[Pro] Driving down the Wordpress road...

Tried a demo of Visual Composer today. My first impression. Wow, what a piece of garbage. But then again, I may not be using it properly.


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Interesting since it seems to be wildly popular.

Todd

Tried a demo of Visual Composer today. My first impression. Wow, what a piece of garbage. But then again, I may not be using it properly.


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Yes, but consider the source. I have a tendency to be wrong a lot. :slight_smile:


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Okay, I need to retract my original statement. I finally found a demo site that was working properly, which was one of the reasons I made the statement above.

http://codecanyon.net/item/visual-composer-customizer-addon/7950770

I will have to say that Visual Composer is pretty cool. I am simply amazed at the shear number of options available for Wordpress. Of course, that also concerns me because I suppose there are a number of poorly written or poorly supported things.

BTW, and just so I’m clear on this, is Wordpress a plugin based system?


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Wordpress is an application written in PHP that runs on a server (either the official wordpress.com server or your own). There are countless thousands of plug-ins written for it, by people of varying degrees of skill and training.

Some of these are one-offs, made to scratch a personal itch and then released to the world. These may be supported, but frequently are not. They also may not be updated or tracked for compatibility with the main branch of Wordpress, and may include security holes or create them in an otherwise safe core application.

PHP is a simple language on the surface, with a very high discoverability quotient. It is not unlike an air-cooled Volkswagen engine, which some wag famously said “was designed to be repaired on your kitchen table – with a butter knife and a hammer”. It tends to attract people with more ideas than understanding (I know, I was one once), and the work product overall tends to reflect this DIY ethos. That is not to say that you cannot write serious, high-performance, professional code with PHP. Facebook, notably, is written in it. But that is the exception.

tl;dr: Wordpress is very well written, but by virtue of being written in PHP, exposes the keys to the kingdom to any dunce who wants to write a plugin.

Walter

On Jun 28, 2014, at 10:43 AM, RavenManiac wrote:

Okay, I need to retract my original statement. I finally found a demo site that was working properly, which was one of the reasons I made the statement above.

http://codecanyon.net/item/visual-composer-customizer-addon/7950770

I will have to say that Visual Composer is pretty cool. I am simply amazed at the shear number of options available for Wordpress. Of course, that also concerns me because I suppose there are a number of poorly written or poorly supported things.

BTW, and just so I’m clear on this, is Wordpress a plugin based system?


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So it sounds like if continue down this path I should probably stick with the companies who seem to know what they’re doing.

Walter, I’m a little over my head with this, but I’m hoping you can give me a little advice. After doing a fair amount of research, and as a WP beginner, I’ve come up with two options, which I’ve listed below.

To me, Canvas seems like a much easier choice, but everything I’ve read seems to point to Genesis in terms of speed, support, and Wordpress standards compliance. What do you think?

  1. Wordpress (of course)
  2. Genesis
  3. A Child Theme (likely from http://themedy.com/themes/)
  4. Maybe some plugins (likely from Code Canyon)
  5. Visual Composer, Dynamik, or Genesis Extender

-OR-

  1. WooTheme’s Canvas

I want to make it clear that I’m not abandoning Freeway Pro or even the possibility of hand coding in the future, but I really feel like I need another rapid development platform and should probably know how Wordpress works anyway should I pickup some Wordpress business.


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What I know about the Wordpress ecosystem could be written on a small matchbook with a large crayon. Ultimately, you’re going to end up in a corner where you have to get out and push, and I will be very happy to help you with HTML and CSS tricks once you find yourself up to your ankles in mud. But at this juncture, any advice I could give you would be informed by a quick google, and nothing more. Sorry.

Walter

On Jun 28, 2014, at 12:21 PM, RavenManiac wrote:

So it sounds like if continue down this path I should probably stick with the companies who seem to know what they’re doing.

Walter, I’m a little over my head with this, but I’m hoping you can give me a little advice. After doing a fair amount of research, and as a WP beginner, I’ve come up with two options, which I’ve listed below.

To me, Canvas seems like a much easier choice, but everything I’ve read seems to point to Genesis in terms of speed, support, and Wordpress standards compliance. What do you think?

  1. Wordpress (of course)
  2. Genesis
  3. A Child Theme (likely from http://themedy.com/themes/)
  4. Maybe some plugins (likely from Code Canyon)
  5. Visual Composer, Dynamik, or Genesis Extender

-OR-

  1. WooTheme’s Canvas

I want to make it clear that I’m not abandoning Freeway Pro or even the possibility of hand coding in the future, but I really feel like I need another rapid development platform and should probably know how Wordpress works anyway should I pickup some Wordpress business.


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No worries. I totally understand and I appreciate all the advice you’ve given me.

I’m still not sure that Wordpress is really what I need, but it couldn’t hurt to know a little more about it—especially given its market share and huge following. And I am impressed with its ease-of-use, at least on the surface.


