Why using CMS/third party plugin?

As a software developer myself, I previously hate to use CMS or plugin (let’s call both with CMS) for anything related with my works. Even worse, I try to avoid any plugins-related such as bootstrap. Well, that is me before I’m being involved in professional world. I think that I can make anything, better than any existing tools out there. Presently, I that way of think is wrong, but not when it was at the time before.

It’s Time

In the past

One main reason the inconsistent whether it is right or wrong is one: time. In my past, I have a lot of free time and not involved in any money-making task/job. It is very suitable for the past me to explore the website world, making the prototype myself and trying to compete with existing one. I even developed C# winform foundation myself (the foundation consist of login management, user controls and many utilities such as printing).

It is good, and right, at least when I was in the past. It is my phase in life to learn and train, crafting my skills better. If right now you are thinking about lyric from Linkin Park, “In the end, it doesn’t even matter”, I will say no, it is matter. It does not matter whether what you are trying to build will be used or not. It is matter however, about knowing how to build it and how complex the existing tools is. You will be able to differentiate between good and bad tools, will be fluent and better at using it.

Presently

Now I have been involved in professional work. The time is very limited, so does any works that I can produce within those limited time. I can choose between a vast types of products with shallow quality or very specific type of products with deep quality. I chose the later, resulting in me very specialized at enterprise back-end system, architecturally. Then, if in case I want to produce some general product like company profile, I will use CMS.

Standard and supported

CMS is used by many people worldwide. It has standard interface that everybody knows. Moreover it is supported, meaning that some important feature requested by user will be implemented later, and the bug will be fixed. It is also support external source integration to some point, such as SEO and API. It will be better if you use their paid version or service, meaning you can get support directly from the provider. You can consider this practice as “outsourcing”.

Documented and discussed

A good CMS is used by many people. Many people using the CMS will create discussion. That discussion, when too frequently happen, will one day become FAQ or even included in the documentation. A good documented product will be used by more people, resulting in the cyclic flow of improvement. It is however, different with self-developed system. A good documented and discussed component will make new developer faster to catch up with development.

But it’s limited

Limitation caused by CMS / plugin usually become problem to you. However currently, any good third-party component will provide some way to extend and customize the current behavior. It can be achieved with DI, overriding (CSS and javascript for example), to the extreme way of customizing the source code. The last is not recommended, because after you do so, you cannot expect any update from the provider, rendering the additional feature and bugfix useless.

Every tools out there have limitation. There is one tool that good at one side, meanwhile other good at other side. My knowledge (or yours) received from trying to develop third party tools and people review will enable you to choose which one is suitable for your current needs.

Conclusion

CMS is good if it fulfill your requirements and align with it. If you want some other things that is vastly different with the CMS provided, you need to either look for another or develop it yourself. Customizing CMS too far out of original purporse (ex: using wordpress for stock exchange) or even modifying the source code is not good, since it will prevent you to get further support.

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