Insights, Web Development

10 Things We Love About Craft CMS

Insights from htmlBurger’s experience in working with Craft CMS

It won’t be a surprise if I say that as a tech company we love to explore new things. And while we were testing many new CMS platforms, we came across Craft CMS. Amongst the variety of available options and tools for creating do-it-yourself websites, this platform is slightly different. What made us decide to add Craft CMS to our tool shed was its ability to handle custom complex designs and provide maximum performance at the same time. We’ve been using it to build bespoke websites for more than a year, and we’d like to share the top 10 things we love about it with you.

If this is the first time you hear about Craft CMS, here is a helpful short summary about it:

  • It is founded by Pixel & Tonic.
  • The first version of the platform was released in 2013.
  • Craft CMS is a PHP based platform.
  • It is a powerful CMS with all the necessary tools for editing content.
  • You can find more information on the official website.

10 Things We Love About Craft CMS

Let’s proceed with the 10 strong sides that made us fell in love with the platform.

1. Performance

Craft CMS has a built-in cache mechanism that ensures your website will load really fast. That is really good for websites with lots of traffic and big data, but small websites can take advantage of that too. While it improves visitors’ experience, which is the most important thing, there are many more reasons why you need to care about website performance.

How does it work? The default caching mainly includes page templates, data, assets, etc. For more advance caching, we can cache specific fragments on a page using a cache tag provided by the platform. Such functionality leads to good performance, which is the most important factor for a website nowadays.

2. Security

The folks from the Pixel & Tonic team take security seriously, and this is another vital part that has to be considered for every website.

The default folder structure of the platform encourages people to keep their application files above the web-root, which means they can’t be accessed directly to be hacked. There are other cool security practices such as PDO for all database queries, CSRF token validation, automatic escapes of HTML entities, etc. Only good stuff!

3. Accessibility

When it comes to creating content, the CMS platform has to be accessible for everyone including people with disabilities. This is what Craft CMS does.

Improving Craft CMS control panel accessibility has been important to the Craft Team since the beginning. They are committed to reaching WCAG AA standards in CraftCMS 4.

Due to the hard work, the Craft Team has put in accessibility, last year the platform was selected by W3C for its redesign project. There were other options such as WordPress and Statamic, but W3C preferred Craft CMS for their project because it meets their accessibility standards expectations.

4. Headless Mode

This mode is helpful if you need to provide content for a single web application or static site generators. An example scenario is where you have a React-based app, and you need to have a backend to fetch data from it. Craft CMS can be used in such cases.

The Headless Mode can be used along with GraphQL to easily query data from the database. Using Craft CMS modules, custom API approaches are possible as well.

5. Craft CMS Admin Panel

Have you logged-in a dashboard that includes many admin pages/options and you don’t know from where to start? It has to be simple if we need to manage our content easily. Craft CMS solved that problem by allowing us to prepare an admin area per our needs.

This means the default Craft CMS dashboard doesn’t include unnecessary features we don’t need, but we have the ability to compose our admin area by enabling only the features we’ll use for each website (e.g. entry types, global options, etc.).

We can say the Craft CMS dashboard is easy to use and intuitive.

6. Extendability

The next cool thing is that Craft CMS is a balanced platform and you can use it for any type of website — from a small website to a complex one. It can handle websites without any restrictions to design or functionality. You can also start with a basic website, and then add new features down the road.

The directory structure is well prepared and we can organize our code easily. Additionally, the platform comes with a robust framework for building custom modules using the Model, View, and Controller approach. A custom module can be considered as integrating a 3rd party API to your website for instance. Our developers like that.

7. Build for Developers

Developers who use the Craft CMS platform have full control over the development process because of the platform’s good codebase. They can create websites with unique design files and use web techniques/tools they like.

For example, the developers can prepare their own build process for bundling the JavaScript and CSS code. Another example is adding external dependencies using composer, which is used by Craft CMS.

8. Easy Host Migration

Sometimes migrating a website might cause issues like broken URLs, missing data, etc.

The platform provides the necessary tools for installing easily an existing Craft CMS website to another hosting. However, the migration has to be done by a developer.

9. Sites & Localization Support

If you have a website, that requires more than a single language, Craft CMS supports this feature out of the box. You’ll need to prepare your content for each website manually. It doesn’t include any auto-translated content.

The feature is also suitable if you need to create a network of websites. For example, you have different brands, and you need a separate website for each brand. You can manage all of the brands from a single dashboard without creating a separate web instance for each brand.

You can set a specific URL for each website including subdomains and different main domains.

10. Reasonable Pricing

Every great product has to receive something in return to keep improving it. Considering all the updates the Craft team applies regularly and the maintenance the platform requires, we believe the available pricing plans are fair and affordable. The platform costs $299 per project + $59 per year for support and updates. This  includes:

  • Unlimited user accounts
  • Create unlimited user accounts, user groups, user permissions, and public user registration
  • Enhanced content previewing
  • Preview your content from multiple targets, including single-page applications
  • GraphQL API
  • Make your content available to other applications with a self-generating GraphQL API
  • System branding
  • Personalize the Control Panel for your brand
  • Basic Developer Support

Conclusion

The Craft CMS community is growing really fast. Surely, it is still relevantly small compared to the giants in the industry such as WordPress and Shopify. However, there are plenty of plugins you can use and the options for features constantly grows.  Craft CMS can handle a huge variety of websites, from small brochure websites to large-scale websites. More importantly, it works pretty well for web apps too, so this is just another reason to consider the platform when you decide what CMS to use for your project.

Some of our clients successfully integrated Craft CMS into their workflow and they can say only good things about it, so it’s worth considering Craft CMS for a project in the future.

Considering Craft CMS for your project?

We would love to discuss this further with you. Book a time slot with an htmlBurger expert for a consultation to see if Craft CMS is the right choice for you, or check more information about our Craft CMS services.

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