Guide to Silverstripe CMS: Introduction

When setting up a personal art / photographic website (, I searched and tried out a huge number of web tools and CMS platforms. In the end I decided to work with Silverstripe CMS. For me it had a good balance between having the features and third-party support I wanted, without having so much hidden away and so much complexity that I couldn’t see how anything worked.

Items that were important for me

  • A comfortable level of complexity and openness (in terms of being able to see what is going on)
  • A platform that is concerned with maintaining security so I’m not up worrying about when my host is going to call with bad news
  • Flexible template system
  • Store data in a relational database
  • Fit within the capabilities of the shared hosting I have available
  • Well maintained with current versions

That is the plus-side. The minus-side is the documentation. The documentation seems to have a good in-the-weeds coverage with developer guides and API docs.

For documentation about the basics and getting started, there is a “lessons” series and a “getting started” section. For me, this introductory material was difficult to understand and left me with questions that I could not readily find answers to in all the normal places you would look (slack channel, forums, search). Further, they did not present me with a way to understand all the moving pieces, and overall how things worked.

The other issue I found was some of the material, though considered current, is actually out of date with the current version. This is of course not unusual with software documentation. It helped me to write up documentation as a way of learning, and so I am contributing this to help the project.