Laying the foundations for Concrete5

24 | 08 | 09

At the end of last year we decided to look again at Content Management Systems (software that enables site owners to edit and manage their web site). The CMS we’d been using, although flexible and powerful, didn’t seem to be moving forward and left many clients scratching their heads when they came to update their web sites.

We spent some time reviewing all the likely options, resulting in a short list of three applications for our CMS ‘Build off’.  By the time we started to install test sites on each system we had a good idea what we wanted:

  • Really simple editing and site management for clients
  • Inherent search friendliness
  • An architecture that allowed us to use one system for both our simplest and most complex sites
  • Low maintenance overhead (easy to manage updates etc.)
  • A development team who were committed to taking the product forward
  • We were surprised how soon one content management system stood out from the others.

With Concrete5 we were able exceptionally quickly to edit templates and content and have the test site looking exactly as we wanted.  We were delighted by the intuitive way of working for both developers and content editors.

We needed to find out more about Concrete5, it seemed a mature and well-developed application, although we’d not come across it before.  Digging deeper we discovered that the first version of Concrete had actually been launched in 2003.  Concrete’s developers in Portland, Oregon, Franz Maruna and Andy Embler, had been refining it and developing their own projects on it ever since. Concrete5 was reborn in 2008 as open source software and Franz and Andy are now putting considerable resources into promoting and supporting wider use of the platform.  We like this business model, it offers users all the benefits of open source plus the reassurance that someone has a commercial interest in keeping development moving and resolving any issues.

So what is it we like about Concrete5?

  • Quick and intuitive for site owners
  • Flexibility to use on large or small sites
  • Updates may be applied across many sites at once (we spend less time updating and more ensuring sites work harder for our clients)
  • Open Source licence backed by commercial developer
  • The Concrete5 team are enthusiastically pushing platform forward

As of now (early of January 2009) we have three sites being developed on Concrete 5 with launch dates in February and March.  We‘re responding to the terrible economic climate with a great value entry-level Concrete5 site package and looking at ways we can get Concrete5 fully integrated with our hosting setup.