Web Design Automation. What is WDA and what does it have to do with content management?
You have all heard of Content (CMS) and Web Content Management Systems (WCMS) but Web Design Automation (WDA) technology is something fairly new. Pioneered around 2007 by various companies (most notably, iRadek Software, owner of the Web Design Automation mark), WDA technology does more than just let you author a single website without knowing how to program (that feat was achieved back in the 1990's by WYSIWYG HTML editors); Web Design Automation allows you to generate unlimited amounts (many) of dynamic, full featured, automatically published, social websites that are each individually administered by their respective owners. Additionally, in some cases the sites created further comprise a Social Network. The textbook definition reads as follows:
Web Design Automation - is the automated creation of dynamic websites that include fully functional data driven structures and presentation services.
The main differences between WDA enabled products, traditional Content Management Systems (CMS) and Web Content Management Systems (WCMS) products are that:
1. The output in the case of a WDA solution is a complete and dynamic website, versus, in most cases a static or semi-dynamic page or group of pages in a management system (that has the ability to make certain pages public).
2. A WDA enabled product can create multiple websites.
3. The websites created by a WDA enabled Web Content Management System can be administered by any individual with the proper credentials (account permissions) to do so.
4. Web Design Automation solutions do not typically allow for group collaboration on content to be published as they are primarily used to generate entire websites and therefore follow more closely with the way a traditional website is edited.
This is all similar to what a Webmaster can offer, just automatically and much faster. Other benefits are that WDA enabled software administration tends to have a lower learning curve than what is needed to become a Webmaster, Web Designer, Database Engineer, Programmer or Information Technology Expert. Non WDA enabled (legacy) CMS / WCMS usually need an experienced Systems Administrator to install, setup and manage the product. Once WDA enabled software has been used to create a website, that software maintains the ability to handle most administrative task automatically. Also remember that the individual websites generated by WDA products are the responsibility of the individual site owners who create the site, as would be the case for any standard website. Furthermore, WDA technology is portable and the same version usually works for a local (single computer), Intranet and Internet / Cloud installation. CMS / WCMS product releases typically can not work anywhere and multiple versions of those products must be used to cover the entire install spectrum. So Web Design Automation, while actually a different type of technology from a CMS, shares many of the same attributes and capabilities. Although there is overlap in all three cases, the points below will help you to understand the immediate benefits of WDA over older generation CMS/WCMS products.
WDA Technology - Benefits?
- Dynamic Websites -vs- Static websites that do not offer database reliant features like media libraries and customizable forms.
- Unlimited Output -vs- Limited amount of sites that must be managed by an Administrator/Webmaster (workload intensive)
- Social Functionality -vs- No ability for an owner from one site to communicate with the owner of another in the same network or a lack of a network structure entirely.
- Single Vendor -vs- Increased support overhead involved with multiple vendor sources, code bases and design practices.
- Deploy Anywhere -vs- Inability to run the same product on the desktop, behind the Firewall and in The Cloud.
- Cloud Optimized -vs- Scalability issues due to the need for multiple installations needed to achieve greater numbers of generated sites.
- Restful API -vs- Proprietary data presentation mechanisms and UI's that do not allow for headless customization.
- Expansion Kits -vs- Inability to take advantage of the millions of free HTML/CSS templates available for public use as well as allowing for the creation of custom widgets.
- Stability and Security -vs- Insecure, Unstable and proven vulnerable code that constantly requires patching and updating. Further adding to overhead and reducing ROE.
|WDA technology, high level benefits versus traditional CMS/WCMS products.
Wait a second; What is a CMS or a WCMS?
A Content Management System is a product that provides you the ability to electronically create, organize and publish documents over a network for public consumption. A Web Content Management System is a product that allows you to construct a website, wherein you may author, and administrate webpages.
WDA powered Web Content Management Systems. Is this the future?
For a long time now, companies have sought to erase the problems associated with web design and those are mainly the time it takes, the cost involved and the complexity faced to try and get all the features the website owner wants or needs. Remember the old saying "There are three choices, fast, cheap and good. You can pick two". Ideally, any best web content management system, would be cheap and allow you to build good websites, fast. A solution that can be described as such exist but only as a direct result of the development of new generation technology, Now, this newer generation technology is moving even further into the future by incorporating other advances like Artificial Intelligence and you will soon see scores of companies that are adding to the development of WDA. Rest assured that the future of web design will be one powered by automated solutions.
What about WebMastery? Automation kills Webmasters!
From a Webmaster's viewpoint, WDA enabled Web Content Management products drastically reduce the workload associated with creating, hosting, publishing, updating and administrating websites. Those steps have simply been automated and additionally, the majority of the administrative workload can usually be passed to the individual site Owner / Administrator. Remember that a Webmaster and a Website Administrator are usually different people. You see one to get a site created and published, then you see the other to keep it running the way you want it to be run. Webmasters have a limit to how much they can do and a limit as to how many customers they can do it for. This is a classic problem built into the centralized management scheme used in most Content Management Systems, web capable or not.
A Web Content Management System means that a single Webmaster can create more sites for more customers in a shorter time. The remaining issue in that scenario is: What about administration and updates. This is where the problem described previously starts to materialize. Web Design Automation technology steps in here and allows the Webmaster to off-load that responsibility to almost anyone, including the actual site owner, who because of WDA can do updates and change things instantly, without special skills and whenever they want, without having to ask or pay anyone. This means that a Webmaser using a WDA enabled product can service even more clients, faster, while delivering more features and simultaneously reducing his/her workload in direct comparison to any other method.