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What I have heard from those who do use it in anger is this. It will get you so far, and for some clients, far enough. But if you find yourself needing just that little bit more in the way of custom behavior, or anything that isn’t on the fall-line of its core competency, then you are in for a fishing expedition through some highly-factored code. Does this file make the header? No? How about this one? Oh wait, maybe it’s in the database…

Walter

On Jun 28, 2014, at 12:49 PM, RavenManiac wrote:

No worries. I totally understand and I appreciate all the advice you’ve given me.

I’m still not sure that Wordpress is really what I need, but it couldn’t hurt to know a little more about it—especially given its market share and huge following. And I am impressed with its ease-of-use, at least on the surface.


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Been there, done that.

Kelly, this is what I’ve also mentioned to you off-list several times regarding WP. There’s a price to be paid for the initial plug-n-play convenience. But if you want more and possibly easier long-term flexibility then you might have to expect to do more work upfront. If quick-n-simple is what you want and you can live within the rigid WP structure (or are willing to pay a WP dev to fine tune it for you) then go for it.

Todd

Does this file make the header? No? How about this one? Oh wait, maybe it’s in the database…


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For me it all comes down to profitability. Out of all the services I offer, website development is the least profitable (per hour)—by a lot. Rather than walk away from that business, I just need to find a solution that will allow me to custom design websites, for clients that can afford it, and provide templates for those who can’t. If I were smart I probably should put together a few generic FWP templates for these situations.

Quite frankly, if Freeway Pro offered a built-in CSM we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Perch is a great option, but it has a steep learning curve, similar to what you’re describing with Wordpress. How do I style this? Is that element controlled by this xyz.css or this one, or is the styling being done by any one of a dozen Perch templates. I can’t begin to tell you how much time I waste playing code detective.

And what happens to my FWP page layout when I alter the Perch stuff. I’ve literally spent a full day tracking down conflicts between the two, so none of what you and Walter are describing is really any different than how I’m working now. :slight_smile:

And yes, I believe some of my clients are willing to give up a little design flexibility to save a buck. Plus, with Wordpress editors like Genesis Extender, editing Genesis templates just got a little easier.

As you know, I’ve talked about this for at least a year. It’s time for me to to stop talking, and wasting everyone’s time, and just do it. If I’m wrong or regret this decision a year from now at least I can walk away knowing a little more than I did.

I listened to the Governor of Virginia speak at my son’s college graduation and he said failure is okay, as long as you learn something from the experience. :slight_smile: Smart man.

As always, I truly appreciate everybody’s help and advice.


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Perch is a great option, but it has a steep learning curve, similar to what you’re describing with Wordpress. How do I style this? Is that element controlled by this xyz.css or this one, or is the styling being done by any one of a dozen Perch templates.

What you’re still not seeing because you haven’t yet fully grasped Perch is that it [Perch] is more technically accessible than WP and quite frankly not nearly as fractured as you seem to think. Your struggles with styling this and that in Perch really isn’t as technically difficult to suss out as it is in WP. As hard as that is to believe it’s true. WP is in many ways set-up to function in a different manner than Perch and in that respect it is most definitely a more fractured and challenging system to work with at its core.

what you and Walter are describing is really any different than how I’m working now. :slight_smile:

That might be true but only in very general terms.

Todd


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On 28 Jun 2014, 8:00 pm, Todd wrote:

What you’re still not seeing because you haven’t yet fully grasped Perch is that it [Perch] is more technically accessible than WP and quite frankly not nearly as fractured as you seem to think. Your struggles with styling this and that in Perch really isn’t as technically difficult to suss out as it is in WP. As hard as that is to believe it’s true. WP is in many ways set-up to function in a different manner than Perch and in that respect it is most definitely a more fractured and challenging system to work with at its core.

Yeah, that’s true. I am getting better at Perch, but that’s only because I did like you and others have advised, which is to learn code. Still not nearly as good as you, Walter, Ernie, Dave, and Caleb, but I’m trying.

BTW, who was it that convinced me to stay the course with Perch and then went in another direction entirely? LOL


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Ha!

To be accurate I haven’t sworn off Perch for MODX. I still like, use and recommend Perch to clients. What I don’t like about Perch is the inconsistent support. That being said I quite like the product itself and am excited about its very active development.

And as far as your coding skills I’ll say this:

On this list you are among the minority. You constantly step outside your comfort zone and try to learn new things. The fact that you struggle to grasp some things is not something to get down about, and the fact that you keep chipping away at it when it would be easier to throw your hands up and quit is an admirable quality, and one worthy of respect. I wish more people on this list shared your tenacious attitude.

I was right to encourage you to stick with Perch and to learn more about code and I think you would probably agree (in-between fits of swearing). This stuff isn’t always easy but you are a better designer for the effort.

Todd

Yeah, that’s true. I am getting better at Perch, but that’s only because I did like you and others have advised, which is to learn code. Still not nearly as good as you, Walter, Ernie, Dave, and Caleb, but I’m trying.

BTW, who was it that convinced me to stay the course with Perch and then went in another direction entirely? LOL


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I think you give me too much credit, but I certainly appreciate the kind words my friend.

