Q&A with Pixel & Tonic. Ep 2: Craft Roadmap & Competitors

Hannah's Photo by Hannah Rowbotham

As you know from Episode 1, we recently had the opportunity to hear all about the Craft CMS and Craft Commerce roadmap direct from the makers of Craft CMS, Pixel & Tonic.

This second instalment focusses on Craft's competitors and the benchmarks that they hope Craft will surpass.

We asked:

As Craft and Commerce progress, which CMS are you targeting to beat? Which commerce system do you consider to be the benchmark that you’d love to be able to surpass (even if it’s for personal reasons instead of business ones)?

Brandon: We don’t have a specific target. We were going for Catalyst and they finally caved so now we’re not sure what to do with ourselves - maybe we’ll go after Microsoft Sharepoint or something like that.

We pay a small amount of attention to what other people in the space are doing - just to see where trends are going.

Sometimes someone’s doing something interesting we’re inspired by and we might do something similar but I wouldn’t say that, for either Craft or Commerce, there are specific targets we’re trying to wipe out or trying to be more like in general.

There are aspects of every system that are good that we might want to emulate.

— Brandon

On the CMS side of things, Statamic is one that I’ve been paying a little bit of attention to. They’ve been doing some interesting stuff and there’s also some nice benefits to it being a flat-file CMS that we feel like we might be able to get to Craft, even though Craft is still using a database - obviously content needs to be highly scalable and database is the right choice for that. Other things like section settings maybe not so much.

On the Commerce front, Shopify does a lot of really cool stuff as far as UX goes - there’s interesting things going on there.

We’re looking at Contentful. We’re looking at GatherContent. We’re looking at a lot of different things to find areas. Maybe Craft is uniquely positioned to do a certain thing that they’re doing but maybe even better given Craft’s strengths. So, yeah, we’re constantly looking but I wouldn’t say there was a single thing that we’re trying to gun for.

We think of ourselves as where Shopify ends and where Magento begins and there’s not a lot of Commerce or CMS products that are self-hosted that live in that space.

— Leslie

We always have to pay attention to WordPress because all of you have to pitch against WordPress. You’re going to be pitching against Drupal or Magento at some point, so as a product, we never want to be anything like either of those systems. Our value is that we’re not them.

It’s less about what CMSs we target from a business perspective, but more about how we’re equipping you [developers and agencies] to deal with those conversations and make good arguments for Craft.

Leah: There’s many different CMSs on our radar that we pay attention to and are interested in what they’re doing and what people are talking about but not a specific, direct competitor.

Leslie: We tend to look at the cool things people are doing but from a business standpoint, there’s not an existing CMS that we want to be like when we grow up, so to speak.

In terms of growing and feature-set, do you still feel like there are natural things internally that you need to do and things in your gut that are the next steps, regardless of outside competitors?

Brandon: We’ve got a huge roadmap. We’ve got Craft 5 planned already. There’s millions of things to do and the biggest challenge is figuring out what the priorities are and how to pick which one needs to come first and second.

Our plans are 50/50; things we know we want Craft to grow into that are inspired by external factors - things that maybe we aren’t being requested directly but we know is the right direction for the platform in the long-run. And then 50% of it is reacting to the needs of our customers and making sure we’re detecting what the pain-points are and what people are trying to do with it but finding it difficult based on one or two things - trying to address that too.

It’s a little bit of both. We’re not going to share too much about the future plans though at this point.

In summary...

Being aware of what's going on in the Commerce and CMS space is key to us knowing that what we're offering is the very best for our clients. The more we learn about Craft CMS and Craft Commerce, the more confident we become in their flexibility, power and effectiveness.

As Pixel & Tonic continue to expand and improve them, and the community around them grows, we're certain that they're the very best choice.

Be sure to check out the other instalments in this series to learn more too:

If you have any questions about Craft CMS, Craft Commerce, or the web in general, please get in touch [email protected]

Or feel free to come along to the next Craft CMS Manchester Meetup that we organise to hear what's new and meet some of the Craft community.

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