SilverStripe is a rather interesting CMS (Content Management System) that varies from its competition in that it is designed specifically for individuals who edit web content. This specialized approach means it is not quite as flexible as some other CMS packages, but this focus makes what it does somewhat more cohesive. According to official SilverStripe website data, there are currently over 300,000 copies of the SilverStripe CMS and framework in circulation worldwide. Let's take a look at some of the details.

SilverStripe

Technology

SilverStripe is based on PHP5, HTML, Javascript, and CSS. These are all well-known, open standards that are used across the entire Internet. In addition to the data that is stored in the site's directory tree (images, video, audio files, compressed archives, et cetera), site content and configuration information is kept in a unified SQL* database, similar to most CMS software. Due to its use of open standards, it is able to function on most platforms regardless of the operating system they run. (SQL database can be MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server or others). Read System Requirements.

Types of Editions

Due to its highly specialized nature, SilverStripe CMS only comes in one edition. A single free download package is provided at the company's web site.

Installation

Installation is fairly straightforward, however it is significantly more complex than some other CMS packages like Wordpress or TextPattern. Documentation is provided to walk you through the process. However, installation of this particular CMS is not as obvious, nor as user-friendly, as some of its competition.

Features

  • Custom template creation system that is designed to separate visual design aspects from PHP/CSS code
  • Designed to allow users to add content while maintaining a rigid visual aesthetic of your choice
  • Provides WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing for those unfamiliar with web programming
  • Platform Agnostic, can run on most operating systems that support PHP5 and SQL
  • Supports a wide range of "Modules" that add various functionality
  • Backed by an expansive developer community
  • Available free of charge

Strengths

  • Works on most server platforms
  • Sapphire PHP framework can be used to build a more complex CMS
  • Easy to use, does not require programming knowledge
  • Supports 'friendly' URLs for content pages it creates
  • Multiple page templates available
  • Free of charge

Weaknesses

  • Requires PHP5 support, which is far from universal at this time
  • Does not provide as robust an 'out of the box' experience as more general-purpose CMS packages
  • Support is available from the developer community, but not directly from the company producing the software

Who Should Use SilverStripe?

SilverStripe CMS is especially well-suited to those who do content editing on web sites. For example, users can be defined, who can then log in to the site and upload their content. Editors (also defined as users on the site, but with different privileges) can then view and edit this content, and in turn, submit it for final publishing. The WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor means that operating the CMS is no more complex than using a word processor. Media such as images, flash, and audio can be embedded using a simple drag-and-drop interface that is easy to learn.

What Kind of Websites Should Use SilverStripe?

Sites with large amounts of content will get the most use out of SilverStripe CMS. Smaller sites that are not intended to grow substantially in size during their lifetime would likely be better off with a lighter-weight CMS, or none at all (a customized static design) programmed using HTML, PHP, and/or CSS. This will reduce overhead at the server level. However, a site with more than a dozen articles that intends to expand to hundreds will find the initial time investment is well worth it, as expanding the content base of the site will be prove far easier under SilverStripe.

Conclusion

Although it is a little more involved and specialized, SilverStripe looks to be a very competent and powerful CMS. It is well worth a look for anyone planning to start a site that needs to be fairly large and/or expansible. However, it may not be the ideal choice for converting a site that already exists, as content will need to be migrated over from its current location. This may require knowledge of HTML, PHP, Javascript, CSS, or whichever languages are currently in use on that site. If you are up to the task, however, conversion is certainly possible. I would recommend assessing this CMS versus its competition thoroughly before making your ultimate choice.

Categories : Web Development, CMS
Tags : cms, SilverStripe


author's photo

Author : Susan Haynes

I have been in software industry for more than 10 years. I have developed different type of software using different languages. I have knowledge in languages such as Ruby, Python, PHP, Flash, .NET, Java, and jQuery. Currently I am working as a Tech Lead in Singapore.

COMMENTS
blog comments powered by Disqus