WordPress, Laravel or Custom Code?
Website development is still like the wild west. You don’t have technicians touting best practices since whatever they do, they will have justification for it. Too many opinions and not enough consensus told me that I had to take a closer look. What type of development to choose, who will develop it, and why are top questions prior to any investment. No, this topic didn’t evoke thoughts of immense joy for me because it was not my foundational knowledge base, it meant web meetups and immersion, stretching myself and my knowledge. Thankfully, I found the answers. More about this later under Custom Code.
My determination to understand the best practices for all things web was a steep learning curve that took all of 2019. I was committed to understanding what is truly required for the most efficient, healthy and manageable sites for both WordPress and custom coded sites. If MEQ was to continue performing work, we needed an impeccable understanding of where to draw the line, and we needed to establish a definitive plan based on what and why.
Custom code and WordPress don’t really mix. Think vinegar and water. Custom code can be written in nearly innumerable iterations in multiple web languages from developer to developer. When one developer leaves, and another takes over your site, you know what their first question is? Why did he/she do it this way? Then, they go about “fixing” code. That’s like taking a baked pie scraping out the filling, hoping a new ingredient make it better. Chances are, you will have a bit of a mess on your hands and your pie will never be the same. WordPress and its user friendly plugins can both be updated as need for compatibility, and changes are predictable. That is a recipe for success!
For custom sites, Laravel is the newest kid on the block, and most popular language for sites that will become highly extensible and grow – like different languages and geographies. The programming language is based in PHP, and it’s super smart and fast. You have to write code once, then it continuously and impeccably performs that task, no matter which direction it travels, and which data it fetches. It’s like a ballerina performing Nutcracker, day after day. It’s a real crowd pleaser. We have been working on one Laravel site and we are moving into phase 2 soon. Bring the experts, and no novices allowed!
In my quest to understand the variables in custom development that create innumerable variables of conflict, I leaned on a trusted adviser Steven Jadzewski who is an engineer on the Taco Bell account in two countries. Steve follows the highest standardization in development. Best practices for custom code uses Behavioral Driven Design and Testing Driven Development. BDD is something I can write (a new content challenge!) This means we write the action to be performed, then it is coded exactly as it’s written. When we make changes, they are always documented at the front end so we always know how it’s coded. Tracking the changes and having control of them before development means no surprises! Through this clarity, I am fully prepared for new projects using the proper processes and never losing control. This transparency for every client is required and will keep web a smooth running process with little bumps in the road.