Marcel Kapfer

CMS Search Update: The Shortlist Problem

2023-11-29

698 words, ~ 4 min reading time

web cms

Note: This was initially published on Scribbles, my previous “micro blog”. I discontinued it and moved the contents into this blog on 2023-12-05.

I just published the shortlist of my search for a new CMS for my photography website. There are five systems (in no particular order) that are on it: Kirby, WordPress, TYPO3, Contao, and Statmic (if you’re curious about how I got there, you can read my other articles on that topic).

One might think “This is easy. Five is not so much. Spend a few hours with each and see which you like most”. But, of course, it is not as easy. At least not for me since I have one problem with each one which I cannot resolve or ignore/accept (at least not now).

Kirby

A really interesting solution and it has the potential (of course with some initial effort) to build a system that exactly reflects what I want to do and that I could precisely adjust to my workflow. But there is one thing that bugs me. And no, it’s not the price or the license per se.

It is a proprietary project of a single company.

And I saw a few other CMS with the exact same story: great features, modern, good UX. But most of them got (practically) deprecated by the company behind them. I would like to avoid this fate.

WordPress

As I wrote in the shortlist post: Using plugins, you can do everything with WordPress. There is just one tiny catch:

I do not like plugins.

Not that that there is anything wrong with the concept of plugins nor with many of the plugins out there and there was not a single CMS that I could use without plugins. But the sheer amount of plugins possibly necessary for the website I intend to create scares me. I’m quite sure that some will get deprecated and that I would need to put in the time to migrate to another solution. Not a nice though. I would like to avoid that as well.

Contao

This software has some really nice approaches and is very configurable from its backend (including layouting and theming). But….

Why not just use TYPO3?

Regarding the type of system and its features, it is very similar to TYPO3. In some circumstances, it is a bit easier to configure using the backend (but this could also be seen as more complex). But generally, the backend is way worse IMO and as far as I could see the template development is by far not as developer friendly. Additionally, I have some experience in creating TYPO3 templates and sites.

TYPO3

A system I “often” opted for in the past and I have still a TYPO3 website running as of now. I need to update the self-created theme every one and a half years when a new major version comes out (due to the update period you could also always skip one major). The problem is just:

It’s an enterprise CMS and undoubtedly too complex for my goal.

Creating an own theme takes a serious amount of work (at least for me, since I’m not doing it every day) and if I need some adjustments beyond what a plugin provides it gets quickly complex as well. This would not be an easy and minimal setup “just” fulfilling my requirements

Statamic

Regarding the setup, it is quite similar to Kirby. You have to configure the backend yourself to create what you need from it. Thereby it could be more complex than Kirby but since it has some things already included it could turn out to be less work. However, my problem with it is exactly the same as with Kirby.

It is a proprietary project of a single company.

To continue copy-pasting: And I saw a few other CMS with the exact same story: great features, modern, good UX. But most of them got (practically) deprecated by the company behind them. I would like to avoid this fate.

Conclusion

Yeah… I cannot be satisfied…. And perhaps I’m a bit too pessimistic here.

I’ll sleep on it a few nights and perhaps then the path will look a bit less foggy… :)

I would like to hear what you think about this post. Feel free to write me a mail!

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