WordPress vs Custom Code


I run a heavy metal music news aggregator website called Sonic Assault. The site has been running since 2003 and displays latest headlines from major news sites like Blabbermouth etc. The site uses screen scrapping technology to gather the headlines and links back to them. A cron job is setup to go out to the sites and grab the headlines and dump them into the database which are then displayed. The code works fine as long as the headlines are published in the proper pattern. However, it is a nightmare to manage if things start to break. I have been considering moving from the screen scapping to parsing RSS feeds. With RSS feeds becoming mainstream with mass adoption and more and more sites providing RSS feeds, it would be a much easier and structured way to get headlines from these sites. I have been contemplating whether to build the site using WordPress or using custom coding using PHP.

WordPress is an excellent CMS tool and has a multitude of plugins which can add functionality and extend it usability. Various plugins like Wp-O-Matic can make fetching RSS feeds easier which is required by my website. So, it is just a matter of developing a theme and using the plugins, we are on our way. On the other hand, building a site from scratch using custom coding can take time as we need to think right from building the database tables, coding the logic, displaying data etc. But with custom code, we have the flexibility to build the site without having to learn about the intricacies of WordPress. In case of future enhancements, coding it in WordPress would have a learning curve whereas with custom code it is much more flexible. In this scenario, WordPress looks like a tactile (short term) solution while custom code is more strategic (long term).

I am still not able to decide which way to go for with the new website. If someone has been in similar situation would appreciate if you could give your inputs. Are there any other alternatives which I should consider like Joomla or Drupal ?

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4 comments

  1. Hi I’m also very close to launch a metal-zine website but this time focused mostly to latin american metal bands and events. It’d be great to discuss some ideas. get in touch. take care

  2. I was eager to see what path you chose, I feel the long term approach beats any short term find. Keep updating hetal!

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Adrian. I haven’t taken any direction yet as I got involved in other things but I would be more than happy to discuss with you regarding it. I totally agree with you on the longterm solution but WP does help you get up and running in no time. Thx.


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