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Subject:Why MODX?
Summary:What's so special about MODX anyway?
Author:Artur Graniszewski
Date:2011-09-22 09:34:19
Update:2011-09-23 15:14:09
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  1. Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Artur Graniszewski - 2011-09-22 09:37:16
What's so special about MODX anyway?

1. Performance: Is MODX better optimized than other (sometimes very slow) CMS systems like Drupal or Joomla?

2. Features: Why MODX does not support databases other than MySQL (like PostgreSQL or MS SQL/Oracle)? This is especially strange, because MODX uses the PDO extension. In this case PEAR's MDB2 would be wiser choice for this CMS.

3. Features: Does MODX provide a huge set of plugins and modules like Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla?

4. Support: Does MODX have a huge community of developers ready to assist you in times of trouble?

5. Bussiness: How many experienced PHP developers know the MODX CMS? Small number of experienced devs = more expensive, longer development and less options to find additional, experienced MODX devs.

6. Bussiness: In outsourcing, how a software house can persuade its customers to use a niche CMS, when they're experienced with other, well established systems like Drupal, Joomla, or even Wordpress.

7. Bussiness: from the bussiness point of view, nobody wants to make a developer happy, the product must be created with the end user in mind (which will be using it afterwards), rather than a programmer

Now, Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Drupal or Joomla. Their code is sometimes very bloated, and I know what am I saying (I managed to port Drupal 7 to the C++ source code using the HipHop for PHP translator). Unfortunately your point of view reminds me some Ruby On Rails fanboys implying that "newer is better". From the bussiness point of view - MODX, just like the RoR framework, is not so special, at least not for the next few years, until it becomes well established.

Anyway I congratulate you on writing 700 paged book about MODX, but I disagree with all the hype presented in this article.

  2. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Lars - 2011-09-22 09:48:20 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski
Hi :)
Have you used MODx?

  3. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Artur Graniszewski - 2011-09-22 18:57:01 - In reply to message 2 from Lars
No, I didn't. That's why I ask those questions above. Do you know the answers? If so, please, answer them.

  4. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Jay Gilmore - 2011-09-22 18:58:38 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski

I am not entirely sure if you're asking serious questions or trying to cut it down. In any event:

1. MODX has multiple caching and optimization methods to ensure peak site performance. This includes external caching mechanisms as well as multi-server and clustered environments.

2. MODX Revolution does, in fact support MS SQL as well as MySQL with plans to enable other DBs as well.

3. MODX does have a significant and growing number of add-ons that enable you to achieve many things. Sheer number of add-ons doesn't ensure you can build what you want, nor does it mean you won't have to customize them. There are certainly a few add-on MODX could use but it certainly makes it easy for PHP developers to build their own and provide hackless extensions to the core functionality that maintains upgrade paths.

4. MODX has a moderate but active community of nearly 40,000 registered forum users and 100,000s of thousands of users world wide. Not only are there OS community members, MODX also has a Solution Partner program made up of MODX professionals and when they're busy there is MODX Direct Support.

5. PHP Developers can know MODX going in. MODX allows PHP developers to work the way they work provided they can grasp a few elements of the Paradigm as well as read an API document.

6. MODX is not a niche CMS and is actually ranked by Netcraft in the top ten PHP web applications. It's perhaps not as publicly well known but has been downloaded millions of times and powers 100,000s of sites worldwide by businesses large and small. In addition, this is never a concern for most real business when you look at the large number of high ticket closed source CMS solutions out there, these are often won by smart solutions integrators on project merits rather than popularity.

7. MODX is not focused on developers only. In fact it was originally conceived as a solution for designers, developers and end users alike. Designers are able to use HTML/CSS and the tool imposes no restrictions on design or output as other tools might, in addtion, the Manager UI is almost entirely customizable using Form Customization along with ABAC based permissions configuration. While its not perfect (no system is) from a UI/UX perspective it is well adopted by the thousands of businesses around the world running it. They generally find it easy to understand and user training is brief.

On the establishment and business side, I think I'd encourage you to do a little research. MODX was founded in 2004 and first released in 2005. Completely rewritten in 2008 and Revolution was released in 2010. It is not a new application and may not have the brand awareness of some of the common CM solutions has a tremendous and growing user base and certainly falls into the top 5 PHP OS CMS platforms.

I think you should take the time to get to know MODX, its community and see if it just might work for you rather than jumping to conclusions and slagging the post author off with your suggestion that it's all hype.

  5. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Lars - 2011-09-22 18:58:52 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski
1. Performance: Is MODX better optimized than other (sometimes very slow) CMS systems like Drupal or Joomla?

A: MODx is very snappy indeed much thanks to its highly optimized caching.

2. Features: Why MODX does not support databases other than MySQL?

A: MODx has full support for MSSQL and MySql. Thanks to the XPDO ORM its very easy to implement optimized support for any persistance provider.

3. Features: Does MODX provide a huge set of plugins and modules like Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla?

