Updated: May 11
This blog intends not to examine in fine detail the pros and cons of these two website development platforms but rather to give a brief overview and perhaps serve as a conversation starting point for developers and those aspiring to enter the web design arena.
Remember Morpheus' timeless Matrix quote?
"You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad..."
That's exactly how I felt for many years, thinking there has to be a way of developing great websites without having to rely on coders to interpret my designs. And it looks like it's finally happened. The latest offering of drag-and-drop web tools arrived a while ago, but the question is, are they up to scratch?
Wix® versus WordPress®
Wix: user-friendly, drag & drop website builder that doesn’t require coding skills.
It features a great set of tools for building websites from templates or from scratch.
WordPress: a web building platform heavyweight with a massive developer global community. It offers the finest control over every aspect of web development, neatly incorporating HTML, CSS, PHP, Java etc.
Wix: a relatively easy tool to learn if one is familiar with page layout apps and happens to be web-terminology savvy.
WordPress: a web building platform heavyweight offering the finest control over every aspect of web development. However, with WP, what one sees in the construction window is not necessarily what one sees on the published site.
WordPress is an open-source platform supported by a massive developer community. This means that any coder should be able to create their own themes or plugins for others to use. The quality of these plugins could be great or could be rubbish. Based on experience thus far, there is more rubbish than good ones.
Securi, a leading WordPress security firm, conducted a study of over 11,000 hacked websites and found that 75% of them were built with WordPress. In their report, they state:
“[The wide WordPress] adoption brings about serious challenges to the internet as a whole as it introduces a large influx of unskilled webmasters and service providers responsible for the deployment and administrations of these sites.”
Wix is not an open-source platform, meaning their code is not available for user modification. To many, this may be a problem, but not to those who want to build websites but cannot code. Only Wix development team can develop Wix tools. This results in Wix tools being fully integrated into their platform, far less opened to fragmentation, and less likely to be a security risk or make a site do things it’s not meant to do.
All web development costs considered, running a Wix site is a cost-effective and hassle-free option when considering the development time, web hosting, robust web security, the cost of plugins etc. Without getting too much into finer detail, Wix seems to tick a lot more boxes for a small to medium-sized business than does WordPress. Here's an example.
Whenever WordPress or 3rd party plugin updates take place, the webmaster must update their WordPress site too. The reputable theme and plugin developers will automatically update their products, but not all will do so.
Wix is a WYSIWYG platform offering drag-and-drop pictures, paragraphs, slideshows, shopping cart buttons, etc., directly into the website builder. How design elements look in a website builder is how they will look on the published site.
Anyone who’s seen Matrix movie may remember Cypher talking to Neo about lines of green code on his computer screen:
Cypher’s skills are mindblowing but unfathomable to many. Following this train of thought, many non-coding designers feel great frustration for not being able to develop. It is said that one can pose either a visual or a coding mindset. Rarely does a single person develop both to a high enough standard to be taken seriously.
Early computers could be operated only by highly skilled experts. The only way to get a computer to do something useful was to feed it lines of machine code. But over time, interfacing with programmes became easier and more accessible to those who were less tech-savvy. GUI indeed changed everything.
New technology empowers creativity and brings in new talent. GUI brought a whole new breed of designers who no longer needed to know about coding or arcane things such as the moveable led type to produce great page layouts or stunning typographic work.
Apps such as Wix hold great promise. It started as an interesting web-building novelty, a toy even, but it has evolved beyond recognition.
It still has some way to go to surpass traditional web coding tools (such as Wix sites being a bit laggy if one "strays" too far from Wix templates), but it’s getting damn close.
I can see the day when we’ll be looking back at times of line coding the same way we look at the quaintness of MS-DOS.
Just as MS-DOS turned out not to be the future of computing, neither is coding, as we know it, the future of web development.