CMS Services Overview: When we discuss designing and implementing a Web site employing Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or Custom CMS, we use this process as a basic guideline. We take a pragmatic approach about which parts of the process we use based on the type of project, client, and time limitations. Any process we select is to be used pragmatically to adapt to different situations. Sometimes a more in-depth research on users is needed, while other times a simple characterization of them is fine.
Understanding the business goals of the client and real needs of the users to be supported by their Web site are essential to developing a winning web solution. The clarity provided by their business goals helps us to create a clear language and organization of the content. It also give us enough ideas for a low-fidelity prototype that we could use as a way to involve our developer community in the design process. Site owner or client has to be asked as many questions.
Inclusion of the client meant that we were able to capture many of the real requirements early enough so that the scope was clear, helping to avoid problems later in the development process. Focusing on simplification made sure that only those requirements that made the most difference were included in the higher-resolution prototype.
To achieve a design (using Drupal, WordPress or Joomla) that is both useful and usable, it is important to “Know The User”. So we engage users (and owners) from the beginning, giving them a sense of ownership and involvement that is necessary for a good working relationship. Information from the users also helps you make important decisions when addressing hosting and deployment issues. WordPress as a CMS and Blogging System excels in simplicity and design flexibility, with a nice template you can easily manage a heavy traffic multi-user community driven portal website.
Separation of content from form: The efficiency and flexibility with which you style your content is fundamentally based on how well your content is structured. When generating content, therefore, it is essential to keep the structure of your content separate from its presentation. Using cascading stylesheets (CSS) is much easier when you insist on making the XHTML as semantically correct as possible.
In Drupal you can find methods for modularizing your XHTML structure using template files. However, we found several useful techniques to improve the structure and findability of styles within theme CSS, including:
– Splitting out styles for certain aspects and regions of the Web site into their own files
– Creating a consistent order to all styles by listing them alphabetically
– Using findable characters within comment blocks at points in the CSS to aid search
We use good tools during development process like Eclipse and Concurrent Versions System (CVS). In a group development effort, CVS proved quite beneficial in tracking code changes and allowing us to work in parallel, but it also aligns well with any version or revision updates to the Drupal or WordPress core code.
Learn by example: Learning by example has proved useful. Spend time looking at the Drupal core includes and modules, contributed modules, and themes to see how things are implemented. Don’t be afraid to play with source code; it’s a good way to learn what others have done in their modules and themes. Experiment by adding or removing code, and see how Drupal’s behavior changes. The best part is that because you have stored the code in CVS, you can always revert back to the original files.
Joomla includes features such as page caching to improve performance, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, website searching, and language internationalization. Like Drupal and WordPress, it is written in the PHP and uses the MySQL database by default.
Drupal is heavy on elements like Document Management and Complexity in UI Theme Designing. The majority of these items are functions or features needing improvement in the Drupal CMS. Joomla also fails to deliver in such elements as user permission, content management, multi-site management, and standard’s compliance. Joomla fails in elements that are more architecture centric.
Taking the flip side, Joomla as a CMS appears to excel in elements that can be identified as functional, while Drupal succeeds in the architectural elements. You choice depends on your priority for these elements – architecture or function. We have developed high traffic web portals and CMS solutions using both Drupal (Ex: Real Estate Times) and WordPress (Ex: SEO Trends). We believe it is more important for a CMS to have better architecture.
Drupal Development: Our support team provides technical assistance throughout the process of installing, operating and maintaining Drupal 5.x and 6.x websites. From the beginning of your installation process through application development and ongoing maintenance, Solution Point can provide technical support to ensure project success.