In aid of brevity we kept our November 2019 email announcement as brief as possible. For
those wanting deeper insight into and understanding of our decision-making process in choosing a replacement CMS, we have provided the following article,
an adaptation of the initial draft email and something of an essay. We hope you find it informative.
The Long Road out of BC
Since the Business Catalyst EOL Announcement, indie.web has spent over 100 hours researching, trialing and testing various alternatives to Adobe's abandonned Content Management System (CMS). There are a number of features that made BC unique in the world of CMS's:
- All-in-one: Complete, integrated feature set meant no need for complicated, 3rd party API integrations
- Hosted: Server maintenance, updates and security taken care of by BC (and included in subscription - no surprises)
- Secure, Proprietary Code: BC code base completely private meaning hacking virtually non-existent
Proprietary vs Open Source
One of the upsides of proprietary software is security. Whereas open-source software has a publicly available code base that anyone can access, use, build upon (and inevitably exploit aka "hack"), the code base of proprietary software is secret and highly-protected.
Ironically, the proprietary nature of BC - which made it utterly secure (we have never seen nor heard or a hacked BC website) - became the primary drawback; once Adobe decided to ditch BC, there was nothing anyone could do about it. The code base is owned by Adobe and no correspondence will be entered into.
So what's the upside of open-source? In a word (and specifically in contrast to the cons of proprietary code), longevity. Open-source software is not dependent on the company or author that originally created it. Had BC been built using open-source code, agencies like indie.web could have begun hosting their own version of BC and simply shifted their clients' websites over from Adobe's servers. Now wouldn't that have been nice...
All software has a use-by date, and from time to time even large companies discontinue a particular product or service. It's impossible to predict, but if and when that time comes, options are a good thing to have.
Due to this fact, we have paid special attention to the code base of the alternative platforms we have investigated.
Choosing a Hosted, Open-Source Alternative
Many open-source CMS's require the user to host the platform itself. The implications of this include the fact that updates, patches and security all become the end-user's responsibility. (This is one of the reasons we don't offer WordPress websites to our clients.)
We have selected an alternative to BC that we believe provides the best of both worlds: a hosted CMS (like BC) but open-source (unlike BC). Maintenance and security are handled by the author company and the costs associated with this are included in the subscription fees. The platform code base is publicly available and an active community contribute to its development. Should the author company ever discontinue development of the platform, we (and you) won't be left up the creek without a paddle.
We have already built and migrated over a dozen websites on indie.web's new CMS platform and both we and our clients are impressed with its performance and ease of use. And the kicker: we can offer subscriptions at a lower cost than we could under BC*.
Per-Feature CMS Subscription Model
Most CMS platform pricing is based on tiered feature sets. "Starter/Beginner/Bronze" will get you the bare bones with limited features; "Pro/Intermediate/Silver" might include Blog functionality, FAQ module, Member Authentication (Login), etc... and so on.
BC pricing was based on this model and we found our clients often needing to upgrade to a higher (more expensive) plan because they required a particular feature. (This is the very strategy behind a tiered feature-set pricing model).
indie.web's new CMS platform allows us to provide features on an as-required basis and thus implement a subscription model where you only pay for what you need. See our new CMS subscription pricing.
Low, Fixed Price for Early Migration
While the EOL date is set for 26 March 2021, we have a lot of sites to migrate and many of them substantial in size and complexity. We understand the inclination to postpone migration and the associated costs as long as possible, but were all our clients to do this, it would result in a last-minute stampede, with considerable strain on the time, energy and resources of all involved. Accordingly, in certain cases we will be offering our clients a reduced, fixed price to encourage early migration. We will be in touch individually to discuss specifics.
* Subscription costs vary from website to website. Our claim that we can offer CMS subscriptions at a lower cost than we could through BC is based on a comparison of all sites we have built on our new CMS to date. No guarantee of is stated or implied.