Concrete5 vs ModX

Been doing some research latley around the ModX content management system (CMS) and concrete5.  What I've found is that while the approach of each CMS is similar I found that the implemenation is different and that is where the devil is in the details.

ModX is seems to us to be very hands on and as such isn't for the less technical user. If you are willing to work your way through it we find it is a robust system. There is always a learning curve that comes with any CMS, but that curve seemed to be more challenging than it should be.  Adding a form to the website and then getting to work the way I wanted to was a bit frustrating and the documentation that we worked through didn't seem very clear.


Another issue we had with ModX was that I could create great chunks that could be reused on multiple pages (that was pretty cool) but if I wanted to create variations for each page I had to create multiple snippets. We could not find a clear way to do this and we ended up too many chunks.

I liked the way I could apply changes to multiple pages all at once. That came in very handy. The rewrite to pretty urls was clean and the interface was nice. Going back and forth between the page and the dashboard was easy and facilitated easy testing of features.

The community forums were a lot of help, usually. There were lots of snippets and chunks and some templates available to use. There was not very many "polished" items though. It was more put together in a garage rather than in a factory. Don't get me wrong, I like things forged in garages but they do not easily have the same shine as production quality.

Not being able to do incontent editing I also found to be a bit of a downside.  I've always found that navigating to a page to make a change is a lot easier than trying to manipulating from a backend admin tool. This of course isn't a deal breaker, but a preference of ours.

Concrete5 on the other hand allows users, even ones without much computer experience to edit not only the text of a site but entire blocks and move them around in a near wysiwyg interface from the front end. Again, there does not seem to be a way to manage the guestbook (their version of user comments).

Each page can be change and each block can be altered to function the same or slightly different on each page. This is nice until you need to change one thing on 90 pages and have to do it on each one. Concrete5 also uses a lot of flash for editting and such so you better like flash and not be too into Apple-non-flash products. I will have to surf my site with a non-flash enabled browser, perhaps Konqueror will do.

Concrete5 is to content management what the iphone is to cell phones.  Intuitive.  Making basic and common changes to a site doesn't require documentation.  You just go to the place that you want to make a change and then big buttons seem to make it obvious as to how you do things.  We didn't feel the same pains as we did with ModX in getting through the initial learning curve.  We also liked the concept in Concrete5 of a scrapbook were you could copy blocks that you wanted to reuse on other places of the site.  Unlike ModX, once you pasted a scrapbook item you could manipulite it anyway you want.

 

The forms block in Concrete5 is second to none.  It took us no time to manipulate a form to how we wanted it to work as long as you didn't need anything to fancy.  We were a little disappointed that you can create multi-page forms would would like more tools to work with, but for out of the box what Concrete5 provides is more than adequaate.

In summary:

ModX
Pros: Modular, easy to use templating system, reusable code, ability to apply changes to multiple pages simultaneously, once site is up can be operated by average computer user, good community.
Cons: Documentation outdated, not easily spit and polished, getting site up is not for faint of heart, not easy to manipulate structure to suit each page's needs, no easy way for https login, no front end management except for comments.

Concrete5
Pros: Polished, easy to use in-content editing, easily manipulated blocks, great form tools, and scrapbooks made it easy to reuse blocks.
Cons: Somewhat limited tools for forms





Please add a comment

Posted by DESIGNfromWITHIN on
I can not say that I agree with your post.
I am very curious to know wich version of MODX you used. The latest version MODX Revolution (MODX Revo 1.3-pl or even better the 2.2) has most of your point above covered.

MODX Revolution looks very slick indeed, is very easy to install/update and is the most Flexible CMS I have ever seen!

I do like Concrete5, but If you really give MODX Revo a good try you will see that is way more flexible and powerful.
Posted by Jay Gilmore on
Thanks for your comparison of MODX vs. Concrete5. I'd be interested to know what version of MODX you used? Revolution or Evolution? I also wonder when you are speaking of outdated documentation to what you refer. The current documentation for Revolution is current and while always could be more complete (all documentation is incomplete) that it's quite up to date with changes and updates occurring nearly daily. Additionally, it sounds like you liked that you got up to speed on Concrete5 very quickly but all of the things you attempted to do in MODX can be achieved in a more sensible and easy to manage matter but it will take the site builder time to really master MODX.

Jay Gilmore,
Dir. Channels & Community
MODX, LLC
Posted by Mark Hamstra on
What version of MODX did you compare Concrete5 with?

I can't speak for Concrete5, but having worked with MODX in the past 3-4 years (first Evolution, now Revolution and totally digging the upcoming 2.2) I'm think you simply didn't complete the learning curve yet... there's some things going on to better organize the docs and offer better learning materials (the recently released book by Bob Ray is GREAT!)

You said:
> Another issue we had with ModX was that I could create great chunks that could be reused on multiple pages (that was pretty cool) but if I wanted to create variations for each page I had to create multiple snippets. We could not find a clear way to do this and we ended up too many chunks.
You can most definitely use variations using element properties and placeholders. I'm not going to explain that in a brief comment, but I have explained it on my website some time ago already, so you can refer to that: http://www.markhamstra.com/modx-blog/2010/10/introducing-element-properties-and-output-modifier/

I agree front-end editing isn't a deal breaker. There's a number of different addons that can help you with that if needed though (NewsPublisher, AlohaX, Frontpage and may be forgetting some).

> Concrete5 on the other hand allows users, even ones without much computer experience to edit not only the text of a site but entire blocks and move them around in a near wysiwyg interface from the front end.

I suppose that depends on your target group and who you are developing for, but I can't think of valid reasons to let people completely change the layout without having a professional look at it. As a developer, I would rather provide my client a few templates to choose from and having them work with that. Or give them template options they can tick on/off like a twitter feed, or what content is used in the footer widgets.

> We also liked the concept in Concrete5 of a scrapbook were you could copy blocks that you wanted to reuse on other places of the site. Unlike ModX, once you pasted a scrapbook item you could manipulite it anyway you want.

Again - I'm not familiar with the inner workings of Concrete5, but I'm going this guess this boils down to the element properties I linked to above?


All in all I think there's one thing you really highlighted in this post (again, my knowledge of Concrete5 is very limited, this is based of your pros/cons):

- Concrete5 is like Lego - you get lots of fascinating blocks you can make stuff work with. Just stack them and drag around.
- MODX is like a 3D printer which allows you to build your own blocks with limited effort.
Posted by admin on
Thanks for the comments. We were using ModX 2.1.5. Version 2.2 hasn't been released yet so it didn't seem like it would be fair to work with a copy that isn't readily in use and may have bugs in it. Would like to give it a try however.
Leave a Reply



(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)





For more information about this blog or Concrete5 please contact Jamie Johnson.