Unfortunately, I have decided to move away from WordPress as my website creation system of choice mainly because it is becoming increasingly bloated and slow. This may sound crazy because it powers ~25% of the internet but I would prefer something a little more nimble.
Fortunately, I have managed to find a system which is not only quicker and more nimble but is also easier to use when writing content. The system I am talking about is Gridsome.
Gridsome is a free & open source Vue.js-powered framework for building websites & apps that are fast by default. It uses a custom Sass-based style sheet for easy theming. It relies on Flexbox for page layout instead of the inflexible and dated float-based layouts of WordPress, not to mention it is simply more modern. The grid system is semantic so you have full control without the need to add classes to your markup.
Gridsome has virtually no learning curve and can be picked up by anyone whether they are a beginner or a professional developer. I have managed to successfully migrate this website to Gridsome in an afternoon, which includes fetching all the data from my old WordPress site. As a bonus feature, it also automatically generates a JSON file which includes all the post metadata which I can then use to automatically update my social media profiles with new posts.
If you would like to convert your current WordPress site to Gridsome, check out their documentation on GitHub, or go directly to their website at gridsome.io.
One of the reasons why I chose Gridsome over other systems is because I am able to understand their codebase. The entire core codebase is only ~1.5k lines, which is much smaller than most CMSs and even a lot of fully featured frameworks. I can easily read through the entire codebase after just a few hours and make changes without breaking anything. The ability to easily customize your website is a massive advantage of open-source software, which is severely lacking in closed source systems like WordPress.
WordPress is heavy and bloated, even the stripped-down "Sterling" version contains ~22k lines of code. The entire WordPress API consists of thousands of functions that add layers of complexity on top of an already convoluted system. There is nothing easy or simple about WordPress, everything takes longer and requires more effort.
WordPress is completely and utterly out of date, the dashboard looks like it came from the 1990s and it is virtually impossible to find anything due to the sprawling sea of blue menus. The dashboard also has a lot of wasted space due to the overwhelming amount of unused options.
WordPress also suffers from a wide range of security issues, mostly stemming from the fact that a very large portion of the website is handled by non-programmers. These issues can range from cross-site scripting to cross-site request forgeries and everything in between.
I should also mention that WordPress relies on a number of external libraries for everything from database interaction to image manipulation. This increases the complexity of updating these libraries as well as increasing the number of potential security vulnerabilities. This is yet another thing that Gridsome does right as it has all of its own custom-built functions and doesn't rely on anything external.
WordPress is simply not a good framework for building websites. It was originally designed to manage simple blogs but people have forced it to do much more than it was ever intended to do. Gridsome is a much more suitable system as it was designed to handle complex websites from the beginning.
Gridsome is not without its faults either though. I would like to see them improve their syntax highlighting in their code editor, it's barely usable right now which makes lengthy edits a bit more tedious than they have to be. I would also prefer it if they would build in a simple way to fetch an SSL cert for development, it shouldn't be too hard to do and is a much sought after feature by the more security-aware users.
Gridsome is also very new, like version 0.7.20 new, which means that there aren't a lot of extensions or addons yet. While that is quickly changing, you won't find anything like a WYSIWYG editor extension or anything like that. That being said, I absolutely do not miss WordPress's clumsy and oversized visual editor. Even the "Simple Editor" that Gridsome has built-in is a massive improvement.
Gridsome also has no concept of user roles. Maybe this is something they will implement later on but in its current state, everyone is basically limited to being a "Contributor" unless you manually change their defined capabilities. Or there might be. I will have to dig more.
There are also very few looking templates available and even fewer that appeal to me, so I'll probably be building my own from scratch.
All of that being said, I was originally going to roll my own CMS-driven on AngularJS until I discovered Gridsome. The same basic idea without all the hassle and Gridsome will be much easier to theme as well so win-win. I think I'll be converting both this site and the library one to use it.
So yeah, I am officially endorsing Gridsome CMS moving forward for any web development work I do. It's a fantastic framework that is still in its infancy and has a very active development team. I can't wait to see where it's going to be in another year or two.