10 CMS Predictions for 2014


We’re all in a constant state of motion.

Website technologies used to come and go in years. Now it feels as if they rise and fall in months or even weeks.

Our careers, and yours, heavily depend on correctly predicting what’s going to change. So, I chatted with our team and got their thoughts about the year ahead.

Some of these predictions are fun, but we’ll be betting parts of business on some of the other forecasts.

Here are our CMS predictions for 2014 …

1) Drupal 8 launches at DrupalCon Amsterdam

If this prediction is correct, Drupal 8 will arrive in September.

The arrival of Drupal 8 will also signal the end of the “blockbuster” era in CMS development. Drupal 8 is like a blockbuster movie: years of planning, a cast of thousands and a huge party when it finally arrives.

The web is moving towards iterative releases. It used to be common to wait several years for one mammoth release which rebuilt the whole code-base. Not any longer. Drupal 9 will likely be a far smaller and quicker release.

2) There will not be a new version of Joomla

When people use Joomla 3, they seem to love it. The interface and features are far more user-friendly than previous versions. So there’s really no rush to move on to version 4. The community is still absorbing Joomla 3 and there’s a of lot sites that still need to upgrade. Most people just aren’t ready for version 4 yet.

We predict the Joomla team will keep developing and improving version 3. Development will begin on a Joomla 4 branch, but there won’t be a release in the foreseeable future.

3) WordPress always updates automatically

Automatic updates are in WordPress in a small way. However, Matt Mullenweg has made it absolutely clear that automatic updates should be possible at any time. Read Matt’s full comments on auto-updates here.

Our guess that automatic updates for major versions will arrive with version 4. From there, the WordPress team will work to push code to WordPress installs on a far more regular basis.

4) CMSs become much more reliant on Javascript

This was an unanimous decision amongst our team. For many years we’ve lived in a PHP world. 2014 may well be the year when we rely on Javascript as much as PHP.

Part of the rise of Javascript is related to the rise of high profile JS projects, such as Backbone.js, AngularJS, node.js, and Ember.js. For example, lately we’ve seen a lot of “Drupal sites” with no Drupal frontend – everything is displayed with Angular. A Reddit commenter on this article named “”EnderMB” pointed out that Umbraco have just rebuilt their UI using Angular.

5) Ghost starts slow, steady growth

We have sung the praises of Ghost as the most likely new platform to suceed. Ghost has a great brand name and a strong developer following. However, Ghost is still hipster software in several important ways. For example, I don’t see ordinary people preferring markdown to a WYSIWYG editor any time soon. And Node.js still remains too difficult to install and use, even for the average professional webdesigner.

Plus, it’s still a very young project. Almost everyone I know who’s tested the early version of Ghost says, “It’s very promising, but not ready for prime time yet. Give it time to grow.”

6) Flat file sites do not take off

If Ghost is somewhat hipster, static sites are still 100% hipster. We’ve explained this prediction in more detail, but this is the short version:

  • Fragmentation. There are dozens of options and none have really caught the eye of the marketplace.
  • Static sites are still solving developer problems rather than user problems. Sorry, the mass market does not care how your database is stored.
  • Many of them remain pay-for-download even for their core code.

There’s room for static sites to become huge, but my guess is that we may be a couple of years away from a breakout success.

7) Acquia has an IPO and Automattic follows

Acquia have been very open and honest about the fact that their path leads to an IPO eventually. It will probably happen in 2014. What that means for Drupal isn’t easy to predict because not many open source communities have been through such a move. Acquia have broken new ground in many areas and they’ll do so again here.

Here’s my outside prediction: once Acquia goes public, there will be some pressure on Automattic to follow. Automattic is a late-stage private company with some heavy-duty investors. At some point, those investors want their money back. It’s worth noting that Toni Schnider, a key V.C. figure linked to Automattic, just stepped down as CEO and into a new role.

8) Freelancing becomes less attractive

There’s been a strong trend in the last couple of years for freelancers to quit and join larger companies. There’s several reasons behind this:

  • The economy. Enough said. It not getting much better any time soon.
  • Burn-out. A lot of webdesigners have been doing this for 10 to 15 years now. Often they’ve been working alone and bearing the burden of sales, accounting, project management and more. A lot of freelancers I’ve spoken to are burned out and looking to become part of a team.
  • Remote work. Freelancing used to be one of very few ways to get a good job and still work at home. Now many more companies have the tools and the willingness to allow remote work.

We only expect those trends to strengthen in 2014.

9) CMS technologies become more fragmented

Our final prediction is that our use of technologies will continue to fragment. The web is getitng more complex and increasingly it’s hard for one platform to meet many needs. Rather than a handful of popular technologies and frameworks, web developers will split off to work with in niches. We’re seeing that even large platforms such as Drupal or WordPress are used in increasingly fragmented and uncoupled ways. The future looks more like Android than iOS.

10) Over to you …

Are we likely to be wrong with any of these predictions?

