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8 reasons to use Silverstripe CMS


8 reasons to use Silverstripe CMS choosing a Content Management System (CMS) you’ll want one that enables your business strategy and is easy to use – Silverstripe is a good option for both. In this blog post, we’ll cover the eight reasons why we think you’ll love Silverstripe.

8 reasons to use Silverstripe

1. Silverstripe is flexible and extensible

As Silverstripe is an open source CMS, you can add functionality and features, and customise it for your specific business requirements. You can do this through creating extensions or modules which are similar to plugins. You can install or develop modules yourself if you have in-house expertise. Or, you can ask a trusted expert to create them for you. To learn more about modules, check out our blog post.

2. It's open source software

Silverstripe’s source code is publicly available and can be edited by your development team and the wider, global Silverstripe community, so:

  • when new features are created, developers can share them with other Silverstripe users.
  • if someone submits a change or feature that the Silverstripe team approves for wider use, you can also use this in your own solutions without contributing to the code yourself.
  • if your developers create a new feature your team can’t stop raving about, you can submit this for the wider community to use.

Also: there are no licensing fees to use Silverstripe.

3. Silverstripe is a great headless CMS option

A website built with Silverstripe CMS can deliver content in one of two ways:

  1. Traditional: A traditional CMS assumes the content will be displayed on a web browser and is presented in a well-designed template.
  2. Headless: A ‘headless CMS' allows you to manage all the information for a website separately from the presentation layer (the place with which users interact and which displays the information). The two parts are managed by different software, and the content is put into a 'machine-readable’ format. The separation of the two allows you to reuse content via multiple channels, such as a mobile app or a third-party website. Also, the separation means content authors don't need to worry about the technical side of the CMS.

4. It has a clear product roadmap

It’s important to know where a product is heading, along with the reasoning behind its planned changes – especially when it's a tool you rely on to enable your business strategy. Silverstripe has a clear roadmap providing users and developers with life cycle developments right up until 2028. The roadmap includes:

  • Minor and major release announcements
  • Bug and security fixes
  • Legacy version end-of-life (EOL) timelines
  • Active support and development timelines.

The transparency of Silverstripe's roadmap means your team, or Silverstripe partner, can:

  • prepare and plan around updates to ensure your business priorities aren’t impacted
  • understand what new features are on the way and prevent development duplication

5. It offers flexible page-based workflows

Silverstripe is easy to use and customise as a content author. When using Silverstripe, you can choose what layout you’d prefer to work with. For example, a traditional layout typically includes the following:

  • Title
  • Tagline
  • Content.

Alternatively, you can work with a ‘block’ based functionality through the elemental module. The Silverstripe elemental module enables you to use content blocks to configure advanced page layouts without developer support. Advanced layouts include:

  • Forms
  • Banners
  • Adverts.

Silverstripe's default IA (Information Architecture) is where you build and arrange your site's content. However, there may be times when you want to display your content differently from the options provided. For instance, if you'd like to display content in a table, you can use the Lumberjack module.

It's easy to assume that only page-orientated content can be added to a workflow. But in Silverstripe, all content objects, including pages, are data records stored in a database. If you require each layout component to pass through a pre-determined set of stages before being available to an audience, Silverstripe can be configured to do so.

6. Silverstripe is well-suited to complex integrations

Silverstripe is built with extensibility and secure means of communicating with external systems such as public-facing websites and apps. For example, you may want to display a news report on a website or show the weather feed from another source. Alternatively, you may need to link to APIs and data lakes storing complex and unique requirements. While some data providers like DMSs and LMSs permit access to data via APIs, Silverstripe has built-in components for querying and displaying local and remote data from databases to display external content.

7. It’s easy to add new fields in Silverstripe

It's easy for developers to add new fields to pages in Silverstripe for content authors to use. Fields are customisable to support the presentation of relevant information on a page. For example, if you have a cooking website, you could have a field for the amount of time it takes for prep and the amount of time it takes to cook. Or, if you'd like to add the published date of a blog post, you can do that too.

8. It has a strong NZ and global community

Silverstripe was created in 2000 in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, where its headquarters remain. Today, it has a strong global community, with developer input and support for:

  • sharing ideas
  • access to support
  • solving problems
  • exchanging knowledge
  • connection and development of networks.

Furthermore, Silverstripe has community spaces on Slack and the Silverstripe forum.

Catalyst has been developing websites and web apps based on Silverstripe since 2014, and we're proud to support local software vendors and products.

Catalyst Starter – a pre-built Silverstripe solution for great quality, fast

Catalyst Starter is a pre-built Silverstripe theme developed by Catalyst. Our team built Catalyst Starter from the ground up as a solution to evolving and complex government CMS website requirements. Since then, our team has invested expertise to ensure Catalyst Starter suits the needs of government, enterprise, and not-for-profit organisations. So, whether you’re communicating the latest policy updates or creating a brochureware website, you should check out the power of Catalyst Starter. Shown below are five bonus points on why Catalyst Starter is a great out-of-the-box solution.

1. Catalyst Starter has a solid foundation

Catalyst Starter is based on the solid foundations of Silverstripe CMS v5. Plus, Catalyst Starter has tried and tested features meaning you can accelerate your CMS goals. Pre-built features and functionality included in Catalyst Starter as standard are:

  • responsive page content
  • common page types
  • common block-content types
  • user-configurable forms
  • social media management
  • analytics.

2. It has quality assurance

To ensure the highest quality Catalyst Starter has been through rigorous Quality Assurance (QA) testing. QA testing ensures your CMS is fit for purpose, reliable, maintainable, and meets performance expectations and design. Additionally, you can request to add automated scripts for any specific business needs, such as detecting dead content links.

3. Catalyst Starter has regular maintenance, security updates, and hosting

Catalyst is committed to maintaining, developing and patching Catalyst Starter for the long-term. We offer a full-service wrapper that includes regular maintenance, patching, updates, hosting, and more.

Furthermore, Catalyst Starter can be hosted on any cloud infrastructure from Azure to AWS or, our personal favourite, New Zealand providers like Catalyst Cloud that offer sovereign hosting solutions. Sovereign hosting means your data doesn't belong to anyone but you and anyone you've authorised to access it. And because Catalyst Cloud is ISO 27001 and PCI-DSS certified, you can guarantee your data is protected to the highest requirements.

4. Time to market

Since Catalyst Starter is a ready to go, out-of-the-box solution it can be a great option for completing a website project quickly or for organisations with tighter budgets. Essentially, because you can deliver your new website faster, you can also continue enabling your wider business goals with your new website. Furthermore, quality isn't compromised just because it can be delivered faster. In fact, our team can also ensure your brand identity and any additional functionality you need is factored into your project too. And, when the website is live, handy features like a WYSIWYG builder mean you can build and preview content simultaneously, optimising your workflow.

5. Meets WCAG 2.1 guidelines

In 2023, WebAIM recorded an average of 50 accessibility errors per homepage. It's a human right to access information, and we believe there shouldn't be any barriers to prevent access, let alone 50. Catalyst Starter is built with accessibility front of mind and in line with the WCAG 2.1 AA standards. Since disabilities come in all shapes and sizes, following WCAG ensures all aspects of digital accessibility are covered. You can learn more about WCAG in our blog.

CMS support

At Catalyst, we’re Silverstripe partners whose dedicated development team has more than forty years of experience combined. Our full-wrapper service covers your website end-to-end, from hosting to design, customisations, and more. Contact us today to discuss if Silverstripe could be a great CMS choice for your organisation.