Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and SilverStripe... These are just some of the Content Management Systems (CMS) available. Each CMS offers advantages and disadvantages to their speed, security, and extensibility. Webbuilders has been building websites for close to 20 years and during that time we've used many content management systems. We even developed our own CMS several years ago called SwiftEdit. We eventually made the decision to use SilverStripe as our primary CMS and always recommend it to our clients. We often hear the question "Why should we use SilverStripe?".

1. The Framework

SilverStripe is built on the SilverStripe framework (formerly known as the sapphire framework).

A software framework as described by Wikipedia:

"In computer programming, a software framework is an abstraction in which software providing generic functionality can be selectively changed by additional user-written code"

The framework offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to developers allowing them to focus on great user experiences and functionality instead of the basics. What does it offer to our clients? At a high level, the framework means

  1. Less of our clients money is spent creating the "basic" building blocks for their website, and more time spent building the functionality they want.
  2. Less of our clients money spent adding features to existing code. Need a new field added to a form, or a page type in the CMS? The framework makes it quick and easy.
  3. Switching developers is easier. If our client decides to switch to a different development team, the easy to understand framework code, and documentation of the framework should make it easier for a new team to take over.

2. Template Language

SilverStripe uses its very own template language. The template language is clean, easy to maintain, and allows for rapid development of a website's front end. Why is this important? It means that less time and money is spent on necessary development time on your website, and future updates should be easier to make.

3. The CMS

The SilverStripe CMS is easy to navigate, and beautiful to boot. The SiteTree gives content editors a clear understanding of their website's page hierarchy.

ss 3.1 cms

4. View Modes

When editing a page in the CMS, the content editor can choose between 3 different "view modes". These are edit mode, split mode, and preview mode. Using these view modes can streamline the editing process in the CMS.

Edit Mode: Edit mode provides the full CMS view, and is ideal for lower resolution screens.

edit mode

Split Mode: Split mode provides a preview of the page your editing + the CMS edit screen. Ideal for high resolution devices.

split mode

Preview mode: Preview mode provides a preview of the page you are currently editing.

preview mode

Using the different view modes you can change the mode to suit your preference, and you no longer have to switch back and forth between two different tabs/windows to see what the page looks like with your new content. We developed a module so that content editors can control their default view mode. You can learn more about this here: SilverStripe CMS Preview Preference Module.

5. GridField

One of the advantages of using the SilverStripe framework is that it comes with this great piece of re-usable code, called a GridField. GridFields are used to manage data on your website. For example, the security section in the CMS where you manage Users, and Groups uses GridFields.

security gridfield

What advantages does this offer you as a business owner, or content editor?

  1. Less time and money spent developing the interface and controls for managing your website.
  2. A consistent interface for managing data on your website.

6. Extensibility

The SilverStripe CMS is built to be highly extensible. This means core features can be extended to suit your websites needs. It also results in more manageable code. As your website needs grow and change, the code can too.

7. Security

Is SilverStrip 100% secure from malicious activity? I'd be lying if I said it was. I believe that SilverStripe offers one large security benefit compared to the most popular CMS, Wordpress, and this is directly related to its popularity.

Wordpress is an immensely popular CMS. While this is great for Wordpress, this also makes it a bigger target for hackers. In April 2014, there was a huge attack on wordpress sites creating what is called a "botnet". Wordpress sites were targeted by brute-force in an attempt to gain administrative credentials. Does this mean SilverStripe is safe from this same sort of attack? It doesn't, but because of its popularity it's not as highly targeted by hackers.

8. Built in Security Roles/Permissions

SilverStripe comes equipped with the tools to manage Group/User permissions.

9. Site Migration Is a Snap

Moving a site from one host, or domain to another is a snap. There is no need to manually update, run a search and replace, or use a 3rd party tool to update database tables.

10. Awesome Community Support

There is a wealth of modules to choose from on http://addons.silverstripe.org/ that add all kinds of great functionality and because of the framework, modules can be extended to include additional functionality.

tl;dr

To recap why we recommend SilverStripe.

  1. Framework: Provides a flexible foundation.
  2. Template Language: Perfect for complicated or simple layouts.
  3. CMS: Intuitive, and beautiful.
  4. View Modes: Three different view modes streamline the content editing process.
  5. GridField: Powerful, re-usable code that provides a consistent, and easy to use interface for managing data.
  6. Extensibility: Makes adding new features easy.
  7. Security: Not as highly targeted as Wordpress by hackers.
  8. Security Roles/Permissions.
  9. Site Migration: It couldn't be easier
  10. Community Support: A wealth of modules to choose from.

If you're considering SilverStripe for your next web project please contact us, we'd love to hear from you and discuss if SilverStripe is the right choice.