For designers/developers and their clients

ProcessWire exists to bridge the gap between the current CMS landscape and the needs of many designers/developers and clients in a CMS. In order to best explain, we first have to look at the current CMS landscape.

What’s wrong with the CMS landscape

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.)

Then there are the products that are so good in a few respects (i.e. Wordpress) that people use them for sites far beyond the intended purpose of the software. That right there should tell you there is something wrong with the CMS product landscape, though also a nod to Wordpress.

When it gets down to it, I think that there is a big hole for CMS products that make sense in the way many of us work. As a full-time web designer/developer for more than 15 years, I know my way around the terminology, site structures, markup, and so on... just like you probably do too. We shouldn't feel like we are in a completely foreign land every time we try a new CMS or understand how to develop with it.

The CMS should be a tool for the designer/developer, rather than the other way around. It should enhance and empower the designer/developer's process rather than changing it.

When it comes time to hand the keys over to the client, we should feel comfortable that it will provide an easy to use–and easy to support–experience for them, now and in the future. The CMS should make the client as happy as the designer and developer. These are the reasons why ProcessWire exists, and the goal of the project is to bridge the gaps.

Where ProcessWire fits

In its current state, ProcessWire is not built to a specific need like many CMSs (i.e. like Wordpress is built for blogs). Instead it is built to the needs of well structured, highly indexable, standards compliant web sites in general. Because ProcessWire has strong support for custom data types and fields, you may find it to be an ideal fit with inventories of searchable, relational or cross referenced information. Examples include company directories, real estate listings, media delivery engines, travel listings, map applications, scientific directories, mobile application web services, searchable databases for products or services, and so on. That's not to say it wouldn't work equally well with something completely different, just that ProcessWire already has a track record of meeting these kinds of needs particularly well. To summarize, if your site has a component that includes custom data and types that need to be highly searchable and easy to develop with, then ProcessWire is going to be hard to beat as an overall site solution. If you want full control over your markup, then ProcessWire is also the perfect solution. 


  • Louis-Philippe

    Louis-Philippe 6 years ago 127

    Seems a really nice product, i'll give it a try for a site that needs a lot of custom fields and various template. I'll be back to let you know my experience.

  • thetuningspoon

    thetuningspoon 4 years ago 62

    I love this article. It explains exactly what drove me to ProcessWire and away from the other popular CMS's.

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