Decision on Craft CMS for national website

Hugh @d5d345c to review Craft CMS and confirm if it meets our requirements for the national website.

Then @HyperNexus to seek approval of costs from XR AU Finance Alliance.

From Website channel:

Hey @chris and any other interested parties! @hughsk and I spoke yesterday about the next steps for the website and have a few questions for you. We’ve been looking at Craft, a super flexible and usable CMS that I’ve had a fair bit of experience using on a few client websites. It looks like a great match for our requirements, and a better solution than the previous Jekyll/NetlifyCMS idea (more details on that below). Questions:

  1. The pricing is $300 US, 255 if we can get the 15% non-profit discount, meaning about AU$400 at current exchange rate). That’s the one-off initial price plus one year of updates, then US$60 per year for continued updates. Do you think that would be doable for XR AU? Who needs to sign off on that?
  2. Would it be possible to set up a subdomain at and install the CMS there? Instructions here
  3. Would it be set up with What’s the process for that? Should I ask global devs?

More details:

Front-end - templating

  • Currently uses Vue, a sort of “website as app” JavaScript framework, better for apps than for simple websites like this, for which it is arguably overkill and in fact makes other things harder. Right now, each time we commit a code update, it takes 5 minutes to rebuild.
  • Hugh was thinking of moving to Jekyll, a static site creator which uses static/text inputs (which a headless CMS can output) to “generate” the website front-end. Simple, but content updates need to be pushed via the repository (files, not database) if I understand correctly. It integrates well with NetlifyCMS though.

Back-end - content management

  • Currently nothing (i.e. relies on developers manually committing changes in code), plus WordPress which is currently only set up for News and has a steep development learning curve.
  • Hugh wanted to move to NetlifyCMS, which looks very nice, but it only works as a “headless CMS” (no front-end templating ability). NetlifyCMS has a “preview mode” for content editors where you can see the fields and the live page you’re editing side-by-side, but it uses React (like Vue, but by Facebook, not…Vue) so takes a bit of work to set that up.

Enter Craft - does both

  • Can be introduced as a headless CMS to replace the existing “nothing+WordPress” and integrate with the existing Vue front-end via GraphQL which it integrates with out of the box. This will allow rebels to log in and make changes sooner rather than later.
  • Then in phase 2 we can transition the front-end over to Craft’s templating (it uses Twig templating language, very intuitive low learning curve) and then flick the switch.
  • Craft uses database, not files, for storing content, so each content update doesn’t trigger a build (however long it takes). It has its own internal caching for templates.
  • It also has a beautiful intuitive user-friendly UI, rich feature set including revision history, approval workflow, a nice live preview mode which doesn’t depend on React setup, so it’ll just work (or at least once the Craft front-end is done I believe).
  • Has a pretty mature plugin ecosystem which includes an OAuth plugin which we can use with Mattermost so rebels don’t need yet another login!
  • FYI it is open source, more info here, just not free obviously.

Following up on the OAuth plugin, it actually doesn’t allow logging into the CP via another account but there are other options: this SSO plugin (US$200 1st year, $70/year after) which will allow us to use the Aus Discourse as an SSO provider per this doc.

Logged by @stefnstuf

Re-posting from Mattermost:

@d5d345c and I have just had a chat, and it’s become clear that the licensing/pricing terms issue is enough of a problem that Craft cannot be regarded as a long-term solution. Therefore we won’t be proceeding with it after all. It’s disappointing as Craft is a very powerful tool, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for XR.

Next I’ll be throwing my energy behind getting WordPress set up both for intuitive content editing, user access control, authentication, etc. and thankfully WP has a HUGE plugin selection to help with that if needed.