ProcessWire Weekly #160

The 160th issue of ProcessWire Weekly brings in all the latest news from the ProcessWire community. Modules, sites, and more. Read on!

Welcome to the latest issue of ProcessWire Weekly. This week there is a special treat for us all at the blog: a guest post from an author of a really great ProcessWire powered website, Alex Capes.

In other news we're going to introduce a new commercial module by Kongondo, and run a little poll regarding the various approaches one might take in terms of optimizing the performance of a ProcessWire website.

When it comes to our site of the week, there's something quite special about it – but we don't want to spoil the surprise quite yet, so more about that in a bit!

Thanks to all of our readers for being here with us again, and as always, any feedback is most welcome – please don't hesitate to drop us a line if there's anything in your mind you'd like to share with us. Enjoy our latest issue and have a great weekend!

On the blog this week: building the Canongate website with ProcessWire

This time the weekly post at the blog is a guest post from Alex Capes, the creator of a recently published, ProcessWire powered site Canongate Books. In his post Alex walks us through some of the rather unique problems he had to solve while working on this project, particularly in terms of performance and scalability.

Canongate Books is a leading independent book publisher based on the UK, and their new website was designed by Human After All and built by Alex Capes. While we don't want to spoil the guest post for you, let's just say that some of the unique challenges that this project brought on included large XML feeds and massive images.

The end result of the project was a stunning website, and it's always great to read how those actually working on the project experienced the process. For that reason alone we'd highly recommend checking out the weekly post at the blog, Building the Canongate website with ProcessWire. Thanks!

Weekly poll: which optimization methods do you typically apply on your sites?

Following closely in the footsteps of the great guest post at blog this week, this time we'd like to ask you folks about the steps you take to optimize the sites you build. We're mainly looking into speed optimizations, but quite often optimizing the speed of a site also means optimizing its resource usage.

Obviously the optimization methods that make most sense depend on the project itself, and there are also various constraints to take into consideration: time and budget don't always allow us to go through quite as many steps as we'd like to. Either way, most of us have some "regular tricks" up our sleeves, and those are what we're interested in here.

So, without further ado – which steps do you typically take to make your sites fast?

  1.   Enable one or more of ProcessWire's built-in caching methods (11.6%, 24)
  2.   Install and enable a third party caching module, such as ProCache (7.7%, 16)
  3.   Image optimizations: minifying, lazy loading, CSS sprites, etc. (16.9%, 35)
  4.   Minify and/or combine HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files (18.8%, 39)
  5.   Inline bits and pieces of critical CSS and/or JavaScript (4.3%, 9)
  6.   Use font icons instead of images whenever applicable (11.1%, 23)
  7.   Enable prefetching, preloading, and/or prebrowsing (2.9%, 6)
  8.   Leverage browser side caching for static files and assets (12.1%, 25)
  9.   Fetch common CSS and JavaScript files from a CDN, such as BootstrapCDN or jsDelivr (6.8%, 14)
  10.   Set up a full blown CDN service, such as CloudFront or Cloudflare, in front of your site (2.4%, 5)
  11.   Considerable server side optimizations, manually or with tools such as the PageSpeed Module (5.3%, 11)
  12.   Something else – please let us know via post comments! (0%, 0)

Total votings: 207

Please note that there's no "correct" answer to this question, and what you see above is by no means a complete list of all possible optimization methods. While we've made an effort to include what we believe to be the most common ones, if you believe that we've missed something important, please let us know via comments.

Feel free to check out the poll archive for results of our earlier polls. All suggestions for future polls are more than welcome too. Thanks in advance for both your answer here and any additional suggestions or feedback you might have!

New commercial module: Variations

Variations is a new commercial module bundle by Kongondo. In a nutshell Variations allows you to create multiple versions of any given piece of content, including – but not limited to – products when used in combination with the Padloper eCommerce module.

While the concept itself is relatively simple, there's actually plenty of stuff happening behind the scenes, and particularly in the case of an eCommerce site some of those things would be troublesome to set up manually, to say the least. To give you a better understanding of all things involved, here's a video showcasing this module in action:

As you can see, there's a lot of stuff there, and this module really does handle it all for you. It takes some time setting up, but once it's up and running, it's a lovely piece of work. Knowing the author of this module we're sure that this is not all: Kongondo is one of the most active users on our support forums, and he's also been bringing updates and improvements to his existing modules on regular basis.

For more details, please check out the official support forum thread, Variations product page, and – if you're interested in buying this module – the ProcessWire Marketplace. Currently the price for this module starts from £28 for a single license, and considering the complexity of the features it provides, in our opinion that's more than reasonable.

Site of the week: Canongate Books

Our site of the week is none other than Canongate Books – an independent, award- winning book publisher from the UK. And yes, before you ask, we do realize that it is the very same site that is covered in this weeks guest post at

Since it might raise a few questions, first things first: we had picked this site as the site of the week well before hearing about the guest post. Honestly my first thought at that point was something along the lines of "oh crap, now I have to find a new site of the week" – but, to be fair, that wouldn't have been... well, fair. Canongate Books is the best site we've seen in a while, and it more than deserves the site of the week title.

So, what makes this site so special that it's featured twice in this issue alone?

Our reasons for choosing this site were pretty straightforward: it looks and feels great, has plenty of absolutely wonderful content, and also includes some rather interesting features to marvel at. The design in itself is quite something, and when it is combined with a great implementation, that's definitely a winning combination.

The colours, the typography, and the book pages are just plain stunning, if you ask me. The fonts used on the site are bold and not exactly the most traditional ones, but given the context of this site, they work wonders. Overall we feel that this is one of those sites that perfectly capture the image of it's owner — not an easy task by any means.

For details regarding the implementation side of things, check out the guest post from Alex Capes at the blog. This time we prefer to avoid that topic, as we obviously wouldn't know it as well as the man who set it all up, and we'd rather let him tell you all about the solutions he came up with in order to get this site up and running.

Congratulations to Canongate Books for a wonderful new website – and thanks to both Human After All and Alex Capes for choosing ProcessWire as the platform of this site and sharing it with us. We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of your work!

Stay tuned for our next issue

That's it for the 160th issue of ProcessWire Weekly. We'll be back with more news, updates, and content Saturday, 10th of June. As always, ProcessWire newsletter subscribers will get our updates a few days later.

Thanks for staying with us, once again. Hope you've had a great and productive week, and don't forget to check out the ProcessWire forums for more interesting topics. Until next week, happy hacking with ProcessWire!

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