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Moving away from Wordpress

Posted on September 16th, 2018   Read in 2 minutes, 21 seconds

I started developing Wordpress themes in 2009 when I started blogging (long since deleted) and eventually got hired by a friend in the writing space who needed a custom theme.

Since then, almost every website we've built has been based on Wordpress, including previous versions of this site. If I really cared to sit down and run the numbers, I would guess that probably 80% of websites we've done has been with Wordpress, even more so on the subcontracting side of things. We've done websites in Drupal, Concrete5, Silverstripe, ExpressionEngine, and even eCommerce platforms like Shopify, but Wordpress definitely eclipses them all in terms of frequency.

After almost 10 years of doing it, I just got burned out on it.

Several months ago, I decided to ditch Wordpress and design a new website that was just flat files, since I didn't write in the blog that much, and coming up with a way to efficiently and quickly display a showcase of our work without a lot of overhead was endlessly frustrating. Sure, there's a plugin for that, but I didn't want just another plugin. I wanted something that Wordpress just couldn't give me at the moment.

It was a "static" site, and the work section was just a basic gallery that called a lightbox, nothing fancy. It didn't have a blog. It was simple, fast, clean, and I didn't have to so much as check on it, except when I needed to update some text or upload a portfolio item.

But, I like writing.

So, a few weeks ago, after a considerable amount of research, I decided to go back to a Content Management System, but instead go for a flat-file CMS instead. Boy has it been a joy to work with. No database. Very little overhead. I can create any piece of custom, reusable content that I want. I can write again. It feels great. Sure, it doesn't have the plugin availability that Wordpress does, but my development philosophy, especially when it comes to Wordpress, has always been about minimalism. If I can integrate something out of the box, instead of using a plugin, I'll go that route instead.

The current CMS that I'm using isn't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it so far. The community around it is large enough that there's information out there if I'm having an issue, there are enough plugins that if there's a functionality that I absolutely need but don't really have the time or expertise to implement, I can pull from. The way it handles images could be better. But overall, it's miles ahead of where we were before in terms of functionality.

I'm still navigating my way through all of the nuances of this CMS, just like I did in the beginning with Wordpress - but it's been fun. Looking forward to working with it more.