Over Labor Day weekend I got it in my head to change things up a bit with rustbelt.co. I had an unused license for Statamic going to waste, so I switched my site from WordPress. I decided to make the switch because I use WordPress almost exclusively at work, and I realized this site is a perfect opportunity to learn a new CMS.\r\n
I’m a fan of WordPress. It allows me to make sites with relatively complex features quickly. I’ve learned a lot, and it’s actually pretty fun to use and flexible once I got the hang of it. However, I’m slightly OCD about building things from scratch (as much as possible), so it gnaws at me that I take advantage of the time savers it affords me to the point that I never learn how to do them myself. I know I can teach myself what I need to learn. I just need to do it now. Also, it’s such a mountain of code for the small-ish sites I build. I see flat file CMS’s like Statamic as a way to make lean websites that out-perform the cookie-cutter themes.
Also, as a developer I’m no longer comfortable using so much code from other people. I make my own themes from the Blank Slate theme, but beyond that it’s all just downloading plugins. If I’m going to call myself a Front-end Developer, and if people are going to pay me to build them a custom website, it damn well better be custom. Or at least code I’ve written myself. By learning what I have I’ve put a good deal of ground between me and the hacks skinning $30 WordPress themes and charging six grand for a site, but a little more can’t hurt.
Hopefully switching over to Statamic begins to turn the tide on all of that. I’m excited to work with a flat file CMS that is built to be customized and requires me to apply myself to my work and not rely on shortcuts and quick fixes so much. I have a hunch it is going to weave in nicely with my Pattern Lab workflow too. Making the switch didn’t take much time since my site is so small, and Statamic provides some great doc’s and videos to get you up and running as fast or faster than WordPress. For now I’m using a slightly hacked version of their Acadia theme, but I’m going to start writing my own theme soon. It looks like they’ve done a great job of building a robust and flexible framework to let you build just about anything you want, just the way you want it. What I will be most curious to discern is if this is something I could hand over to a client!