A: Compared to for example Drupal, MODx is much more feature complete out of the box. The Revolution release has about 200 plugins to date. As a note, when Drupal 7 was publicly released i tried to build a pretty big solution on it for a university. This proved impossible as 90% of the modules needed to make Drupal anything other than a blog tool was in Alpha and not in anyway stable enough; quantity is not the same as quality.

4. Support: Does MODX have a huge community of developers ready to assist you in times of trouble?

A: The community is healty and very active. This is one of the real highlight of the project actually :) Also, in contrast to many other CMS, MODx is actually a business which provide commercial services in addition to community support. So your never left out, which in itself is a reason to go with a commercial Open Source project like MODx.

5. Bussiness: How many experienced PHP developers know the MODX CMS?

A: Heres the nice thing, to work with MODx you really only need to be a PHP programmer. You dont need to know work-arounds to quirky legacy code, or ugly hacks to customize core stuff. This is a modern CMF with a clean, consistent, modern API which anyone can understand and use.

6. Bussiness: In outsourcing, how a software house can persuade its customers to use a niche CMS, when they're experienced with other, well established systems like Drupal, Joomla, or even Wordpress.

A: Using these new "RAD" frameworks produce products which are more maintainable, adaptive thus cutting total cost of ownership drastically. This much thanks to the usage of design patterns which have been implemented in other technologies for a long time. For anyone familiar with the developments in the PHP community with blooming projects like Symfony2, Lithium, MODx etc, it's pretty obvious to me that more well architectured development frameworks are the future of PHP.

7. Bussiness: from the bussiness point of view, nobody wants to make a developer happy, the product must be created with the end user in mind (which will be using it afterwards), rather than a programmer.

A: Which is why, instead of trying to build a set of GUI components from scratch, MODx relies on Sencha which is the most used Enterprise GUI component library on the market. Using Sencha makes the end user experience consistent and desktop like with support for drag and drop etc native.

I have worked with many CM Systems, and build a few myself, on many platforms. I would say that there are very few options for a php developer who wants to work with modern, well structured frameworks today. This will not be for long though as many new will be built upon the foundation laid by the php community over the last 2 years or so.
What will happen to our legacy CMS in the days ahead? How many have the strength to follow Typo3 and re-engineer their core to not become legacy?

Hope this helps :)

  6. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
midito_nf - 2011-09-22 18:59:24 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski
3. It has a lot of extras. Obviously not as much as Joomla! or Drupal. But SAP has not as many components as Joomla! or Drupal too and it's really big & good ;)

4. Big <> Good. Our community is not so big as Joomla! or Drupal, but it's big enough and every question has a fast response in forums or twitter. there is commercial support too and a really nice partner network.

5. You need to know "Drupal" or "Joomla!". But you don't need to know "MODX". Any PHP developer can work with MODX in a couple of hours. The learning curve is ridiculous. You only need to learn some things and know to code php.

6. If everyone eats shit you have to eat shit too? What is better, Hilti or Black&Decker? Everyone knows about Black&Decker, but are not good tools. Hilti are expensive but better tools and not everybody knows this brand, only professionals. The same can be applied to CMS or other software market. If you use Wordpress for a large website only for the name, you are stupid, having Joomla, Drupal or MODX. Same for eCommerce: Magento is my choice.

7. MODX has both sides in mind. The manager is extremenly easy to use, for users and developers. But obviously it would be a nice idea to have a user/editor view, as simple as wordpress backend.

MODX is not the best out there, but it's in the way of WCM more than CMS in my opinion. It's a professional tool that can fits any size websites. Everything is done in an easy way ( templates, snippets, etc. ). MODX has some good features, and a lot of things that need to be improveed, but I think it's better than most of CMSs out there. An no, MODX is not new ;)

And the most important question.... have you used MODX?????

  7. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Dubrod - 2011-09-22 18:59:48 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski

1. I have not done any official benchmarks on performance but it is optimized 10 times better than Joomla. The way joomla calls its modules and prints code is terrible. The snippet and chunk system in MODx is perfect, it calls flat code nice and smooth no performance issues ive seen and I call scripts from facebook and foursquare a lot.

2. I don't anything about database but if it aint broke dont fix it.

3. Of course, their new platform "Revolution" has a catalog of plugins you can search inside the admin and download as needed. The previous platform "Evolution" has a great community of tutorials if you Google it.

4. Yes, has a forum and a wiki.

5. I would say its more than a handful for sure. Like every project it just depends on what you are trying to achieve.

6. That sounds like a business decision for the software house. You can't even compare it to Wordpress, those are 2 totally different systems in my opinion. Drupal and Joomla can't touch the optimization and performance of MODx so the smart choice would be MODx.

7. Good point. Im an agency and we use MODx for our clients sites so they can continue to update simple text items at their leisure. I can promise you even the most beginner level computer users can edit pages.

8. Who said its "newer", its not the newest by any means, its been around for years. The new platform "Revolution" is like an upgrade.

