Kirby, a file-based CMS that just works
- 29th March 2012
I've been "re-designing" this site for along time now - it's been a single holding page for way to long. I found, like many other people, that if I spend to long working on it I get pretty board of it and have to start it from fresh again and it never seems to get finished. I knew for certain that I needed to get it built and live in a short timespan and I wanted the new site to be a blog with the possibility to extend it in the future, so I started looking at my options...
The almighty - Wordpress
I wanted the core of my site to be a blog so where better to start looking then at everybody's friend - Wordpress. I was actually quite excited about using Wordpress. Even though I've been a web developer for over 5 years I never needed to use it so I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. I should of known better!
NOTE: I feel like I should mention that Wordpress isn't all bad. It is a well tested, well supported and feature rich blogging platform. It's just to messy and bulky for what I was after.
The familiar - PHP Frameworks
I've used various PHP frameworks nearly everyday through-out my working life. They are amazing. I can't speak highly enough about them. With this in mind I thought I may as well quickly knock up a quick blog using one and Twitter Bootstrap for the admin skin.
I thought I'd keep it interesting and start using one that I hadn't used at work. FuelPHP and Laravel seemed like a couple of good options as they are similar to my work staples of CodeIgniter and Kohana and have a good buzz surrounding them.
I started this process with great enthusiasm until I realised that at 11pm every night (which is the only time I get to work on personal stuff) I couldn't really be bothered to try get my head around a new framework and the whole thing was starting to feel abit like work!
The saviour - Kirby
I can't actually remember how I can across Kirby. I presume it was because I was trying to find a markdown-based cms and I just stumbled over it. I flicked through a few of the example site and saw that the vast majority where simple and minimal blog-style sites - just what I was after. I downloaded the free trail from GitHub and had a look through the codebase. Everything looked neat and lovingly looked after. I created a couple a test pages and a test template and everything worked just as it said it would.
I browsed through the documentation and started thinking of how I could construct a blog from the file-based approach it used. I though I'd have a click around the Kirby site to see what sort of stuff was possible. When I clicked on the Tutorials I was expecting, maybe, 3 or 4 very basic getting started guides, as is normally the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only everything I was trying to do was possible, but it was all already accurately documented for me to follow. Perfect for late night coding!
A few tutorials and a couple of well thought out snippets and plugins later, I had a fully functioning blog with a nice clean HTML template to start styling. To complete all of the setup and development work for the blog it probably took less than an hour. Now I had plenty of time to style it and get it live before I would normally get fed up.
I raise my hat (if I had one) to the guys who made Kirby - it really does what it says on the tin (well, homepage) "Easy to setup, easy to use, flexible as hell".