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Other ProcessWire-like CMSs


Jonathan Lahijani
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I wanted to start a conversation about other systems out there that are "ProcessWire-like", meaning they also go all in on everything being a custom field, similar database architecture and other things that make ProcessWire seem unique.

What makes ProcessWire unique to you that you just haven't seen elsewhere and how deep does ProcessWire go with certain decisions or features that other systems don't from your experience?

One very recent system in the JS world that's similar (at least on the surface, I've never worked with it) is Payload CMS: https://payloadcms.com/

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Hi,

Contao (fka TypoLight) is somewhat close to ProcessWire from the Field, Template, Page point of view. However it lacks (at least when I last revisited it) from a powerful ProcessWire like API. This and the all objects are „pages“ approach are unique to PW from my point of view. Only thing I somewhat miss in PW is a global media/assets manager, but there may be a module someday. The easy to use PW-API makes the main difference for me and is the reason I ended up using PW for my latest projects. 

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I have already mentioned it a few times, but I can recommend Kirby CMS as alternative to ProcessWire. It is very similar to ProcessWire in the structure and API, but needs no database because it is file based. Also they have a nice website, documentation and marketing including detailed changelogs. It is not as feature rich as ProcessWire and not free, you have to pay a license for commercial use, but the marketing and presentation is better in my opinion.

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On 4/4/2024 at 9:54 AM, Jonathan Lahijani said:

What makes ProcessWire unique to you that you just haven't seen elsewhere and how deep does ProcessWire go with certain decisions or features that other systems don't from your experience?

I haven't really digged into the admin customizations of PW-like CMSs I've used like Statmic/CraftCMS but the way you can modify view/behaviour of Inputfield and it's derived classes in ProcessWire is really nice imho. 

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On 4/4/2024 at 5:54 PM, Jonathan Lahijani said:

What makes ProcessWire unique to you that you just haven't seen elsewhere and how deep does ProcessWire go with certain decisions or features that other systems don't from your experience?

  1. Customized templates and fields
    Each and every content type only has the fields it really needs.
    Books, companies, recipes - it doesn't matter what kind of data my clients or I have to deal with. The templates and fields will reflect that. Therefore clients don't even have to learn anything in regards to creating or editing data. Super easy.
     
  2. It's typesafe (by my definition)
    We can discuss the meaning of 'typesafe' here but... I think ProcessWire is somewhat typesafe because I define each field, template, relationship, and almost everything else. I know where to expect what kind of data and know what data is allowed in which field. No guessing, no errors. (Sure this depends on your setup and your will to invest some time.)
     
  3. Works perfectly fine for non-developers
    I won't call myself a coder or programmer - I just tinker around with code and have fun. When I started using ProcessWire, getting around was super easy, and learning the fundamentals took only a day or two. From there on, it was easy-going. It's impressive what you can achieve with only some if/foreach/echo in PHP/ProcessWire. I said it a few years back and still stand behind it: ProcessWire seems to be the easiest way to learn and work with PHP.
     
  4. Low maintenance
    There are ProcessWire projects of mine that haven't been updated in the last 5+ years and still work without any PHP or security issues. The moment a project is finished and works without flaws it will do so for a very long time. There is no real need to update a project.
     
  5. Small footprint, high performance
    A ProcessWire website doesn't need that much of a big hosting package. The moment you start using Core cache functionalities or even ProCache most websites are fine and ready for an average amount of traffic. Maybe not ready for a slashdot/reddit/ProductHunt-peak but that's a totally different story. I can get so much out of ProcessWire compared to WordPress (and others I used/tested in the past).
     
  6. ZIP downloads and no real need for a package manager
    What I really love and enjoy is that you can get everything as a ZIP file, unpack those, move them around and do whatever you want or need with them. Not needing NPM or composer to get started - like in the good old days - is just perfect. In the last 1-2 years I did a lot with NPM due to 11ty and Astro, yet an old-school ZIP file has its very own charme. For comparison: Installing CraftCMS feels good and really nice, yet I absolute don't know what's happening, what is needed, and so on. It's like a blackbox. It works but I don't know why. I hate that.

 

Edited by wbmnfktr
2024-04-08: Added point 6.
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Interesting topic and also interesting to compare the various CMSs at https://openalternative.co/categories/cms. Unfortunately it is not possible at-a-glance to see what is a pure CMS and what is more of a framework. The initial attraction of ProcessWire to me was that it combines the ease of use / UI of a CMS with the power and flexibility of a framework. This means that you can build a fully functional custom app but still enable non-technical editors to access the content they need. 
Which of the “ProcessWire-like” CMSs do that?

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9 hours ago, wbmnfktr said:

Silverstripe

I developed my first websites using SilverStripe. I did like it, but if a site was complex, upgrading to a new main version was not straightforward at all, and one had to thoroughly test everything to make sure all was good. I am glad I found ProcessWire afterward.

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  • 1 month later...

Umbraco: https://our.umbraco.com/ 

I've actually used it in the past for someone who was on Microsoft stack. It's C# ASP.Net based so different tech stack to ProcessWire, but I found it not too different in many respects, and it didn't take me long to get my head around how to make it work.

Like ProcessWire it doesn't make any assumptions about how you want to structure your data or format output, and has a good permissions system built in. It also has pretty good documentation.

Where I find ProcessWire easier, is with regard to updates and installing new modules. Also Umbraco Forms is way more expensive than FormBuilder.

Umbraco does have an integrated editor for modifying code for templates and partials inline, so although an editor or IDE is preferable, you don't have to have one to set up an Umbraco site.

I don't know how the two compare performance wise. ASP.Net Core is meant to be pretty fast.

I actually do quite a bit of ASP.Net work, especially now it's cross platform and I can host on Linux, although mostly I don't use a CMS at all, as it's pretty quick to build CRUD database access and authentication with built-in libraries, and with HTMX I can easily build a fast admin UI without having to mess around with frontend frameworks.

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