What’s Right For Your Project: WordPress and Laravel

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Every website or web project is unique. They have unique functionality, targets, needs, and user interfaces. There are complex designs with simple back-end solutions, and simple designs built on layers of complex code. By determining a project's goals we also determine how it will be constructed, whether it be a CMS platform like WordPress or custom code framework like Laravel.

At Harlo we work extensively with digital design and the development of digital products. From website redesigns to complex product configurators, we do it all. Thanks to wizard-like developers we’re able to build digital products that not only look great but are also expertly built. From WordPress to Laravel, here’s how we approach what’s right for your project.

WordPress

Odds are that if you know anything about building websites or web design, then you probably know about WordPress. More than 60 million websites around the world use WordPress, including 30% of the top 10 million sites.

Since it’s launch in 2003 WordPress has grown to dominate web design and content management, and for good reason. As far as content management and design goes, WordPress makes it easier than any other platform. That’s why it’s the go-to CMS for blogs and marketing sites.

Content Management

Organizing and managing content is extremely easy with WordPress. Originally created for blogging, WordPress has robust tools for creating, editing, and storing all types of media. If your website will be content oriented, such as blogs, news sites, or marketing sites, then WordPress is probably your best option. Why reinvent the wheel with a custom Laravel Build when the functionality already exists?

Quick and Easy Development

WordPress is a themed-based system run on plugin architecture. With more than 55,000 plugins available it’s easy to create a customized look and feel for your site. Include the easy content management tools and it’s easy to create a media-rich website that will capture your audience.

Building a WordPress site is also cheaper upfront, as it’s usually stripped of any complex functionality. This makes it an appealing option for Startups looking to get a product up fast, however, beware that it may not be your long term solution. We always suggest building the right product the first time around. In the long run, it will save you time and headaches.

What Can’t Wordpress Do…

WordPress can do a lot as a CMS and platform, but there are certain aspects of web design and functionality it just can’t stand up to. Any tool that requires a high degree of user functionality or interaction like registrations, messaging or content uploading won’t be a good fit for WordPress.

All of those things are possible with WordPress, but they require loads of plugins to get the job done, and probably even some hacking of those plugins. The problems come down the road when the plugins experience updates that don’t align with your custom code. Sounds like a hassle, right? That’s because it is.

Laravel

Similar to WordPress, Laravel has taken the web development community by storm since launching in 2011. Laravel was designed to deal with complex tasks more easily, specifically those included in web applications. Laravel uses a feature-packages architecture based on a set of reusable PHP components/libraries called Symfony.

Now there was a fair amount of jargon in that last sentence, so let’s see if we can unpack it. Basically, Laravel is a coding framework used to guide a universal coding language. A shared language allows developers to share pieces of code in packages, not unlike plugins for WordPress. Unlike WordPress, Laravel has no standard CMS or admin interface, and instead requires custom development and design.

User Action and Functionality

As we mentioned above, Laravel is the best fit for website or applications that involve a lot of user actions like registrations or voting. That’s because it was built to help developers solve complex queries and interactions. Web products that need to process and manage a lot of data, like this IoT project for Nordic Semiconductor, will be best served by a Laravel build.

At Harlo we use Laravel to build our complex product configurators and product selectors. These projects take huge amounts of data and variables and make it easy for customers to filter through and make purchasing decisions. It is a level of functionality that WordPress simply couldn’t handle.

Completely Customized Code

Laravel is able to achieve high levels of functionality because it is a framework rather than a system. Rather than hacking through plugins like in WordPress, you have direct access to original code that will be unaffected by random updates. On the other hand, customized code makes your site or application far more flexible. That means that if you need to add more functionality in the future it’s easier to do so than working with plugins.

What Laravel Can’t Do…

Something we probably wouldn’t suggest for most clients is building their eCommerce store using Laravel. While Laravel can’t definitely handle the functionality, there are too many other out of the box solutions for eCommerce. For clients already using WordPress, we would suggest utilizing their WooCommerce platform, while for most others we’d suggest Shopify as the way to go. If you’re dealing with a huge amount of products and variables, say more than 10,000, it might make sense to build a custom eCommerce site, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

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