10 CMS Predictions for 2015

2015 cms

The last couple of years have been quiet in the CMS world.

Large, existing projects produced almost no major releases.

New projects often showed steady improvement, but none have yet reached the mainstream.

However, in 2015, I sense that big change is coming and that this will a really important year for web platforms.

It’s time to open up the crystal ball and make some predictions for 2015.

#1. A new generation of user interfaces

CMS design has stagnated for several years and as a result, Ghost blew people away with their initial proposals in 2013. It seemed like an interface revolution was coming. Many of those promised changes haven’t arrived yet, but we can expect accelerated progress in 2015, before Ghost reaches version 1.0.

Ghost is not alone. Magento 2 is looking a lot better than the current version:

Let’s also highlight the Grav team who are working on interesting design ideas:

#2. Conferences Outside the US and Europe

Until 2014, PHP conferences were very US and Euro-centric.

It’s great to see that starting to change.

Joomla went to Mexico in 2014 and held half their international conference in Spanish. They’re going to India in 2015.

DrupalCon went to Australia in 2014 and is off to Colombia in February. The Drupal Association are looking at India too.

WordPress is a little behind. They’ve only had a European conference for 2 years and are lack a dedicated team to organize international conferences. However, they have already scheduled a major US conference this year and that may lay the ground work for international events.

No, it won’t be easy to hold conferences in many of these countries and in fact we’ve already seen several hiccups. But, it’s wonderful to see open source communities reaching outside their comfort zones.

#3. The Biggest Hack So Far

Security was a constant issue 2014. We saw Drupalgeddon and a whole series of attacks on WordPress plugins. Many of these issues impacted hundred of thousands or even millions of sites.

There are a lot of inviting targets around. 75% of PHP installs have security issues. Only 5% of WordPress sites are up-to-date. Similar numbers are likely for Drupal, Joomla and other platforms.

We saw with Drupalgeddon that the hackers could take a new exploit and attack millions of sites inside hours. The next major hack may hit old WordPress sites, Drupal 6 sites, Joomla 1.5 sites or perhaps it will hit elsewhere. But our guess is that 2015 will bring the biggest hack we’ve seen so far.

#4. Open Source Launches Are SaaS-First

There was a noticeable change in 2014: projects such as Ghost and Discourse promoted their SaaS options above their their self-hosted offerings.

Yes, they both Ghost and Discourse use technology stacks that require developer expertise, and offering a SaaS option is smart.

But, the trend is deeper than that. Gone are the days of open source projects launching without a business mode or with a non-profit organization at the head. Now open source projects almost always launch with a business plan and a revenue model.

New open source projects are betting that SaaS offers a much faster route to profitablity than selling add-ons or services.

#5. SSL All The Things

The open source community still considers SSLs to be an exotic extra feature that most people don’t want..

  • Many hosting companies charge up to $30 or $50 extra to use an SSL.
  • Many developers still don’t routinely test their code behind an SSL.
  • Most site-builders don’t want the extra hassle and cost of using an SSL.

Two things will change this in 2015:

  • Google will keep signaling that having an SSL is a positive ranking factor. And, more importantly, the cost of SSLs will come down, perhaps even to free.
  • There are moves by several players to make SSL certificates free in 2015.

2015 is the right time for SSL certificates to become the default option.

Hosting companies will need to adjust their pricing and technology. Developers will need to improve their testing and make it easier of site-builders to use SSL.

#6. GoPHP7

PHP 7 is scheduled in mid-October.

Can PHP launch a successful new version while the vast majority of current installs are insecure and out-of-date? No, not easily.

Back in 2007, there was a GoPHP5 movement, supported by many CMS’s, which encouraged people to leave PHP 4.

There’s likely to be a similar movement in 2015. Someone has already registered gophp7.org.

#7. Drupal 8 Launches “Early”

Drupal 8 has been a long undertaking.

Last year, we predicted the release of DrupalCon Europe, so we won’t try to guess a date again.

In our next prediction, we say that Joomla’s future is in more, smaller and faster iterations. The same is true with Drupal.

By the old standards, Drupal 8 only gets released when there are 0 critical bugs. That goal is still a long way away. There are already voices in the community suggesting that the best approach is to pick a data, release 8.0, start getting user adoption and iterating. Our prediction is that those voices will be heard. The Drupal release cycle has already changed once during the development of D8 and it can change again.

