Custom code, CMS and portals
In the early days, intranets and websites consisted of pages and pages of static content. Originally published by hand, many of these sites migrated to a content management system (CMS) in due course.
Over time, more sites started to include a range of rich interactive functionality. This included publishing content from a database, providing online ‘calculators’, or incorporating interactive Flash-based elements.
The immediate challenge was working out how best to create and manage these sites. Many sites ended up being entirely custom-developed, including both the front end and back end.
Then products such as portals came along, offering a single platform through which all functionality could be delivered. These were particularly popular on intranets, promising to simplify the delivery of interactive features.
Content management systems also became richer in their capabilities, providing much more than page publishing out of the box. They too offered a development platform for custom development.
Organisations are now confronted with many different ways of delivering custom code and interactive features on a site. Each have their strengths and weaknesses.
This article outlines three major approaches, and summarises the characteristics of each.
In practice, these can be mixed, and individual circumstances will dictate which approaches fit best. The goal of this article is therefore to provide a guide for decision making, and to encourage further research.
[February KM Column, read the full article]