Matchbook: A new brand, a new kind of website.
We're very proud of our new website. One of the most exciting things about it is something you can't see from the frontend: it's not WordPress.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love WordPress. Powering one third of the visible Internet, this plucky content management system (CMS) has proven its worth time and time again. More importantly, the community of developers and users who support WordPress represent a seismic shift in the way people develop systems and content for the web. For many of our clients, WordPress is an exceptionally well-suited option due to its customizability, power and ease of management. And yet, as amazing as it is, WordPress is not invariably the best option for an organization planning on developing their web presence. Powerful and easily updated websites can be created through multiple frameworks, and we were interested in exploring an alternative to suit our more specialized needs.
Our web developer, Brittany Barnes, was the one to suggest an alternative during an early conversation about the new Matchbook site. "Why don't we just build it in Laravel?"
I stood for a moment in the middle of our half-lit office, which we lovingly refer to as the dev den, stymied. "Wow," I replied after several awkward seconds, lost in a cloud of hypothetical code. "That's a brilliant idea."
Laravel is a framework for building web applications. We've used it to build several projects over the last year or so, and our appreciation for the cleanliness and power of the model view controller (MVC) framework continues to grow.
A framework like Laravel gives us the ability to include only what we need. This approach reduces code bloat, resulting in a "lean and mean" project that loads on screen fast, even with complex database operations in the background. There are built-in features for security and user management that make it an obvious choice when you're looking for an alternative to WordPress development.
Still, moving away from the world's most popular content editing system meant that we needed to develop a plan and be sure we’d be best suited by this change. We worked with the design team on breaking the mockups into reusable page blocks that could be addressed in our custom page builder. Leveraging those reusable blocks allowed us to organize our front-end page partials and styling code in a way that makes maintenance and edits a breeze.
We manage these blocks of content in a page builder on the site's admin panel. With the page builder, we can easily add templated content or change text and images.
In talking to other web developers recently, it sounds like the industry is beginning to head in this general direction. Frameworks that we used to think of only for heavy-duty application work are now being utilized for complex content-driven sites. In fact, we've begun work on other projects for our partners using the same approach. We're working on highly secure "headless" sites using Laravel, too.
At the end of the day, our partners get a flexible marketing platform without some of the downsides they may be accustomed to seeing on popular CMS-driven sites for their specific needs. The reduced time needed for maintenance more than pays for itself in a relatively short period of time.
For every potential partner, we familiarize ourselves with their needs and evaluate which platforms are most suited for success in every application. Here at Matchbook, we're very proud to be able to offer our partners options like Laravel for web projects so we can best fit your needs, budget and brand.