Perch spawns simple CMS for complex websites

Tiny content management system Perch, which we've covered before on Creative Bloq is about to receive a new edition, Perch Runway. Perch co-founder Rachel Andrew says the new product is "essentially a superset of Perch functionality," that contains Perch's templating, focus on structured data, and ease of use for content editors. The main difference is in how you develop with the product and the type of site it's aimed at.

"Perch is very much tied to physical pages, actual files on the server. You create a page, drop Perch tags into it, reload the page and start editing. This makes it really easy to retrofit CMS capability to a site and to make smaller sites editable," explains Andrew. "Runway will take an approach of routing URLs through a front controller, so there will be no need for these physical files. This is far better for larger, more dynamic sites."

Content collections

Runway also has ways of looking at content that aren't page-based, such as if an editor wants to create a batch of formatted articles and draw on that content around the site. "These 'Collections' of content will be able to be presented in the admin in a way that makes sense for that site," continues Andrew. By way of example, you wouldn't create a generic post and then remember it's supposed to be a biography - instead, you'll go to the section for biographies and add a new one in a structured manner. The result, thinks Andrew, enables a developer to create both a great admin experience and also a beautiful website.

We wondered why there was the need for an entirely separate product; Andrew notes that a certain section of Perch customers were building increasingly complex projects and making feature requests that would complicate Perch, thereby making it harder for the majority working on simpler sites. "With Perch Runway, we can keep the main product straightforward, but give sites that grow somewhere to go, which also keeps the admin experience similar for the people already trained on it," says Andrew. "It also will hopefully mean customers who are currently having to go to another product for larger sites can stay with us!"

Naturally, expectations regarding Perch Runway are slightly different from its predecessor. Whereas Perch has been marketed as being suitable for pretty much any web designer, there are assumptions Perch Runway users will have some PHP experience. However, Andrew's keen to note that the new product is "still Perch underneath", and therefore retains the same ease of use, and, says Andrew, even a parallel version number.

Perch Runway is expected to go into beta this summer, and a final release is likely in the final quarter of 2014. It will cost $299 (or equivalent plus tax where relevant), and you'll be able to upgrade from Perch, by paying the difference between license costs.

Keep up with progress and announcements at the Perch Runway website.

Words: Craig Grannell

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