So, for the typical sub $1000 customer, a Webmaster can produce sites in fractions of the time required by any other method while providing the advanced features the market demands. Traditionally, even if using a Web Content Management System like Joomla or WordPress, the Webmaster had to construct the site and add modules or turn on additional features. With WDA products, everything is already on and ready for use as soon as a site is generated. So there is no technical wizardry necessary. All of this actually means much less frustration for everyone involved and much increased satisfaction overall. It is the sub $1,000 client that has the hardest time getting what they want and they are the biggest segment of the market. The Webmasters who can not provide the features and functionality needed by this segment in the time frames necessary or for the price point have been losing the battle. This is a major reason why the CMS / WCMS was created in the first place. WDA allows the Webmaster more options and more time to focus on other areas, like runing a profitable business and providing the best overall customer experience.
Web Design Automation technology is not here to phase out an industry, it was invented to ensure the industry has a longevity of decades to come. The take away from here is two-fold: 1. Content Management should not be a chore. 2. There should be some value in all of this for the Webmaster who provides services to the sub $1000 client. The latest generation of WDA capable tools help ensure there is. Hopefully we beat that horse sufficiently.
This does not spell the end of the Webmaster, it spells a new beginning.
What about using CMS / WCM's for business? Is time really money?
If in fact you are a Webmaster and you are willing to accept that automated tools are not trying to phase you out, then you may find them suitable as tools you can use to enhance your efficiency and that allow you to service more of the lower end market while saving you time and effort; which allows you to spend more time searching for and servicing high end clients.
The above may sound like having and eating your cake but it is not. You will still have to work and you will need to understand your market and your capabilities. A WDA enable CMS / WCMS allows you to focus your time providing services to the more lucrative high-end custom market, while delivering what is required. This is because you no longer have to spend so much time on the "bread and butter", lower end.
Automatically being able to deliver feature packed dynamic websites to the masses turns you into any other public utility. People need electricity, plumbing, connectivity, websites etc, etc. Having to labor to develop and deploy basic or even static sites that you must then upgrade via module after module and patch after patch, turns you into another slave to the rhythm.
Choose a legacy Content Management System if you prefer one outcome. Chose a Web Design Automation enable solution for the other.
CMS/WCMS features -vs- advertising "mumbo jumbo". Explained.
Which one, which one? They all sound so good.
First of all, features are characteristics of a product that describe its appearance, components, and functional capabilities that provide benefit to a user of that product. A very clear example would be a particular car that has a very efficient and economical engine in direct comparison to a similar car in the same price range that is sold as a competitor. The engine, which is integral to the car and comes from the cars original manufacturer as part of the car is a feature. An after-market engine which did not come with the car but could be purchased for the car, even from the same manufacturer would be an attribute that can be applied to that model car.
Now that we have cleared that up we will point out the following: Simplicity is a feature IF it is built into a product by the original manufacturer. A CMS / WCMS that requires any skill level beyond reading, understanding then pointing and clicking, is not simple. If you need an additional thing to add on to the product from someone else or you can buy an additional module that will simplify the product or make it do what you want, then the product itself can not be called simple. In other word's "if it requires an add-on it's not simple".
Words like "flexibility" and "freedom" do not describe product features as they are subjective and not fact based. An ad that offers you the "freedom" to do this or the "flexibility" to do that, is just simply trying to influence your purchase by stirring your emotion. That is what we call "mumbo jumbo". Are you following now?
The way that legacy (older generation) technology is re-marketed in the face of new solutions is simple. You must "say" that your legacy solution already has most of the attributes and benefits that the new products you are competing against, bring to market. This buys you time to make improvements, which buys you additional time and so on, until finally your new generation solution is ready. This is very confusing to the majority of people who may still be buying a legacy solution that has been marketed in a new way. Another thing to consider is that there are many people out there who are using a legacy product and simply "cheerlead" for that product, which causes more people to continue to purchase the popular but still older generation product. All of this can be avoided if you know what you want to do and why you are looking for a solution in the first place.
The bottom line on this section is very simple as well; if you want a Content Management System where one person or a group of people have to manage the system as administrators and can collaborate on content then you should be fine with a CMS or WCMS. If you want to make or sell many Dynamic Websites (have features like Contact Forms, User Management etc built in automatically), fast, that each perform like traditional websites and have typically one Webmaster / Owner that administrates the site, then you want a Web Design Automation tool. See, there is some overlap but as long as you can see past the marketing, you can select the right choice for you. Remember, there is no Best Web Content Management System, there is only the best one for the job you want done.
Why are you educating me on this topic anyway?
I used to work seven days a week, sometimes 18 hours a day trying to build up a digital empire comprised of website properties and domain names. Sometimes I would find myself in the situation wherein the various content management and web design solutions I was using were just not able to do what I needed. My problem 15 years ago was that there was no alternative technologies to use, there was no automation. There was only me and the willpower to make it all work no matter what. So as a former Webmaster, Web Designer, Search Engine Optimization expert, Domain-er, Internet Marketing guru, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, Salesperson, Social Marketing expert, Content Manager and all around InterNERD, I eventually decided that I would post some small bits of useful information like this page and for those who wanted to know more, from a person that really did it, on this planet and in this dimension on the actual Internet and was successful.., for those willing enough to fill out the form, I would tell them what I know so they did not have to try and fail like 90% of the people that want to create some website to do something they need or want done.
So now you want me to fill out a survey?
Yes. Relax it's only 4 very short questions and you only have to type your answer for 1 of them so you will be done in roughly one minute. We are collecting information to find out what web content management system / products people are out there using and if they would recommend those products to others. We can also make recommendations and can return to you our suggestion on what to try if you supply us your email on the survey form.
Thank you for reading this page and I wish you all the best.
-Best Web Content Management System Author