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SilverStripe users profile: Heyday

We're always interested to see what others are building with the SilverStripe CMS, so we've...

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by Joanna McLeod

Posted 26 November 2010

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We're always interested to see what others are building with the SilverStripe CMS, so we've decided to start doing a series of profiles on what other companies and developers are doing. First up is the digital agency Heyday. They're a company from our own neighbourhood, and we’re huge fans of their Down to the Wire project about the history of the internet in New Zealand. I spoke to their technical director Shane Garelja about what they were up to.

How long have you been using the SilverStripe CMS?

We've been using SilverStripe for at least two years now, and have built quite a variety of sites on it. Our first was a site that, unfortunately, never went live but it was big enough to see the power and flexibility that SilverStripe had to offer.

As a design-led digital agency it is important for us to have complete freedom over the look and feel of a website. We've worked with too many CMSes that place restrictions on the developer through inflexible templating systems, or complex ways of extending core functionality. Out of all the CMSes we've tried SilverStripe is the only one that has given us this freedom and flexibility.

Why did Heydey choose SilverStripe CMS for the Down To The Wire project? Is it a CMS you work with a lot?

The decision to use SilverStripe for Down to the Wire was simple - it is our preferred CMS. Apart from a couple of e-commerce sites (which we built with Symfony) SilverStripe is now the only CMS we use (unless you count Wordpress ;) which we have used on occasion).

We design and build websites that cater to a client's needs. This means we are often building bespoke solutions. With the ability to easily extend the core functionality of SilverStripe via the Sapphire framework we've been able to build some extremely complex functionality with relative ease.

The other reason I could say we chose SilverStripe is because it's NZ Made and DTTW was all about NZ Internet. What more perfect solution could there be? ;) Seriously though, this was obviously an added bonus. The fact that SilverStripe is developed here in NZ is something that we're very proud of when mentioning the CMS to other developers.

To give you an idea - here are just a few of the sites we've built on SilverStripe:

 and, of course, our very own

I know that Down To the Wire does amazing scrolling things, and I'm told that's a new SilverStripe module that you guys built and have contributed back to the community. Can you tell me some more about that please?

I think there may be some confusion here :) The scrolling technique we designed and built and later called "Geared Scrolling" is a client-side script. We wrote it as a jQuery plugin and have released it on GitHub:

Over the period we've been using SilverStripe we have developed a number of extensions, enhancements and even a couple of modules. It's been our intention for some time to release these back into the community as a way of saying thanks but we've just never quite managed to get there :)

Some of the items we'd like to release are:

  • Search - simple framework using "modifiers" to make complex searching possible
  • Menu Manager - allows you to build custom navigation menus (rather than be restricted by the site tree)
  • Caching Module - lets you cache "includes" and define criteria around when and how they are refreshed/rebuilt
  • Limit CMS Extension - this is a simple extension to limit the functionality for particular page types within the CMS (configured in _config.php). It prevents novice users from un-publishing or deleting hub pages, changing page behaviour or any other action that may result in the destruction of a website
  • Google Maps Field for the CMS - Allows you to click points on a map and persist longitude/latitude co-ordinates.
  • Blog module - utilises MetaWebblog API. Has blogger permissions i.e. blogger A cannot edit blogger B's posts.

Plus many, many enhancements to the core via extensions and decorators i.e. without actually touching the core. We hope to release many of these in the very near future.

Thanks Shane, and we look forward to those extensions. Are you doing a lot of interesting work with the SilverStripe CMS? We’d love to hear about it!