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Would you develop a website using Microsoft tools, with all the incredible learning curve and expense? Or would you just go the easy - but effective - route and use the WordPress solution your client's hosting provider offers as a development platform?
I've got the Microsoft tools in Visual Studio, and I've got the Adobe tools in the Creative Suite, and I'm not too fond of either. I can use them, but it's a huge effort, usually on my own time, to get up to speed and fairly proficient after a long break. My new employer needs a website that works - it's currently crippled with almost no functionality - and I'm the only one to do it. The current site was done with WordPress, but never completed. And some of their suppliers offer APIs to link with their online ordering systems to make sales on behalf of the affiliate members. Most of those are written using WordPress, so I'm going to have to deal with that sometime...
Given that there's going to be a huge learning curve for me to come up to speed on modern versions of any of these platforms, which would you recommend that I choose for my employer's new website?
If it is just to display some marketing content with a few forms to get some customers in contact - wordpress all the way. There's loads of templates out there, and if you can't find one that fits you can find people that produce wordpress templates for you for very small amounts of money. WordPress is all yucky, and you'll need to take a shower afterwards, but you'll be up and going so quickly with a pretty great result. I inherited the management of a WordPress site that made use of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. You can attach any sort of fields to any post type (blog, page etc). It made getting a UI to edit content so simple, and the backend php was a breeze to copy and paste to get going. Each time I tinker with it I mentally recoil in horror at just how much boilerplate I'd have to write to get the same effect in asp.net MVC.
If you're after something a bit less one-size-fits-all, I'd go for a static site generator. Theres LOADS of them out there. Set up your templates, content markdown, run a command, and out pops regular plain html read to be statically served.
But for a complete web app - I can't go past asp.net. I love the debugging experience. Node in vscode is almost as nice, but I'm just not as familiar with it.
The owner wants a store front, unfortunately, drawing from multiple suppliers' online catalogs. I'm guessing that WordPress isn't going to be up to the challenge, other than to present a home page with general information and links to our Store. The Store itself will have to be hand tailored, probably using ASP.Net, since that's the only tool I am familiar with and have on hand. I've got Dreamweaver, too, but I always feel I need to wash my hands after I open it.
While I usually have a strong opinion one way or the other, in this case, it depends. If I'm doing a basically static site, WordPress, SquareSpace, etc, are great for putting together something that looks decent. If it's a small site I'm building from scratch that requires a database, business logic, etc., then I use C#/.NET and my own server code (I don't even tie in to IIS.) So that's a partial "Microsoft tools." I haven't needed to use EF, Razor, ASP.NET, because I'm not very fond of them, but since the rest of the Microsoft world goes one of those routes, I end up having to use them occasionally.
These days I only use Razor to render my Angular templates. I do that to leverage the Data Annotations metadata, like 'Display Name', or 'DataType', etc. The data goes straight to the Angular module from a Web API.
The owner is virtually computer illiterate, but has grandiose dreams. It's a gun shop, and the way that business works, there are a half dozen or so large distributors that the manufacturers sell to, and small shops have to get their stock from those dealers. At least one of them offers a direct sales solution for dealers to integrate into their individual websites; it displays that distributor's products, accepts orders and payments from online customers, then ships the product to the local dealer for background checks and final tender to the local customer. I think that's a great solution, but it's going to create a need for some detailed integration, and I suspect I'll want to use whatever technology the distributor uses for integration ease.
But the other distributors don't all carry the same product lines, and don't offer a prebuilt solution we can hook into, so presenting their products will require a bunch of work. Then there's the in-store inventory, which someone will have to photograph and maintain in the online catalog... I don't have much experience with WordPress or other quick and dirty solutions, but I doubt very much that any of them can handle much in the way of complexity. In fact, thinking about it since my first post, I'm leaning toward trying a MVC approach, with a different model for each source of product, including the store stock as a separate vendor. Scary.
I was hoping this would be a simple thing, especially since I was hired to sell and repair guns.
and don't offer a prebuilt solution we can hook into
Which always surprises me, that sites don't have some sort of a REST API for maintaining their products and exposing their products to third parties. It makes me wonder how they update their own site.
Roger Wright wrote:
I'm leaning toward trying a MVC approach, with a different model for each source of product, including the store stock as a separate vendor. Scary.
A very reasonable approach, IMO, but gads, if you start dealing with screen scraping, the nightmare that'll be when the third party changes their layout. Maybe there's a much larger business opportunity here, to talk everyone into contracting you to write something sane. I mean, wasn't that what the holy grail of web services was supposed to be all about?
Roger Wright wrote:
especially since I was hired to sell and repair guns.
See what happens when you mention you have skills in other areas?
The company is willing and able to spend very little money, but it can spend as much time as it takes to get it done. I get a very tiny wage for sales and gunsmithing, and I'm expected to get this working in my 'spare' time. On the flip side, once it's working I'll be splitting the net with the company, so it's in my best interest to get it running soon.
When I think about me in this grand universe of consumerism, transactions , & financial systems. It just feels like me , a squirrel picking peanuts with bare hands and stocking them one by one in granary for future use. I'm into such a small biz. That's okay. But the problem is, the attackers don't even spare squirrels. The servers coming under DDos attacks and spammers taking over things doing their business more actively than me doing on my own servers.
We can spend some money , hire security experts and seal all holes. But it's almost like selling all my 2 years worth peanuts and pay the security expert only to protect an empty granary.Feels silly. You get the idea?
When I read news like Yahoo coming under attack. Linked-in getting spanked on their a*se. I get some ideas to drop online business and open a bakery at the street corner with cool steel shutters.
Yahoo, Linked-in : When all these huge giants spending millions on security systems, still getting to lose on security. People like me, should we even worry about this or just live by mercy of the attacker for our tiny online establishments?
Let me know if there's a script that detects a security breach attempt , and leave a direct note to the attacker's IP like:
"Respected attacker, I know you got skills. You could rip, roast this poor server.
But before you proceed, please read :
I'm a poor guy running a small business, Spare me, I'll give some IP addresses of my friends who are doing MUCH better and have real high-config servers. Trust me your throughput will be really high. Contact me to my email ID email@example.com , - Yours Honestly & faithfully me ".
Okay the questions you could answer:
Breaches happen at big companies just because they made an accidental stupid mistake in their security systems that an usual hacker could take advantage of?
The security systems were really great but the attacker was simply too brilliant, everytime?
Starting to think people post kid pics in their profiles because that was the last time they were cute - Jeremy.
Or The management of the big companies happened to be so arrogant that they, collectively, saw no need to educate themselves enough to understand the problem and rearrange their spending priorities to budget for experts to defend their infrastructure effectively. Short answer - dumb, arrogant, short-sighted management goofs. The usual...
Just think about the heartbleed bug or other leaks that open up doors.
It's mostly those a hacker uses, because the longer it takes you mashing in doors on a server, the longer they have time to find you.
Also, big companys often don't give a sh about professional security. Most times it's okay if they encrypt customer data, if it gets stolen nobody can decrypt (hahaha).