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  1. This case study relates to the topic here: http://processwire.c...ndpost__p__8988 about creating an archive of 'stories' about how PW has helped in relevant real life scenarios. Website: http://www.ray-dale.com RayDale Multimedia Ray Dale is a multimedia designer. His portfolio website was 2 years old as of March 2012 and in need of a refresh. He found that the content management for his website was more time consuming than he wanted and the website was generally slow in performance and complex to update. Ray needed: A website that could showcase his latest work with separate portfolio content types The ability to show lots of images and videos in each section Complex interlinking between each portfolio item - where each item would belong to a number of simultaneous categories To be able to publish a number of pages under various sections on the website To have a condensed navigation structure - not over-facing the user with navigation A blogging space that was easy to update To gain complete control over the HTML, CSS & JS markup and therefore the design of the website The ability to take more control over the admin experience - without using a host of plugins - so that the CMS could be used for clients to make their lives easier Speedy performance - even if a shared hosting platform were used Good site security The previous solutions Ray was previously using Drupal as a content management system. Drupal is a great system, it’s incredibly flexible, it can be made faster and using template overrides, almost complete control can be taken of the HTML and CSS output. However, the process to achieve any of this is time consuming and clunky from a web designer / front end developer perspective. Drupal was also going to require a number of plugins to be installed to achieve a lot of the required functionality. Ray tested migrating his website over to WordPress. WordPress is another fantastic blogging system with light CMS functionalities. WordPress is generally easier to use than Drupal and a lot of control over the HTML & CSS markup can be delivered - in a much easier manner than Drupal. However, WordPress is still light on CMS features in the admin system. This means that it is difficult without either using a lot of plugins or custom php development (using the WordPress API) to have custom content types and fields. The decision to use ProcessWire Having searched around for an alternative to Drupal and WordPress - revisiting other CMSs that Ray had also previously used - Ray eventually landed on ProcessWire having read about it on a forum. Right from watching the initial video produced by Ryan Cramer (the creator of ProcessWire) Ray was intrigued by the possibilities that ProcessWire seemed to offer - effectively solving all of the issues currently faced. To summarise ProcessWire offered: Custom content types in the admin Custom field types in the admin Good control over media uploads A simple to use admin system A neat and simple API for custom frontend / backend development A customisable admin experience The ability to have a custom admin url Complete control over HTML markup Good security with flood control A powerful and flexible templating system (that was also simple) Ray was extremely impressed by the features that ProcessWire offered, however, many CMSs look great until you actually start using them - where the unnecessary complexities, weak architecture and terrible, bloated functionality often start to appear. The functionality seemed so promising that a gamble was taken to build the Ray Dale Multimedia website - with very little time now available - to ProcessWire and test how it performed. Building the website Having built the original Ray Dale Multimedia website in Drupal, then converted to WordPress before deciding to gamble on ProcessWire - Ray now had very little time left to build his portfolio website. As a testament to the ease and speed of using ProcessWire - he was able (with a little help from articles in the forum) to rebuild the Ray Dale Multimedia website in two days of effective full time development. This included all of the content creation and learning the new system - with the inevitable (but surprisingly smooth) learning curve. Enabling complete control over output ProcessWire allowed Ray to write HTML and CSS without any of the interference you get from other CMS systems. So, Ray was able to use the following frameworks of his choosing: HTML5 boilerplate jQuery Modernizr Masonry A customised version of the 960 fluid grid system PrettyPhoto for lightbox images Less - to create minified CSS Though it must be said that literally anything can be used as ProcessWire makes no assumptions on the frontend - even on the Javascript framework. Quick and easy API One really pleasant surprise was the jQuery influenced API that ProcessWire offered. For example you can use php queries such as: $pages->find("selector"); $pages->get("selector, path or ID"); to find content in the system - you can even filter your queries by template type, fields attached to that item, etc. You can even use a range of selector operators. The API effectively works as a super powered and infinitely more flexible alternative to the WordPress loop. Cross referencing pages easily Complex cross-linking between portfolio items was needed so that capabilities, technologies and services could be linked to each item. It was easy to create a taxonomy system that worked the exact way required once the fundamental concept of how pages work in ProcessWire was understood. Building navigation that works Unlike a lot of CMSs that work effectively as ‘bucket systems’ - meaning that content is separate from any kind of structure or hierarchy by default in the system - whereas everything in ProcessWire is a page and arranged hierarchically. Whilst this may seem strange and restrictive to some used to the aforementioned ‘bucket systems’ - it works incredibly well and enables you to build navigational structures that are easy to plot a current location in. It is also something easy enough to break away from if you want a more ‘bucket’ type system. For example, in Drupal and WordPress it can be very difficult to highlight the navigation on a website if you are using custom content types. Try using custom post types in WordPress and keeping your navigation tracking which page the user has landed on - it’s extremely difficult without a fair bit of custom development (this is true as of the time of writing - WordPress 3.3.1). Because ProcessWire uses a structure and hierarchy by default - this structure makes building navigation that can track the current page very simple. Easy / flexible admin system The admin system in ProcessWire was easy and fluid to use, logical and stable. The admin system can also be overridden with templates (there are already some great community contributed templates). Modules used Whilst ProcessWire has a number of contributed modules from a thriving and helpful community - absolutely no additional modules were needed. All functionality on the website was achieved from a vanilla version of ProcessWire. Performance Another area of importance was the performance of ProcessWire. Again, Ray found this aspect to be well covered with built in caching capabilities that were thoughtfully included ‘out of the box’. The caching was simple to enable on templates and fields. The memory footprint of the Ray Dale Multimedia website was a third of that of Drupal on the same website without using addon caching plugins. Challenges The only real challenge faced was understanding that ‘pages are everything’ in ProcessWire. You build categories, taxonomy, articles, blog systems with the ‘page’ (and any fields it contains) being the basic building block for all of this. ‘Pages’ in ProcessWire can be attached to templates and injected with fields to enable the creation of literally anything conceivable. However, understanding this concept takes a little work for people used to other CMSs such as Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. However, in context - and compared to other systems - this learning curve is still fairly easy. There are so many other time savers that this learning curve becomes negligible. The other area that Ray had to understand about ProcessWire was that there aren’t any template system paradigms that exist in Drupal and WordPress. Other systems have parent and child templating systems with default parent templates that can be leveraged, however, because ProcessWire makes no assumptions on how you are going to build a project (being a true framework) you currently need to create your own template files. This is made easy by good documentation on the ProcessWire website and a decent set of ‘starter’ template files that come as part of the default install. Conclusion ProcessWire was an absolute dream to work with. Ray found it to be very stable, well thought out and hugely flexible. So much so in fact, that Ray has decided to standardise on using ProcessWire for upcoming web design projects. The flexibility and simplicity of the admin system, combined with power in frontend development that ProcessWire provides is something that Ray found to be liberating and more importantly ‘best in its class’.
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