It seems like all the cool kids have divided themselves into two cliques: the Headless CMS crowd on one side and the Static Site Generator crowd on the other. While I admit those are pretty cool team names, I found myself unable to pick a side. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”
Imagine a very simple blog. Blog posts are just a title and a paragraph or three. In that case, having a CMS where you enter the title and those paragraphs and hit publish is perfect. Perhaps some metadata like the date and author come along for the ride. I'm gonna stick my neck out here and say that title-and-content fields only is a CMS anti-pattern. It's powerful in its flexibility but causes long-term pain in lack of control through abstraction.
In our previous proof-of-concept demo, we built a bare bones admin for generating a web page with the ability to edit some text on the page and set the site title and description. For this next demo, we build on our example and add rich text editing and image upload capabilities.
Ethan Marcotte, on time- and budget-constrained organizations websites:
Between the urgency of their work and the size of their resources, spending months on a full redesign isn’t something they can afford to do. Given that, a free theme for, say, WordPress can yield a considerable amount of value, especially to budget-constrained organizations. They can launch their redesign more quickly, and continue reaching the people who need their information most.
So Ethan takes a look at a bunch of free themes, so at least a responsible choice can be made there, and finds
the results were surprising: on a 3G connection, the slower themes I tested took anywhere from 45-90 seconds for any content to appear. In other words, the pages took roughly a minute before they were usable.
What I find particularly scary is that these are just empty themes. I usually attribute the slowness of sites in this category (off the shelf, slap-a-CMS on it) to be what happens on top of the theme. Stuff like uploading too many/too large of images and installing a million plugins that load their own set of resources.
Static Site Website Generators have been getting increasingly popular within the last 2 years. Much has been written (like this and this) and there have been many great open source projects and even funded companies launched to help you get up and running.
For each type of content you need for your site, you develop in three steps:
- Create the custom content type and configure its fields
- Set up your app to retrieve that content from the API
- Load the content into your page template
Let's take a look at each of these steps in a little more detail as I walk through how to set up a simple news article website (demo website) with a homepage and article pages.
I vividly remember my first encounter with a content management system: It was 2002 with a platform called PHP-Nuke. It offered a control panel where site administrators could publish new content that would be immediately available to readers, without the need to create/edit HTML files and upload them via FTP (which at the time was the only reality I knew).
Once I'd made the jump to a CMS, I didn't look back. CMSs quickly became part of my toolkit as a web developer, and I didn’t really stop to question how they worked. I spent a lot of time learning my way around the various components of the web stack; falling in and out of love with different languages, paradigms, frameworks and tools. It took me a long time to stop and think about the most important part of any system: how it manages and stores content.
I set out on a quest to learn more about what's under the hood of a CMS (more…)
LightCMS is the fastest growing white-label Content Management System on the market. Their Developer Program gives you all the tools you’ll need to build your web design business on a top-tier, cloud-based platform and your customers don’t ever have to know it’s not your CMS. They’ll even invoice your customers on your behalf. You’ll of course have full access to the HTML and CSS of your sites and you’ll even get a free website for your business.
If you're sick of patch updates and security vulnerabilities, LightCMS may be a good option. You can try it free for 14 days. No credit card required.
The following is a guest post by Mike Neumegen from CloudCannon. This final post is about adding some functionality to a Jekyll site that isn't possible: comments. That's because Jekyll has no backend component in which to save comments. But, we don't even need that if we do it entirely front-end with Firebase!