Why Should You Consider SilverStripe CMS?

Before this article takes you down to the features, advantages and uses of SilverStripe content management system (CMS) and framework, why not start with the understanding of basics? That would make it easier for you to understand the benefits of SilverStripe CMS in comparison to other popular content management systems like Word Press, Drupal, SharePoint, Joomla and many others.

What is a CMS?

According to SearchSOA, a content management system (CMS) is a computer application or a set of programs that is used to develop and manage content in a digital ecosystem. It is of two types. The first one is enterprise content management (ECM) which facilitates content collaboration through the integration of records retention functionalities as well as asset management. It also allows document management. An ECM can also be used to give end users limited or role-based access to the digital assets of a company.

The second type of CMS is web content management (WCM) and it facilities collaborative content creation and management.

Some of the key features are intuitive indexing which allows users to search using specific attributes and reduces retrieval time of documents. Revision features of a CMS allow content to be updated and edited after initial creation and publication by any user with access. Another important feature is that users can often select ready made templates and many different tools and widgets in order to edit or upgrade content or amalgamate textual and visual elements in the same interface.

They also feature integrated audit logs and file managers. CMSes also have limited server requirement.

What is a framework?

A framework is a conceptual structure which allows relevant changes to be made so that the functionality and usefulness of the structure can be augmented. According to WebBuildersGroup, a framework in computer programming refers to an abstraction under which a software or certain aspects of it can be changed selectively by user-defined codes so that the generic purpose can be changed to address more specific issues. It usually improves the desirability of the software in limited but focused areas of application.

A framework allows developers to focus on augmentation of user experience or providing better functions rather than spending time in building fundamental building blocks of an entirely new application. In short, a framework allows a developer to borrow a basic format or idea and then tweak it to suit his needs.

Why should you prefer SilverStripe CMS over others?

SilverStripe CMS has some basic advantages over other CMSes. One of the biggest benefits of SilverStripe is that it is more than just a CMS. Since it has been built on a framework, it can be used for web development in general which increases its scope of application. Since SilverStripe is an entirely open source CMS platform, it allows collaborative development as well as constant updating of the system by not just the original developer but users also. It is extremely dynamic and has been constantly remodeled and developed to address new issues as well as improve efficiency and user experience.

The following are some other benefits.

Advantages

  • Template language: It has a simple and clean template language. There are quite a few pages of readymade templates available on the SilverStripe website. This reduces the need to write even codes for basic backgrounds and thus reduces time of development. The front end of a website can be updated or developed quickly. This gives developers more time to focus on more advanced level problems. 
  • GridField: SilverStripe CMS comes with an embedded piece of code called GridField which is reusable and versatile. GridFields are used to manage data on a website. Two key benefits of GridFields are that they provide a consistent interface for dealing with all the key data of a website and there is far less wastage of time or involvement of money in developing an interface or admin control panel for managing the content of a website.
  • Open source and least intervening licensing policy: SilverStripe comes with modified BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) license which is permissive and imposes the least possible restrictions on sharing of covered software. 
  • User-friendly: The level of usability in SilverStripe CMS is very high. The admin panel is not cluttered with too many options and plugins and a user can navigate quite easily. The items in the admin panel are clearly visible without being gaudy and at your face.
  • Extensibility: SilverStripe developers were very thoughtful when they created it. It is highly extensible and its features can be easily extended and incorporated to suit a user’s website. The code is also very adaptive and can be updated and changed easily as needs and goals change.
  • Community support: SilverStripe has a loyal community although it may not be as large as the Word Press community. There are multiple forums and internet relay chat platforms with members who share various useful knowledge tips about SilverStripe CMS and framework.
  • Documented guidelines: SilverStripe CMS has one of the most well documented and useful guides. There are detailed discussions on APIs in addition to the availability of extensive and discrete guides on the creation of modules and themes. There are also interesting screen-casts
  • Lesser security threats: SilverStripe has a loyal but small user base. That is why it attracts less number of hackers and programmers without malicious intent. That is why it is probably more secured than Word Press. There are also tools available that allow you to manage and control group and user access.
  • Development teams can be swapped or replaced easily: Since SilverStripe is a well documented CMS with framework, it is easy for you or your client to swap between teams or replace members in a team. It is relatively easy to understand Framework code and start at a time when the project is already in the development stage.


Disadvantages

SilverStripe, although awesome, has a few disadvantages as well.

  • Premium add-ons, themes, and modules are almost nonexistent.
  • There is very little third-party knowledge development or sharing available. As a result, it often becomes challenging for beginners.
  • Users need a solid understanding of certain programming languages and technical aspects, unlike Word Press.

Conclusion

Silverstripe CMS is a very useful content management system. If you have confidence on your coding skills and you can do without addons and readymade plugins, there is nothing better than SilverStripe. It caters to a small but well-defined niche and it is very clear about what it offers. There is no harm in giving it a try though!

If you are interested in SilverStripe CMS and want more information, give Tom a call or email and he will answer any questions you have.