I'm an experienced Java developer who is just starting up a project for an NGO. I will be working on the project for at least 6 months, following which the NGO will have to pay or find a volunteer to maintain the project. Seeing as they already have people working on their website in PHP, I figured PHP was the obvious choice to make sure the skills are still available (it is webby) - eliminated Java because Java devs are typically expensive. Unfortunately I have next to zero experience with proper PHP development (just a few months spending a small percentage of my time on a Drupal project without any real coding). What are some things I can do to ensure that the code I leave behind is maintainable by a relatively low-skilled PHP developer (eg a teenager wanting to make some holiday cash)? Do I go with a CMS? Are Drupal developers cheap? Any other CMS / Framework I should look at?

Background: the project is a website that people will search for educational information, with some simple user-management to only allow some users to create content, restrictions to specific content-types etc.

The CMS vs write myself question is not the only thing I'm interested in hearing. I'm also interested in any tips about code style, anything you think my Java experience would push me towards that is going to make it difficult for the hypothetical volunteer etc. There's probably things about this scenario that I haven't thought through - so anything related to keeping maintenance costs low would be appreciated.

closed as too broad by user22815, Ixrec, user40980, durron597, Bart van Ingen Schenau Aug 31 '15 at 12:07

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  • I'm still interested in hearing about the code style side of things! – iftheshoefritz Dec 7 '10 at 9:45

Definitely go with a well-known CMS like Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla. They all have very large communities and therefore plenty of developers and developer resources.

Trying to build your own will lead to a good deal of pain :-)

  • Joomla is awful, go with drupal. There's a larger base and it's evolved more than Joomla. – Malfist Dec 1 '10 at 15:36
  • Drupal is awful, go with WordPress. There are at least 17 reasons to support this. mikeschinkel.com/blog/… – Marek Dec 14 '10 at 10:12
  • Ignore the well meaning advice from @Malfist and @Marek ;) and prototype with each of them. Find what suits your needs the best :) – Martijn Verburg Dec 14 '10 at 10:29
  • Martijn Verburg is absolutely correct. Find which one suites you the best and use it. – Malfist Dec 15 '10 at 14:23
  • They're all awful, I went with ExpressionEngine :). I kid, of course. My clients were using EE for another site, so I stuck with that. +1 - but I'm still holding out for discussion of other aspects. Once I'm done I may write up my own answer. – iftheshoefritz Jul 2 '11 at 10:19

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