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My experience with Diem CMS

I have tried this CMS and here are my impressions working with it

Diem logo

Lately, I wanted to do a website for a non profit association in which I am involved. Since I really like symfony, I decided to do it using one of the CMS that extend symfony. Looks like there are three main choices: Apostrophe, Diem and Sympal.

I tried first Apostrophe, because I liked a lot the demo video they have in their page. The concept is awesome and it is really worth a shot. Unfortunatelly, we wanted to have a blog, and the blog plugin for apostrophe is not ready yet. I had to abandon it, although I want to use it back in the future.

Then, I asked other symfonians on Twitter (@davidcastello, @loalf & @ivandebenito are always very helpful :), and, after seeing the demo on the Diem site, I installed it and followed the tutorial A Week of Diem Ipsum.

The tutorial is just great. Well explained and illustrative, and the CMS itself suited my needs, although I was disappointed when I saw that the last lesson ends with “On the next chapter we will add comments to the blog.”, and… there is not next lesson. Anyways, I asked on IRC and they pointed me to dmCommentPlugin, which is the way to do it. #EDIT: That chapter of the tutorial is now available! :)

After following the tutorial you can notice that Diem gives what they promise:

  • You don't need to develop all those boring thinks common to lots of pages. They are already implemented, as you can expect from a CMS, but moreover everything works smoothly.
  • The wysiwyg editor of layout of pages is great. It makes the task of designing the layout almost pleasing (I hate dealing with CSS).
  • Extending it is quite easy, if you know symfony.
I created two new widgets for the landing page, a sort of squares with rounding boxes, a background image and some text inside... not very complicated, but it was easy, although I had to dig a bit in the code of already implemented widgets to solve some issues. I suppose that the documentation will grow and this won't be necessary in the future, but anyways it is not a big pain. It was quite easy. After all, I was new in Diem.

I developed a system to synchronize pages and the blog with pages in Mediawiki (so that you can edit the wiki and the content is shown on the Diem website) too, and this apparently not so easy task was just smooth because, hey, you have Symfony there and you can write tasks using doctrine records and so on.

So, given that I was a total newbie at Diem and I could do everything I wanted without much pain (less than expected for a new platform), and that the base (layout, editor, admin panel, search engine, etc.) worked just fine, I am very glad.

PS: Given that I found that Diem suited my needs, I didn’t try Sympal, so I cannot say anything about it. It was a matter of luck and perhaps eye candy to try Diem before Sympal, I don’t have rational arguments for this choice. I will install it in the future and play a bit with it.