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/commentable: HTML vs CMS Sites.
Dinarius = digital interest
31 December 2007

HTML vs CMS Sites.

31DEC07 – The fun of getting your fingers dirty in mucky HTML code is totally lost with Content Management Systems. For years, this site was a labor of love pushing the simple envelopes that HTML and Dynamic HTML provided. To ease archiving, Dinarius went with TextPattern which is no less than a free, genius alternative to WordPress and other blogging softwares that rely on Cascading Style Sheets to organize format. The CSS and archiving and ease of editing previous articles and comments has been great, but where’s that muck that this site was built upon?

Webmasters can view HTML code like LEGO toys where a collection of little pieces of code can be attached to each other in a wide variety of ways to construct something all their own for better or worse. In the good old days, Dinarius had hundreds of lines of code for fun, for productivity, for practice and it was wonderful. The CMS has been a great ride and CSS styling is something that HTML coders avoided anyway from day one. One instruction set can style an entire page which lessens our playtime.

DynamicDrive.com and HotScripts were perhaps our two greatest assets in finding new ways to clog the Dinarius website with extra code that no one but us found interesting. RSS Feeds, PicTip Galleries, Scrolling Images, Image Loading .gif scripts – all fantastic and all above the heads of 98% of our living customers. So with the new year and finally unable to tolerate the lack of HTML in our lives, Dinarius is pleased to try to bring HTML back in to the mix.

HTML vs CMS

WebMasters may have noticed that all HTML pages are fantastic for search engines. They get hit more and more each month, they index like a breeze and there’s not a bit of code that screws up that isn’t your fault.

HTML downside include trying to make the easiest system-wide graphical change is a nightmare of changing every, single page by hand. The iframe command is useful but delivers different results from browser to browser. Strictly reserving an IMG SRC name is okay, but then you may want to change the location or size one day and the nightmare is new again. Frames? Forget it.

CMS Webmasters swear by the Content Management System. They’re PHP whizes in their own rite and unafraid of goofing up databases and MySQL. CSS adopters find CMS a natural progression and the true magicians can create a site that doesn’t look like a blog.

Constantly adding content isn’t for everyone. CMS makes it an absolute breeze. Search Engines, however, still aren’t very proficient at tracking down the right page for the right search. With very few exceptions, Google constantly delivers search engine visitors to the wrong index page thanks to the delay between crawling and indexing.

COMBINING THE TWO

CMS plus HTML mixes languages which some search engines will dismiss as a violation of scripting. If you don’t play well enough by the rules, your site gets bumped hard from search engine results. The simple time script that you see above any /commentable page on this site is a clear violation of scripting rules. Every database call from the CMS contains a handfull of Dynamic HTML calls and scripts that knock us down in results. This may lead to the groaning we make about CMS search engine indexing.

SO DINARIUS SHOOTS FOOT?

Yes. Our novice mixture of CMS and HTML is understandably laughable to experts. But, the quality of people we’ve met through the CMS additions has been unrivaled by any HTML efforts in the past. HTML drew in a slew of new visitors that numbered well into the ten-thousands per month at the height of our HTML use. CMS hasn’t seen this draw.

We’ve carefully reserved our first page, our website root page, for what seems like an eternity. We wanted an internal RSS Feed via SimplePie to deliver new articles automatically (more fully exploiting the fun of CMS). We debated just writing everything in HTML again while keeping an old layout that we found especially attractive in early 2006 but quickly remembered why we had to abandon what seemed like the final HTML solution.

Index pages change every so often and track static article locations and new articles and all the previous index pages. But when an article enters the Category Archive, our index pages, despite their beauty, flopped. We just couldn’t keep up and keep having fun.

So, Dinarius Computers is now ready to shoot its foot off. We miss the mucky code play of HTML! We know it’s ancient! We know it’s sooooo 20th Century, but damnit, it was as much fun as LEGO’s if not more so. Our new index page is actually inspired by a new iPhone! With unlimited Internet Browsing, there’s no page we like visiting at all times, day or night, like Dinarius.com and Techmeme.com. So for Dinarius? One big graphic that changes every once in a while, and a simple, HTML listing of ALL the new articles and interesting old things that we like.

In addition, you’ll find a growing collection of links to re-instated HTML toys like PicTip Galleries, Hacker Resources and the ability to search through Archives by Category, Section and Keyword. With luck in the new year, we’ll get back on that MP3 wagon again too with Good MP3 and deliver rotating shows that you can track easily by downloading the Dinarius Toolbar. And best of all, in order to expand the list of HTML written titles on the new Homepage, articles are going to be shorter!

Take Good Care, and Happy New Year from everyone at Dinarius!

Favorite's the ARTICLE, not the SITE.