At Kunstmaan we have been building websites for our clients since 1998 and have always prided ourselves on helping our clients bring their message online via easy to use but below the hood advanced content management systems.
The internet, technologies and requirements to do this have changed dramatically over the years and in 2011, a few months after the release of Symfony 2, we overhauled our complete technology stack to match.
Starting fresh has a lot of advantages and going further we defined the basic premise of our new CMS system.
It should be very user friendly. Most users do not have a computer sciences degree because they are not IT professionals, but communication and marketing experts. Their focus is the content they want to put online, the CMS should enable them and handle all the complexity for them.
In a global economy but especially in a multilingual country like Belgium, handling content in multiple languages should be included in every part of the system.
It should use as much of the community components available in the Symfony ecosystem. And if a bundle rises in popularity that has functionality the CMS includes as well, it should replace our own code.
It should be fast! Fast to use and fast to render.
It should use proven technology. We chose MySQL, PHP, Symfony 2, Doctrine, etc. While there are valid use cases for emerging technologies (e.g. NoSQL), in most cases there is no need, nor advantage to using them. And if there is, a bespoke application might be better.
It is here we make the difference compared with other content management solutions. Building on the strong shoulders of Symfony and the community, our user experience and interaction designers were able to use their years of experience crafting user-centric online experiences to produce the most user-friendly, yet advanced interface for managing multilingual content online.
A three tier solution
- We started with Symfony Framework (Full Stack). The full stack solutions is both a collection of over 30 high quality components that form the basis of the best PHP applications, and a framework that encapsulates these components to speed up the creation of professional, fast and high quality web applications.
- Added on top of the framework we included a lot of community components that provide our extended framework with functionality like Image resizing, pagination, user management, an advanced router, etc.
- And we wrap all this into a user friendly admin interface with content management functionalities.
We are able to support PHP 5.4 and up, and all Symfony versions since 2.3. We constantly test and adapt to be able to run the latest and greatest from Symfony and the community.
We released the entire system as MIT licensed open-source in January of 2012. Since it's release we have counted over ~450 websites and counting in production, of which only a fraction built by Kunstmaan.
Developers over the entire world have started using the CMS, some of which in companies who have built their business on top of this technology.
This much activity results in a lot of feedback and pull requests from developers and users. The contributions of these ~70 fantastic people have made it better than we could have ever hoped for.