Websites and PHP frameworks

Following the revamp of my writing blog, Seasonal Plume, I’ve been itching to do something similar for not just Indiscripts (I’m still working on a design study; it’ll get there sometime, maybe this weekend?) but also Indisguise, my primary domain (and where this site is available, of course), which has had that rather sad and somber-looking temporary page up until now. Previously I had hosting information up there (as I do host on Indisguise) but because I’m looking into something less “mass-produced”, I wasn’t keen on keeping that information up. Hence, hello temporary page.

I’ve been working on studies for Indisguise, and I’m actually on my second already because I “grew out” of the first finished study even before I was able to code it (sad, I know — that’s the state of my affairs these past few months). A lot of the delay, I believe, stems from my ambivalence about what exactly to use in terms of backend for the domain, which I plan to use as my portfolio (that was originally the plan, when I conceived Indisguise soooo long ago, when the actual domain name was still unavailable). I have the following choices:

  1. Use plain (X)HTML; PHP just for skinning/headers/footers. It’s just a portfolio after all. It’s not like it’s going to be drastically difficult to maintain, plus having it use plain XHTML (and some PHP for footers and headers and stuff — can’t live without that) means it will be rather easy to update (provided the content structure doesn’t DRASTICALLY change).
  2. Use WordPress as a CMS/blog script. Can you tell I like WordPress? I do, I really do. Only, I don’t really plan to blog there. I don’t know what I’d blog there! I have a writing blog, I have a tech/dev blog, and I have my personal blog/journal. What more do I need? At this point, none. If ever, I need a place to have all my public posts show up — that’s the closest thing to a blog I could show at Indisguise, I think. I don’t need the blog. And to use WP just as a CMS… well, it’s possible, but then WP is a blog script, not a CMS script.
  3. Use a CMS. Alright, then I should actually use a CMS. Only, pardon me, but I have NO idea what CMS scripts are really worth looking at these days. And I can’t spend hours tinkering with a few couple CMS scripts right now. (If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them.)
  4. Make my own CMS and study an existing framework. I’d long been thinking that I should really keep abreast of what’s happening around regarding web development by actually getting my hands dirty and trying out all these new PHP frameworks that’s cropping up (especially since Zend is making its own PHP framework). Only, I’ve always sort of put that aside because of lack of time; plus, I have always been very hands-on when it comes to development. I learned PHP primarily because I had an idea for a hobby website, and I needed PHP. (If JSP hosting had been cheap, I daresay I might not have tried learning PHP.) I sat down, I had an idea, and I went and worked for it. That’s the same approach I need for learning a framework, I think, and I just realized that hey, I could do a small sort of CMS for Indisguise and learn a framework! Only, that will probably take even longer than just using an existing CMS, or hand-coding everything.

I’m still undecided about what to do with Indisguise, but this afternoon I felt all fired up and did a quick scan of existing PHP frameworks I can probably take a look at. Well, alright, I only had time to take a look at one: CakePHP. It looks quite interesting, and I might end up using it. We’ve touched on the Model View Controller architecture way back in college, I think, but that’s such a long time ago that I don’t really remember very well (theories theories theories…most never really sink home to me until I actually try them out). What other PHP frameworks are there? Suggestions are appreciated.

In any case, whatever I decide for Indisguise, I think I will try out one of these frameworks soon. Maybe I’ll try a bit of them all; I’ll let you guys know of how they go. ;)

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