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Why is Hero Framework an awesome CMS

Hero Framework

Why is Hero Framework an awesome CMS

What's this Hero?

Hero Framework is an easy to set up, full fledged e-commerce and content manament system developed by Electric Function. After years of working on websites, I have found Hero to be a great solution, flexible solution for most web sites out there. Although not perfect, Hero does offer a lot of great features for both web designers, developers and end users. It is by far not the most popular system in the market, but it's ease of use and usability make it very sleek and attractive product to work with. I have built many sites in Hero over the past year, and both my clients and I really enjoy using it.  I find it as a great alternitive to Wordpress for most sites that I create anymore. Here are some of the advantages Hero has to offer:

Hero is built in Codigniter, thus is fast and powerful.

Hero, being built in Codeigniter (the same as Expression Engine 2.x) makes it a very stable and powerful system. Code Igniter is known for being small, fast, stable, lightweight and produces clean code, and this in turn increases the performance of Hero. I have noticed this first hand on many occasions when moving sites from Wordpress over to Hero. The Hero installation always seems to load pages a lot faster and a lot smoother. Being built on Codeigniter also makes it easy for developers to develop custom plugins

Hero is inexpensive

Clients like to hear this. Hero is very inexpensive, as it is free in most cases. Electric Function does offer a one time $200 e-commerce solution for products and subscription plans. Other than that Hero is free and open source. However, if you want the best support, you could host your Hero site through Electric Function's hosting plan.

Hero Framework is easy to setup

Hero is an extremely easy CMS to set up. All you have to do is set up a database, upload the files and run though the quick installation process and you are done. Like Wordpress and other sites, you can use the basic themes that come free with the system and start. More importantly, you can easlily develop your own theme based off any design.

Hero is ompletly design independent

This is why I as a designer love Hero.  Unlike Wordpress, Hero Framework is compltly design independent and can be adapted to fit any design.  Also Hero intergrates the SMARTY PHP template system, which makes templating a million times easier than in other systems.  With hero, you don't need to write complcated PHP echo calls to call content, you just need to write the varable name.

Just take a look is easier:

Wordpress:  <?php echo get_the_title(); ?>

Hero framework: {$title}


<?php if (have_posts()) : ?>

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?> <?php endwhile; ?>(required for a blog page)

Hero Framework: No code needed! Just create a blog/content listing in the system and set the template

If you wanted to create a "recent posts" call



<?php if ( have_posts() ) while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

<?php wp_get_archives('type=postbypost&limit=20&format=custom'); ?>

<?php endwhile; ?>


Hero Framework:

{content type="blog" var="post" limit="5"} ... {/content}

As you can see, Hero and the SMARTY Tag system is a much much easier and much more logical way of displaying content onto a page.  And there is one more huge advantage that Hero has over Wordpres.

Hero Lets you create Custom Content Types out of the box.

Hero, as a true CMS allows the user to creat custome content types right out of the box.   Custom content types allows Hero to create content and varables specific to the needs of your client's site.  This is all done intuitivly with a click of the mouse ine the content type box.  Furthermore you can create many differnt varable field types, including Content relationships, topical relationships, file uploads, WYSIWYG editors etc, so you can truely cusotmize your site to fit whatever needs. 



Hero can be made to be extreamly SEO Friendly:

While out of the box, Hero does not add everything you need to make a nice, SEO Friendly site.  However, with a few minor adjustments you can make it a SEO powerhouse.   In fact, NO SYSTEM is inherntly SEO Friendly. Good onsite-SEO comes from  GOOD CODING PRACTICES not weather you install a certian plug-in or not.

For Hero, all you need to do is make sure you add custome feilds for meta-data and change one line in  the universal.js

Change this url = url.replace(/\s+/g,'_'); (which adds an underscore for space)  to

url = url.replace(/\s+/g,'-'); (this makes it a hyphen, which is better)

Make sure your have good calls to your varables on your pages and you are set.  I normally create a block specifically for all meta-data (includign og calls for facebook) and include it in my themes. Normally It looks like this:

{block name="meta-data"}

<meta name="description" content="{$metadescription}" />

<meta name="keywords" content="{$metakeywords}" />

<title>{$title} | {$setting.site_name}</title>

<meta property="og:title" content="{$title}" />

<meta property="og:image" content="{if $thumbnail}{$thumbnail}{else}{theme_url path="images/default-thumb.jpg"}{/if}" />

<meta property="og:url" content="{$url}" />

<meta property="og:description" content="{$metadescription}" />

<meta property="og:site_name" content="{$setting.site_name}" />

<meta property="fb:admins" content="Valina Eckley" />

<link rel="canonical" href="{$url}" />


Notice how you just make the varable calls in the right spot and vola, your page has the metadata calls needed to start making your Hero site an SEO powerhouse!

Finally, Hero is awesome becasue 1) it is easy to design for and set up and 2) it is easy for client and end users to manage their site.  Every clinent of mine who has used Hero has love how easy and intunitve it is for them to use their site, and I think that is one point that a designer has to consider when choosing a content managment system.   

So if you are looknig for a change from the wordpress-saturated web, and want something that is inexpensive, powerful, flexable and very user friendly, give Hero a try!

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