A love letter to Craft CMS
We’ve used Craft CMS extensively on numerous projects — here’s why you should look into it as well! 🔬
Hey there, I’m Harry, co-founder and developer at diesdas.digital, a branding and product development studio, with a team of strategists, designers and developers. Most of our projects are digital in nature, so we write a lot of code—which usually results in websites that need to be filled with content by editors. This inevitably calls for a content management system (CMS) sooner or later in the project.
In the past we’ve used a multitude of different systems, from Rails+ActiveAdmin, to Kirby, DjangoCMS, entirely static options, a Google Sheet, Perch and, of course, Wordpress. There are valid reasons for choosing any one of those (existing infrastructure, previous knowledge on the client’s side, data migration, …), but when we have the choice, we usually go with Craft CMS.
This article gives a brief overview why you should consider Craft as well and why I find it to be an impressive piece of software, boosting productivity all around: for me as a developer, for our clients and the editors using the system later on. Curious? Let’s dive in!
Note: Needless to say, one system never fits all and technical solutions need to be carefully evaluated depending on the project’s needs. With this article we’re not advocating to use Craft regardless of circumstances, but judging from our experience Craft is a great fit for many projects, big and small.
Without further ado…
“Build exactly what you need” mindset
Content management systems usually come in two flavors: Either with a ton of features out of the box (Wordpress is a good example) that you customize to your needs, or with a mostly blank slate you then start building upon. Craft proudly belongs in the latter category, and for good reason: Instead of overwhelming you with a bazillion features you might never use and predefined templates, it merely gives you modular building blocks that you can combine however you want, in order to build exactly what you need, with precisely the design you want. To me, this approach intuitively makes a lot more sense and ensures the project’s codebase stays clean and maintainable, and the CMS is focused and therefore easy to use for editors.
It might sound like hyperbole, but I’ve never been as productive as a web developer as I am when working with Craft. The whole system just makes sense, from the content sections, to the entry types you create, to the fields that form the data model. It’s apparent that the team behind Craft is opinionated, thought everything through and has a clear vision for the product. Development can feel like banging your head into a wall, but with Craft it’s a breeze: Localization is intuitive, fine-grained permissions and roles are easy to set up, pagination just works, increasing site performance through caching is dead-simple, matrix fields allow for modular content blocks, the admin panel itself is responsive and has live preview of changes, as well as versioning for entries. New developers coming into the team usually get it within hours and are ready to contribute in no time. Because everything makes so much sense on a structural level, I can build the data model of a whole website in an afternoon and editors can start adding content a few days into a new project.
As a developer I couldn’t wish for a more empowering system, which in return, leads to better results and saves our clients a lot of money. Win-win.
Should the base feature set not be sufficient for the given use-case, then there are dozens of high-quality plugins available. We frequently use SEOMatic for all SEO-related fields (never forget og:data again), Craft Commerce for e-commerce, Element API for building APIs, … the list goes on and on. And even if there isn’t a plugin available for your specific use-case, it’s easy to extend Craft and write your own extensions. We’ve done so at least a dozen times and were impressed how easy it is to extend the base system, keeping the code base clean, encapsulated and easily debuggable.
But is it future-proof?
Nothing is ever guaranteed, but Craft has been around for years, comes with a business model (yes, you pay for it!) and is backed by a very active development community. A pro license, which contains all features, costs approx. $300 and we’ve happily bought close to 10 already for our clients. The time we save in development is simply worth that price multiple times over and we’re happy to support future development that way. Craft’s future also looks very bright due to the upcoming 3.0 release this summer.
Craft has been hugely empowering for us as a company and therefore also our clients: We’re amazingly productive and it comes with a beautiful, easy-to-use admin panel, which editors actually enjoy using. And on top it’s a secure, modern system, that’s easily extendable and which is backed by an enthusiastic development community. We can’t recommend working with it more.
Don’t take our word for it, see for yourself:
The people behind this article…
Since you’re already here, how about getting to know each other a little better? We’re diesdas.digital, a branding and product development studio in Berlin, with a team of ~10 people. Each week we publish a new blog post, so you might want to subscribe to this publication or just browse around. Here are some photos from last week at work:
Aaaand… it’s a wrap!
Did you work with Craft already or are you intending to try it soon? Let us know, we’re keen to hear what you think! Liked this article or found it helpful? Consider clicking the little heart as a token of encouragement. 💞
In any case: Have a productive week and thanks for stopping by! We hope to see you back around here soon! 👋 😊 💛
diesdas.digital is a nimble branding and product development studio in Berlin, featuring a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and strategists, each with years of experience in branding, interaction design and programming. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. You can hire us — let’s work together and make rad internet stuff! 🙌
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