Insight and opinion

Are you content with your CMS?

Craft 3 is now a thing, and it's pretty cool. In fact we love Craft so much it's our CMS of choice. So let's discuss why Craft will take the throne from WordPress, and why Craft 3 will be the catalyst.

Intuitive Editing

Craft has always had a flair for User Experience in the Control Panel. We've noticed a drop in client support calls like 'How do I do this on my website?'. That's good for everyone.

We believe that good UI design explains itself. When building sites we prioritise usability from an Admin point of view, so clients can develop their content over time with minimal friction.

Extensibility

There's a great community for Craft. Developers love working with it because of its succinct and modern codebase. This produces a positive ecosystem for plugin development and community support.

Although Craft CMS comes out the box with the tools to manage your site and it's content, there's a plethora of plugins on the market for extending your site's functionality.

Craft vs WordPress

We've been WordPress evangelists for several years. Times change and we've shifted allegiance to Craft for a couple of key reasons:

  • WordPress was designed, and still is, a blogging platform, most serious businesses' online marketing requires functionality that just doesn't come out of the box. WordPress often requires a number of external plugins, adding bloat and complexity to an already unruly codebase.

  • WordPress CMS is mediocre at best when it comes to interface design. Writing should be a free-flowing exercise where content delivers itself from brain to page. Just finding where to write and how it will look once posted is a convoluted process. Craft 3 delightfully solves with the Live Preview feature, coupled with Redactor rich text editing.

  • Craft 3 is expensive. A single license can set you back $299. I hear you recoil. Why am I mentioning this when I'm so clearly biased in favour of Craft? Well, it's good to know before you start a Craft project, but mainly it's to pay for the product development of Craft itself. We are firm believers in getting what you pay for and we see real value in professional content editing software.

It was a truly collaborative process that has already delivered fantastic results for us and our business and making us stand out in a crowded market.

Dave Coghlan Head of Marketing @ OpenWrks

Components are the future

Our methodology of Component-Based Web Design has been summarised by Lucy Williams in a previous post. It's how we design and build.

Craft supports this fully with the powerful Matrix field where content editors decide how a page is laid out by piecing together bespoke built components.

This gives the client flexibility. Not being confined to the walls of a 'template' whilst removing the danger of producing an off-brand or inconsistent page.

Craft 3 Black On Black Website

Evolution

So Craft 3's out now, in fact, you're looking at it. We've guinea-pigged our own site for a Craft 3 build and it's been smooth.

What separates Craft 3 from 2 for us is the integration of Composer as a dependency manager. For those that aren't versed in web jargon, that means that any external code the site requires to run is compiled and installed automatically. It means that plugins can be installed, and configured via the CMS by anyone with the Plugin Store.

Technology

With version 3 we've seen the introduction of PHP7 as the server scripting language. For those that don't know, it's approximately twice as fast as the stuff you're used to. As a developer I've also enjoyed the introduction of Twig 2 as a templating language, we can now benefit from more concise and maintainable template files.

Conclusion

I'm confident Craft will maintain it's position as a dominant force in the CMS market, and further serve the needs for well designed and reliable UX both front-end and back.

Our clients running Craft 2 have been nothing but satisfied. We'll keep you posted on how Craft 3 is received.