Why bother with Concrete5 if you already know Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal? Because...
Owen Dessauer | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated June 16, 2014

Why bother with Concrete5 if you already know Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal? Because...

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

5.6.3

Modules Used

  • Add Multiple Pages, Are You A Human - Captcha, Area Splitter, Designer Content, Dojo Page Filter Pro, eCommerce Express, Login, MailMonkey, Multi Theme, Paypal Cart Buttons, Pro Blog, Testimonials & Quotes, iFrame, YouTube Pro, + many more

Overall Satisfaction with Concrete5

I've worked with Concrete5 for a number of different websites. This has included both personal as well as websites for small business clients. Use cases vary, including personal sites, marketing, an eCommerce site selling product, and for small business. Of course there are a tremendous variety of ways it can be used, and the number of add-on's in the marketplace for all sorts of additional functionality further support this, without any custom code.
  • It is very intuitive right out of the box so-to-speak, so getting a basic site up can be done relatively easily.
  • End users and clients also find the Admin very intuitive and easy to use, in large part due to the in context editing. Therefore, training and hand-off to clients is relatively painless. Not only that, a high percent actually will do "Content Management" . And isn't that the promise of a CMS after all?. This last point, however, is where other CMS's often fail (including the "Big 3" -Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla)!
  • The over-ride system allows an easy way to make modifications to core functionality as well as add-ons without actually hacking the core code.
  • While using jquery in a custom theme isn't necessary a problem, there is potential for conflicts with the system's use of it. However, this is being addressed in the 5.7 release (coming soon), which is a major upgrade with significant improvements.
  • The lack of market penetration when compared to the "Big 3" (Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla) means there is currently far fewer themes available. However, it's a situation that is continually improving.
  • Being able to meet a clients needs with a solution that was quick and easy to deploy.
Years ago when I personally was early on in my web development learning path, I tried to learn and use Drupal. Its complexity and difficulty proved to be too much, at least for me personally at that point in time. Finding and using Concrete5 was a real nice experience after that.
I feel there is a real dichotomy in Concrete5 between it's ease of entry, intuitiveness, etc., and just how powerful and extendable it is. In the hands of an experienced developer who knows how to code, Concrete5 has an architecture that allows so much more. In as far as off the shelf CMS's go (as opposed to a high end custom coded solution when creating the next Facebook, etc.), it's virtually unlimited. Just to briefly compare to Drupal, which is widely regarded as extremely flexible and scalable, for example, the Concrete5 Attributes compare to Drupals Field API. The form Helper is it's equivalent to the Drupal Form API, and there's more. I think many knowledgeable developers would agree that Concrete5 Add-ons are its version of Drupal modules and Wordpress plugins, only better because they almost never break a site or conflict with one another. So if you know how to utilize its helpers, libraries, objects, etc., you have a powerhouse CMS at your fingertips.
As "easy" as Concrete5 is, it is still not perfect for someone completely inexperienced in putting together a website, unless that person is prepared to learn a bit and take the time to do so. I think sometimes people mistake what they hear about Concrete5 being easy to mean it is like a Squarespace or Weebly alternative. It's not. It's much much more powerful and extendable. However, to address this, Concrete5 will be doing something similar to what Wordpress does with wordpress.com VS wordpress.org . So there will be a hosted, simplified version in the probably not too distant future at concrete5.com , and concrete5.org will continue as it is currently (although greatly enhanced with the upcoming 5.7 release and accompanying redesign).

Using Concrete5

Because like so many things in life, it's a matter of perspective. How experienced the "user" is will inevitably impact their impression of it's usability. So I feel Concrete5 is not for everyone, in particular those with very little website experience. And also, the more powerful any given system is, the more there is to grasp, so "usability" is a general term for a more complicated question.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Consistent
Convenient
Feel confident using
None
  • In context editing
  • The sitemap. It's such a simple and intuitive way of seeing and/or working on the organization of your entire website page layout (the site "tree")
  • I don't think "difficult or cumbersome" is the right way to describe it, but there are features and functionality built into Concrete5 that can be tapped into and leveraged to extend it, but that require developer skills.
Yes - This question is over simplified. Are we talking about the front end for end users? Or back end administration? Plus, there are different approaches to mobile (responsive VS mobile versions). Having said that, generally speaking Concrete5 can accommodate the different solutions.