Websites are a lot like sports cars. What generally attracts us to both is their impressive design and rapid response to user commands. One other salient similarity between them is that they are powered and driven by an engine – a vital component that converts energy into motion; the mechanism that allows your car or website to deliver superb performance.
In the case of a website, optimal horsepower depends on the content management system (CMS) hidden beneath all the exterior glamour. A content management system is the key software application that allows users to create and manage digital content. One of the best examples of a CMS that is easy and efficient to use, and which provides advanced content management options, is Craft.
“What makes Craft different is that it has code that anybody can extend,” says Flow Communications head of digital Richard Frank. “It’s a licensed product that is secure, stable and has a large focus on creating the best content-publishing experience.
“The features that writers, content producers and developers have access to are top-notch. You get to ‘live preview’ within the interface and get strong validation of content to make sure that people don’t enter information in the wrong field.”
Craft was developed by Pixel & Tonic, a software company founded in 2010. The developers made a name for themselves by creating a content management tool that took modern CMS frameworks to the next level. This software application has a simple design that makes functionality readily accessible.
“The developers love its modern development approach,” Richard adds, talking about some of the latest features that have been added since Craft was first launched. “It uses modern PHP. You can code extensions and plugins on Craft using modern techniques, rather than having to follow a legacy way of doing things. It also allows us a lot of freedom on the front end; we’re able to code the exact designs our clients are expecting. It doesn’t limit you in terms of templating.”
Craft makes publishing and managing a website customisable, to suit a client’s needs, whether they are in the textile space, food sector or entertainment industry. Every client with a website needs a reliable host for content that will make the user experience worthwhile and encourage return visits to the site.
“We’ve helped clients with the transition from their old CMS to Craft when they come to us requesting new features and modernisation of their websites. The migration of content, however, is not a one-click thing. It does require some time investment. But once we’ve written a migration script that can export the data from the old CMS to the new one, it’s very easy to upgrade and update Craft to take advantage of the latest features,” says Richard.
The market may be flooded with CMS options, but few compete successfully with Craft, as it is one of the simplest, most agile and most versatile content management systems available today.
“Flow used other systems in the past that were limiting, so we opted for a content management system that is extensible, flexible, robust and renowned for its security record.”
Craft puts the user in complete control via a user-friendly panel that makes it possible to create custom templates, save media files for content, and add as many users as required – from content developers to programmers – to ensure the application remains as secure and scalable as possible.
“Once the website is developed, we provide full training for clients to maintain their own websites, including creating and updating pages, changing the navigation, uploading images and video, and even making changes to the home-page format,” says Richard. “The training empowers our clients to keep their websites updated regularly, which is a key factor in search-engine ranking.”