Block based Kirby CMS gets it right

After switching to Gutenberg WordPress content management, I investigate various alternatives. In this article I will review Kirby CMS, whose block based content editor is similar to Gutenberg, but better looking.

Content Management

While Kirby CMS does not include column block as it exists in Gutenberg, or in CRAFTCMS Matrix Field, default Kirby CMS setup allow powerful content editing with 11 core blocks that can be extended : text, heading, code, video, table, markdown, list, image, gallery. Multi column page structure is available in content editing via predefined layouts, sort of meta block field which contains fields. Very efficient and good looking, similar to Elementor WordPress Layout Manager capabilities. In that sense, Kirby looks technically stronger as it separates content from layout, whereas in Gutenberg and Elementor, layout is part of the content data.

Hey did I mention the fact that blocks are versatile, they can change type, meaning you can switch from text to header easily in Kirby CMS, important feature that's not available in Gutenberg.

Form maker

one big use case of content management is the ability to create forms. In WordPress I use Gravity Forms, which charges roughly 100$ / year. Here with Kirby CMS you'll need either your own coding expertise or an extension too, not so powerful but good to start with. The examples provided by Kirby Doc lack the content submission database handling, obviously because Kirby is flat file based.

Asset management

this is one of the big drawback of WordPress : asset management is not the best. Of course it is designed in WordPress for blog management, meaning files are stored chronologically. This is nice after 20 years of blog writing because you don't have to think about folders. But most of websites include a well structured page hierarchy that requires folder based file management. This is what Kirby CMS has to offer, it associates images with content. While it does not have an explorer like Craft CMS has, it still allows easy management of file metadata : keywords, location, you choose extra fields that you can search from the admin panel. File explorer would be nice though.

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