Why do we like Kirby so much?
We've only been using the Kirby CMS (content management system) for a few months but we have already decided it is a key part of our business for the future. Why?
- It is lightweight: no need for a database, just some text files
- It is flexible: in design and functionality terms, we have so far been able to do whatever we've needed to do, without feeling held back.
- It has a strong and supportive community
- It has a really configurable editor experience: with the ability to structure content for editors and lay out the panel in friendly and helpful ways.
- It is very capable of producing highly efficient, highly accessible websites: which is incredibly important to our business. With Kirby, we know that we have full control.
- It is a paid product: that means we can rely on support if we have any issues and we can rely on it continuing to develop. We love open-source software but support and longevity are not inherently part of the open-source deal and they are vital to our business.
How have we used Kirby?
We only started using Kirby towards the end of last year. We have already used Kirby for the following projects:
- For two EU-funded environmental projects (for which Kirby very kindly supplied free licenses):
- Natural Entrepreneurs: we created a multi-lingual learning platform which leads teams through the Biomimicry Design Process. There are collaborative activities and a Commons of shared resources created by the teams. We created the first version of the platform using WordPress and the MemberPress plugin, but moved the platform to Kirby for the final version - and we're delighted we did!
- Biolearn: a multi-lingual project website which encourages students from five European countries to get involved with biomimicry
- Giles Turnbull's personal website: a hand-crafted website, first begun in 1997. Kirby allows Giles to easily create new content, while the existing static HTML content continues to work seamlessly alongside it.
- This Careful Digital website, including the new Commons area (with blog, online guides and resources).
How does Kirby compare to other Content Management Systems?
Kirby is in some ways similar to Umbraco, which we used for a number of years, and which shares a really good editor experience and a lot of flexibility and freedom to create bespoke solutions. Kirby is more lightweight (no database) and simpler to work with from a development perspective.
Kirby has been a breath of fresh air compared to working with WordPress. WordPress is still in many ways a very good way to create websites, and has a far larger community and range of plugins than Kirby. However, Kirby is far easier to work with, and still feels lightweight and coherent, whereas WordPress now feels like it has become something of a monster.
To take one specific example in which Kirby feels superior, while Gutenberg Blocks in WordPress have many strengths, Kirby's content blocks are:
- simple to work with
- well integrated into the editor experience
- easy to customise
- and produce accessible and high-performing content.
Kirby will be a vital part of our business in the future and we can't wait to create some new Kirby websites.
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