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WordPress vs ProcessWire


We've been using a new CMS called ProcessWire for some time now, and we're totally sold on it's amazing functionality and easy-of-use for our clients. Quite frankly, ProcessWire kicks butt. Not only is it more powerful and easier to use, it's also secure (unlike some open CMS counterparts).


Chances are good, if you have a website or are looking to get one, you have talked about or used a content management system (CMS). Have you ever written a blog post? If so, you have used a CMS. The days of static websites built entirely out of HTML by hand are far behind us. Here at Globi we have used a number of Content Management Systems to give our clients the ability to edit and add content to their websites. We have built a number of websites using a very popular CMS… you may have heard of this one… WordPress. Although we love WordPress and have used it to build many great websites, today we are going to tell you about a new powerful alternative that is stealing our hearts from WordPress and quickly becoming the CMS of choice at Globi and with our clients.

Introducing ProcessWire

ProcessWire is a CMS that is so simple to use at first glance you might assume that it doesn’t do very much. But don’t be fooled, just like google’s homepage, it’s a simple interface to very powerful tools. After all, you shouldn’t have to take classes to learn how to manage your website. Good software is intuitive, and ProcessWire has a learning curve of zero. Take a look at the difference between the first screen you see when you login, WordPress VS ProcessWire:

ProcessWire’s simple, no nonsense, straight-to-the-point interface is a refreshing alternative to the cluttered and confusing alternatives. The web is all about publishing and there is a saying that if you want to be successful online: “Content is King”. The focus in ProcessWire is on your content - the most important part of your website. This helps our clients forget about the software they are using and focus on producing great material and managing their website.

ProcessWire Works the way you do.

If you have ever use a CMS for your website, you know that most CMS’s assume they know what your content editing needs are. For example, WordPress makes the assumption that your content is going to be structured like a blog post. Here is a list of the default fields in a WordPress edit screen:

  • Title
  • Body content
  • Featured image
  • Author
  • Publish date
  • Excerpt
  • Status
  • Visibility
  • Allow comments
  • Allow trackbacks
  • Slug
  • Author
  • Parent
  • Template
  • Order
  • Custom fields

As you can see, wordPress makes a lot of assumption about what type of information you would like to manage on your website. You can see that the choices in Data that WordPress chose for you sound a lot like a publisher’s list of information. What if your business sells cars? How does the data you have for selling cars fit into the list above? Continuing with the Car example, wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a list of fields like this:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Color
  • Year
  • Miles/KM
  • Condition
  • Description
  • …etc.

You can quickly see that the list of Car data is a much better fit if we are in the business of selling cars and managing this information online. This is where ProcessWire shines.

ProcessWire adapts to your business needs and enables you to build rich sets of information and content that you can publish on your website any way you want. Every ProcessWire website has only the data fields you need for your business. A better fit for your company, easier to understand. Adapts to work the way you do. And if you decide at anytime you decide to customize your information, fields are easy to add, remove, and modify.

In fact, it’s easy to have several different types of data. Continuing with our car example, suppose you wanted to store these 3 different types of information:

  • Cars
    • Make
    • Model
    • Color
    • Year
    • Miles/KM
    • Condition
    • Description
  • Manufacturers
    • Name
    • Country
    • Description
    • Brands
  • Dealerships
    • Address
    • Internal Contact
    • …etc

With ProcessWire a custom CMS with all the fields that mach your business can be setup in a matter of minutes. WordPress also has custom fields, but they are limited to plain text only. Custom fields in ProcessWire can be anything from plain text, rich text editors, images, galleries, google maps, numbers, color pickers, dates, selects, radios, even relational fields. This helps us build applications and websites highly customized to your business needs. Only the data you need, nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, WordPress now has custom content (post) types but it’s complicated and cumbersome to code. Creating our Auto Website custom fields in WordPress would have taken a qualified coder couple of hours at least. In ProcessWire, it only took about 10 minutes. You can read more about WordPress Custom Post Types: http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Types but as any good business knows, the longer something takes, the more it costs. And that is just another reason why ProcessWire is a clear winner for us and our clients. WordPress was designed for Blogs, and it is a great blogging platform, but for more robust, custom tailored websites, ProcessWire is the perfect match.

ProcessWire gives our clients the exact control over their content and website that they crave.

The Nitty Gritty

For the geekier or more tech savvy of you out there, ProcessWire saves us a bunch of time when developing our templates. Things that used to take us hours hacking WordPress to do something it wasn’t designed to do, only take minutes with ProcessWire. You have full control over your templates. In fact ProcessWire doesn’t force you to work a particular way. From the ProcessWire Website:

There are many good CMS products out there, including Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, ModX, Expression Engine, SilverStripe, Concrete5, and so on. But having used them all, I think there is a real lack of products that accomplish all of these things:

  • Balance their complexity
  • Make sense from the get-go
  • Adapt well to existing designer/developer processes
  • Provide a powerful and easy-to-use API
  • Deliver an equally satisfying experience to the designer, developer and end-user

Some very respectable CMSs are encumbered by structure, terminology and processes that relate back to roots in blogging. This is something that I view as a bottleneck and not the fit many designers/developers are looking for (including myself). Other products are well architected, but require so much buying into a system that by the time we've figured it out, we'd be considered a "[insert CMS name here] developer."

Still other products have APIs that introduce so many new types of tags, bits and scraps to learn, that we find ourselves in a template system that's trying to hide PHP from us–or worse–not using it. (Keeping in mind that PHP is the most familiar and powerful template engine we could ask for.)

ProcessWire makes creating rich, dynamic templates easy, fun, fast, and enjoyable again. You can show any data, in any format, anywhere on your website. In fact ProcessWire is so flexible that you can integrate it into existing websites with a single include. Meaning ProcessWire is perfect for existing websites as well as new projects. ProcessWire doesn’t limit you to producing HTML either. We have used ProcessWire to power mobile applications, Web Apps, RSS feeds, Services, anything we can think up. And with an easy to use jQuery style developer API. Building powerful websites and applications is a breeze. ProcessWire works great for anything from small business websites to very large data Websites.

ProcessWire Includes Powerful Features:

  • Custom Data Types
  • File management
  • Image Management
  • Multi Language Support
  • Manage Multiple Websites (even across different domains)
  • Powerful API
  • PHP Templating
  • Caching
  • Granular Permissions
  • Speed (can handle websites with thousands and thousands of pages/records)
  • Security

Conclusion

Overall it has been a real joy developing with ProcessWire. We love it, our clients love the ease of use and simplicity. And we are producing custom websites and powerful applications for our clients faster and more efficiently than ever before. If you have ever been annoyed, or felt restricted or frustrated with your current CMS, ProcessWire just might be the solution you have been waiting for. Give us a call and we can show you how ProcessWire can work for you and your business. Find out how we are enabling our clients to do amazing things with their websites.


andreas  •  May 30, 2012  •  Web Design


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