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Reinventing the wheel

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by Astarin, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Astarin

    Astarin New Member

    Hi all,
    Something has been bugging me for a while, and I'm wondering what opinion other designer/developers have on it, especially those who freelance.
    I work in a small company right now and we do a lot of media work, graphic design, web, animation, photography, all sorts of stuff. My experience on the web side of stuff is making me think of the views that the company has which I don't agree with sometimes.
    I'm a designer, I do HTML, CSS, bits of Javascript. But I'm also an animator and use some extremely complex 3D packages. I'd like to learn some more areas of coding such as PHP[color=#808080;] (We use .NET at the office though, I don't know whats best personally, anyone shedding any light on differences in todays day and age would be awesome btw!)[/color] but I also don't want to spready myself too thin . One issue I have is after having a good look around, it looks like if I really want to concentrate on design, I can. There seem's to be plenty of off the shelf packages for CMS systems, etc.
    This got me onto the question of other things like blogs, tumblr, dribble. There is a rather large shift in using these prebuilt resources as well as off the shelf CMS packages. Where I'm at now however, there seems to be a constant reinvention of the wheel. Instead of using something that has already been made, instead of using a proven blog creation CMS we instead make the CMS for our own blog then get bitten for not having all the features of something that other free resources have. We also make a whole CMS for smaller websites sometimes, with the same occasional bite. It seems like such a waste of time when there are so many features out there that dont require bespoke creation. I fully understand that you can target the needs of the client so you dont force feed them all sorts of widgets and things they may not want. But I simply cant help it feels like time wasted sometimes and opportunities missed.
    I'd be intrigued to know how people go about this in the design world, probably from both designer and developer perspectives. I guess you could say taking away the development of the back end is taking away the developers job almost. But if you don't land that job because its going to cost 10 grand to make a system thats already been made then its the same problem?
  2. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    It certainly sounds to me like it's a case of generating work just for the sake of it. I doubt a client would be willing to spend the same amount of money if you used WordPress. When you build something custom, it's a much easier sell to larger clients because they aren't too worried about saving £10 here and there. But the fact is they don't need to be doing this, it's just making work for the sake of it and whilst I'm sure it works to some degree, it's not in my opinion, a viable business model. It would imply that the company is not interested in adapting to new market and industry environments, instead dragging their heels and trying to force the status quo. What are they going to do in 5 years time when everyone, clients included, will simply laugh at the mere mention of a custom CMS? Ideally, the programmers should receive training on new technologies based on research they have done to find out what clients/customers really want. Go where the work is set yourself up to be the best at doing it.
    I'm a designer primarily, but like you I do HTML/CSS/JS as well. I find this to be an invaluable set of skills and allows me to both sell additional services and understand the basics of the complicated programming languages. I imagine that working with a "web designer" who has never touched HTML/CSS would be quite infuriating at times. I kind of saw this coming a couple of years ago, which is why I chose to become a designer. You can learn design, and apart from keeping up on trends you're always amassing relevant information and skills, but if you take a look at a programmer, well.. technology will always be advancing and difficult tasks will always get easier as time goes on. Designers are still required for design, but programmers, well, unless they adapt in some way, won't be needed for many of the simple tasks. You've got so many packages that allow you to do everything and that list is only going to get longer as time goes on.
  3. Astarin

    Astarin New Member

    This is exactly my thought. You've hit it spot on with everything you've said there. As I said I do a lot of animation and character work too and I've started using Unity to develop some stuff with a friend. It got me thinking that if I was a programmer, I would never be able to accomplish my vision of the game because I simply wouldnt have the years of experience that I have learnt from doing animation. However, I can quite easily go and pick up some prebuilt packages, modify them a bit and I have the working dynamics of the game. It simply doesn't work in reverse or everything would look identical.
    This is turn I believe should be used to push developers to new heights however, if they're not busy spending time reinventing whats already there, I imagine they could spend their time doing something much more innovative and new? I bet I step on a few developers toes saying this however it's my experience from people I have worked with in the past.
  4. UK US Marketing

    UK US Marketing New Member

    If the client has the money then a purpose-built content management system is always the way to go. However, for those on a tighter budget make the most out of the free software packages available.
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I disagree. A lot of clients simply don't need a custom package and what's available these days in a CMS is really quite advanced and covers many different types of uses. I suppose it would depend on what type of clients you're talking about really, but I think the majority could easily make do with what's available and not be pushed down the custom/bespoke CMS route.
    Free doesn't have the same connotations as it once used to when it comes to web software/applications. I think there's a big difference between free and Open Source and if you look at the market shares, the Open Source companies frequently come out on top, I don't think it's very fair to relegate them to only those on a tight budget.
    Astarin, I don't imagine most companies take into account long term development and income potential. I would be willing to be that a lot of them see the business as "How many websites can we make in a month, and how much can we charge for each one?"
  6. Astarin

    Astarin New Member

    I definitely agree with this, but I would probably relegate it to far far bigger companies or those that that need strange and special requirements.

    This is true. I would rather help a client choose what was best for them and hopefully have them as a longer client than charge them a massive amount and hope they don't find they could get better advice later on from someone else (not that this would definitely happen of course). There have been cases in the past where we haven't gotten work because it wasn't a choice for the client however. As a company we don't ask how they want their CMS, bespoke is assumed causing costs to sometimes being 4-5 times higher than what I agree with. Because of this high cost we end up quoting, we don't get the work.

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