Marcel Kapfer

CMS Search Update: The Shortlist


1267 words, ~9min 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 requirements for the CMS that should manage my photography website in the future. As announced over there that I already analysed the CMS on the longlist but I wanted to split all the information into two posts to avoid making one too long. Well.... the other one certainly got too long. Let's see what will happen here.

The process

I went over the longlist and checked one CMS after another and examined each for every requirement before continuing with the next one. I wrote down all my findings on a digital piece of paper (using my tablet). This resulted in a document of about 22 DIN A4 pages. While I didn't track it, looking at the clock from time to time revealed that I spend at least 30 minutes for each CMS (the maximum was about 4 hours, I think. The mode should be between 30 and 60 minutes). With the exception of TYPO3 and WordPress (I know both well enough) and some, where it was clear at first sight that they would not meet the requirements, I installed all and played around in the backend to test the requirements thoroughly. In case something was not answerable I put in a considerable (but not indefinitely) amount of time to understand enough to answer all my questions. In two cases even after I already finished the complete review.

Although I tried to be as objective as possible the choices are of course also based on my personal goal, my prior knowledge and my general attitude. Therefore, I try to be as precise as reasonable on why I excluded and included the systems so that someone else can perhaps more easily deduce a shortlist for themself.

The losers

It would be a bit too easy to just write a few names and click on "publish". Therefore, I first write a list of all the systems that didn't make it to the shortlist and give a short reason why.

First in, but still out

Two systems that meet all the requirements but I have the same bad feeling about them: Textpattern and dotclear. While they both are currently actively developed and have perhaps even a community using them I have the feeling after checking the repositories, forums and issues that both my still no longer be around (meaning maintained) in a few years. This sadly contradicts my goal of using the system I'm currently searching for for at least five years.

Nevertheless, if you are searching for a simple, yet customisable, CMS for your blog where you can quickly get started but are not limited by its options, then I can recommend both to you (at least after these tests).

The shortlist

Finally, here it is.

If you don't have any prior web development experience I would perhaps not recommend TYPO3, Contao or Statamic. Excluding those would mean that you have the choice between Kirby and WordPress if your requirements equal mine.

What's next

Five systems. And each one has a problem. I'll write about that in the next post.

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

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