What keeps you from being able to use Perch?

Update 18 August 2011: based in part on the below feedback, we have just released an update to Perch which contains Forms and Search functionality. There are other things mentioned in the comments that are definitely on the roadmap – thanks for telling us what you want to see!

Perch is a small content management system, and we plan to keep it that way. We’re not interested in bloating it out with features you don’t need or won’t use. What we are interested in is making sure that Perch is flexible enough to have functionality available if you do need it.

That’s one of the big ideas behind the add-ons system; you can start with a basic CMS and just add the extra features you need.

When we do develop new functionality, it’s often in direct response to our customer requests. A good example of this is the new Pages app which adds generation of site navigation – a direct response to customer requests. So today we’re asking a very simple question:

On the most recent project where you chose not to use Perch – what stopped you?

What is Perch currently missing that would enable you to choose it for more projects?

Leave a comment or email us at hello@grabaperch.com.

Posted by Drew McLellan on 1 June 2011 at 11:24


  • I love using perch for small sites but my latest project I had to opt for Concrete 5 as perch was missing a few things:

    1. Subpage navigation – Although the pages app could create new pages the only script for a sub page menu was a homebrewed script on the forum.

    2. Commenting on the blog module required third party options.

    3. It would be nice to have a in built contact form app.

    Apart from that clients really like it and I like it for small brochure sites.

    01 June 2011

  • Mike Barker

    It’s not mobile friendly.

    01 June 2011

  • Currently prefer subscription based services, not sure why. I can’t really stand Concrete5 because of it’s paid plugin system so I’m drifting towards Webpop. That being said, Perch keeps pulling me towards it because the support look to be top-notch and seems to be much simpler to use.

    01 June 2011

  • Mike – when you say not mobile friendly, do you mean that there’s non dedicated control panel interface for mobile devices?

    That’s something we could look at. As things stand, the Perch admin UI does work well on a smartphone or tablet with a reasonable browser. We’ve taken care not to rely on things like hover events that don’t make sense with touch interfaces. So it is mobile friendly, but not mobile specific.

    Of course, when it comes to your front-end site, there’s nothing that would stop you going full out developing responsive websites with Perch – in fact, we’d recommend it.

    01 June 2011

  • Forms (for contacts or whatever) will be a good feature. Actually, we code web forms via PHP. If Perch should be able to manage forms and stock sended datas on back-office it will be great !

    01 June 2011

  • I only had one request and that was navigation.
    Besides that i’m very happy to use it for my site and also for my customers.

    Although I’m thinking to create an app myself, a contact form app.
    Don’t know how I want to see this, but will draw it out first before starting to code.

    01 June 2011

  • Honestly, I hope you don’t change Perch so much in an attempt to become a one-size-fits-all solution that it loses it’s simplicity, which is why I use it. I use Perch, Wordpress, and Joomla depending on what option will work best long-term for the site and the client.

    My only wish is that setting it up so that multiple items can be arranged using up and down arrows or numerical sequences. I know from the forums that it’s possible now, but as I’m not a programmer, it’s been too complicated for me to setup.

    01 June 2011

  • Mike Barker

    Hi Drew, sorry for being a little ambiguous. What I meant was exactly what you said, it doesn’t have a dedicated admin panel for mobile phones.

    I’ve used Perch before on my phone and have found it easy, but from a client’s perspective it could be a little more daunting and if Perch was completely mobile friendly I think it would be a great benefit for the CMS as a whole.


    01 June 2011

  • th

    Congrats on the 2nd birthday!
    Nice CMS!

    Reordering items in the admin (with a mouse click) would be a nice thing.

    And the admin as a whole could be fitted for larger sites (with some tree, toggle functions etc.). I know the focus for Perch is at small websites and should stay this way, but my experience is clients often change their minds about content after some time. Wanting to add more pages (which can be overwhelming, loosing oversight), so when Perch could be a bit more scalable, more projects could benefit.


    01 June 2011

  • I love perch. It is my now go to CMS for clients. The one thing that would be great is the ability to nest templates inside of a template. I have been working on two sites recently and see where the nesting of templates would be so helpful.

    I like the mobile back-end idea. I don’t think it is that necessary but it could be in the form of some type of add-on if people wanted to use it.

    All in all, Good stuff Drew keep it up.

    01 June 2011

  • A very minimalistic ACL: Limit editor’s rights to certain Pages / Sections

    And yes, Perch is just great!

