Too Many Options

too many options

I really do think that it is possible to suffer from too many options. It can be totally paralyzing when starting a web project. Recently I’ve been using Evernote to create the notes and checklists for many of my projects. I’ve been getting the equivalent of a “designer’s block” when creating the checklist of technologies that will be used on any newer project. Is it possible that there is just too much to consider?

Circa 2007

Remember what it was like to choose between Scriptaculous, Dojo, Mootools, Prototype and jQuery? Buying into one of these javascript libraries would have a huge impact on the maintenance of your site in the years to come. Thankfully jQuery seems to be a clear winner in this group, making one choice a little easier for us web folks.

Now I find myself sifting through a list of other great tools for building websites that seemingly have even more impact on maintenance. While all of these options are great, much of the time it feels as though I’m making a series of bets on which of these tools are the most likely to stick around. And this list is also significantly shortened since I’ve decided that I’m most comfortable delivering a site using a small LAMP server setup. I’d be pulling my hair out trying to do some Heroku and Ruby wizardry otherwise. I can save that frustration for non-client projects. Maybe I’ll even go down the Jekyll or Octopress road for my personal site one of these days.

My List

This list is obviously not totally complete, but below are the most likely candidates for many of my projects. This list would get significantly longer if I added all of the techniques and plugins used to optimized a site with microformats, retina display, responsive design, accessibility, SEO, caching and social plugins/APIs.

If this was 6 years ago I would be writing a post about the most efficient way to create a website with a table layout and XML loaded flash videos (which is still nice to know if you create html email campaigns). With that in mind my new approach is to create some future-friendly abstraction that keep will make it easy to independently update or change the design, controller(CMS) or data without breaking any of these other key components.

Kids These Days!

I’m really not sure how the next generation is absorbing all of this so quickly. Unlike a few years ago, it seems virtually impossible to start out writing plain old-fashioned HTML. That has even been abstracted into Haml and Markdown.

Oh yeah, I also forgot my goal is to design the site as well. Now that I’ve left photoshop behind in the design process, these are the decisions I’m required to make before I can start designing in the browser and trying to upload some shots to my dribbble account.

  • Aaron Brewer

    You need to check out the following:

    MODX Revolution (CMF/CMS)
    Typicons (Icon Font Set).

    Hope this helps!

    • Damu

      MODx is a powerful CMS and our devs loved it. But had to go back to wordpress as devs keep changing and most are WP experienced and need no training as well and clients want wordpress too.

      • Aaron Brewer

        Hi Damu,

        I would agree that MODx is a very powerful website… But I would have to say, MODx would be the solution for a very large website that will be updated and modified by Web Developers. WordPress would be good for smaller websites and would be good for clients, because of it’s ease-of-access.

        But, I agree.


    • Wesley Terry

      MODX and Typicons have been added to my list here:

  • Anonymous

    You need to check out Laravel ASAP as far as a PHP Framework to recommend.