This post has been a long time coming. One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from customers during our pre-project web design consulting and planning phase is what content management system are we going to use for their website and all too often our clients bring up and insist on WordPress just because they’ve heard the name somewhere. No wonder… The continuing blogger boom has turned WordPress into a household name.
However, at Peak Digital, we won't lug you with a particular content management system just because it famous or because somebody else decided to use it for their website. After all, when you hire us, you will be dealing with people with a comprehensive knowledge of the web design industry. We stay on top of the latest web technology developments to bring you future proof websites designed to be accessible, reliable and give your visitors the optimal experience. In other words, it’s our job to point you in the right direction and give you the best advice.
There are a plethora of content management systems out there to choose from and it’s important to know the features which will be incorporated into the web site before choosing a CMS. Each CMS varies in features offered such as ease of setup, user friendliness, server and language compatibility, extensibility, as well as many more features. Out of the long list of content management systems, WordPress in particular is a great system and invaluable tool for bloggers and publishing regularly updated content, but that’s where we draw the line.
Whether you’re looking to launch your brand’s first site or overhaul an existing one, you’ll want to have a strong content management system at your back and with any CMS, you’ll want to have a clear set of goals for what the website will do for your company and your customers.
More often than not, when forced to use WordPress, we find ourselves editing, adding, removing, disabling and undoing so much of what is included out of the box that there hardly anything original left. Symphony, on the other hand, avoids the “website in a box” approach of other content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla. It is designed to be extended, and does not assume anything on you, and gives us a clean slate to build on. It is seen as more of a content management framework than a content management system — it blurs the boundaries between a CMS, and library and a framework. It’s more like LEGO in that it provides the elemental building blocks for us to slot together to build a CMS focused specifically for your website.
As developers, we love Symphony because it gives us extensive control. The biggest benefit (which in my opinion overweighs everything else) is that Symphony, for a fact, is more of a web development framework than CMS. This gives us the flexibility of model the content just how our clients wish. Other CMS such as Durpal or Commonspot, or even Pods CMS for Wordpress use almost identical and strict models for storing data. Symphony, doesn’t prescribe any markup, so we’re free to set up sections and content for you as you wish. It doesn't matter if it's a blog or a static page or something else.
As a web designers, we love Symphony because it gives us extensive control. In other words, with Symphony we can design a website as simple or as complex as we need without running into technical limitations. If it's a simple site then we won't include any unnecessary bells or whistles and if it's a complex site then we have high degree of flexibility and structure and code things the way we like.
Symphony, like WordPress is free and open-source software; the whole platform is free to download and use for everyone. The open source nature and helpful spirit of Symphony community means you can access hundreds of extensions to get the exact functionality and features you want for your website, all for no extra charge. Even though we value client relationships that are personalized, value-driven and long-term, this also means that your in-house staff can take over the maintenance of website at any point.
Furthermore, the Symphony platform’s creators even are available for support, so we’re talking about commercial grade and enterprise-level support. You won’t get that with WordPress. A look at Symphony’s own home page also shows a list of many high-profile clients using the system, so it has the added benefit of a very strong professional reputation.