Why We Build Websites on October CMS

By Philip Belcher

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User Experience Web development

There are three broad types of CMS software: open source, proprietary and Software-as-a-Service CMS, including cloud-based solutions.

You’ve likely heard of WordPress – the massively popular, open source blogging platform, turned Content Management System (CMS) powerhouse that powers over 40% of all online websites. Released in 2003 and built upon the PHP programming language, WordPress allows anyone to quickly set up and create their own blog with almost zero technical expertise. When you need a new feature, there are tens of thousands of Plugins that can be installed into your website to give you new abilities; ecommerce, search-engine-optimization, event booking, the list goes on.

At JUMP however, we develop nearly all our website projects on top of a Content Management System you’ve likely never heard of, known as October CMS.

What is October CMS

A relatively small project, October CMS was released open source, in 2014 and aimed to be “designed by developers, for developers”. It arrived with, not only a fully-fledged Content Management System but came with its own set of tools for building brand new Plugins from the ground up, quickly and easily.

October, like WordPress, is also built upon PHP. However, October uses the Laravel Framework as it’s foundation, which means you get a lot of simple, elegant and powerful features straight out of the box.

The Fundamental Differences

WordPress and October both have certain similarities; they let administrators add, update and delete the content of their website and they support a wide range of installable 3rd-party plugins.

However, there are some fundamental differences between the two and the big ones for us are:

Intended audience

WordPress was created for non-technical users to rapidly create a basic website which can be extended by a wide range of plugins developed by different developers. With this wide range of developers, comes a wide range of security risks and minor annoyances – such as when a Plugin delivers only 80% of the features you want, or when a Plugin becomes abandoned by a developer. The complexity, and bugs, can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful.

October CMS was created for web developers to create software solutions for a website that can 100% meet the requirements of their end user (i.e. the client). Whilst there are many 3rd party Plugins available to install, most of the time it’s quicker and more beneficial to create your own from the ground up – creating a leaner codebase that does exactly what the client wants and none of what they don’t want. October gives you a system for quickly creating these plugins.

Programming features

Primarily due to its age, WordPress is from an era when PHP was written procedurally. This creates code that is harder to maintain, debug and compose together.

October is from a time when Object Oriented Programming was the de facto paradigm of writing PHP code. This allows for a more modern, robust and cleaner codebase that is much easier to write, test and support. 

Some Benefits of October CMS and Laravel

Utterly customisable List and Form views

We can quickly build a beautiful backend administrator view that does exactly what you need it do using the in-built October elements, and when we need to go further, we can easily extend it and add our own.

Security

Security is at the forefront, with many core features having built-in security (such as the Eloquent ORM for interacting with the database protecting against attacks) and a constant stream of security updates being released.

Github and Composer Support

Github and Composer Support out of the box – This may not sound much, but for our development team it is huge. October and Laravel use both by default, unlike WordPress.

Github is the most popular solution for safely storing your code for your websites and it provides version tracking so we can see exactly what code changes have been made and by whom.

Composer is the most popular Package Manager for PHP and provides a library of over 3 million packages created by developers. It gives us the opportunity to compose together many low-level, open-source packages to create the ultimate software applications.

Amazon Web Services

We love using Amazon Web Services at JUMP and so the in-built integration with AWS S3 out of the box means we can securely and safely store our clients’ static resources, such as images and files, ready to be cached for fast retrieval by your users.

Bridging the User Experience Gap

We know some users may be used to the familiarity of the WordPress backend and may be hesitant to migrate to a new system. 

At JUMP, we believe October’s slick backend is more beautiful and easier to understand – especially as there are no bloated, unused elements on the screen. Everything has been designed just for you. 

JUMP have designed and developed over 40 custom October Plugins ranging from Cookie Consent management, Google Analytics and Tag Manager support through to Social Media integration and Search Engine Optimization, all of which, can be shared across our digital projects.

This means before we even start on the bespoke aspects of your website, you can already get a lot of functionality straight out of the box – saving you time and money.

We also know there are users who may have tried October in the past and may have had poor experiences, especially with their Page Management Plugin.

At JUMP, we created an alternative version of the Pages Plugin that adds the following features:

  • Brand new Section Editor – Similar to WordPress’ Gutenberg, our section editor allows you to build up your page content using beautiful, hand-crafted blocks of content tailored to your needs.
  • Versioning and Preview – Track changes made to each page and get a preview of what the page will look like before you publish your changes
  • Extended Search Engine Optimizations – Change a wide range of SEO meta fields to maximise your search rankings. This feature is constantly evolving alongside the ever-changing world of SEO best practises.

Final Words

At JUMP, we’re proud that we can support our clients at every level, from user research, through to brand entity, all the way to the final bespoke digital solution

We carefully craft bespoke brand identities and design, so we feel that should carry across to the website itself.

We feel the best way to accomplish this goal is to build upon the rock-solid foundation of October CMS and Laravel – they provide our experienced development team the best tools so we can efficiently and enjoyably create bespoke digital solutions that fit exactly what you asked for.

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