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The end of the CMS


#1

Hi everybody,

This is an idea that has popped into my mind recently and I wanted to share it and maybe create a discussion to see if there are any ideas that I have missed. The idea is that with a tool like webflow, and the proper feature set, that the concept of a Content Management System, or CMS, may not be needed any longer. Here is the idea:

A CMS is designed to help people quickly input and manage content in a website, without having to resort to diving into the html and inputing elements manually. It seems that with the advent of symbols in webflow, that we are moving one step closer to not needing a separate CMS layer for adding content to our websites. I personally find the idea of a CMS, in most cases, to be a little limiting for the content creator, simply due to the idea that the template defines the layout of the content, and not the other way around.

Symbols, or reusable elements, which can include whole pages, can allow a content creator to copy and paste the template page and then alter it to suit the unique needs of a specialized piece of content, rather than having to alter or change the specialized content to fit the layout of a pre-defined template page, all without having to dive into the mark-up itself. It can also be done visually, on the page itself, rather than in a dashboard, which adds a layer of abstraction from the final output that the world will see. Eliminating the dashboard from the equation really helps me in laying out my content, and I hope that others feel the same smile

I feel that Webflow is close to achieving this ideal CMS killing state, but there are a few things that still need to be implemented. Dynamic elements, for one. I would love to be able to drag and drop a dynamic dating module that would automatically reflect the date of creation, which is what PHP and Javascript are for, for the most part. Having dynamic elements and symbols would move Webflow one step closer to being a CMS killer, at least for me.

I know there are a bunch of other things that a CMS can do easily that I'm missing, so please chime in. I would love to fill this post up with a bunch of ideas and suggestions and thoughts on the topic, to help me understand the issue and to help the webflow team come up with any ideas that they may have not had yet.

I am opening this up for debate as I have not put too much mental time into running the idea through it's paces as of this point, and would love to see if this idea is floating around in other heads and/or if it sparks ideas in other people.

Please share your thoughts on the subject if you have any!

Thanks for your hard work @thesergie and the whole webflow team smile

Cheers,

Richard Nash
Los Angeles, CA


#2

It's an interesting idea, and there might be a high-value, low-functionality specific use case that it could address. My sense of it is that would probably end up being called "(whatever that use case is)" instead of CMS. As you allude, there are larger utilities to the concept of a CMS than for example, a personal blog page, which someone could build a set of features like this around. I'm pretty sure that coming at all that larger functionality from this UX model would quickly run into limits that made for a more complex UX than existing CMS systems have.


#3

I kinda see where you are going with this Richard, but I'm personally far from thinking Webflow and a few other options could kill CMS.

I love Webflow. I use it to build my HTML templates which I then import to a CMS like ExpressionEngine.
For me, Weblow is great for simple "static" websites and Landing Pages.

But it's far from being the solution that I can sell to my high end clients requesting complexe database driven websites. Even if they added a few dynamic elements, I'm not sure how it could beat the complexity of what a CMS can accomplish.

With a great CMS I build tailored to the clients needs. And there are not easy or perfect plugins for everything. Often, it needs to be coded by hand from scratch.

I've had complete paper catalogues of products brought to web using CMS. And some of those products have complicated data. Conditionals, memberships integration, pricing variables, relations to other entries, etc... It can be a headache for just one customer...

Webflow created an amazing tool for front-end designers. I used to code my templates by hand, and was really anal about the final code I would deliver to clients. Webflow slapped me in the face with their final output. And they keep coming up with great features almost every week!

I'd be scared to see how this great Web Design/HTML/CSS coding tool would become if they started to try to please everyone with full CMS integration.

I agree that some basic plugins could be added and could be useful on a smaller scale.
But I don't see them killing CMS anytime soon... And I wouldn't want them to even try. They are good at what they are doing and they should keep on improving it. I'm a fan! smile


#4

I've been thinking a lot about this as well. I think adding dynamic content and running a file or database driven dynamic website that is only editable on the actual pages themselves can be a fun idea, but it might have it's limitations. Gonna let it simmer in the back of my mind for the time being and see if some delightful insights can pop up in the recesses of my brainium.

Cheers for your contributions to my thoughts. I is super helpful @batdelfuego. @ramatsu as well. The more people supply me with counter arguments and use cases it helps me clarify and focus my thoughts in the right direction smile

Cheers,

Richard Nash
Los Angeles, CA


#5

Well actually am just a starter.... But what i really think about this is that if webflow can create upper level code integration and the ability to integrate lots of other plugins as i do use on other Cms and the rest it would really be nicer...Also if we user can define validated and every other codings element and have it in their Dashboard for use.. and they try to integrate most features people are creating for others to use... I know the list is endless and a big work to do... The community can contribute to this by having the ability and privilege to share new validated element or functionality they created be it Htlm,Css,Jquery,Javascript, etc The world would be shocked and the True dream to design a full functional web without coding will be coming closer to reality
So it will them shoot up the CMS killer possibility.....


#6

Well, i'm glad that @callmevlad, @thesergie and the rest of the @webflow team were so inspired by this forum post to model their new product on it!

lol, jk n' stuff, happy to see this finally happening from such a great team smile

Cheers,

RN

P.S. - get me on that beta right quick @callmevlad. Been thinking about this for a while smile


#7

@rchrdnsh this is gonna be so cool, I think that a cms completely takes webflow to the next level....

Arthur


#8

I am in complete agreement with @batdelfuego. I have been working on an e-commerce site that is due to go live tomorrow. It started in Webflow and was then integrated with a cms. While this was going on the client was populating the database with 1500 products, all with pricing, size and colour variants. We integrated a membership module and payment system and it has all been relatively painless working alongside the client. I cannot see Webflow even beginning to solve a huge number of complex conditional tasks and behaviours that have been included in our final site.
I get the cms functionality for smaller non dynamic sites that do not require databases and I do have clients that would benefit from this simpler model.
For me I would prefer it if the Webflow team concentrated on the much asked for and never delivered improvements to the existing feature set. Copying symbols and divs or sections from one site to another is essential and should always have been a feature. Having to resort to a sandbox with all our intricately fashioned CSS, transitions, animations and interactions is crazy. Really crazy, really really crazy. Cut and paste has been around since the dinosaurs, please please allow us to do it from one project to another, it's how we improve efficiencies and become much faster designers and developers.


#9