The ProcessWire advantage

Recently ContentEssentials moved its websites to the ProcessWire content management system (CMS). This article explores the advantages of using ProcessWire, for both web developers, and for our customers.

About ProcessWire

Like many of the open-source CMSs ProcessWire is based on a platform of PHP (as a scripting engine) and MySQL (as a relational database). A key difference between ProcessWire and many other systems is that ProcessWire takes a minimalist approach. Essentially it consists of a well considered API (application programming interface) that provides access to a range of different content management functions that form the core of the system.

The content management interface (or backend) that comes as a part of ProcessWire uses this API to provide a full functioning CMS. If you wanted, you could build a different backend using the same API. (But there’s really no need to do that unless you have special needs, the backend that comes with ProcessWire is simple to use, but effective.)

Another standout feature of ProcessWire is its database implementation. The design of this means that you can develop pretty much any content type you want and add it to the system without any need to adjust the database structure itself. Unless you really want to there is no need to dirty your hands with databases or SQL at all. The ProcessWire API neatly takes care of all of that. The database design also means the system is very fast—both when updating content, and serving up that content. 

Advantages for the web developer

If you are a web developer who likes the flexibility to design and control every aspect of a site then ProcessWire offers some real advantages.

  • Small learning curve - Provided you already know at least some basic PHP there isn’t a great deal to learn about setting a site up in ProcessWire. Most of what you need to know you can learn from the API cheatsheet and general overview documentation on the Processwire site.
  • Flexibility - Because you have so much more control you can design your website to work pretty much anyway you want, and best of all you can do it without needing to use an endless variety of add-ons, plug-ins or modules.
  • Shorter development times - Because you have more control, and can do so much with some relatively simple PHP and access to the powerful API, you can build highly functional sites very quickly. (No need to find, understand, install, configure, customise and hack add-ons produced by some other well meaning soul!)
  • Decreased maintenance - A simpler system, and greatly reduced dependence on add-ons (that often have dependence on other add-ons) means a website that requires less technical maintenance. When maintenance is required it is more straight forward.
  • Better performance - With its small footprint and great database design ProcessWire sites perform snappily, especially in shared hosting environments where many other CMSs are sluggish.

Advantages for our customers

While using ProcessWire makes our lives easier here at ContentEssentials, the main reason we chose it is because of the advantages it offers our customers.

  • Faster development and lower maintenance costs - Because sites can be developed more quickly in ProcessWire, your website can be ready sooner (and cost you less). You’ll also pay less in technical maintenance.
  • Custom-tailored websites - With less depenedence on pre-designed themes and add-ons, and greater ability to develop just the look and functions you require, your website can be custom-tailored to your needs—rather than being compromised by themes and add-ons designed to meet someone elses requirements.
  • Easy to update - With its simple-to-use backend you can easily update and add content—if you want to.
  • Faster website -  With a lighter framework, and fewer add-ons to slow it down, your website will be faster for your customers.
  • More focus on the content - Most importantly, with the technical aspects of developing your website being easier, there is more time to spend helping you ensure your web content is the best it can be. After all, that is the most important part of your site!

Published: Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Last updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013