Getting to know Statamic

Getting to know Statamic

January 29, 2015

Sometimes you get too comfortable sticking to what you know. It is incredibly refreshing to take a leap into the unknown and try something new. While researching different content management systems, there was no shortage of options to choose from. Before now, no matter what content management system you chose, you would have the monotonous task of database integration that came with it.

However, a new generation of CMSs have entered the digital age, bringing dynamic, flat-file system, and leaving their database behind. Too good to be true? I think not. Here's a brief look into Statamic and how it works.

The Syntax
If, like me, you have previously used ExpressionEngine, you'll feel comfortable with the template language used by Statamic. Based on YAML, Markdown and HTML, integration and customisation is straightforward.

Usability
Our main priority when choosing a CMS is our client. In most cases, they will, after all, be in control of the system and inputting/updating content. All too often I see overly complex systems with unnecessary add-ons; yet the intuitive design of Statamic makes workflow easy for both developer and client.

We wanted to find a system that would give us the flexibility to create a beautiful, responsive website without the hassle of javascript plugins intervening with our code unnecessarily. Using Statamic means that we no longer need to change our own code to fit around the CMS, rather, we are able to manipulate the system to work around us.

Free from plugins!
CMSs such as ExpressionEngine and Wordpress can become bogged down with plugins: WYSIWIGs, reordering posts, advanced searches, resizing images, the list goes on... With Statamic, though, all these features come built into the system already, which makes updating and managing content a much faster process because it has no database to query.

Control Panel
In my opinion, this is one of the most advantageous features of this CMS. Creating a streamlined Control Panel was clearly high on the team's agenda when creating this feature, and rightly so. It is vital that entering content into the website is as easy as possible, particularly for clients who have no technical background. The developer can protect pages from accidentally being deleted, as well as hiding pages from the Control Panel altogether.

Updates
As Statamic gains popularity and developers push the boundaries to find out what it is and isn't capable of, the system gets updated frequently. Although this sounds time-consuming, updating your site is as simple as replacing the _app and admin folders.

Support
The team behind this CMS are very responsive. Their passion and sense of humour makes them approachable, which is certainly well-received by the surrounding community. Their online forum, The Lodge, is an easy way to raise questions or seek advice on best practise, and you can expect a reply from one of the guys within a few days (sometimes coupled with an appropriate animated gif!). Sending a Tweet is equally as effective for a quick response.

Handy links
Twitter: @statamic
Shy? Ask questions anonymously: https://lodge.statamic.com/masquerade
Web hosts that play nice: https://github.com/statamic/hosts
Cheat sheet: http://statamic.github.io/statamic-cheat-sheet/