Do you have any predictions on where the CMS world is headed in 2014?


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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Peter Bui

The auto updates for WordPress I’m down for! It’s one of the main reasons why our WordPress clients get hacked or come to us with hacked websites. It will force people to build leaner WordPress sites with less plugins as well. Good move.
As for Joomla 4…. I’m no where near ready for that. Scary as I’m upgrading a Joomla 1.0 websites this week.


Thanks Peter. Yes, the WP core team are long way ahead of developers here. The WP core guys realize that this is a great step for users.
Agreed on Joomla 3. It’s a good platform to hold on for a while and let everyone catch up to.

Dan Knauss

Are you saying the Joomla project will formally change its release schedule again?


Yes, that’s my guess. I suspect both Joomla and Drupal will make further tweaks.

Shushu Inbar

Nice article. As a long term freelancer who just become an employee, I totally agree with #8 (except the typo mistake “remove work” => “remote work”)


Thanks for catching that Shushu and good luck in the new job.
Yes, 10 years ago freelancing was about the only good job you could do from home. Now you can work with some of the best companies in the world.

Florenc Rama

Is joomla a huge platform, yet to be able to manage a huge content, database and traffic? i am talking for a directory project. or i need to look over drupal for such of big projects?


Hi Florenc, yes absolutely. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all robust enough for a project like that. The most important question is *who* is building the site rather than *what* they’re building with. My advice in these situations is to spend a lot longer worrying about the right developer(s) to work with.

Florenc Rama

thanks steve. well said!


the need of improvement on web services will grow dramatically and before the end of year the majority of CMS development teams will look forward on its heavy development as the cloud pushes companies to mobility (ios/android apps support) to popular enterprise apps, it will focus on integrations, integrations, integrations


Thanks Eddie!

Bob Jones

Watch out for DocPad (static site generator)! It has a dynamic component that makes your site ACT like a dynamic site (eg. pulling in new content –from, say, tumblr– every couple of hours).
Could be a real (simple site) CMS killer, with crazy scalability and performance gains.


Interesting, thanks Bob. I’ll check out [url=http://docpad.org]http://docpad.org[/url]

Robert Went

That looks awesome, but as it’s built on node then these days you are still going to need at least a vps to get it up and running as well as knowledge to install node and it’s packages. So when it says it’s for front end devs and you can be a pro in hours it’s slightly misleading. Most front-end devs I know wouldn’t be able to install it.

Bob Jones

NodeJS is optional, not required. It can be used to “slurpe” in content on a timed batch process. Otherwise, just compile to static file directory and FTP it to nginx etc.

Bob Jones

FYI – a simple “installer” to begin a DocPad project using Yeoman:

Bob Jones

Agree with #4 100%, Make way for the client-side (Ajax) revolution! 🙂

Shane Thorpe

Great article. Also agree re Joomla 4. Still coming to grips with vers 3 with options etc and educating clients to “keep up”.

Interesting year ahead for everyone.


Yes, Joomla 3 is definitely my favorite version and it’s the one we’ve moving client to. No reason not to keep building on it.

Rod Farrell

Very much hope you are right on Joomla4. Joomla website owners (not developers) are getting upgrade burnout. Most sites are still 1.5.

Sumeet Shroff

Hi very nice article….and a lot of it, i agree to….Joomla is coming out with 3.5 which is a again a major release… Which will be the favourite CMS for 2014..?…

Phentom Crashel

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal… i´ve suffered them in various projects, trying to adapt a blog tool to make a website, trying to adapt a project to the tool instead of the tool adapt to the project. Actually I´m using Modx Revolution and there is no way back!

Adelina Addy

You had made a great prediction for 2014 CMS, now here I would like to share best CMSs of 2015. These CMS would be the popular CMS of 2015 [url=http://ultimatesoftwarereview.blogspot.in/2015/01/top-5-content-management-systems-of-2014.html]http://ultimatesoftwarerevi…[/url]


Great article. I agree with no. 4. JavaScript will have a great future. That’s why we created Ulbora CMS that runs on Node.js. Ulbora CMS is both a CMS and blog platform. It uses AngularJS for templates. Templates can be uploaded and switched as needed.

Daniel Keith

The CMS world is changing day by day. It has turned into a new era, where CMS are ruling over the designers. Now a days companys search for a good CMS more than a good designer.

Chris Troutner

It seems to me that the two heavy native-javascript competitors in the CMS arena are Ghost and KeystoneJS. While Ghost is great at what it does, they’ve been careful to define the scope that Ghost is a blogging platform and nothing else.
By contrast, KeystoneJS is more of a CMS engine, and extensions for it, like ConnextCMS, enable the intuitive navigation and features offered by WordPress. Plus, like you mentioned, node programs are notoriously difficult to setup and maintain. That’s why [url=http://ConnextCMS.com]ConnextCMS.com[/url] provides free VPS clones that can allow users to get a new website up and running in minutes.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x