I recently read about Pagekit CMS on one of the tech newsletters. Always on the lookout for a good and simple CMS I decided to visit their site (https://pagekit.com/) and give it a try.

Pagekit website is simple, pleasing and impressive. Pagekit has impressive features for a relatively young content management system – easy to use, a well designed backend admin panel, built in blog and comment system, HTML and Markdown page editing, file manager for easy media management and a user and permission management.

While taking it for a spin on my local MAMP server, the following stood out:

  1. Installing Pagekit is a breeze. It requires either a MySQL or an SQLite 3 database to install. My install used the SQLite 3 database as I love the freedom to move a website from one webhost to another or from the testing environment to a live server without going through the additional step of exporting and importing the MySQL database and then fixing its internal links.
  2. Logging into the admin panel takes you to the dashboard which has widgets to show you the total number of users the site has, the location and newsfeed from the Pagekit blog, but somehow the feed on my install wasn’t working.
  3. A menu icon at the top left of the admin panel expands to show links to options such as Site, System, Users, Marketplace and installed widgets. These help you manage your site content and settings.
  4. Clean URLs, SEF URLs, Human readable URLs, whatever you call it, works out of the box.
  5. Marketplace allows you to install themes to manage the visual appearance of your site and extensions to enable you to add more features not present in the default install. Currently there are not too many themes and widgets but they are enough to get you started with a basic to semi-advanced site.
    The basic blog extension is a little short on features but there is an extension DPNBlog which gives you additional post options as well as Category and Tags fields which surprisingly are missing from the default Pagekit blog. Somehow either it is a bug or a problem with my local install, adding a comment to the default blog post gave me an error ‘Unable to comment. Please try again later.’, but in the dashboard comments area it showed my comments were there. I just needed to publish to make those visible on the front-end. Also, the DPNBlog posts did not even show me the comment field which when I checked showed as enabled in the dashboard settings.
  6. Another couple of extensions I tried were the portfolio/gallery extension and a slideshow extension. Portfolio extension worked like a charm and I was able to create multiple column albums with thumbnails, titles and descriptions, tags for filtering the galleries etc. Clicking on any of the links takes you to the linked gallery.
    Slideshow was somewhat unpredictable. Whereas the Portfolio extension resized the photos to show thumbnails which resized dynamically when I changed the number of columns, the Slideshow extension did no such thing. So the images need to be resized according to your requirements first and then added to the slideshow. A resizing of the browser page resized the images a little but since you can only choose the width of the slideshow in the settings, it hides the sides of the images while keeping the height intact. Maybe it was a problem with the extension or the theme I was using, even the slide title and description did not change their position and font size to adjust for a smaller browser size.
  7. The themes available in the marketplace may not be too advanced or complex but they are enough to give you a headstart in creating your website on Pagekit. I just wish there was a demo content installation feature or more documentation on how to recreate the theme demo inside your Pagekit install. The lack of documentation makes it tough to understand how to create a complex site. Themes have various widget sections, some more so than others, which allow you to add static or dynamic content in preconfigured blocks in the theme. But since there is no documentation outlining where these blocks are there is a lot of trial and error that goes into locating these blocks.

 

Some screenshots from my test site.

Pagekit Extensions

  • Analytics
  • Assets
  • Backups
  • Bixi Framework
  • Blog
  • Blogposts Widget
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Calendar
  • Comments Beta
  • Cookie Warning
  • CORS
  • Dashboard Widgets
  • Detect AdBlocker
  • Developer extension – Fetch translations from transifex
  • Dpnblog Advanced Blog
  • Email Cloak
  • Enforce Rewrite URL
  • Exit Intent
  • Fields
  • FormMaker
  • Github User Repositories
  • Glossary
  • Google Opt Out
  • Hello
  • Hide Mail
  • Highlight (Syntax)
  • Include Widgets
  • Latest Blog Comments
  • Lazy Load
  • Lightbox
  • Linker
  • Listings
  • Login Widget
  • Lorem Ipsum Generator
  • Mailchimp Widget
  • Manifest
  • Maps
  • Maps Widget
  • Mark Old Content
  • Mercator Gallery
  • Mercator Variables
  • Metadesc
  • Notify on Comment
  • Pas Modules
  • PKB Shortcodes
  • PKB Social Share
  • PKB Social
  • Portfolio
  • Quote
  • Redirect
  • SAB Form
  • Search
  • Security
  • Selection Share
  • SEO
  • Shariff
  • Shrink Images
  • Simple OAuth2 For Developers
  • Sitemap
  • Sitemap Generator
  • Slideshow
  • Social Share Privacy
  • Steam Login
  • Table of Contents
  • TinyMCE
  • Twitter Widget
  • Userprofile
  • WordPress Import
  • XAdmin

Pagekit Themes

VERDICT

Pagekit is a good choice for users looking for a simple beginner’s website or replace their static website with an easy to edit dynamic website based on a CMS. The users will be able to create a basic blog and portfolio besides managing their static content.

I especially love the block level control that can be coded inside a theme’s template files which do not leave any holes in the design if you do not place any widget there but add individuality to the pages where they are used. You can even select the pages you want the widgets to show up thus allowing you to create customised content for your pages.

Unfortunately lack of complete documentation and tutorials makes adding any feature other than managing ready made themes and extensions a little difficult for web designers like myself who do not have a programming background. There seems to be no backend editing of themes and stylesheets so for any theme level editing you will need to rely on FTP software.

There are enough extensions to help you achieve most o the features you would want in your site, though I can not comment on their performance as I have tried only a few.

The basic blog is nearly useless without categories and tags as also what appears to be a faulty comment system. The advanced blog’s comments system does not seem to work.

Pagekit has a lot of potential but it is just not ready for me to make a switch to it yet. I will definitely keep track of its progress.