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Best practices for adding database backend

Hello all - I am a new Webflow user. My goal is to build a prototype site that includes notes for developers. Then I would like to let someone do the design piece before hiring someone to add database functionality to the whole site. The features we need are more complex than what can be handled using the native CMS.

My plan was to allow someone to add php code to the site once it had been designed. Is this a practice that will work? Or is there a more efficient method?

I’m fine to research on this forum but would appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction.

Thank you
Ray

Hi @RayInBC,
While you could undoubtedly convert the files to PHP, then add code as needed to build dynamic pages with a database backend, you may wish to examine a backend framework that can offer features used on most common sites/situations so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

For a recommendation, one would need to consider the nature of the data, search requirements, access control, user authentication, etc…; as well as the skills/experience of the developer.

Thank you for the assistance. My experience has always led me to choose custom over “out of the box” solutions whenever possible. Money usually being the deciding factor :slight_smile:

We definitely will need user authentication and access controls. We will have a customer base that will be placing order requests and need the ability to monitor the status of the order. We want to include some logic that is based on previous orders - such as the average time between orders so we can improve our route assembly system. Would also need all the basic CRUD routines for admin staff to manage products, customers etc. We also want to include a UPS or FedEx type of routine for pickups using a barcode for items and signatures to confirm pickups etc. - all done from smartphones or tablets where possible. Paperless is the goal.

Are you aware of anything that can be adapted? I’m not planning on doing it myself unless I find a product that will work. I’ve been looking for sometime at some products but while there are some very good ones out there they all come up just short of what we need. But I’m open to any suggestions.

Cheers
Ray

No problem. I worked with many CMS systems over the years in this industry. About 8 years ago, I settled into Processwire (PHP based open source content management framework) as my goto solution when limitations were not acceptable. I would not even classify any current popular “CMS” as an equal.

I have many clients that run niche businesses where available cloud solutions just don’t fit their models. For them I built custom apps (desktop, tablet, mobile) that manage the backend and push data (products, stock, variants, images) up to the website with direct integration, REST and now using GraphQL with PW. E-Commerce is handled via Stripe, Authorize.net, or Braintree. I prefer to use token based billing (keep the PCI Compliance with the gateway provider).

Webflow certainly fits the bill for most, and I love it. When it does not meet the requirements, my pick is processwire.com for the website backend, with whatever ERP they have or I build.

Just keep this in mind; clients need to have significant budgets allocated when you roll custom.

Nice part about webflow is you can quickly prototype a solution the client can “SEE” and buy into quickly.

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Hi Jeff - thank you for the information, much appreciated.

I looked over the processwire site and will do a bit more research. My first thoughts are that I still need more complex logic for my site and at the end of the day I think having access to the data for reporting or more detailed calculations is my preference.

It seems like most of the sites I looked at are primarily sales or content based sites that don’t need much updating once its built. Is that your view of it? Or is it capable of a more complicated site with conditional processing and query based pages?

I really like webflow for exactly what you described - the ability to build something our designer can use to see exactly what we are trying to accomplish.

I’m going through your other suggestions as well.

Cheers
Ray

A follow up question - :grinning: - is it possible to have a mobile phone app that accesses a database that drives our website? So for example could I have a phone app that would offer an extremely simple way for clients to order a pickup (almost a single button click) and have that request update the main DB. I’m building something similar into our website - but some people seem to like the simplicity of phone apps.

Food for thought I guess - but perhaps an add on once our site is done.

Do you have a site for your work?

Thanks again
Ray

Look at the API. Then you can see what it is capable of. It can easily be extended with any PHP code.

Headless for sure. Manage data in the backend, serve JSON to the front. There is a GraphQL module you can use.

Nope. Most of what I do falls under NDA’s and my word of mouth business is strong.

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