Advocating for the Right CMS, not the Best CMS
Since I started writing the MODx Beginner series I’ve received a lot of emails from people asking me what my favorite CMS is. Because I blog extensively about both Drupal and MODx and have my blog running on WordPress, there is an assumption out there that surely I must prefer one to the other. Is this a reasonable expectation or the by-product of a brand-loyalty mentality that assumes that there is “a” best product/CMS/platform, etc?
If you’re a frequent visitor on web development forums and such I’m sure you’ve countered numerous posts about this very same question. “Which is the best CMS?” People are constantly asking “what CMS should I use?” as if there was one CMS for every job. There are even contests and awards given for the best this and that CMS. I am always hard pressed when asked this question and the simple reason is this, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “the” best CMS. My answer to the question “which CMS do you prefer” is always the same: “IT DEPENDS”.
I agree that not all CMSs are created equal, the fact of the matter is some are more mature, sophisticated, flexible, etc. But these terms are all pretty subjective, and each CMS has a community of fiercely loyal members who will stand by their conviction that their platform of choice rules the world (for lack of a better phrase). And many times, if you’re familiar with more than one CMS, it may come down to a matter of personal preference, or which community you feel is more helpful, again, all very subjective things.
In my opinion, the better question to ask is “What is the right CMS for the project I am about to undertake?”
This question makes a lot more sense and will garner us better responses because it is very specific and necessitates identifying our particular requirements and choosing a CMS based on those needs rather than on an overall rating of “Awesome”.
Taking this approach to classifying CMSs (or frameworks or anything else) means several things:
- We have to learn to overcome our natural inclination to look for simple “Use XYZ for all your needs” answers and focus on what it is exactly that we need to do and the best way to do it.
- We have to be willing to overcome our aversion to leaving our comfort zone and be willing to explore other systems that we consider “inferior” or “not as adequate” as our favorite solution
- We have to overcome our brand loyalty mentality
I’m not advising that you spread yourself so thin trying to learn every CMS out there that you never master any of them, all I want to advocate for is that you learn at least two or three of them, and master them. Your clients will thank you, your business will thank you, your wallet will thank you.
There is something to be said for having more than one tool in your toolbox.
So what do you think, is it better to master one CMS and stick with it, or to learn and use more than one?