that! And I've got a LOT to consider. No one ever said this was going to be straighforward... 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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I prefer to build my own CMS to suit with PHP & MySQL databases.  But that's not everyone's cup of tea.

 

If you're not up to coding this yourself, there are online platforms with a built-in CMS you can use.  Depending on how sophisticated this must be, Cushy CMS is free & simple to integrate into an existing site.  It might be all you need. 

https://www.cushycms.com/

 

For more advanced sites, Webflow is a popular paid platform to consider.  But the CMS works only with their hosting service.

https://webflow.com/

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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LEGEND ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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Webflow is a popular paid platform to consider.  But the CMS works only with their hosting service.

https://webflow.com/

 


By @Nancy OShea

 

I'd avoid any platform that locks you into using its own services and way of making websites. Webflow is a nice online tool, for fun use, but it is one of those products that I consider has downgraded web-development as a profession in the past years, along with its stable mates, Wix, Weebly, Wobbly, etc and the rest!

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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quoteI'd avoid any platform that locks you into using its own services and way of making websites.

By @osgood_

=========

Easy for you to say... 🙂

 

The questions one has to ask upfront are are important to know:

1. What is the skill of developer or development team?

2. Intended goals, site functionality requirements?

3. What is the budget?

4. Timeline?

5. Ease of use for client or client's staff?  How knowledgeable are they about websites?

6. Platform extensibility, is there room to upgrade later?

 

If one can't code an advanced site solo or hire subcontractors to do it, then paying for online web services is a good alternative. But it comes at a premium cost.  One never gets something for nothing. 

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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LEGEND ,
Feb 24, 2022 Feb 24, 2022

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quoteI'd avoid any platform that locks you into using its own services and way of making websites.

By @osgood_

=========

Easy for you to say... 🙂

 

The questions one has to ask upfront are are important to know:

1. What is the skill of developer or development team?

2. Intended goals, site functionality requirements?

3. What is the budget?

4. Timeline?

5. Ease of use for client or client's staff?  How knowledgeable are they about websites?

6. Platform extensibility, is there room to upgrade later?

 

If one can't code an advanced site solo or hire subcontractors to do it, then paying for online web services is a good alternative. But it comes at a premium cost.  One never gets something for nothing. 

 


By @Nancy OShea

 

It's always a problem but as a professional I always put the clients interests first, not my own. I'd rather be poor than corrupt. 

 

If you're selling to client/s its your duty to make sure what you produce for them is scalable and transportable, is industry standard, so after you fall out with your client they can go and find another developer to continue where you failed or disagreed. There's no satifaction for me at least to get a bad name and reputation in a small town.....sh*te sticks.

 

Of course IF you are the client flying solo I dont care what method/workflow is used, its their problem, not mine.

 

I had a recent experience of a client jumping ship and using Wix. Nothing I could say could convince them that it was bad move because all they would consider is the cost, which was nothing to them, apart form whatever Wix charges to host the website and their time, plenty of it during the pandemic. Did they take their users experience into consideration, no, did they even look at the final results in mobile, no. The only thing that mattered was they did it for nothing, you cant win and neither will they because that decision has probably cost them sales.........but when people are as blind as a bat or have no budget there is zero you can do. I just offer advice as a professional.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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woaw CMS .... take 10 developers, all 10 will go for a different choice... in fact, there are almost as many CMS as there are sites... http://www.cmsmatrix.org/

 

I also understand the various points of view regarding the use of paid and proprietary platforms.

in my opinion, the problem is not the payer, but the owner.


Well, it's a bit quibbling, because it's true that whatever the non-proprietary tool used, the data of a site developed under platform X will not be able to be injected under platform Y and vice versa... but at least the platform itself will remain accessible, and cannibalized.

 

so, using a long term communication tool that is proprietary, and some how closed, remains in my opinion a guarantee of russian roulette... look, as an example, here in France (but there are examples all over the world), some companies have put everything for their communication on Facebook, Twitter... until their accounts are blocked...

 

well this is a particular case... but how many proprietary solutions have been closed... and then our data where they are stored, and under what conditions...

 

no once again, for me what bothers me is not the paying aspect, but the proprietary aspect.

 

now to come back to the use of the CMS... which one to choose... ? the criteria must be simple... :

  • are the possibilities required by the specifications covered by the selected CMS
  • are the CMS development teams regular, present, and often update the tool,... and worth, do they listen the community
  • is the range of plugins extended and covers the main needs generally met
  • is the documentation well done, updated and above all complete, with a good degree of granularity
  • is the community large, active and reactive
  • are third party developers easily accessible and reachable
  • is the template coverage (paid and/or free) large and maintained...