We predict a change in the schedule that allows an “early” release of 8.0 and a series of iterative releases towards version 8.1 and 8.2.

#8. Joomla 3 is the One True Version

Yes, this is the same prediction we made for Joomla in 2014.

Joomla community has just said goodbye to version 2.5 at the end of 2014. There are still a large number of sites that need to make the small migration to Joomla 3.

It’s hard to see a way forward that doesn’t involve standardizing the community on Joomla 3 and improving that version piece-by-piece. Why not adopt the WordPress release strategy, building on Joomla 3?

#9. WordPress Changes Much Faster Than in 2014

WordPress had a quiet year for changes in 2014. The last sizable update was in December 2013 with the new admin area design.

Expect WordPress to move more quickly in 2015, starting with the integration of the WordPress API.

Plus, expect to see a lot more interface ideas thrown around, from re-designing the (somewhat clunky) menus page to complete redesigns of the dashboard (see prediction #1) and the WordPress mobile apps.

#10. This Will Be a Defining Year For PHP Projects

  • Drupal 8 is coming. Can Drupal successfully move the community through such a major transition?
  • Magento 2 is due. It has been due for long, long time. Can the eventual release bring momentum back to the project?
  • Can Joomla gather momentum behind version 3?
  • WordPress is enjoying an unparralled run of success. Can they possibly sustain growth for yet another year?
  • Symfony 3 is due in November. It won’t be backward compatible. How will Drupal, phpBB, eZ and other Symfony 2 users adapt?
  • Can phpBB survive the major hack of phpBB.com and competition from Discourse?

Don’t get me wrong: these are challenges that come with success and longevity. Many projects of these are over 10 years old and still used and loved by millions. That’s incredibly admirable and speaks well for the open source community. But, 2015 will go much further than any recent year in defining the future of the PHP world.

Over to you …

What do you see coming in 2015?

Do you think 2015 will be an exciting, rollercoaster year, or will be it be quieter than we predict?


  • 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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Chris Hoefliger

Interesting. Thanx for sharing your thoughts, Steve.

Martin Allien

Yes please, having more affordable SSL would be greatly appreciated!


keep an eye on this: [url=https://letsencrypt.org/]https://letsencrypt.org/[/url] – other than that, 9$ for a namecheap rapidssl cert isn’t that bad

Rob Heath

Not a mention about CMS’ like Webhook in the rise?


Hi Rob
I’ve not heard about it to be honest, but it looks like a good example of prediction 4.


Webhook looks REALLY good. Javascript seems to be on steroids! Giving it a try and it definitely has potential.

Bruce Letterle

I’m really liking Grav!


Thanks Bruce! We’re working hard to make it fun to use πŸ™‚


Support for 2.5 series is end with Joomla 2.5.28 release. But the current Joomla 3 series is suppose to be short term support. Does it mean there is no long term support currently in Joomla world?
The Joomla version are really confusing for right now for regularly users.



Hi Joseph,
Joomla got rid of its STS/LTS labels, since it was too confusing. Now Joomla 3 is support indefinitely as long as there remains interest.
You can expect full backward compatibility and stability throughout the Joomla 3 series.

Robert Vining

Here’s the FAQ on how Joomla dropped the Long Term/ Short Term support designation. [url=http://developer.joomla.org/news/587-faq-s-for-joomla-s-improved-release-cycle.html]http://developer.joomla.org…[/url]
You don’t have to wait for 3.5 to upgrade to Joomla 3.


Not sure you understand what SasS is…


SaaS = Software as a Service (ie, hosted services)


Hi Andy,
I think you had a typo and meant SaaS. If so, we definitely know what it means. It’s basically software that’s centrally hosted and licensed on a per-subscription basis.
WordPress is a great example of an open source project that has a SaaS business associated with it, i.e. [url=http://WordPress.com]WordPress.com[/url] (via Automattic).


