Concrete5 Review

Posted Thursday, November 1st, 2012 in Reviews
Concrete5 Review

As a web developer, your job is much more than just to deliver a beautiful, functional website. While you likely spend a great deal of time designing and developing your websites, I’ve found that I usually spend a lot of time with the customer, trying to explain how their website works and how to maintain it.

This is exactly why I have been looking at Concrete5, because Concrete5 has front-end editing. But, the more I look at Concrete5, the more I fall in love with several of its other features.

Easy Front-End Editing = Less Time Holding Hands

Trying to explain how to use WordPress or Drupal to a non-developer is like pulling teeth! I can usually explain to a client how to use WordPress enough to where they can add/edit a post or page. But, give it a week, and they’re calling me back expecting more help. The problem is that WordPress is so large and complex that it’s not that intuitive unless you have experience with it.

Concrete5 is much different with it’s front-end editing feature. When you are signed in and click the editing button in the nav bar, you are given a view that looks like this below.

Concrete5 Editing

Can you imaging how much easier it will be to explain to your client’s how to change their content using this front-end editing? But, Concrete5′s awesomeness doesn’t stop with the front-end editing. Concrete5 also makes it super easy to create a basic theme.

Build a Theme in 8 Minutes?

Coming from a developer’s perspective, it is necessary to be able to quickly and easily build take HTML, CSS, and Javascript template and convert it into a CMS theme. Concrete5 makes it easy to create themes, and even has a walkthrough video where a theme is created in just 8 minutes. Rather than go through code and explain to you how to build a Concrete5 theme, I think it is appropriate to include the video demonstration of how to create a Concrete5 theme in 8 minutes.

So far, with just two features of Concrete5, I hope you can see how this CMS can change your complete workflow and improve your efficiency. But, so far we’ve only really covered the benefits to clients and designers. What about the hardcore developers out there?

Calling All Hardcore Developers

Concrete5 is much more than just a way for designers to build websites though. Under the hood there is a lot of other magic going on, such as:

  • MVC – As someone who has been playing with CodeIgniter quite a bit lately, I was glad to see that Concrete5 adopted the MVC approach. Although it takes a while to get used to, MVC is definitely a powerful tool for teams that include both designers and developers. All of the logic is handled on the backend and then passed to the view. This means a designer can focus on designing without code getting in the way.
  • Helper Classes – Concrete5 includes helpers that will make it easier to do things such as: add elements programmatically, work with dates and times, decode/encode JSON, parse RSS feeds, send mail, and more.
  • Encapsulated Core – All Concrete5 core documents are kept in a core directory. This makes it easy for you to update in the future without having to worry about themes being overridden.
  • And more.

Concrete5 has some of the best, well-organized documentation that I have seen lately. As a developer, you might just fall in love with Concrete5.

Conclusion

As of now, I have only really had the pleasure of playing with Concrete5 for about two weeks. That being said, I have been very pleased with Concrete5. But, even though I like Concrete5, that doesn’t mean that it is the perfect CMS for every solution. As of now, I think Concrete5 is a perfect fit for design agencies and freelancers that work with many clients. I will reserve judgement on Concrete5 for larger projects until I’ve had the chance to test it out.

Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them in the comment box below.

3 Responses to “Concrete5 Review”

  1. franz says:

    Thanks for the great breakdown on why concrete5 is compelling for developers and site owners!

    I would encourage you to try it on your big projects too. When Concrete CMS was commercial software years ago, most of our clients were 6 figure startup projects. In those days we built stuff for the National Guard, Kettle Chips, you name it. Today JCPenney, HP, and dozens of other big brands are using it on their own. Sure, you’ll want a dedicated server and for high load/risk situations you might want to install Varnish on the front, but it’s absolutely a great building material for small and large websites alike.

    You can always send corporate folk to our enterprise site, which offers support and some workflow extensions that resonate at that end of the market:
    http://enterprise.concrete5.com

    Thanks again for the great article!
    -franz
    ceo, concrete5

  2. Nice review. I’ve built many sites with Concrete5 and I still love it – it still excites and interests me!

    My customers love it and I get great feedback on how easy to use the “system” is.

    I’m available for some freelance work if anyone else wants some help with front end C5 work such as build themes, sites etc

    Thanks

    Dave

  3. Monica Pensa says:

    Sam, I have some questions for you:
    - are you a programmer?
    - if the answer on the first question is yes: do you have experience in low-level programming language or the most advanced “programming language” (actually is a script language) that you know is JavaScript?If you want to make something simple in Flash, an animation, you don’t need to have any OOP or programming knowledge you can just drag & drop the things around in the Flash Professional. This isn’t the power of Flash and will not be the power of HTML5, jQuery or any animation tool that appearing on the web.It will take another decade for the softwares to be able to generate a code that will have the same quality with the ones made by an educated human mind.I don’t understand why you guys don’t stop to compare the Flash with HTML 5. There are different technologies! This article’s title is: 10 Online HTML5 Tools For Web Designers. Why you don’t let us know what are that 10 good tools without writing bad things about Flash?

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