WordPress vs Silverstripe

I’ve used WordPress since 2009, all be it on and off. I’ve destroyed and recreated this blog countless times in the pursuit of the perfect tool for showcasing my content vs showcasing my abilities.

During my time of destruction and creation I began to learn something new about each tool I used. The two main contenders that I fell back and forth from was WordPress and Silverstripe.

WordPress

WordPress Logo
WordPress Logo

The first release in 2003 was a fork of ‘b2/cafelog’ which was designed to “enhance the typography of everyday writing”. In February 2017 it was being used by 58.7% of all websites which were using a CMS and 27.5% of the top 10 million websites.

Now in this case, the website’s about page suggests going to Wikipedia to get more detailed information so I will assume that the data on the Wikipedia page is being kept up to date. If you’d like some more detailed stats about WordPress, the website http://codeinwp.com has a post with all the statistics gathered so far up until the beginning of 2017.

WordPress currently has (at the time of writing this) 4676 themes if you count via the ‘Latest‘ filter, and 50,145 plugins according to the plugins page. With the combination of all of these options, any given idea for a website is possible. This combined with the ability to customise further using the inbuilt editor tools makes WordPress the ideal tool. This is the case from the normal everyday user, up to the most detail oriented designer.

Silverstripe

SilverStripe Logo
SilverStripe Logo

The framework was first released to public as version 2.0.0 in February of 2007 after its graduation from an incubator known as Creative HQ. It was overhauled due to the new object orientated features released in PHP 5. After being selected for Google Summer of code in March 2007, version 2.2 was released. It was also the first open source software that was certified by Microsoft to have it added to its download gallery.

It is a tool ready to go out of the box. This is in terms of content authors having their side to update the site or application, and for developers to have their side of customising to their hearts desire. The documentation, tutorials which are now known as Lessons and open community easily make it one of the best frameworks to get started with building a custom application. From homegrown sales tracking, to online banking applications to convention websites, it is able to handle them all.

The Right Tool For The Job

If you’ll notice that I don’t compare the two open source frameworks equally. With WordPress I don’t mention the ability to extend the framework. Nor do I mention its newest addition of the RESTful API in version 4.7.0. With Silverstripe I focus more on its dedication towards developers and custom application development.

It took me a long while to learn the lesson that other developers, bloggers and believe it or not, users, had tried to warn me about. I had to learn the lesson the hard way: to use the right tool for the job. This small but important journey began with a reassessment of my primary objective.

Primary Objective: My Weakness vs WordPress’ Strength

The objective is to express my thoughts and experiences in a format I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a place to publish my collection of raw data and write them as useful information via understanding. Creating a custom application does not exactly have a place here. I’d eventually get sick of constantly updating my own project because it was my own. Perfection caused me to lose out on all posts since 2009. This would have given me a decent collection of content by now. I’m having to start over yet again, because I couldn’t decide what was more important. Whether my passion for writing or creating something unique for potential employers to see was more important.

Since the passion was writing, I chose to go with the tool created for it. I could always have a showcase of my work else where, but I would not have the tools I have now to concentrate solely on writing.

Silverstripe’s Strength

In the same fashion, working with the Silverstripe Framework to build a completely custom application is lot easier. There is also far less of a learning curve than attempting to navigate the WordPress Codex. Keep in mind that this may be different for other developers. It also comes as bare bones as it can get. This means that I don’t have to deal with a tonne of features I have no interest in using, and get to work my way from the ground up.

Some of the sites I mentioned above in terms of what the framework could handle, can also be handled by WordPress. The key here to think about is speed of implementation. I found the framework to be first of all, much easier to pick up from the start, learning as I went along. It also allowed me to be more productive at the same time.

There is also a themes and a modules system which are just as easily extendable and customisable to fit the needs of the project.

Hosting Service and a Conclusion

The hosting service I’m currently using is Dreampress by Dreamhost. They manage all services from security updates to malware scanning to keeping all plugins updated. This by far was one of the easiest ways for me to setup a WordPress blog. Granted that I do have to pay a bit extra for Dreampress to take care of the hosting and upgrading and security details, but its worth it for those writers interested in making a serious start to blogging whilst maintaining full control of any customisation they might want in the future.

I use Dreampress for this reason alone, as there will be aesthetics I’d like to be able to play around with in the future. If you aren’t too worried about ever having to do that, you can always just sign up directly at http://wordpress.com and they can take care of the same exact details for you, including caching and scaling.

Note that this post is from the perspective of my own experience and failures of just doing it. I currently use both frameworks for what I believe they are created for. This blog uses WordPress, while my personal more custom projects use Silverstripe.