The intent of this article is not to examine in detail the pros and cons of these two platforms but rather to give a fair overview of both. And perhaps serve as a conversation 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 must be a way of building great websites without relying on coders to interpret my designs. And then it happened. The 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 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 has a good grasp of page layout and interactivity. And also happens to be web-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 excellent, or they could be rubbish. Based on experience thus far, there seems to be 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 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 its code is not available for users to modify. To old-school coders, this may be a problem, but not to those who want to build websites but cannot code. As a result, only Wix development team can develop Wix tools. This results in Wix tools being fully integrated into their platform, far less open 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 detail, Wix seems to tick many more boxes for a small to medium-sized business than WordPress. Here's an example.
Whenever WordPress or 3rd party plugin updates occur, the web admin must also update their WordPress site. 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 the Matrix movie may remember Cypher talking to Neo about lines of green code on his computer screen:
Cypher's ability to see code as its visual outcome is hard to grasp. Just as code is to designers unable to code. It is said that one can possess either a visual or a coding mindset. I sure haven't met many designers who developed both skills to a high standard.
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 code. But over time, interfacing with programmes became more manageable and accessible to less tech-savvy users. GUI indeed changed everything.
New technology empowers creativity and brings in new talent. For example, GUI brought a new breed of designers who no longer needed to know about coding or arcane tools 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.