30 Oct 2015

Why the FixMy.pw team is a raving fan of ProcessWire CMS.

   by Krishnan Unni

We have junked Joomla, ditched Drupal and waved WordPress goodbye.

We sighted ProcessWire in late 2013. We were hunting for a lightweight, flexible CMS to build websites. But it wasn't until early 2014 that we started seriously experimenting with ProcessWire. There's a background to this.

Our unhappy tryst with Popular CMSs.

We had enough headaches with the popular CMSs we’d grown with. We started with Mambo, Joomla’s precursor, way back in 2003. In 2005, we explored both Drupal and WordPress and added these to our arsenal while cruising with Joomla.

The thinking then was that we needed different horses for different courses. 3 CMSs added more flexibility than just one. And so life went on for several years.

We junked Joomla in 2010.

The roadmap for it wasn’t clear. New versions were out of step with plugins. Clients had a tough time getting their heads around the system. What's more, we were convinced that its ecosystem was built for developers to make money, not for clients to save it.

Besides, WordPress could do whatever Joomla did, and a lot more easily. So did we need to carry an extra CMS and its headaches with us?

WordPress has issues, too.

It was not the initial build with all the bells and whistles that really mattered.

The real issue was that the software upgrades virtually once a week. Vulnerabilities, malware, security issues are magnets with WordPress, if you don’t upgrade. Most clients don’t upgrade till mishap hits them in the form of a lock down by the host, by a hacker, or a malware detection.

Then we get called in. By that time, version 2.8 has become 4.x. Upgrades are tricky. The plugins, the themes and the core become problems.

We recently had an issue with one site where the auto upgrade was on. The client called up one day and said his portfolio wasn’t working. We went in to check and found that the auto-upgrade had changed some of the earlier code.

And other times, we found that the plugins had upgraded to accommodate new stuff and that had to re-styled. Sometimes, the plugins even went from free to premium.

The theme mostly breaks. All this takes a lot of time to figure out. Everyone believes that it should not take that much time given the auto-upgrade feature in WP. Really? Because auto-upgrade works 98% of the time. It’s the 2% that you need to take care of. And that’s messy.

Viewed from a developer’s point of view, WordPress is a boon. The client has to come back to you, sooner rather than later. In the long run, the maintenance costs of running WordPress really gets to clients. Plus, the headache of managing and troubleshooting WordPress eats into Developers.

Drupal has yet other issues.

  1. Bloated code, especially if you add a lot of plugins without thinking
  2. Optimisation is dependent on nifty server resources such as Memcache, or Varnish. Extra RAM and powerful processors to drive the beast come in handy too.
  3. After Drupal 7, the development roadmap has shifted drastically
  4. Add a daunting admin with vocabularies such as Content Types, Taxonomy and Gobbledygook staring at clients and confusing the hell out of them. By the way, we have trained clients on how to work with Drupal and had all of them come back saying that Drupal is beyond them. You can customise the admin and make it less intimidating, but it’s not natively intuitive and customization does add to the costs.
  5. For developers, the learning curve for Drupal is too long. Drupal requires an interplay of several modules to do anything, and programmers especially if they come from WordPress and Joomla, take some time to get used to it.

All this makes you as the agency want to tear your hair.

It is with this background that we came to ProcessWire.

And this is what we discovered with it.

For Developers, it's a welcome dream.

  1. The learning curve is low. Our team got it in less than a week of tinkering around.
  2. You can work with PHP plus you can work with ProcessWire APIs, and that’s always good for programmers getting into it
  3. The CMS is similar to Drupal, but far more flexible, and sans any of the bloat. It way much lighter and faster too.
  4. The theming/ templating takes very little time. Integrating any JQuery script with the CMS is easy peasy compared to WordPress and Drupal.
  5. ProcessWire does not yet have the richness of plugins of WordPress, or Drupal, but its flexibility more than makes up for this and most sites we build can work with the plugins that are available.
  6. We have used ProcessWire to build custom applications, large ecommerce sites built from ground up on the framework, and enterprise websites without issues
  7. It’s blazing fast with ProCache, a powerful caching module
  8. It does not commit you to a pre-built content type but allows to build it as you need it. Your content dictates the content types. 
  9. The ProcessWire community is super responsive to any requests for help.

For Clients, it's intuitive and easy.

  1. ProcessWire is so simple to manage that we had one client exclaiming - I cannot believe that this system is so intuitive. You really don’t need a tech team’s help to work with it after it's done.
  2. The backend mirrors the front links and editing content is easy and intuitive
  3. Because we can develop custom content types easily and intuitively, it becomes easier for customers to fill up fields.

fixmy.pw fixes ProcessWire CMS issues  for developers and web entrepreneurs. Small fixes and large, scalable applications and company website builds , work overflows and outsourcing opportunities accepted gleefully.

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IDFC Institute, Company
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European Heritage, e-store
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fixmy.pw fixes ProcessWire CMS issues  for developers and web entrepreneurs. Small fixes and large, scalable applications and company website builds, work overflows and outsourcing opportunities accepted gleefully.

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