Ten Reasons Why We Love Craft

We have talked about Craft CMS before, but this time we wanted to highlight 10 specific reasons why we love Craft.

Craft: A Primer

You might say – what’s Craft? Craft sites use a PHP driven, accredited and supported content management system built by the guys over at Pixel and Tonic. It brings a new face to a differently dull and confusing landscape of content management platforms.

Reason 1 – Support

Support is so important to Craft; they have built it right into the admin interface. Running into a problem, bug or cannot quite figure out something? You can complete a support form and it automatically produces a ticket which the Craft support team will respond to.

I can’t stress the importance of terrific support and that’s the reason I made this reason #1 in why we adore Craft. I need to say that I have submitted my fair share of service tickets and not only do they have a wonderful response time, they have always been able to solve my difficulties or push me in the right direction if I am working on a custom plugin.

If nothing else, these men will need to be commended on how they handle support of the platform.

Reason 2 – Easy install and Blank Slate

Installing Craft is quite easy, the most important directory comprises two folders and a read me file. Once you create a new database and then upgrade your database configuration file (found in craft ~> configuration ~> db.php), you just pay a visit to the /admin of the Craft URL and Craft will begin the install process. Craft manages the rest.

After you first install Craft, the machine is a blank slate. On the other hand there are two web page content types – a news “station” and one “homepage”.

On the template side you are presented with 5 documents: design, 404, index, news indicator and information entrance. There aren’t any “topics”, preset layouts or hasty header shots junking up your own code.

Reason 3 – Clean Admin Interface

Craft’s Admin UI is extremely straightforward and clean. There is priority given to typography and colour with an emphasis on readability and hierarchy. Required fields are marked clearly with a red asterisk and areas are minimally styled.

As your digital content demands grow and you also add additional fields to every content type it’s possible to arrange fields into different tabs and correct the order in which they appear in each tab.

Reason 4 – the power of Twig

Twig Integrates with Craft really nicely and lets you not only create design based templates but reusable macros, template short tags (through plugins) along with template logic and functions. It is not quite as full featured as utilizing directly PHP but it can keep your presentation layer clean.

And if Twig really is not your thing, you may use plain old HTML.

Reason 5 – Built in Packages (CDN Documents, User management)

Out of the box, Craft is 100% free to use. If the core features are not quite enough, you only pay for the add-ons that you require. It is great a la carte pricing. Among the best packages Craft offers called “Cloud” that permits you to send files to anyone of those CDN’s: Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud files and Google.

Reason 6 – Field Types & Content Flexibility

Let’s Move on what really counts in a CMS – content.

In short, Craft manages content through sections, entries and fields. Sections can vary from different pages, a site or some other custom content type your website could need. Entries are individual entries organized under each segment. Fields (or area forms) are the containers to your real content inside each entrance.

The range of built-in field types covers virtually every content scenario. Field types could easily deserve their own blog post but here’s a list:

  • Assets
  • Checkboxes
  • Shade
  • Date/Time
  • Dropdown
  • Entries
  • Lightswitch
  • Multi-select
  • Amount
  • Plain Text
  • Rich Text (text area with editor)
  • Table
  • Tags
  • Users

These field types can be arranged in field type groups that permit you to apply the exact fields to a lot of different content sections or produce a exceptional set of fields for each section. The configuration options are endless.

Reason 7 – Strong foundation

Although you never interact with it, it is worth noting that Craft websites are built on top of Yii, an established and secure PHP framework. The group has done an excellent job construct and extending Craft, using the energy of Yii.

For us, it is great knowing that Craft uses such a excellent underlying platform. We have yet to have to reach down to the Yii degree to repair anything.

Reason 8 – Extendable

Now we’re onto the actual power of craft: Plugins. Plugins are incredibly simple to produce and make it possible for you create simple shortcuts to use as template tags or in-depth application type performance. Over the past year we have used Craft plugins to make a voting system, customized location detection, a subscription service and event integration with Eventbrite.

Plugins can take on many diverse forms. From admin established purposes, dashboard widgets to front-end plugins, functionality are an excellent way to expand the baseline performance of Craft.

Reason 9 – Ongoing upgrades

Craft have seen a tonne of upgrades in the last 12 months – now holding at 1.7 updates weekly, it’s easy to say that they believe in continuing and active development.

The days of “boxed” software are over and I am pleased to work with a stage that believes in continually improving itself. If that is Craft’s first year on the current market, I cannot wait to see what this coming year brings.

Reason 10 – The booze!

And finally… using an existing template called “Gin and Tonic”. What is not to love?

A Caveat

We are fully conscious that Craft is not necessarily the ideal solution for customers but so far we have found few exceptions.

Some Might say that it is tough to draw a contrast between a platform which efficiently just debuted vs. a stage with years of expertise and community financing but Craft has put themselves in direct competition with the rest of market.

The team Supporting Craft has built a strong base that they continue to refine and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for the stage.