David Gerratt (DG Communications) and Michael Snow (Snow Creative) began our web design partnership in the early years of the Internet boom. After producing close to 100 sites, they began searching for a modern content management system, both to maximize user-friendliness and to handle the increasingly sophisticated requirements of our clients. Though there have been several systems available for some time now, until MODX came on the scene we were reluctant to use them. As a result of research and reports from clients and colleagues who had used them, it was clear to us that CMSs like Drupal and Joomla were not user-friendly enough for our small, nonprofit clients, most of which do not have dedicated webmasters to upkeep their sites. And, frankly, we’ve never considered designing our sites in Wordpress because it's blogging software at its core, and lacks the flexibility and ease of development we want for our websites. Though MODX has been around since 2004, we waited to commit to it until we felt comfortable that it was supported by a vibrant, growing community of open source programmers; we waited until we were convinced that it was here to stay.
Because MODX isn’t exactly a household name (yet!), a few of our clients have been hesitant to jump on the MODX bandwagon. So, we’d like to share why we are so comfortable with and committed to it, and answer a few common questions our clients have asked us.
Although it’s impossible to predict how long any software will be around, the longer it’s been around already, the more likely it is here to stay for the foreseeable future. MODX was first developed over a decade ago — just a year after WordPress and a year before Joomla. The folks behind MODX are passionate about it, and the community of programmers supporting and developing it grows each year.
MODX is an open source software which means that anyone who wants to participate and has the skills can jump in and further its development. Unlike many open source softwares, however, MODX has a core team that works on it full-time, supported in a variety of ways: financial contributions by the MODX programmers community, paid advertising on the MODX website, programmers and designers who pay to be listed in the MODX directory, and a relatively new money-making venture — a MODX cloud hosting service that has some unique features (ask us and we’ll tell you about it). As a result, updates to MODX have become more and more frequent, and there is a high degree of organization for bug reports, feature requests, release timelines, etc.
We love it. It is by far the most flexible CMS available. It's extremely secure, and uses sophisticated caching to speed up page display. It’s easy to program, but more important, we believe it’s the most intuitive system out there, making it the best choice for our nonprofit clients. Several of our clients who had previously used Drupal or Wordpress are thrilled with its ease of use. For most sites we've set up MODX to look like a pretty standard CMS, but for others we've made MODX function more like a web application — that's how flexible it is.
In 2012, MODX won first place for the Critics Choice for Best Open Source CMS. So, the critics love it, too. In 2013, it won first place for the People’s Choice CMS Award. This award is presented based on votes from the public at large, so you can see that there are a whole lot of very satisfied people using it.
No doubt, you can probably find thousands of Wordpress or Drupal programmers online. In contrast, you may only find hundreds of MODX programmers. But, how many programmers do you really need? We hope to serve you for many years to come, but if anything should happen to change this, we have a short list of programmers we can recommend, and there are various MODX-oriented bulletin boards and freelancers sites where you can seek help.
Here are some web pages you can visit to help get a better sense of what MODX is, and what it isn’t.
What’s the limit to what MODX can handle? Apparently, there isn’t one. Here’s a story of why a large company decided to use MODX. Some of this is quite technical, but you’ll get the idea of how flexible and capable the software is:
Revolution Keeps the Beat for Pearl
Here’s a blog post by another developer. It is good summary of why we use MODX, too:
Why We Choose MODX over Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal
Another great post from a MODX developer to read if you're concerned about support in the long run:
You Don’t Need a MODX Developer
Another nice, brief summary of reasons we use MODX for our websites:
MODX Versus Wordpress
For those of you who are thinking of building your website in Wordpress, here’s a page with lots of details on the pros and cons of MODX as compared with Wordpress. There’s a lot to read here. Some of it is outdated, since both MODX and Wordpress continue to be upgraded frequently. It’s good to read through all the comments to get a cross-section of people’s experience:
Wordpress or MODX?
And of course there's the MODX website itself: