Here at Big Eye Deers we’re big lovers of Magento and WordPress, they’re our go to platforms when it comes to developing cutting edge CMS driven websites. We’ve spent a long time learning the platforms inside out, back to front and upside down so that we can deliver the best possible solutions for our clients. While these 2 platforms will always be our bread and butter it doesn’t mean that we’re not open to learning and mastering new platforms when the requirement comes along.
We recently took over the management of a website that was built on the Concrete5 framework and was in need of an update to the latest version. Us Deers are always up for a challenge and couldn’t wait to get to grips with this new framework. As there was no simple update path the migration of the site to the latest version of C5 provided a perfect opportunity to get deep into it’s workings and start to understand the various components.
So, is Concrete5 any good? In short, yes! We were pleasantly surprised with the framework overall, it has a lot of cool native functionality that WordPress still lacks (simple things like a built in sitemap generator) and we absolutely love the drag and drop interface for content management.
We’re not convinced yet on it’s suitability for sites that require any highly customised functionality, perhaps a result of our still relatively limited knowledge, however for simple page based sites it’s definitely a platform we will consider. We think it’s most suitable for simple sites that will be managed by users with minimal IT knowledge. We think the in-page drag and drop interface for adding different kinds of content blocks is really intuitive for people who might find the slightly more abstracted WordPress admin interface a bit confusing.
There are a couple of areas in which Concrete5 is lacking. At the moment is the lack of 3rd party plugins available is a real drawback, due to the relatively small user base this is something that probably won’t change to much in the future either. Also from a development perspective the documentation for the latest version (5.7) is pretty sparse so there’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to programming things and adhering to Concrete5 standards. Hopefully this will be something that is sorted out soon as we can imagine it being a real barrier for self taught coders.
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