My modx tutorials can be found at -

  8. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Stephane Boualrd - 2011-09-22 19:00:24 - In reply to message 1 from Artur Graniszewski
Hello Arthur,

Concerning features, MODx support MSSQL, i think that you're talking about MODx Evolution, which is the old MODx Branch, and MODx Reovlution which is the CMS the authors is talking about.

Still on features, the CMS is young (1 year) and even though there are many plugins available, it can't reasonably be compared with Joomla nor Drupal.
However, using you're own (existing or not) code alongside MODx is generally easier than with the other CMS's.

Support is the BIG advantage of MODx, the community is very helpful and dedicated, either on the official forum or on social services like twitter.
That's a point you have to judge for yourself though.

Concerning business points, if we're following the first point, nobody would ever make new CMS or framework, because in the beginning there would not have enough experienced php developpers.

As for the interface, i believe that it not one of the strong point of modx, as it is much more oriented toward developpers for now.
But that is MY point of view, and furthermore, the admin is completely customisable.

I've worked with several CMS's, MODx template engine is superior to any of its concurrent, a bless for designers.

It is not only about hyping up the tool, MODx is really a great tool to work with.

  9. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Josh Gulledge - 2011-09-22 19:02:20 - In reply to message 2 from Lars
I have been using MODX Revolution for about a year now and have become a big fan of it.
1. Performance: I am not sure how it compares to Drupal/Joomla but it is at least as good as Wordpress, and it does have built in caching. I have one site that has more than 12K page views a day and I have not had any problems with performance and my pages load fast.

2. Features: MODX Revolution 2.1+ supports MySQL and MS SQL, but not all extras support them both.

3. Features: In comparison MODX extras are small, currently about 200. But it is so much easier to create your own custom php code for any single page or group of pages.

4. Support: There is a large community of developers that do help out. I have had many questions answered via the forums.

5. Bussiness: There is a growing number of PHP devs, you can also see the site for professional partners.

6. Bussiness: Simple once you as the developer learn MODX you will see that it will take you much less time to do custom stuff then in the others which could drive the cost down.

Overall the MODX Manager is fairly easy to use but it could be refined a little more. And if you use the Wayfinder extra then it allows you to drag around the navigation in the resource(pages) tree to how you want it, which is awesome.

  10. Re: Why MODX?   Reply   Report abuse  
Benjamin Marte - 2011-09-22 19:02:42 - In reply to message 2 from Lars
Arthur these are some great questions and I will try to answer them as best I can.

MODX allows you to have complete control of your CMF, front end, back end you don't like something you can change it and it won't break the CMF, no core hacking required.

1. I have never used Joomla but I tried using Drupal and the learning curve and complexity of it was what drove me away from it, tried Wordpress and the amount of core hacking or plugin installation to do the things you want to do is unacceptable (at least for me). MODX comes with a built in caching system that allows it to perform very fast. Maybe someone else from the community can give you some further details with performance tests etc.

2. This is something the devs are working on, MODX core dev team is small compared to other CMS so things like this might take a little longer to get developed.

3. MODX has as of this writing 193 extras and growing daily, so compared to other CMS's out there it might seem small but the beauty of MODX is you can create your own using snippets and chunks to integrate it into the system.

4. As of this writing MODX has a total of 36,714 members and 73 professional partners which can assist you with any of your MODX related questions, for best results post on the forum then link to it on twitter with hash tag #MODX and you will get responses almost instantly.

5. MODX and it's api are very easy to learn if your an experienced developer or know PHP you will learn how to use it in a day or 2. The 73 professional partners are people you can outsource or hire as consultants as well as many forum members who are not professional partners yet (like me). Longer development with MODX I don't think so it's totally the opposite once you understand the tag syntax and how it works.

6. That's where you have to come in an educate them on why MODX is better compared to what they are using. MODX is a CMF Wordpress is a blogging platform which has been hacked to act like a CMS. MODX allows you to have user groups with roles and you can even set it up to authenticate users from your active directory and many other features.

7. MODX allows you to customize the users back end view with form customization and Custom Manager Pages, so you can make it as friendly as you want for each user group restricting them to only see the fields they need to update and have access to the files they need to work on only. Basically the CMF doesn't force you how the back end will look like to the end user you can make it as user friendly as you see fit.

That's the beauty of MODX it never outputs any bloated code and if it does it's because you told it to or did something wrong. MODX has been around for 7 years so it's not new, it's just not as popular as other CMS's. The best CMF comparison to MODX is Expression Engine the only difference is MODX is free.

I have been using MODX for 6 months and I am constantly learning new ways to do things in it that I did not know were possible and I have already released 3 extras for it and I'm working on 3 more and I'm just a front end dev with a bit of php knowledge and I'm just scratching the surface of it.

There is tons of more advanced stuff maybe someone else from the community could shed some light on. After trying Drupal, Wordpress and other CMS systems I have preferred MODX because of it's ease of use and customization.

Give it a try so you can see for yourself why it's such a great CMF.

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