SR's resident front end developer Graham Orriss shares his experiences starting to build websites with MODX

Trying out new technology is always exciting, be it a gadget, an app, a programming language, or even just a new technique…

I should stress that by “new” I don’t necessarily mean something that’s just been invented, but just new to you.

The latest technology I’m having to get my head around is MODX. For those unfamiliar with MODX, it is - in a nutshell - a highly configurable and secure CMS. In its simplest form, it’s ridiculously easy to pick up as a developer. You can build a manageable and scalable website extremely quickly.

I’ve used Wordpress a fair bit, so find the basics quite intuitive, but also understand through experience that it can be quite restrictive, and not as easy to use for the client as I’d like it to be. I’m not a fan of unnecessarily overcomplicating things, which some CMS most certainly do!

MODX has a clear interface that doesn’t rely on a set of single template pages, but allows the user to layer blocks of content however they like. For better or worse. ;) Like any good platform, MODX has its own built in version control, so if the client makes a mistake they can’t get out of, you can roll it back to any previous state.

On a more advanced level, MODX can do so, so much. Form handling, blogging, pagination, navigation… it’s all there for you, but knowing how to do it is a bit of a learning curve! When you know how, it is ridiculously - almost frustratingly - simple!

I think it’s safe to say I’m a convert. I’m quite fussy with my web builds. I do tend to fuss about with positioning and syntax a bit more than is probably necessary. With MODX I can place my HTML in without having to dismantle or change anything. If I DO need to change anything on the fly, or modify one part without it affecting anything else, I can just do it.