Web Development by Solarise


Craft CMS – You’ll Adore This Powerful Content Management System

Craft CMS: A Very Modern CMS

Craft CMS is a powerful platform that offers flexibility, user-friendliness, and a whole ton of features catering for developers, clients and stakeholders  

Craft Has A Lot To Offer

The Craft CMS offers a whole range of features for clients, stakeholders and developers. Amongst its many varied features:

  • Really powerful data handling. Entries, one of Craft’s internal Element Types allow developers to create multiple datatypes with unique layouts and fieldsets for each entry, ensuring that content is organized and easily accessible. Drafts and revisions enhance the editorial flow to provide a strong publishing interface.
  • Powerful Field Types: Craft CMS boasts a range of field types, including colour pickers, assets (files and images), and the Matrix block field, which offers a versatile way to build and manage grouped collections of fields and entries – Matrix blocks are really powerful when your data starts getting more complex.
  • Files and asset management are a breeze, thanks to the Assets element type (another internal Craft object, just like Entries and Matrix Blocks) – store files in distinct Volumes and set up local/remote Filesystems
  • Image manipulation with the image editor and Transforms These built-in features let you adjust images on the fly. Use the image editor to choose focus points for cropping, resizing, or applying filters, or transform images within templates to precise dimensions of an image (a cached version of a rescaled/resized image is saved to the filesystem for performance)
  • Real-time editing: One of the standout features, Live Preview lets you see your changes to the site in real-time. No more switching between tabs or refreshing pages; see your edits as you make them.
  • Really strong templating – The Twig templating engine lets developers build truly scalable and interesting layouts and designs, all powered by Craft’s strong data management to give you, the client or stakeholder, full control over your site’s appearance and content.

Craft’s Flexibility And Functionality

Craft CMS is sometimes referred to as the “bespoke CMS” because of its flexibility. It doesn’t impose restrictive layouts or themes, allowing for truly custom website designs.

It’s also not just a CMS. It’s built on the Yii 2 framework, which provides Craft with the same extensibility and flexibility that Yii 2 enjoys.

Having a framework like this with strong community backing has helped Craft CMS grow rapidly in popularity.

A Framework And A CMS

Being built on Yii 2 means that developers have the option to extend Craft’s functionality as required, opening the door to using many powerful features like lazy loading, Active Record, database abstractions and the core MVC architecture.

I have always been impressed by the range of capabilities Craft CMS offers me as a developer – I’m never stumped when it comes to building out complex data structures for clients. I’ve worked on e-commerce builds, hotel management sites, property development sites and more with Craft CMS.

It’s always got what I need to build powerful and high-performance websites.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about the Craft CMS development services I offer.

The Craft CMS Plugin Store

Craft CMS has always been lauded for its flexibility and developer-friendly approach. One of its standout features is the Craft Plugin Store, which offers a plethora of plugins to extend the functionality of the CMS.

  1. Trial Before Purchase: Unlike many other platforms, Craft allows developers to try out commercial plugins before making a purchase. This ensures that you’re investing in tools that truly fit your needs. When running Craft from a non-public domain, you can run all commercial plugins as trials. Only when you move the site to a public domain will Craft prompt you about payments.
  2. Licensing Model: Craft’s Plugin Store offers centralized license verification. All commercial plugin installations are validated alongside Craft license validation. This ensures that plugins aren’t being used outside of their licensing terms, offering peace of mind to developers and businesses alike.
  3. Composer Integration: Craft CMS, much like Laravel, uses Composer for dependency management. This means that every plugin is essentially a Composer package. To publish a plugin, developers simply register its GitHub repo with their Craft ID account. This integration with Composer signifies Craft’s position in the broader PHP ecosystem, ensuring that developers are working with modern tools and practices.

Comparisons To The WordPress Plugin Library

WordPress, another very popular CMS, has a plugin library which is vast but can sometimes be a minefield of quality

The Craft Plugin Store is more curated with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

The Craft Plugin Store was one of the most anticipated features of Craft 3 and was designed to provide an excellent experience for both Craft developers and plugin developers.

It’s become a centerpoint of Craft’s success. I always make sure to install a number of the most vital and useful plugins when setting up a new Craft CMS project

The plugins I install include SEOMatic to provide SEO capabilities, Feed Me for easy data imports (this is very important if I’m migrating a client’s site from an old platform over to Craft CMS) and Super Table – an absolutely essential tool to make structured data easier to work with.

