WordPress vs .NET app?

The time has come to update OCModShop.com.  We’ve been running basically the same engine since 2002, which is a custom .NET application writeen in .NET 1.1.  I’ve been writing enhancements and band-aids to get more functionality over the years, but the World Wide Web has matured to the point that the application needs to be completely re-written.

I’ve been looking at WordPress because it is an “out of the box” solution that is very powerful and extensible, but I’m concerned that is isn’t as custoimizable as I may need. Many sites that use WP frankly all look the same, which may be because many webmasters aren’t designers and are fine with the “canned” look. 

On one hand, why re-invent the wheel when WP does a lot of things that make a successful blog.  WP can be extended to be a news manager, newsletter manager, gallery, have postbacks, rss feeds, and many other features.  This CMS has been tested and many bugs have been eliminated.  If I write a custom .NET application then I will have to debug it myself, and deal with other growing pains.

The main thing I need to do is: manage the site… My time has been split between fixing and enhancing the site rather than managing and writing content. 

If I do WordPress then I may fix several issues, but I may be stuck at a particular level.  Some really really big sites have custom engines which appear to have a more flexible user experience than WordPress can deliver.  One example of this type of site is Gamespot… I can’t even begin to imagine how they organize their content into a CMS.

Either way, doing .NET or WP, there will be a steep learning curve.  I’m just trying to figure out which road I want to go down, and which one will have the best results.   If I do WordPress, then I’m also going to have to convert all of my content over.

Advantages of WordPress (for me)

  • built-in image uploading and embedding engine
  • automatic rss feeds
  • auto image resize and watermarking
  • built-in social networking support
  • built-in search engine
  • built-in “related articles” engine
  • SEO-friendly URLs

Disadvantages of WordPress (for me)

  • images cannot be organized into categories
    All images for posts within the same month are thrown into the same directory (”/2008/12/” instead of “/reviews/motherboards/” for example)
  • seperate pages
    There are some plugins that can split articles into 2 or more pages, but I need something more extensible (each review should have sub-tabs like “specifications”, “article”, “gallery” and “comments”)
  • dynamically changing headers
    I want the theme to change based on a particular holiday, like Christmas.
  • Multiple RSS feeds
    Right now I have 20 RSS feeds, broken up into categories.  Not sure if WP can handle this
  • thumbnails on announcements
  • forced into “widgets”
    Most extensibility seems to be through widgets, which seem to be stuck to the widget bar.
  • Archiving
    WP doesn’t seem to handle archives like I currently have set up
  • News
    Each individual news item is handled like a post, which can clog up the CMS.  If I integrated news with my articles then I have like 40 categories to weed through, which can confuse users. 
  • Limited to MySQL
    I’m used to Microsoft SQL.  I have finally found interfaces that make managing MySQL easier, but just doesn’t have nearly the same features of Microsoft SQL.
Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.