The second site of my CMS Face Off series is my new favourite, Craft CMS. I've been dabbling with this cms for a while (amandalutz.com is built with Craft) but really wanted to get into how it works and compare it to ... I'll just say it, WordPress.
I used to really, really like a cms called ExpressionEngine. It was a true cms instead of just a blogging platform and it gave the developer a lot more control over how entries could be organized and laid out. It was also had a super helpful user community - a group of developers who made EE sites and addons who were almost always available to answer questions and help a sister out.
Of course, when you use a system a lot you also get to know it's shortcomings. I don't know all the drama and politics behind the decision but one of the very popular addon authors decided it could build a better cms. And I think they have. They didn't start completely from scratch but borrowed many (a lot?) foundation concepts. I think it's part of why it was so easy to switch from EE to Craft.
And then, when I was planning to rebuild my site, the server requirements for EE3 weren't compatible on my shared host.
I've heard they've since modified whatever happened there but it was a good opportunity to try Craft.
I don't know if it's tighter code in the backend or because Craft isn't as well known as WordPress but I don't think I've ever heard of a Craft site getting hacked.
One of the awesome things about Craft is that you don't actually need any additional plugins. Like, at all. But now that Craft has been around for a while there are some really useful plugins available.
Craft has default functionality to set up the structure of a site. In other words, it's main nav. But A&M Nav let's you create multiple menus with the clicky, drag and drop ease all users have come to expect. I created 2 menus for my Face Off site, the main nav and the right hand pop out.
I'm also very excited about SEOmatic. In the past, to give my client complete control over SEO, I've made a single entry page with fields for site description, keywords, Facebook description and Facebook image. Then all these fields would be applied to entries as well. The template would have to check the entry meta fields and if values hadn't been entered it would display the meta data values from the single entry page. This plugin does all that and more! I think I might start using it for my own personal site.
From an end user perspective the only difference between the Craft and WordPress face off sites is the url of the blog posts. I set up WordPress to have urls like /yyyy/mm/post-title. It happened with a single click. I let the Craft urls stay with their default /blog/post-title structure. If I had the time and energy (and desire) to set up the same urls using Craft Routing it could totally be done.
I love that when using Craft you can set it up for multiple environments! That means multiple 'installs' of the cms can all use the same files that do the background work. On my server right here I have 3 sites running on the same core files - my personal site, the development environment of my personal site, and now the CMS Face Off: Craft CMS site. It's less files on my server taking up space and makes me feel like I know how to manipulate servers (even though I don't).
I love Craft. The. End.
I like the control it gives me over developing the site. I can do exactly what needs to be done without worrying about conflicting plugins. I don't need to update core code or plugins every other day. And I feel like Craft loads pages faster.
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