9 Of The Best Craft CMS Plugins

Here’s a list of 9 of the best Craft CMS plugins available from the plugin store. There’s

1. Performance Caching

Blitz is a performance optimization plugin that statically caches your site, ensuring lightning-fast load times. It integrates seamlessly with Cloudflare, Fastly, and more.

2. SEO Handholding

Textmetrics offers real-time SEO suggestions as you type, ensuring your content is optimized for search engines. It also provides content quality insights.

3. SEO Automation

Automatically creates SEO meta tags, sitemaps, and more with SEOMatic. It offers a comprehensive SEO solution, including support for JSON-LD and social media sharing.

4. Organize Your Data

Super Table allows you to create subtables within Craft’s standard field types. It’s perfect for organizing and displaying complex data structures.

5. Advanced Content

Neo builds upon the Matrix field type, offering enhanced features like child block types, organized field layouts, and copy/paste functionality

6. Easy Data Import

Simplify data import processes, supporting content in XML, RSS, ATOM, or JSON format with Feed Me. It’s perfect for migrating content or periodic data updates.

7. Simplify Form Creation

Sprout Forms offers an intuitive interface for creating and managing forms. With its drag-and-drop builder, creating complex forms becomes a breeze.

8. E-Commerce

Craft Commerce provides a robust e-commerce solution for Craft CMS. It supports a range of payment gateways and offers extensive customization options.

9. Rich Text Editing

Redactor offers a clean, clutter-free writing experience. It’s a feature-rich WYSIWYG editor that integrates perfectly with Craft CMS.

Get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more about how I can help you with Craft CMS development and plugin setup.

Craft CMS In The Wild

Some high profile and notable companies make use of Craft CMS to power their digital presence and data management.

According to builtwith.com there are more than 43,000 websites using Craft CMS.

Craft’s own website curates a list of companies that use their content management system on their own sites. They include:

“Craft allowed the agency and developers to step back after the frontend and backend development was done, and hand over the contents of the company website to our marketing team. Without technical skills, they are not only able to make textual changes with ease, but by applying custom Channels, specific parts can be updated, added and removed.”

Poki, “Taking the Fun of Gaming to a Company Website”

“With Craft, Vector could deliver the author experience (AX) that the Associated Press was looking for, without the price tag of a complex proprietary back-end. When AP did their research, they confirmed that the cost of Craft plus Vector’s in-depth discovery process and custom dev would still be significantly cheaper than other solutions that claim to “do it all” and still manage to fall (often frustratingly) short.”

Associated Press, “Bringing Online Reporting Into the Modern Era”

“We chose Craft and Craft Commerce for this project because of its balance of design flexibility and development stability. Craft allowed our design team to forge a UI design that perfectly matched the existing % Arabica brand and helped create a distinctive digital identity moving forward.”

% Arabica, “Creating an Exceptional Ecommerce Experience For an International Coffee Brand”

A Reliable and Supported Solution

One of the concerns clients often have when choosing a CMS is its reliability and the support available. Craft CMS addresses these concerns:

  • Licensed Product: Some clients appreciate the fact that Craft is a licensed product. While it embraces the open-source spirit, it’s technically not open source. This means clients are paying for a product that is continually supported and improved.
  • Direct Access to the Craft Team: In case of any issues or concerns, clients have direct access to the team behind Craft CMS. This ensures that any problems are addressed promptly and effectively.
  • Extensive Documentation: Craft CMS offers comprehensive documentation that covers every aspect of the platform. This is a valuable resource for developers and site administrators, ensuring they can make the most of the platform’s features and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
  • Active Community Support: Beyond the official Craft team, there’s an active community of developers and users who contribute to forums, plugins, and other resources. This community-driven support can be invaluable for finding solutions, tips, and best practices.

Craft CMS Is A Solid Choice

Craft CMS combines the assurance of a licensed product with unparalleled community and comprehensive documentation. It’s got all the functionality and features you need to build a feature-rich, modern website.
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About Robin Metcalfe

Robin is the dedicated developer behind Solarise.dev. With years of experience in web development, he's committed to delivering high-quality solutions and ensuring websites run smoothly. Always eager to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape, Robin believes in the power of collaboration and sharing knowledge. Outside of coding, he enjoys diving into tech news and exploring new tools in the industry.

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