Web Development

More Than Just Web Design...

Tech Tonics provides a full range of services in web design, software development, pay per click management (PPC/PPA) and search engine optimization (SEO). We are not just designers, but software developers, with a deep understanding of best practices for user interface and optimized coding practices that maximize user experience and search engine ranking.

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Content Management Systems

A content management system, or CMS, is a type of website that allows our clients to manage their own content with a minimal amount of technical knowledge. Our team works with everything from basic HTML, PHP or other raw code to obscure or obsolete content management systems, but there are two systems we regularly recommend to our clients: Drupal and WordPress. Why do we recommend two options, instead of just focusing on one? The choice of which one is better for you depends on your needs...

Some people are very passionate about their choice of CMS, but the truth is that the best solution can't be determined without knowing who will be managing your website and how your site will be used, both in the short-term and down the road.

It's often claimed that WordPress will get you up and running with a basic website quickly and easily. That said, Drupal is no slouch, and someone familiar with it can spin up a Drupal site in roughly the same time as it takes to setup a WordPress site.

When people say WordPress is quicker and easier than Drupal, what they're really saying is that it's simpler. Not simpler in the way that it does all of the same things in a simpler way. It's simpler in the way that a point-and-shoot camera is simpler than a professional SLR camera. Most people, understandably, don't want to learn about all the concepts of picture quality before being able to take a decent picture, but if you do need to need to do something advanced, you'll be hard-pressed to say it's easier when the advanced controls are missing.

So WordPress achieves easier by making a lot of assumptions for you. And by doing so, it can get you to about 85% of your idea very quickly; your idea is probably very similar to the millions of other sites out there. It gives you enough flexibility to customize the remaining parts yourself, making a far more malleable choice than other online builders like, say, SquareSpace or Wix.

But what if you're not really happy with that 85%? What if your organization has multiple departments with different types of users managing different areas of your website? What if your idea is fundamentally different, or your vision and business requirements are specific and granular? You're going to be reverse-engineering or building things yourself with WordPress, which becomes entirely too time consuming. That's where Drupal comes in.

Drupal provides building blocks and a thoughtfully-conceived, granular, hierarchical structure that is well-suited to larger teams, organizations or websites requiring more advanced functionality. Drupal's modules and themes provide less in the way of aesthetics "out of the box," but amount to a series of frameworks and tools from which to build anything that can be built, without having to start from scratch.

From a developer/designer perspective, Drupal may have a higher learning curve, but once you learn it, you can do more complex things easily. Once your site is built, whether Drupal or WordPress, we make sure that editing your own website content is simple for even the novice user, but what Drupal may lack in simplicity in the building phase, it makes up for in functionality. The permission system is more robust, the taxonomy more granular, the ability to manipulate data in relation to each of the components more available; ancillary tools used to manipulate everything are more developer-focused.

Themes, Plugins and Modules

Both Drupal and WordPress are free, Open Source Content Management systems. You won't pay a dime for the basic software, but you will need someone to put it all together for you who will likely want to be paid for their time and expertise, and you'll probably want to save some time by purchasing commercially-available themes (website design templates) and extended features. A theme can be built from scratch, but it's usually more cost-effective to find a theme that's fairly close to what you're looking for, then customize it. While there are thousands of free and paid themes to choose from for Drupal, there are many more themes available for WordPress.

Extended features are added to Drupal through "Modules," while WordPress calls them "Plugins." WordPress tends to rely on more paid Plugins, which require a one-time fee or subscription, while most Drupal modules are free. Paid WordPress Plugins typically come with vendor support and documentation, while free Drupal Modules tend to require a greater level of expertise and skill in mining user forums for guidance. Plugins and Modules accomplish the same thing in extending the functionality of your website, but WordPress Plugins are typically consumer-oriented, while Drupal Modules are typically developer-oriented.

Which CMS is Right for You?

We shy away from advocating for our own preferences, but instead recommend that our clients use what's appropriate for their needs. We do not recommend Drupal to everyone who just wants to get a website online, unless you need or want that extra potential now or down the road. WordPress is ideal for blogs and brochures. There's a reason WordPress is the most popular CMS, but it's inaccurate to say it's "better" than Drupal, or vice-versa. We recommend Drupal to clients who really want to take control of their websites, or who manage larger organizations with multiple levels of users, from non-technical to software developer, while we recommend WordPress to clients who just want a basic, nice-looking website.


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