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"Murphy was an optimist!"

The Perfect Job Pet Project April 3, 2009 9:31 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Programming, Technology
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I took my 15 minutes on my pet project in bed as I drifted to sleep. No computer was necessary. The question of how to write the application had to be answered. ColdFusion or PHP? I have hosting for both. This question only applies if I am going to totally custom design the application from ground up.

Custom designing a web application can be compared to redesigning a kitchen. You have skills. You can buy tools and wood at Home Depot. A professional might choose different places for equipment and materials. You could draw rectangles on a piece of paper and build your own cabinets but you will probably make some mistakes that a professional carpenter has been trained to avoid. When your cabinet sags oddly in the middle you might apply a hack by wedging a length of 2×4 under the sag. A professional would never do that but no one is going to see your hack so what does it matter? That is until you try to install an appliance under the counter and realize your counter cannot be used with that appliance due to the accessibility issue created by your 2×4. In the end you will probably have spent the time and money doing it yourself and then time and money to have a professional repair your installation. Of course, at this point you resent the professional because so much money is being spent. A less expensive option would be to purchase pre-built (open source) cabinets. These should mostly fit your situation and you probably have the talent to install them yourself although paying a professional to install the pre-built cabinets will guarantee they are installed correctly and don’t fall off the walls.

Laying in bed thinking about the path of least resistance and picking low hanging fruit, I ruled out a custom application despite having the talent to build it. A custom application will take much longer to launch and there is no guarantee that The Perfect Job will get traffic or produce income. Although there is plenty of open source in the ColdFusion community, I will rule it out and limit myself to the PHP open source community. This narrows my decision to WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Django (a web application framework..so this is still custom programming). There are plenty of other options but no sense in making the list too long. A comprehensive list can be found at http://cmsmatrix.org/.

I have more experience in customizing Drupal than I do with Joomla or Django. Drupal is a powerful CMS and many consider it a real CMS while WordPress is frequently dismissed as "just a blogging platform." However, Drupal hits a server kind of hard. I don’t pay much for hosting and you get what you pay for so I will rule Drupal out to avoid having increased hosting fees due to too many CPU cycles or memory usage. Once The Perfect Job is getting more attention, I can always upgrade the hosting and reconsider Drupal.

The choice is quickly becoming self-evident. Joomla gets a lot of positive press. It is a split from the Mambo development. If I am not mistaken, Scripps Networks is a fan of Django and that alone should be a reason to experiment with and learn Django. The fact that they are a major online publisher adds more reason. However, I am far more familiar with WordPress customizations than Joomla or Django. The path of least resistance is undeniably WordPress.

So in less than 15 minutes, I was able to come to a firm decision to write the features of The Perfect Job as part of a WordPress installation. The next 15 minutes will come this evening or this weekend and will be to closely read the WordPress licensing agreement to see if the coding I do for The Perfect Job will have to be released into the open source community or not.

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