Over the past six months, we have been working hard to better express what Concrete is all about. We’re super pleased to announce today that the new web presence has launched!
Why a rebrand?
Concrete CMS was first born in 2003 when our little webshop needed a better CMS. We called it “Concrete” as a reference to the impact that building material made on modern architecture. It’s strong but flexible. You can make rounded objects with it. You can add on to concrete structures over time. Concrete gets stronger the longer it lasts. There’s a lot of ideas in there that we liked in thinking of a new building material for the web.
For years we just sold Concrete CMS as part of our services to our clients. When we went open source in 2008 it was the fifth major rebuild, so we renamed the product “concrete5” and uploaded it free and open source to SourceForge with the hopes that someone else would find it useful. Within 90 days we had been named Project of the Month on SourceForge, and before long we were powering hundreds of thousands of websites. In the last 13 years we’ve been through some crazy ups and downs, some amazing adventures, and a couple of redesigns of our community and marketing stack. Amazingly the last real “bottom-to-top” redesign we had was back in 2013, so we were well past due for a design refresh.
When we went open source, we were just focused on building a great CMS. We would describe our CMS as a ubiquitous tool, like a screwdriver. You could use it to build a dog house or a skyscraper, it didn’t matter to us. Over time we’ve learned that trying to be everything to everyone serves no one very well, and we’ve seen particular use cases where our platform really shines.
Concrete CMS is a great platform for teams that run websites which need to be secure, but still easy to edit. That doesn’t mean you can’t use Concrete for your blog, ecommerce, brochureware or any other type of site that makes sense to you. We certainly do ourselves and we find a lot of value in all the tools it brings to the table as a flexible building material. It’s just a matter of finding a little focus for our core messaging and roadmap. Concrete CMS is a flexible building material many people use for many things, and it’s GREAT for teams running complex websites that need to be safe.
Finding that clarity around the unique value we bring to the table in the CMS space has been really helpful, and we wanted our name to reflect some of that new clarity too.
Additionally, version 9 is a huge step forward for us. We’re very eager to make it the official release because it’s the best version of Concrete we’ve ever made.
The practical fact is that we’re well beyond the “fifth major rebuild” so that the 5 in our name is kind of meaningless. We decided to embrace our roots and move to the simpler “Concrete CMS” or just “Concrete” if you’re speaking amongst friends ‘in the know.’ No lowercase c, no weird 5, just a fresh simple logo for a CMS that deserves a fresh look.
What has changed?
Beyond the name and look, we’ve added things and reskinned things.
ConcreteCMS.org vs. ConcreteCMS.com
We’ve had just one web presence for many years, while many others have made a clearer distinction between their commercial and open source efforts. We’re now following suit and serving complementary branding across several properties:
Here we’re speaking to a business user about how Concrete fits in the ecosystem of content management solutions. You’ll find marketing material, case studies, videos, and information about hosting options.
Additionally any functionality that might involve money has been branded “.com.” That includes the marketplace, the training/certification courses, and the single sign-on provider where we manage your identity information (as that will eventually include billing history.)
Here you’ll find information more geared towards developers who are looking for an open source platform to build with. You can easily download a copy of CMS, you can find ways to get more involved with the community. Any functionality in our web presence that has nothing to do with money will be branded “.org” so that includes the forums, documentation, translation tools, etc.
In the spirit of finding our focus, we’ve decided to support another open source project and use Discourse for our forums. Your user account at community.concretecms.com will automatically work with the forums at forums.concretecms.org. We’ve built some integrations to get badges and karma working between them both, and that functionality will continue to improve over time.
These forums work great, they’re snappy to use, and we’re excited to be moving there. We’re going to leave the old forum content up for SEO and historical purposes, but disable posting to them to move new conversations to the new forums.
As an organization, we’re committing to spend more time monitoring and mentoring the new forums. This means you’ll actually be able to get core member’s attention on key threads in the forums in a timely manner, and we won’t be relying on Slack as a source of truth for anything.
We’re far from done, but we’re really excited about everything we’ve just launched.
As we get this web presence stable in the coming weeks, our attention is moving to getting Concrete CMS v9 release candidate 1 ready for prime time. We’ve also got some amazing new hosting tools that introduce DevOps pipelines to hosting your Concrete CMS site. We’re using them internally for enterprise hosting customers today, but expect that to start working its way to the public-facing website as we hear from more of you who are interested in a mid-market hosting solution similar to pantheon.io, but for Concrete CMS.
If you find a bug, browser issue, or anything broken you can submit it to our new forums in the site feedback category.
It’s been an amazing experience growing up open source as “concrete5.” I feel like we just had our 13th birthday and we’re about to head into a whole new exciting phase of life as “Concrete CMS.” It’s an honor to be part of such a vibrant and supportive open source community, and it's a joy to be able to spend some real time rebuilding the tools we use to foster its growth. Thank you for choosing Concrete CMS for your past projects and many more in the future!