The three lost causes in programming for the web. Let us all join hands in prayer for the poor fools running Community Server for their hobby site.
I have nothing against complex, incredibly inappropriate and bloated software, but I do have a big problem with people who insist on using them for all occasions. I used to be a big fan of CS, but that was before I realized half the sites for which it was recommended, didn’t use but 1/18 of the capability. Not to mention the delightful crippling of customization and “features” unless you buy a license. If at any point you truly needed any of the capabilities of the “Express” version, you are more than likely a candidate to buy a license anyway. So what’s the point in having an “Express” edition except for nearly-free advertising? I might as well have used DotNetNuke.
Which brings me to DNN: The, well intentioned, bastard child of programming enthusiasts and social philosophers. Aside from the skinning nightmares faced by anyone who needs valid markup and accessibility, DNN prides itself on the customizability. That is, drag n’ drop module functionality. A very clever and ultimately useless feature that encourages flooding of all pages with a large array of modules and sub modules and seizure inducing content overload. After all, look at how the sidebar widget on WordPress encouraged me to abuse that.
With version 2.0 and the introduction of the rich skinning architecture, this compliance slipped a little. Over time as the modules became more powerful, and the portal more complex, we became less compliant with common accessibility standards.
There’s a reason why a license is required to drive a vehicle in most parts of the world. If your site is so meaningless to you that you are unwilling or unable to learn how it works or blindly accept whatever is recommended for you, then you should probably consider hiring a chauffeur as well.
More features isn’t always useful, and more code isn’t always better. Getting to know web applications is also a good way of not being cheated out of your money. You should know exactly how much effort went into building your site and exactly how much maintenance is required as long as you stay on-line. It’s also a good way to evaluate any potential security threats you are undoubtedly going to come across for the lifetime of the site.
I’m not suggesting that all site owners become programmers as well, but you should know what the product you bought “does” exactly, and how it “does” it. Unless you’re the type to fall for one of those get-rich-quick schemes or think there’s need not be any effort involved in success.
There’s no such thing as “Magic” in programming.
I miss the good ol’ days of static HTML.