Some solid points Steve!
I definitely feel the trend for 2015 is moving towards finding a platform that fits your needs, rather than committing to one platform and shoehorning your site into it.
We have seen this more and more over the past year at RocketTheme, and I think 2015 will be the defining year for this to become common practice. Grav was developed primarily to help solve this problem specifically for people who may not need all the features of WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for these more complex platforms, there certainly is for medium-to-large sites, but for small sites, other simpler options are gaining popularity.
I think PHP 5.4+ is going to be the norm this year. With August 2014 marking the EOL of PHP 5.3, there really is no excuse not to require 5.4. It will probably take some time for PHP7 to become prevalent enough to be the de-facto choice, I think that might not happen until 2016 (I wish I were wrong here).
Speed, speed, speed! This is another thing that is increasingly more important. The relative speed of a site has always been a concern, but over the past few years, this took a backseat to aesthetics and usability. However, with the increase in DPI of many displays, the need to support more varied platforms, and just more ‘features’ that people expect from the modern web, the size of images, CSS, and JavaScript has increased resulting in performance implications. Also, the reliance on large CSS/JS frameworks such as Bootstrap only adds to the performance burden. Combine this with an ever-shrinking attention span and you will find that the modern web user will not suffer any delays in page loading. I suffer from this affliction myself, any wait is an instant turn off. This is our primary focus for both Gantry5 and also with the Grav CMS. They are being built from the ground up with performance in mind.
Regarding security, I think automated updates are going to be a must for modern CMS platforms in 2015. PHP is not unique in regard to security issues, but it’s wide-reaching popularity means it’s a big target. Ensuring that any CMS that is built on PHP can be rapidly or preferably automatically updated, ensures a safer web for everyone and piece of mind for developers and users alike. This is relatively straight forward in a SaaS environment, but also doable standalone as WordPress has shown us.


Great thoughts, thanks Andy
Automatic updates were one of our predictions for 2014 and we’ve been banging that drum throughout the year.
Sadly, not many software developers are there yet, but we’ll keep supporting anyone who provides automated updates


Automatic updates is something we’re definitely going to be bringing to Grav this year.

Ivo Valkov

Great points by both of you, Andy and Steve πŸ™‚
Andy, we are really looking forward to the Gantry5 release. I’m checking the RT Blog everyday in hope to see an update. In your “10th Anniversary Interview” you mentioned that Gantry5 is scheduled for February… do you have any more specific information (the beginning, mid or end of Feb)?
Greetings from the JoomFX Team πŸ™‚


Most likely the end of February πŸ™‚ It’s coming together well now, but there’ still lots to do, not to mention the new G5 site + docs!

Ivo Valkov

Great! Can’t wait to see it and start working with it πŸ™‚


Cloudflare now provides free SSL. Not the best but its still free.


Thanks domkalan. Yes, also this week I saw a couple of companies offer SSL on lower plans than before. I’m not feeling confident about several of these predictions now, but #5 is looking good.

Robin Jennings

Do people still use Joomla?! There’s so much competition in the CMS space it’s getting crowded.



Ahmad Balavipour

Thanks alot for your article. what is best cms in 2015?

Barrick Becca

I think

we have already witnessed some major changes in 2015, Detailed creative

control and ease of use are now standard in most CMSs. Open–source

communities are becoming the norm.


What about Camaleon CMS?
Camaleon Cms is an alternative to wordpress in Ruby on Rails 4.
– Multiples sites in the same installation
– Multi language sites
– Extend or customize the functionality by plugins
– Manage your content visualization by themes
– Advanced User roles
– Shortcodes
– Widgets
– Templates for pages
– Seo


Michael Thompson

I think Drupal is far better and secure than any other CMS . With the help of TemplateToaster framework i can easily design themes with Drupal .

Daniel Brown

Thanks . Very informative .

Eshan Sarpotdar

Interesting Steve. Firstly, thank you for sharing. Though 2015 has come to an end most of your predictions about CMS have come true. However, somewhere Drupal cuts the mustard with the features it has to offer. Furthermore, I came across and registered for a webinar on “UI/UX best practices in CMS based web design” and gain insights on various practices, processes and design strategies to create and deliver a rich and exceptional UI/UX for your CMS based website, here is the registration link- [url=http://j.mp/1L0D9Ie]http://j.mp/1L0D9Ie[/url]

Eshan Sarpotdar

Interesting information there. These predictions have come true with the end of 2015, however, I would consider Joomla as the preferred choice, even Drupal for that instance. These two have been easy to use and update new content. A step further, you might want to know the best practices used by UI UX designers after the hiring process is completed. I came across and registered for a webinar on “UI/UX best practices in CMS based web design” and gain insights on various practices, processes and design strategies to create and deliver a rich and exceptional UI/UX for your CMS based website, here is the registration link- [url=http://j.mp/1L0D9Ie]http://j.mp/1L0D9Ie[/url]

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