Grav CMS

I am trying to teach myself the bare minimum I need to know to get sites off the ground quickly and to look decent when finished. I've fired up pretty much every CMS out there, and have purchased many of them. I run my Jackass Letters site with ExpressionEngine. I've been running that CMS since version 1.0 (actually I even used their previous product "PMachine" as well.), but it was never intuitive for me, and I have a hard time keeping it patched and secured (I hate running updates). I also find it frustrating to have to reinvent the wheel over and over again. EE brags about there being no templates to get in your way, but on the downside you have to literally design everything by hand. EE give you more flexibility than pretty much any other CMS, but you have to keep your site to standards compliant yourself. Want a responsive design? Have fun making it. For someone like me that wants to focus on content, and who can't afford a professional designer, EE has always been frustrating. I know I don't follow best practices, and I know I did a lot of cheating and hacking just to get the site to run at all. I have tons of bugs and no real time to fix them. I just get tired of working with the backend of things. I just want to write! I own the multisite manager, with additional purchased sites, so I can run quite a few installs out of one EE instance, and I can reuse content and code from site to site, but honestly that just introduced a level of complexity I wasn't interested in.

So I've been looking for another CMS. Not to replace EE, but to just fire up sites quickly, with attractive, responsive templates, and I was tired of effing with databases, so I looked into flat file CMSes. I purchased a copy of Statamic, and I liked how it worked, but again I was left with it not really being intuitive and with no templates and the included demo site not meeting my needs. I am convinced Statamic is the bee's knees if you can wrap your head around their paradigm, and you know what you are doing. I can't, and I don't. Add to this that I own like a dozen domains. The price precludes me from running more than a single instance of Statamic.

So I've been looking for something to supplement my arsenal of web technologies, and honestly, I didn't want to go back to rolling things by hand, but I was starting to think that was where I was headed.

A poor workman blames his tools, and all that, but I really wanted to get past having to fiddle with CSS and HTML just to write accesible and standard compliant sites. I also didn't want to have to spend hours and hours just to get the a basic layout. When your tools get in the way of your work, it's time to get better tools. Or different ones. To extend this analogy, I don't exactly need a table saw and a router and a lathe when all I want to do is make a doorstop. I can do that with a miter box.

To this end I am giving Grav a spin, and I am liking what I am seeing. I can literally get a site up and running in like 5 minutes. I can customize it in a few hours, and I can put up new content immediately. In fact, this site is built using Grav with one of their free templates. Open source and free for the majority of the technologies running their CMS, so as far as price goes it scales. And it's damn fast. And somewhat intuitive.

I still think if you want to be a great webdev guy, then ExpressionEngine or Drupal is the way to go, but for simple sites, Grav is the coolest CMS I have played with.

• Christopher


I have no idea what I am doing.