The Definitive Answer, Explained

Posted by Ross Poulton on Fri 11 January 2013 #technical decisions #business #django

Yesterday I posted that Django was almost certainly suitable to use for your project. I've had some minor push-back, so I thought I'd explain a little.

When beginning a project, many businesses appear to spend an inordinate amount of time making technical decisions that are often outside their area of expertise. One such decision might be from a small business owner wanting to decide whether to build their shopping cart with Django, Rails, or PHP.

The hard truth is that for the most part, this decision doesn't matter. All three of the above can be used to successfully build exactly the sort of shopping cart that you want, no matter how bespoke.

An article I came across this week talked about the same theme but in a different context. It's by Forbes' Gene Marks, and is titled What Won't Tell You. The message here is that no matter what CRM solution you implement, you'll get results if you implement it well - and that means getting the right people to build/design it, getting your staff on board, and making sure somebody owns the system.

This applies to your website project, too.

  1. Ensure somebody at your company owns the website and makes decisions based on outcomes rather than technology
  2. Ensure you're working with somebody competent to build your website. Don't fuss over whether they use PHP, Django, Rails, or otherwise: defer to their experience (it's what you're paying for, after all)
  3. Embrace what you build.

My feeling is that when you're building something bespoke, #2 is the most important: make sure you work with somebody you trust. If you aren't able to let go of some control and let them make technical decisions for you, then your project is already doomed.

Of course there are exceptions here. If you're a Rails developer, just build with Rails (unless you want to try Django). If you know for a fact that a particular technology can't work for you, then don't use it. But if you aren't at all technical, then don't try to make technical decisions that impact your business: please find somebody who can make that decision for you.

After all, you wouldn't expect a web developer to tell you how to layout your retail store, would you?