Works great … until it doesn’t.

When you want a car, do you build it yourself or do you buy one from an automaker? Unless you’re a car fanatic (with lots of time, money, and garage space), chances are you’re going to buy a car from a dealer. Not even the manufacturer, but a dealer. Not, ahem, that I’m sure what added value the dealer really has, but hey, you can’t really buy a car from the manufacturer even if you wanted to.*

If you’re a custom coder, then custom code is great fun: powerful, flexible and beautiful. If you’re not, it’s not.

My kids go to a school where I built the website. In WordPress. I mean, really, what else, right? In this way, anyone and I mean anyone, can access, update, and maintain the website. Works great. People need to learn WordPress but that’s not hard, even for non-techies.

But our contact management system that manages all of the kids and parents and cross-relational database connections is built in, well, I don’t really know what it’s built in, I’ve never been “in there.” I quote “in there” because I don’t know if there is an administrative interface. I think it’s just pages of code. So how do you edit that? Hmm, maybe some coding software that lets you edit … pages of code. I don’t know, I try to stay away from that.

So how would a PTA parent member access or change or do much of anything? Here’s the quick answer: they can’t. I didn’t have an answer for the friend who asked me. She asked me why we didn’t use Salesforce (which we have for free I think because we’re a school) and it was because the custom coder wanted to build it all in … custom code.

So that’s where we are. It all works great in the eyes of the custom coder. But for everyone else? Yeah, there’s that.

Custom code is great ... if you're a custom coder.

Custom code is great … if you’re a custom coder.

* You used to be able to order a Mercedes and go pick it up at the plant in Germany, don’t know if that’s still possible. Sounded like fun.