When we are not developing a website in Laravel, it normally means that we are developing that project in ProcessWire. Right now you may be asking what is Laravel and what the heck is ProcessWire? In this article, we will answer what ProcessWire is and we will tackle Laravel in another article. If you want a speedy summary in the meantime, Laravel is for big ass projects and ProcessWire is for smaller projects that require maximum flexibility and super easy for user editing. Boom!
The purpose of this article is to provide a basic understanding of ProcessWire, its main alternatives and the benefits it may or may not have over these rivals.
For those of you that are new to ProcessWire, it is a free, opensource Content Management System (CMS) and web application framework utilising PHP that is starting to gain traction within the web related industry. Being an open source software, ProcessWire has been developed, tested and improved by the public and is available without a license. It is commonly referred to as ‘open collaboration.’
As ProcessWire is an open source software, we will look at the pros and cons of using such a system. Some of the advantages include:
It would appear that open source is starting to lead the way, here are a few major companies that have opened up their software within the last few years.
Using the definition from Wikipedia, a ‘CMS supports you in the process of the creation and modification of digital content via a computer application.’ In layman terms, a CMS allows supports the editing of a web page. You can add various plugins or hard code your CMS to further enhance its functionality set.
Even though ProcessWire is a free open source software, this list will contain free and paid for alternatives that can be used for the web development process.
There are plenty of established alternatives, for ProcessWire to stand a chance of success it must offer some benefits over these rivals. Some of these reasons are outlined below.
ProcessWire has been designed to create a user-friendly development process, by making simplicity paramount without reducing its capabilities. If you ask developers what impresses them most about the software, they will usually talk about the API (application programming interface) that is extremely easy to use, allowing for quick development times with powerful functionality. The programming interface is all completed in PHP, so there is no need for developers to learn another language unless they want to of course.
Site size does not matter, you can use ProcessWire on a one-page site or a site with hundreds of thousands of pages, there are no limitations. For examples of websites utitlising this technology, take a look at some of their featured sites.
ProcessWire consists of a framework with modules that can be easily integrated, usually just consisting of adding files to the relevant directory. In addition, many of the plugins for WordPress are there by default and are often not used. This is not the case with ProcessWire, which as a developer I see as a plus.
The page field type is another great tool you can use to reduce development time. You can connect other pages on your website with the page you are editing thus reducing doubling up.
The family tab also allows you to set the hierarchy for the website, stipulating which pages can have subpages etc. allowing you to stay true to the template you planned for.
On a personal note, I find ProcessWire gives you great flexibility and control unlike some of its rivals that force you to build the site around their software. How many times have you added a WordPress plugin and had to tailor it to suit your needs?
Some would argue that many of the ProcessWire alternatives are bloated and require numerous updates. On the whole, ProcessWire updates are pretty simple and do not result in causing issues elsewhere which is a common problem with many of its rivals. Everything in ProcessWire is contained in the site/ directory, which is not part of the source, allowing you to just update the new version of ProcessWire and leaving the /site directory alone (the site structure is never changed during a version upgrade).
ProcessWire has been built with security at the forefront, all modules have been manually checked before they are displayed for downloading on their main site. It must be noted though, that ProcessWire only vouches for the main code they write for the software, however, as with all open source software they can’t be held responsible for third party modules. Overall, we have found that you tend to use fewer plugin modules which in theory should lessen your security threats.
As with all projects, regardless, you should have a data access policy, security checklist and disaster recovery plan that should be adhered to.
You can access all the modules on the main ProcessWire website, using the following modules link. Some modules are free, others you need to pay for. Modules are split into categories, as well as the latest additions and favourites. Installation is very easy, involving a simple dragging into the site modules directory and installation via the GUI.
As much as I am a fan of ProcessWire, there is no denying that it is not currently the dominant force being used by industry, according to W3Techs the usage of ProcessWire for websites as of 22nd June 2017, was less than 0.1% as the CMS of choice. This is extremely low when you compare it to WordPress at 52.3% and Joomla at 28.2%. These two dominate the market in terms of usage, with Drupal coming in at third place with 3.3%.
This is not to say that big business does not use it, below is a list of some websites using ProcessWire.
For a full list please view https://processwire.com/about/sites/
As you may have guessed, at ID Studio we are a big fan of ProcessWire and often use it for the development of our websites. We have found that ProcessWire is a slick system that allows for a scalable website design that can grow with your business. Too often in the past, using systems such as WordPress we found that updates often caused issues elsewhere in the website and bloated the code more than was necessary. This can cause issues with website load times, server problems depending upon your host and increased website dropouts. There is no arguing that there are issues with some of the WordPress plugin directories, in my option they have not all been scrutinised adequately.
ProcessWire has made their administration panel deliberately uncomplicated, clients often comment on the ease with which they can update their website, being able to duplicate modules with the click of a button, drop and drag with options displayed in an easy to understand toggle fashion.
Unlike many of their rivals, ProcessWire only includes what is needed in the core of their system, I am not saying that ProcessWire is the perfect fit for all requirements, however, if it ticks all your requirement my advice is don’t waste time looking elsewhere.
If you have any questions, suggestions or would like further information, please contact us through our contact form.