Amber Weinberg: Freelance Web Developer specializing in semantic WordPress, Mobile, CSS and HTML5 Development

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You Don’t Need A Framework If You Have A Good Developer

Posted on 02/17/10 in blog, development about , , , , ,

Everyday I come across new CSS or WordPress frameworks that people claim you “must” use to be a good developer. I disagree strongly.¬†For an idea of what some of these frameworks are, you can check out Thesis Theme, and SpeckyBoy’s post on the top 12 CSS frameworks.

A lot of clients try to push using a framework, because they believe that it will save the developer time to code, therefor saving the client money, and it’s better coding and great for SEO. Let’s look at why I believe all of these are false.

It Will Save You Coding Time

How will someone else’s code save you time? No matter how good another developer’s code is, it’s never like mine and therefor takes time to adapt to it and use it. You’re also going to have to devote time to deleting parts of the code and files you don’t need.

A better solution? Make your own bare bones framework. Include the code you know you’ll need in every site, like the head information, includes, navigation and footer.

This way, you won’t have much to delete or change, but it actually will save you time when beginning new projects, and the code will obviously fit in with the rest of your code in terms of style, spacing and organization.

It’s Better Coding

If you’re using a terrible developer who produces bad code, you probably shouldn’t use them if you’re actually worried about clean code. A framework isn’t going to help, because a bad developer is still going to create bad code within the framework itself.

Also, cleaner code is subjective to an extent. For example, I believe CSS that places the entire rule on one line is cleaner and easier to read than CSS that places each element on a separate line. For other coders however, the opposite is true.

Another reason I hate this assumption is that it assumes all developers are bad developers. I’ve spent over 10 years learning my art – and I believe no one can do it better than me.

Why would I want to trust my code to another developer? What does that say to my clients? (Well my code stinks so I’m going to use someone else’s and charge you the same amount?)

Of course, my code changes over time. The way I coded a WordPress site 4 months ago, is nothing like the way I would code it today. I’m constantly improving, adapting and changing my code with every new site I make. Does a framework do that?

It’s Better For SEO

This is almost the same as believing the code in a framework is better. I’ve never seen a framework that has better SEO juice than my own code.

Good SEO in coding is using semantics, validating (although this affects it indirectly), having clean code and the proper use of title tags, alt tags and links. Saying a framework has great SEO is once again like saying the developer you’re using doesn’t know what he’s doing (so why are you using him?).

Just Have a Good Developer

It’s not that I’m taking the idea of using a framework personally, ¬†instead of my own optimized coding (or maybe I am). But if you don’t trust that your developer is giving you the best, cleanest and most SEO-friendly code you can get, well why are you using him?

Perhaps it’s time to do a little research and find a better developer. Look for a developer who talks about semantics and SEO practices in their code. Just because you hear on the internet that this or that is better than hand-written code, doesn’t mean it is.

An Extra Reason to Hate Thesis Theme

I don’t want to get into Thesis too much, since we have a great post from Bill coming up on the subject, but I really hate Thesis. Talk about a time-waster. The theme itself costs money, a major red flag as you still have to hire a developer to customize it.

Sure, you have more customization options in Thesis, but it’s a pain to customize beyond that. The files are completely backwards and out of line of the typical WordPress file structure, which means there’s a learning curve to this framework. (That’s more money a client has to pay…)

Also, Thesis does not like custom functionality and you’ll fight with it until you give up. Try having the first image in a post show up on another page – Thesis doesn’t like that.

Do You Use a Framework?

Why do you use frameworks? Or, what are your thoughts on using them?

Amber Weinberg specializes in clean and semantic HTML5, CSS3, responsive and WordPress development. She has over 15 years of coding experience and is super cool to work with. Amber is available for freelance work, so why not hire her for your next project?

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