I've had a few clients and friends tell me about how much they like using Wordpress for their websites. In the past it felt like Wordpress was kludgy to use as a full website and not as a blog, but they insisted that the host of add-ons available makes it extra simple for them to integrate web services like YouTube, Flickr or podcasts, and that it is the best way to go.
Concrete has been the best CMS from my experience, but I was wondering if any of you knew more specifically what makes Concrete a stronger competitor than Wordpress, or if there is any reason at all that I should use Wordpress for anything other than a blog?
For me, the key strength Concrete 5 has is its blocks. Being able to drag blocks around zones in a page is very natural, and makes C5 a good fit for brochure, portfolio and some education sites. Having the underlying model of blocks in a page is very strong. Coupling that with the flexibility of the template system is a real winner.
Wordpress can be made to do a lot, but it never feels right to me to shoehorn an application into being something that's too far removed from its original purpose.
Having said that, a very useful feature in Wordpress are the shortcodes. If a site (not a blog) is going to include a lot of social media (YouTube, Flickr, Podcasts) then I'd be considering Wordpress.
It's not really which is better, but which is more fitting for the purpose.
but that being said..
wordpress is a great blog. we use it for a blog ourselves (although our blog is pretty dead now that twitter is here)
wordpress is just not a CMS: There's no real permission system you can use to let groups of people carefully manage parts of the site well. There's not a very detailed versioning system, you can preview what something will look like before publishing, but that's hardly an exhaustive list of who made what change and when. There's no in-context editing so you're always explaining to a client that "you have to go here to the 'pages' section of your dashboard to fix that typo" - that's super counter intuitive. Its akin to introducing someone to a typesetting machine when they want to write a quick note. concrete5's in-context editing makes the non-tech-savvy website owner feel comfortable with making the small changes on their own, that gets them thinking creatively about bigger challenges, which is a good thing.
in the big picture, what really sets concrete5 apart from wordpress, and also joomla, drupal, and we'd like to think all of our competition, is the underlying realization that at the heart of every website is a relationship between developer and owner.
most websites are not tv commercials or billboards that some agency should get paid a lot of money to make perfect and then the client should never touch.
most websites are also not applications that some developer should build to never-changing requirements and once compiled will remain the same forever.
websites are more like houses. You want someone with a lot of experience to build the bones and make it livable, but the person who lives there for a decade is going to want to be able to make changes to their house later without having to call the original builder. That original builder doesn't want to be heading back out to install a ceiling fan or paint a wall, and the owner doesn't want to pay their rates for that kind of work anyway. The owner should be able to do some of that work on their own, and they should be able to hire the handyman down the street to do some of the work. There shouldn't be fear that their whole house will fall to the ground because the neighbor kid helped them change bathroom faucets.
Today the web is missing that. Even when you choose to use a standard open source CMS as a building material for a website, more often than not it becomes customized to a point where only the original builders know what's going on under the hood. Installing a new add-on on a drupal site could very easily destroy functionality that works already, and if you've hacked wordpress into a CMS its gonna take the next developer a bit of time to figure out what's going on - at best.
That is the challenge we're trying to take on with concrete5. Make a safe building material for the web, where blocks/add-ons all work with one another, and developers don't have to hack their way around so a owner can have a safe home that will grow and change with their organization over time.
Franz, this explanation is the best I've heard so far coming from a CMS. It should be somewhere up there along your "About" page.
I think the biggest frustration is that as an owner, you can't touch the website that was handed to you by the designer (in case it breaks). But websites are supposed to grow, and change according to the times and as and when the client needs it.
Also, the permissions system is fantastic. Now that's one of the biggest reasons I'm going for Concrete5 – the possibilities of mashing together websites that require this is endless.
I was recently thinking about Wordpress again since I like CSS-Tricks.com and he seems to do quite a bit with it. Just thinking about my experience with Wordpress for a few seconds, though, made me shudder. Wordpress is a lumbering mess. Simple things are quite a pain and finding a plugin to simply do what you want and not conflict with other plugins is quite a challenge.
With the arrival of the Designer Block add-on by JordanLev as well as the built-in blog functionality that comes with the sample content install of 126.96.36.199, you would have to be nuts to choose WordPress over C5 in my opinion. The only things left in C5 that I think could still use improvement are the Search block and Permissions. The search block should search tags, files and keywords without much fuss and the Permissions should not require setup in 4 different areas.
* Right here is room for misunderstanding error since there are two panels named "Access"
HOW I ENVISION IT:
I'm sure it's pretty hard to do this stuff since different bits are all organized according to the internal logic of the code which may not seem intuitive to a human being, but what makes sense to me would be....
1. Create Group
2. Set Permissions for that Group ONCE in the SAME PANEL. If need be, a Sitemap should be included here as well for individual page permissions.
3. Add user to group
Ah, I see what you mean.. Yeah as we've added flag based permissions
to parts of the Dashboard they have ended up distributed around with
the type of content you're looking at (file manager, site map, etc)..
It would make sense to centralize that, we might even be able to pull
some of that off with 5.5
In terms of advanced permissions being easier to turn on, we actually
did that one by design. Once you've switched to advanced permissions
you really technically can't go back to simple permissions, so we
wanted it to be something you had to really mean and not just a switch
to experiment with.
Yeah, that's dangerous. You could just put a big, bold, red warning once the radio button is clicked with an "Are you sure?" message.
BTW, I switched back and forth on a site I don't really care about and it didn't seem to affect anything except now when I go to Sitemap > Pages > Set Permissions, the box is horizontal rather than vertical. Functionality still seems to work fine.
btw, some good news about the Search is I am paying a developer to create an advanced Search that does all this and, if the last block I paid him to create is any indication, he will likely put it up in the Marketplace once he gets it working.
Yeah, I ended up using WordPress for my blogs by creating the WordPress for Concrete5 add-on... that way I can leverage WordPress for its blog-based plugins and features, but keep my website in Concrete. I think that the people who swear by WordPress as a full CMS may not realize what they are missing out on :)
One of the guys I work with with is an internet marketer and he cranks out loads of sites that rank really well and sell lots of stuff.
It's interesting now because I am tarting up one of his sites in Wordpress, because they look so ugly and I must say it's been an eye opener.
Designing and editing is infinitely better in Concrete 5, the in-context editing and the blocks panel alone make it so good. For instance I was trying to do a two column layout in Wordpress, what a rigmarole.
The point is though that he swears by Worpdress because of all the plugins and that they are free particularly the SEO ones.
Lets not waste energy here. Clearly for better or worse Wordpress is used to manage content beyond blog posts all the time. Here's some of the reasons we believe concrete5 can be a more flexible and effective tool for building sites that are more than a blog:
1) Multiple page types and themes. Instead of just having "pages and posts" and having to throw a bunch of if statements in your page template to get unique layouts, concrete5 gives you a lot of flexibility for making different page types and template files.
2) Users, groups and permissions are far more powerful in concrete5 and let you do really granular stuff. This is particularly handy for a public facing website that might turn into an intranet over time.
3) In-context editing makes sense to site operators. Much like wordprocessing revolutionized type-setting, it just makes sense to fix a typo right where you see it.
4) From a coding prospective, Wordpress and concrete5 are pretty different. Concrete5 is:
o.. Object Oriented in a sane way.
o.. Uses a model-view-controller architecture
o.. Designed to be highly customized without compromising the core (overrides)
And no to answer the earlier question, there's nothing SEO-ish that concrete5 can't do. Any SEO firm that tells you that is just comfortable with the tools they know.
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