I started doing web development work way back in the 90’s, in a time when if you wanted a web site you had to make it from scratch – or worse – use a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver (if you were lucky) or one of a handful of buggy, badly written and clunky pieces of software if you didn’t have the money for the (then) Macromedia offering. Thankfully, as the web has grown and become more integrated into our daily lives so too have the tools we use as developers to make web content also matured. These days, most of the websites you are likely to visit are using a Content Management System, or CMS, to do the heavy lifting of putting together a functional site.
Why do we use a CMS? First of all, it makes developing a quality site easier, faster and cheaper. Instead of crafting each component from scratch you can start with a solid framework of commonly used functions, such as a login system, blog and page creation, comments, and more. By using these off-the-shelf tools we both save time and avoid costly errors and security issues. Even the best developer might make a mistake that could compromise the security of your site, so by relying on pre-built tools that have (if you use quality products) been thoroughly tested for security ahead of time we avoid a great deal of security risk and headache.
On top of this CMS platform various themes or templates can be added to customize the look and feel of the page. By starting with a CMS we can even create a fully customized skin or theme for the site in a fraction of the time developing the entire site from scratch would take. Additionally, if you decide you want to tweak or even completely revamp the look and feel of your site a major change might just been a theme swap away instead of requiring a costly and time consuming full redesign.
Lastly, by using common CMS platforms on multiple sites it makes our job as web developers easier and allows us to deliver more consistent quality products to our clients while also giving the client the benefit of being able to transition to a new developer much more easily. Even the best source code can be difficult to read and comprehend second hand, and so by relying primarily on familiar systems that we’ve all used before a developer can pick up where another left off much more reliably.