Friday, 17 February 2012

The sharpest tool in the toolbox ..

Reference: CMS Technology Web Usage Statistics

The graphic on this website startled me. Why didn't any one tell me? Wordpress is King? I had no idea. Of course, the statistics only measure quantity not quality. Wordpress may have a huge number of sites (really over 60% ?), but are they being viewed and do they provide useful information? How would you or I know? Are they all created by pre-teen web gurus? Are they being maintained? How many big business sites use them? Do they all 'look' like cookie cutter Wordpress websites?

As a local Chamber of Commerce member, would I recommend your company to rely on a generic 'free' webservice? I suppose, if you are OK with the 'possibility' of web outages or service problems. They seem to be easy to create and maintain for the DIYer. For the past decade, I have run my own webserver (using SMEServer) and hosted my own websites (mostly using Joomla for my business sites). For the most part, there have been very few system outages - the only ones of note have been when power was lost to our entire region or when Shaw Internet fell over and lay there twitching for a day or so. Otherwise, I have complete control over my own content and have much greater flexiblity in terms of storage limits and software. My customers live here. They are my neighbors and friends. If my power is out, likely so is theirs and so I can live with that. Meanwhile, I was noting a sub-site I was setting up for the Magrath Chamber Tradeshow ( this past week (hosted by Google for Apps Sites) was broken for a while. The site displayed an error for certain app gadgets that had been installed (from Google). Since they provide the service out of the kindness of their hearts for free to us, I had no clue who to call and start the fix. The problem was resolved a day or so later, but it got me thinking. What is on these sites that I could do without if they decided to discontinue the service or if it suddenly broke or stopped working?

On the other hand, my local webserver is plodding along on a version of linux created in 2006 and last seriously updated way back in 2010 (see with an update being 'worked on' as time permits by a dedicated but unpaid open source volunteer group. I would love to have a newer version of PHP or MySQL available, but seriously hesitate striking off on my own path for a production system. Why fix what is not really broken? I have started looking at replacement systems (Ubuntu Server for example), but have found nothing that comes close to the elegance and simplicity of the SMEServer system for usability. I have a dedicated test computer running Ubuntu Server and all I get is a blank terminal to which I am supposed to type in some arcane command at the command line to create new users and their quotas or to set up domains and the appropriate security. On SMEServer, all I do is log in as Admin and I get a control panel where I can just click and command to my hearts delight. Anything more complex than the screen below makes my head hurt and tempts me to go back to my life long project - the completion of the first draft of my proposed book on 'The Power of Procrastination' ...

Maybe the cloud is now the way to go? Don't you already use gmail, twitter, facebook, youtube, and more. Perhaps I need to rethink this whole thing.

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