Well I was going to pick out a Wordpress theme tonight, but I’ve gotten hooked on “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix, so I guess I’ll goof off instead. :slight_smile:


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Interesting read here, guys.

May I add some suggestions cause everything seems to be a bit “wild”?

##1. What is budget?##

Let’s start to define them:

###Low budget###

Starts from 0$-500$

People with this budget need a poor soul setting up something online. Set yourself either as “consultant” or do a very small Freeway project (index, contact, legal notice). You could call this the “web business card”
Never build them a CMS monolith, cause once they got the gist, they can do crazy cool things with it (or jump from poor soul to poor soul). Further infos:

###Medium budget###

Starts from 1000$-2000$

People with this budget want something designed and are willing to pay for it. Mostly they do not want to touch any big structure (changing colors or even adjust sliders). All they want is changing some PDFs infomercial) or change some "latest news (editorial). Here I see the strength of Freeway projects flavored by medium CMS (Perch, WebYep, Inlay whatever).

###Project budget###

Starts at 2500$

They need a machine. They usually have a couple of editors and authors (even with different roles). Here is an excellent start for being both: counselor and FrontEnd Developer. This is the right place and the first time to think about awesome big machines (CMS monoliths whatever color or name). Here you got the possibilities to purchase highly recommended stuff (Restricted content, Sliders, E-commerce …) which can start slow - or even grow to whatever you like.

####A final word to “productivity”:####

The more you prepare (editorial and authoring) the quicker you finish you project. We Freeway user tend to start with images and items and styles (for lore text) rather then consequently bringing our clients in. They need to tell you what they do - you can’t guess it. This and nothing else is increasing productivity, working speed and therefor the profit margin. Don’t go fancy with stuff, especially styles - structure yourself and structure your client. Never forget: I’s about content (the written word) not about galleries and images (this is tumblr). Think modular and once done - be sure you don’t need hours to find an appropriate image (your list "what sucks most). If you think of a Freeway template don’t think about “design”. Think about creating some modules (like in backdraft) such as for a WOW slider to re-use. Think about creating some basic styles (html, body, p, H1, H2 …), google web fonts, all stuff that is quick and easy to adjust.

I started an article about this:

http://www.kimmich-digitalmedia.com/articles/workflow-wireframe-construction

FrontEnd Developing is not creating a PDF brochure.

Cheers

Thomas

Prices are just an assumption - adjust it to your needs (or region or competition).


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I agree. Those figures match my practice as well. Mind only that they are without VAT. For maintanance -on clients request- updates or system updates I charge per hour, with a start of min 2 hours per job. This way this game is still fun without becoming a pain in the neck (too much :wink:


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I know it’s bad practice to answer things coming basically from another list - but it simply better fits here to do:

You said in another list, that even me is using WordPress for better functionality:

That’s true - but I don’t expect my code-editor (Freeway) serving me functions. I just expect my code-editor allowing me to add them (Scripts). Freeway does and theoretically you can pick those functions together how you like.

###The reasons why I picked up a CMS specifically:

####FreewayPro

The most important reason why I picked up a CMS is to prove, if Freeway can handle it. I wrote once a WP-page by hand and got nearby crazy cause I lost track of all that “MarkUp and code and stuff”. I wished to have my good ol’ Freeway back - but at that time I was simply overwhelmed how. Then Walter wrote a tiny shiny action called TemplateHelper.

####Why WordPress

WordPress was my choice cause I watched and read a lot on CSS-tricks. I even subscribed to his lodge (which is similar to my lounge :-). This “Restricted Content” is the living heart of my page and only available for WP.

####What about other CMSes?

My particular problem is that I’m basically dumb which will end up in hopeless fixedness. As far as I know, most of the bigger CMS do support “snippets” such as WP (php include) so Walter’s action should be the SwissArmy knife for most of them.

####Why not all in Freeway?

It would have been possible to do all within Freeway. The restricted area could have been achieved by sitelok (there is even a how-to-do for Freeway). The blog-posts? Well - yes, a single page for each - but you know what? I already have about 60 and plan to do more - no better argument for picking up a CMS, right?.

###Summary

The cool thing (theoretically) is, that the above written budget-division has another big advantage. Theoretically you can start low and extend it step-by-step to the needs of your client. You can “turn” a FW-project into a CMS at every single project-stage. But you need to choose one (which you already did). Walter promised help as good as he can and don’t forget my videos where I share, how I did the causa FW2WP (not a how-to-do, simply a protocol). It would be cool if more people would give it a try - the more infos, the better workflow.

http://www.kimmich-digitalmedia.com/videos/001_wpc-installing-wordpress (and all the following episodes)

I doubt if any other WYSIWYG app is offering such a high amount of robust pre and post productional opportunities - correct me if I’m wrong (my dear RW or Muse users)

Cheers

Thomas


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Thomas, thanks for your posts. Just out of curiosity, are you using a Wordpress framework for your site?


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Yes - I started with _s (underscores) blank theme which I consequently transferred back/for to my Freeway document (as shown in the videos).

Cheers

Thomas


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