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Key insights from the 2015 SilverStripe developer survey

Check out the key insights from the SilverStripe CMS community survey data crunching.

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At the end of 2015, we ran our second annual SilverStripe community survey. The aim was to gain insight into who's building and working with SilverStripe CMS and what aspects of the supporting community you find useful in your day to day work. With a second data set, we have been able to look into changes and trends over the last year. In this blog I'll outline some of the key findings and offer some level of interpretation of what the data may be able to drive in terms of community initiatives over the coming year.

On with the data…


  • We saw a 6% increase in the number of women from the community responding to the survey, this could be to do with some of the great meetups and projects that the StripeGirls meetup group have been doing.

  • There were less freelancers (-5%) and more community members employed at web agencies (+14%).

  • Slightly more backend developers responded than frontend developers.

Community spaces

This area of feedback is useful in letting us know where to focus efforts on the tools and websites the community make us of for information and interaction.

  • Developer documentation is seen as the most useful and increased in usefulness by 4%. We rolled out newly structured documentation at the beginning of 2015, good to see it remains well used.

  • Stackoverflow surpassed the forums in usefulness and was seen as much more useful that the previous year. This is interesting feedback, and may drive a conversation in the future about where best to host community Questions and Answer interaction.

  • Meetups had the greatest increase in usefulness. However, overall is still seen as below average usefulness. Are meetups running in enough locations or at the right frequency? We ran a number of meetups in New Zealand and London last year alongside a number of community initiated ones. Perhaps those that had a meetup groups near them found them more useful and those that couldn't attend due to distance might have seen them as less useful. If you would be interested in starting a local SIlverStripe meetup? We can certainly help with guidance in getting those going.

  • The blog saw a small increase in usefulness (+2%) and social media (twitter and facebook) saw a decrease (-12%). Are there topics you would like to see covered? Leave us a comment we're always keen to help provide relevant content if we know what you're most interested in.

  • Feedback about the addons website (where you find out about SilverStripe CMS modules) was that for freelancers see it as more useful than the previous year (+8%), whereas community members that worked for a company, saw it as less useful (-11%). We're not sure why at this point so if you're as curious as we are check out our recent blog post about our module quality champion, Helpful Robot, there's a chance to give your feedback in this particular area and drive the improvements of the addons website.

If you're interested in looking at this data further we have an interactive data widget you can explore.

Why we use SilverStripe CMS?

  • Community members still see SIlverStripe CMS as a very flexible and easy to use CMS and Framework.

  • The most interesting insight here was the great increase (+200%) in respondents that mentioned they had gone through an evaluation process and had selected SilverStripe CMS based on it's merits as the best option for building their project versus other options. This is great to see and there may be opportunity here to provide useful information to help others more easily compare and decide when is best to use SIlverStripe CMS.

  • The community and documentation also saw the greatest increase (+300%) in mentions as to why people work with SilverStripe CMS. Thanks to everyone that has been answering community questions and contributing to documentation!
why use silverstripe 2016

Survey responses for "Why use SilverStripe"

Recommendation and how we can improve

We maintained a satisfaction score with an average 8.9/10 as to how likely community members would recommend others to use SilverStripe CMS. We always follow up this kind of question by asking what we could improve to get a 10. Two key insights we found were:

  • Significantly less mentions of documentation (-29%) being something we needed to improve and this is still the number 1 item mentioned for further improvement. In 2015 we did indeed work with the community to restructure the documentation and introduced a new online lessons section to the website. Given this is the most useful aspect as mentioned earlier, it seem documentation is something to continue to keep on top of.

  • There was a massive increase (+226%) in community members that thought improvements in awareness of SilverStripe CMS in the industry would be of benefit. It's something we hear often and definitely why we are writing more blogs, ran more meetups and conferences and opened our UK office in 2015. 


Challenges and measures of success

We introduced some new questions in this survey to look into areas that you found challenging and how you're measuring the success of your projects.

For challenges, project management and working with clients was seen as the most challenging aspect. Could we be delivering you more useful content on our blog covering this aspect of development life?


The top challenges faced by SilverStripe developers surveyed

Client happiness was the number one way you measured your success.


So there you have it, some interesting insights from the community survey. Let us know what you think and if you have any other ideas of areas we could look to focus on (based on the data of course). We're also considering running these surveys more regularly. This is so we won't have to wait a whole year to get an idea of what is or isn't working and alter what we are doing more quickly. Perhaps every 6 months or quarterly, leave a comment with your preference. Keep an eye on the mailing list as we'll detail any upcoming community projects you could get involved in there.

Excuse me while I go feed Helpful Robot… it enjoys the crunch of data.

About the author
Cam Findlay

Cam is our Developer Advocate, joining the team after impressing them with his insightful keynotes about community development at the SilverStripe meetups.

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