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The web shop I work at does a majority of their work with turnkey website systems, ie. Wordpress, Drupal, Business Catalyst, e-Commerce platforms etc. to deliver websites to clients.

I'm interested in getting into more custom back-end work. Is there any significant opportunity to do custom application development (or otherwise so-called "enterprise" development) with third-party turnkey driven websites? I want to be generally good as a programmer, and not just be good at being the guy who writes Joomla modules or tweaks a Wordpress plugin.

And a flip side to my first question, is it true that web jobs involving build-from-scratch work are largely declining in favor of jobs that require knowledge with out-of-the-box content systems? If so, how are PHP design patterns and custom architectures still very hot as topics of discussion?

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closed as not a real question by Robert Harvey, ChrisF Sep 14 '11 at 22:16

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Your third paragraph is confusing. You would do well to focus attention to the primary question you want answered, rather than diffuse your question by pointing to related questions. –  Eric Wilson Sep 14 '11 at 20:44
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1 Answer

I'm going to break this up for you into a few sections because you're raising a few points.

Open Source deliverable CMS packages like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc, cover a lot of use cases, but the nature of their deployment is that the content management portion is usually one sliver of the functions and/or portals it has to serve. I think maybe you haven't been exposed to these sorts of environments, where Wordpress will be the blog engine and Magento will be handling the eCommerce, and there's a custom built product in between that marries all of the processes together.

That being said, there's a TON of built-from-scratch work, especially for these types of situations. Open Source (or paid software for that matter) very rarely satisfies the needs of every company ever, especially when you talk about manufacturing-based businesses and similar industries. I find that out-of-the-box work on the popular packages is very common, but I think a good programmer or team uses the engine and really delivers something that meets the business needs, not adapting the business needs for the software. There's a very big difference between the two.

Design patterns are really important, there's no denying that - but I think the introduction of MVC based frameworks has really morphed the thinking of PHP development. If you'd really like to continue educating yourself as a programmer, I highly suggest getting in-depth with an MVC framework and building some stuff from scratch.

Also, regarding WordPress plugins - that can potentially be development hell. WordPress' architecture, in my opinion, is really starting to show its age. I hope there's some thought being put into its future, but I'd stay sharp on pretty much everything else either way.

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