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June 6, 2016

The Case Against WordPress

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Let’s get more into this great debate, shall we?

Thing is…

This is important. There are too many new developers who fall hook, line and sinker for the “roll your own” mantra of the know-it-alls. You know, those devs who tend to greatly over-estimate their skills whilst sitting behind their keyboards… yapping about how everybody else is an idiot (duh) and should RTFM!

And, it can stop you from realizing your dream of coding for a living…

Heh. Not on my watch!

All right, so here’s what I got in response to the last episode of the show:

Whilst people may not be able to rewrite WordPress, websites written from scratch are generally better than a WordPress site because they trim the fat. The whole “tool” thing is BS. Yes you may be able to get a WordPress site out in maybe a day earlier than someone going from scratch (maybe), but a good web developer/”pure coder” will always outperform a tool.

First, I give Tom (who posted this) credit… because while I disagree whole-heartedly with him… he was respectful. No hard feelings… BUT I can’t let this fly.

This is what the roll your own crowd always does.

This is an apples to oranges comparison. He’s comparing building a static website from scratch VS using WordPress.

Well yeah.

That’s probably true… but that’s NOT what I said.

You have to compare apples to apples which I pointed out when I responded to him saying:

If you’re talking about a static website… okay. But I think it was obvious I’m talking about something with the same basic functionality. Your CMS built in a few days or weeks will not outperform something like WordPress. I don’t even think that’s a question.

To which he replied:

I never mentioned CMS, and am clearly not disagreeing with you on that point. I’m saying that its the wrong argument to make. My point is my website written from scratch will outperform the equivalent built in a tool, and at the end of the day, THAT’S what matters to the client.

So, point #1… he conceded that he couldn’t build a CMS from scratch that would rival WordPress. That’s actually all I ever said in my original video and he just conceded that he agreed. Game over.

But, let’s address this static site thing, because I still disagree.

I replied to him with:

Let’s say we are taking about a static site. I can use something like Bootstrap, Skeleton, etc and include only the components I want so there’s no “fat” and get exactly what I want. I’ll do it faster than you writing all that from scratch and the actual code in Bootstrap has been used on millions of sites, poured over by thousands of developers, and supported by a community that includes numerous large tech companies. I’m not convinced that whatever you code from scratch can compete with that.

To which he replied:

Ah, the Bootstrap argument. What about custom design/branding i.e. being original? There’s a reason why companies behind the best sites in the world hire “coders”, and also why they are not WordPress-driven. In saying all of this, however, I understand that your average Joe with a small business will probably be fine with a WordPress site or a Bootstrap theme, and in that regard, I agree with you; I’m speaking entirely from a performance standpoint.

Again, conceding that in the majority of cases I’m probably right.

But, let’s tackle that “best companies in the world hire coders” argument just to have a little fun here.

Here’s a short list of big companies using WordPress:

  • TechCrunch
  • BBC America
  • Official Star Wars Blog
  • Sony Music
  • MTV
  • PlayStation Blog
  • Best Buy
  • Xerox
  • Time
  • The New York Times
  • And a whole bunch more

And Bootstrap, along with being used by sites like HomeDepot.com, CapitalOne.com, AmericanExpress.com, Target, Intuit and more… is used by 12% of all websites.

So yeah… big companies hire coders… to build sites with WordPress and Bootstrap… and other tools.

But all this gets back to my original point…

Tool-builders vs tool-users.

If you really want to code things from scratch… that’s 100% okay. I’m with you. I have that in me too. BUT, you are almost always doing your client who just wants a website a dis-service by “rolling your own”.

You should start building tools. Like WordPress. Like Bootstrap.

That’s where the “roll your own” trend is going. Not in building a website for Bob’s Auto Body.

And, if you’re not stuck on writing all the code yourself… then know that you can probably get your web development career going much faster by picking then mastering one of the many tools that’s out there.

You DO NOT need to build everything from scratch.

As one YouTube commenter put it:

I’ve been building sites since 1997. Coding in Notepad and other, better tools as time went on. I have to say that I agree that even then, clients didn’t care about how it got done, just that it’s done the way they want it done.

Capisce?

Aight… as always be sure to keep my kiddos fed and me cranking out these pearls of wisdom for you by becoming a supporting listener of the show over on Patreon. You’ll also get a slew of dope perks. You can learn more at:http://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.


Also published on Medium.

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