 

for what I know... Wordpress respond present in all points...

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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...Wordpress respond present in all points...

==========

WordPress can do a lot.  But it's not realistic to think you can just plug, play & walk away.  All sites must be maintained and especially WordPress.

 

Given that WP is open source, it's crucial to update the software regularly for security.  Themes & plugins used today, may not be stable in new WP versions.  I know of several Themes that went kaput.  Ditto for WP plugins.  Nothing is permanent.

 

In the end it comes down to who will maintain the site?  What system or platform are they comfortable using?

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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quote

...Wordpress respond present in all points...

==========

WordPress can do a lot.  But it's not realistic to think you can just plug, play & walk away.  All sites must be maintained and especially WordPress.

 

Given that WP is open source, it's crucial to update the software regularly for security.  Themes & plugins used today, may not be stable in new WP versions.  I know of several Themes that went kaput.  Ditto for WP plugins.  Nothing is permanent.

 

In the end it comes down to who will maintain the site?  What system or platform are they comfortable using?

 


By @Nancy OShea

 

@Nancy OShea I agree with your points, but this is pure sophistry. Nothing is sustainable if you don't develop it yourself, and even if you do develop it by yourself, no one can guarantee to your client that you will maintain this tool when you retire, or even if you leave the profession...


So what happens for WP, themes and plugins, happens all the time for all of our customers...

 

On that particular side, I think you can imagine the number of customers who come to see us here at the agency, just because their site or applications have become obsolete and the companies that have developed them are no longer there...

 

On the other hand, many companies that have built their communication on WP find a plethora of developers out there who allow them to solve problems that have arisen over time..

 

As I said previously, WP community is soooooo large that there is always some one out there to help.

 

By the way, and in an other hand, I never said, that WP was easiest than any other tool, but it has a lot of helpfull feature...

 

since 3.7 auto update https://wordpress.org/support/article/configuring-automatic-background-updates/ can help to handle plugin, theme and core... that's not bad...

 

and since 5.2 block detection error https://make.wordpress.org/core/2019/04/17/block-editor-detection-improvements-in-5-2/  was introuced... that is very very... helpfull...especially when you have to work on the recovery of old sites developed a few years ago

 

and if by any chance your hosting service is controlled by Plesk or cpanel, the Wordpress toolkit is a marvelous travel companion :

https://www.plesk.com/wp-toolkit/

https://www.cpanel.net/wp-toolkit/ ...

 

and the rest, it is not me who says it https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress

 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I think WordPress is OK but l also think you shouldn't think yourself as a web-developer but instead a WordPress developer, the two are different. One is highly skilled and knowledgeable, can write code to suit what the situation requires, the other is piecing together ready made plugins and themes in general plus maybe a limited amount of coding. Personally l don't get any real job satisfaction out of that kind of workflow.

 

There are two kinds of people, those that just want to make money, have no problem about what they use to achieve their goal or who they shaft (abuse) and those that have a great passion for what they do, aspire to  be knowledgeable, try to be the best at what they do but in general they probably aren't going to make as much money and care less about it, they have morales and can't be bought at any price.

 

Those that aren't passionate about what they do will gravitate towards solutions like WordPress, Wix, Weebly etc. It also might be that these solutions have made it impossible for them to compete financially, it doesnt make them good solutions though, it just means as lve been saying for sometime now these solutions have critically damaged web development as a  profession to be taken seriously.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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Although what I will say next may seem contradictory, without cynicism or irony, I fully agree with you.
 
but,
 
Your analysis, however, is slightly biased. I don't think WP developers are just Lego players. Although it can be and still be fully fulfilling.
 
On the one hand, and although the plugins are ready-to-use bricks, it is very common for sites to need to set up their own plugins. For example, here at the studio, we use our own set of plugins... on average each site has around ten to twenty homemade plugins. (not to mention the resumption of plugins which have been stopped by their creator)
And WP preserves this openness very strongly.
 
Similarly, on the theme side, the notion of child template is something that allows us to cannibalize templates, as desired and without limit (well, you have to be right, otherwise what's the point of using the original template) without affecting their own update independently... again, what an openness.
 
Without forgetting that by simply adding two lines of code to our websites...
<?php
     define('WP_USE_THEMES', false);
     require('../wp-blog-header.php');
?>
...we can freely develop our sites, while relying on the heart of word press (including its back office) but above all its framework. ..while being detached from the notion of template... so... hats off to the WP team... what a amazing tool !!!
 
