Four Kitchens

5 more Content Management Systems: A quick review

4 Min. ReadDigital strategy

The world of content management is constantly changing. When we shared some info on five content management systems, many people reached out to say we may have missed a few. This is fair; it would be impossible to examine every CMS and static site generator. Here, in part two of this series, we’ll take a look at five more CMS products, and the pros and cons of each.


Sanity is a different style of CMS in that it’s essentially a hosted backend for APIs with a simple query language specifically designed for its use. Based in React, the project is open source and has been around for a couple of years.


Sanity is open source, meaning you are able to configure it using basic JavaScript and can code around anything not functioning as expected. As part of the JavaScript ecosystem, Sanity can be installed using familiar tools like npm, so there isn’t a huge stretch for teams already familiar.


One of Sanity’s biggest drawbacks is that it runs on a query language specific to Sanity. This is a drawback of several technologies, but not something most people expect in a backend CMS. Since Sanity is backend focused, you’ll still need to employ your own frontend. Additionally, there is an abstraction layer from being able to directly interact with the code in the place where the content will live. Any design guidelines must be set by the team.

Craft CMS

Craft CMS began in the labs at Pixel & Tonic in 2011. Their focus was to improve the content creation experience. The first release came in 2013, so there has been a good deal of thought put into building this CMS. Considered one of the best WordPress alternatives, Craft CMS looks to make publishing content as easy as clicking ‘Save’ in their interface.


If you are familiar with WordPress, Craft CMS allows you to move quickly. While it is in some ways a stripped-down alternative to WordPress, it also features better security and fewer content safety issues. As part of the PHP world, Craft CMS has a strong community behind it.


While Craft CMS is considered an amazing alternative to WordPress, it is a David versus Goliath situation. Craft CMS builds as much as possible into its offering, but does not offer the robustness of WordPress. Cost is also a big factor. Unlike many of the CMSs and site generators we’ve previously discussed, Craft CMS is not free.


Created in 2013 as a response to the monolithic CMS options available, Contentful began by focusing on delivering content beyond the web, making it, possibly, the first CMS geared toward mobile devices. Contentful focuses on being a headless CMS, meaning content and where it is presented are kept separate.


Because Contentful is API-centric, similar to Sanity, it means you can interact with it using nearly any programming language to take advantage. A vibrant group of SDKs are available for common languages like Ruby, PHP, .NET, and various JavaScript variants.


Since it’s hosted, Contentful keeps your content in a place separate from your main application or site. This makes migrations, which inevitably occur, quite difficult, even when maintaining the same language. There is also the drawback of Contentful not working uniformly across all browsers. There are problems in Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge, which are still large-scale players in the mode\r\n \tech market.


Another member of the class of 2013, Prismic is a fast and flexible CMS. Like Contentful, Prismic is headless and likes to keep parts separate in order to easily deliver full content. Also ingrained in the JavaScript ecosystem, Prismic can function as an API-based backend CMS or as a user-defined, interactive CMS.


Prismic focuses on flexibility. The idea is to let the user and their team decide how to best take advantage of Prismic and how it delivers content. Publishing tools are built to be simple and straightforward, so time from startup to delivery of any piece of content is relatively short.


While the goal is simplicity, Prismic’s surrounding documentation and other tools that generally make things easier to use are not always readily available. Additionally, Prismic is another paid CMS billed as “Content Management as a Service.” While there is a free tier for single users, and the paid tiers are relatively low cost, it may be undesirable to some teams.


While still considered a CMS, GatherContent bills itself as a “Content Operations Platform.” Created in 2012, GatherContent focuses on scaling in situations where there are many stakeholders involved. Built to be robust, GatherContent is not meant for a small team, but it is ideal for large-scale content developers like newsrooms.


GatherContent is built for long-term, large-scale use. It’s meant to deliver and cross-reference content so that users only need to focus on the creation aspect. With version control and website management tools, GatherContent offers more than the average CMS.


In a world where mobile work is often necessary, GatherContent does not offer a mobile interface or component. When full-scale news outlets need to create content in the field, GatherContent can fall short. GatherContent also does not have an image editor, document indexing, or full text search, which you may need when working at scale.

As we said before, there are a wide variety of choices when it comes to CMS solutions. Consider every factor — like scale of your team, cost, and ease of use — before deciding what works best. We hope this helps narrow things down when considering how to manage content.

Need to build a website or web app but struggle over which technology to choose? Four Kitchens has the experience to determine which CMS or framework is right for your project. Contact us today.