So on these three points, presented above , I don't find that WP is comparable to WIX, Weebly, etc... and I find that talking about WP developers does not come down to systematically having to stack cubes

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New Here ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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@osgood_ this post definely hits the mark for me. I am passionate about what I do and what I produce; I'm less driven by money (probably to my detriment). So... I've resolved to take my learning beyong static sites, into the world of PHP, MySQL... I'd rather steer my own ship and not be reliant on other developers/platforms. And Dreamweaver... I'm not convinced (although as an Adobe fan, I want to be). I'm trying Atom with a browser bolted on. As a learner, I think this might serve me well. Thanks all so much for your contributions - a genuine help.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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@osgood_ this post definely hits the mark for me. I am passionate about what I do and what I produce; I'm less driven by money (probably to my detriment). So... I've resolved to take my learning beyong static sites, into the world of PHP, MySQL... I'd rather steer my own ship and not be reliant on other developers/platforms. And Dreamweaver... I'm not convinced (although as an Adobe fan, I want to be). I'm trying Atom with a browser bolted on. As a learner, I think this might serve me well. Thanks all so much for your contributions - a genuine help.


By @Martin23313377qhnk

 

This is the problem when relying on this dicussion alone to plan your future. It is very one-sided. 

 

To explain: 

  • PHP has struggled with new-age projects of late. Issues with scaling and concurrency are primary reasons why it’s failing to keep up with today’s tech demands and is experiencing a downward trend.
  • Node.js, on the other hand, offers more relevant packages for modern projects – easily out-performing PHP in this regard and gaining a devoted user base while at it.

 

NodejsvsPHPSpeed.jpeg

 

This is not to say that you should choose Node.js; but you do need to do your homework.

 

Instead of Atom, why not try https://code.visualstudio.com/ which is free of charge, far more flexible, and probably more powerful with the many (and growing number of) add-ons. Go to YouTube to see what the real professionals are using.

 

On the other hand, you could have a look at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUjqTJN3byC9fUoXFnoNGlYBCBZOJUPca

Wappler, the only real Dreamweaver alternative.
You don't need to install and configure any local servers to run your dynamic Wappler web app or site. You can use the powers of the integrated in Wappler No...

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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To explain: 

  • PHP has struggled with new-age projects of late. Issues with scaling and concurrency are primary reasons why it’s failing to keep up with today’s tech demands and is experiencing a downward trend.
  • Node.js, on the other hand, offers more relevant packages for modern projects – easily out-performing PHP in this regard and gaining a devoted user base while at it
By @BenPleysier

 

very fair advice, without bias.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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quote
quote

To explain: 

  • PHP has struggled with new-age projects of late. Issues with scaling and concurrency are primary reasons why it’s failing to keep up with today’s tech demands and is experiencing a downward trend.
  • Node.js, on the other hand, offers more relevant packages for modern projects – easily out-performing PHP in this regard and gaining a devoted user base while at it
By @BenPleysier

 

very fair advice, without bias.


By @B i r n o u

 

Without bias?......Comes across like its Node or nothing. Sounds very bias to me but Ben is obviously welcome to air his opinions but saying it isnt bias is laughable. 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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To explain: 

  • PHP has struggled with new-age projects of late. Issues with scaling and concurrency are primary reasons why it’s failing to keep up with today’s tech demands and is experiencing a downward trend.
  • Node.js, on the other hand, offers more relevant packages for modern projects – easily out-performing PHP in this regard and gaining a devoted user base while at it.

 

By @BenPleysier

 

Currently php commands 78% market share of server-side technology, way, way above any other language - node.js on the other hand currently commands less than 2% market share.

 

Its only natural to expect a so called downwards trend when the market in recent years has seen the emergence of other languages. Its like arguing that the blue jumper is not so popular now because we has the option of the red and green jumpers as well. Of course its market share will gradually fall over time, many, many years but will any other language ever own 80%+ of the market share again, I dont think so! Node is 12 years old yet still only has under 2% market share, after 12 years thats fairly lame, compared to where php was after 12 years. php is 25 years old so in that context you might argue node.js should by now be owning 35%+ of the market, but its not.

 

php is by far one of the most simplest of languages to learn and comes as a complete package, no middleware required, unlike node, no routing set up, unlike node, no bloated website folder, full of files/folders you have zero idea of what they do or are doing (assuming you steer clear of frameworks), unlike node, which relies on bloated folders/files structure........I could go on where I think node is deficient but I'll leave it at that.

 

Im not implying node doesnt have its place, its just another language that will get the job done in many instances just as a good as any other technology. The problem over recent years is we have large influncers like, Facebook, Twitter, who invent such workflows because they, as massive companies need it, for most ordinary websites, which account for the majority, its most likely overkill in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

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