    01 June 2011

  • Navigation groups were the last big “must-have” thing for me. Just about everything else can be added with third-party specialty tools as necessary.

    That said, here are the large things that would be next on my wish list: – simple blog commenting/moderation – don’t require Disqus – simple form generator; send out email notifications (not sure if storing submissions is even necessary, if that simplifies things)

    Concrete5 is my other main CMS. Many of the sites I’ve built with c5 could have been Perch sites if only I had known then what I know now :-)
    I still choose c5 if there are user/member requirements, a high page count, or the need to mix-and-match content blocks around the site.

    I agree that it would be a shame if Perch bloated up trying to compete with larger CMSs. I think it’s simplicity is a HUGE selling point.

    02 June 2011

  • Saw a support request about checking if the viewer is logged into Perch. If there were a User group as well as Admin and Editor, then a person could log in and be redirected to the site rather than the admin area. This would open up some nice possibilities for simple front-end User control and private site areas/content.

    02 June 2011

  • Robert Sanders

    Everything about Perch is great but I can’t use it because there is no true user management allowing multiple users access to only edit their sections of the site. I want to use it for a lager site that would require users only to see and edit their content when logged in. i would pay double for this or as a paid add on. or would pay the developers money to create such an add on. I can’t even dive in without this feature.

    i keep looking at other CMS but keep comparing to Perch’s simplicity and that can’t be found.

    03 June 2011

  • Ian

    I love Perch with it’s small footprint and simplicity being a big draw. The speed at which you can integrate it with static templates along with the PHP template tags is another big draw for me – very clean, simple, and easy to hook up. There are a few small things I would like to see added/changed however:

    1) A better way to handle blog entries.

    Although I know Perch isn’t intended to rival WordPress for blogging I still think that it would be much cleaner and produce less clutter if there was a one to many relationship with entry form to entries. Instead of having one form for one entry have one form for all entries with edits also being called into the form.

    I realise this would mean a bit more of a separation of the blog section but seeing as it is an addon anyway this wouldn’t add to the bulk of the Perch core at all. This would have the benefit of providing more of a list of entries for the user to see at a glance.

    2) Addon integration into the Admin Panel

    The addon architecture is definitely the way to go and they’re fantastic in both keeping Perch lean whilst providing the extensibility for those who need it. It would be great to see an ‘Addon’ page for seeing at a glance what’s installed and maybe even installing/removing from the Admin Panel too.

    3) Control Panel toggling

    Although the Control Panel is pretty darn lean as it is it can always get leaner. :) In the Content section I’d like to see a toggle/reveal for each page so editable regions are hidden by default. This would make it cleaner and scale well for sites with a large or growing number of pages and editable regions.

    Although the filter can be useful I generally find that it’s unused so again I’d like a simple toggle/reveal to hide this by default. This would keep it there for those with a lot of content who want to drill straight down or get out of the way for those with not enough content to need it.

    4) User permissions

    There’s always the time when you need a little user control in making sure they don’t edit things they shouldn’t. I’d like to see an option to hide certain regions or Pages from a user in the Control Panel. Maybe just a checkbox saying whether a the Editor can see or edit this page or not.

    5) Admin theming

    I love the ability that you can upload your own logo to the Control Panel but I’d love to be able to go one step further and theme it a little. This could then be made to fit in with your own company branding or that of your client, or just simply to freshen things up from time to time.

    Although it’s possible to do by editing the core files obviously this isn’t a good solution as any updates would wipe it out again and core edits are never advised.

    If Javascript control was provided in the theming then I could look to add my own toggle features into the Panel to solve two in one hit. :)

    You could even add an Admin Theme section to the site where users could contribute and share their themes.

    That’s my wishlist anyway and carefully considered so as not to add any bulk to the core but whilst also allowing for a bit more flexibility. None of the above is meant in any way as criticism to Perch – it’s fantastic – but just possible suggestions to improve it and things I would like to see from my own personal point of view.

    I’d be interested to hear any thoughts you have on the above.

    Keep up the good work guys and thanks for all the Perch!

    04 June 2011

  • Hi Ian

    A better way to handle blog entries.

    I don’t follow this one at all – perhaps you could rephrase it?

    Addon integration into the Admin Panel

    We have this half done, but it was taking too long so got cut from the 1.6 release. It may reappear in 1.7.

    I’d like to see an option to hide certain regions or Pages from a user in the Control Panel. Maybe just a checkbox saying whether a the Editor can see or edit this page or not.

    That exists on the options page for each region.

    I love the ability that you can upload your own logo to the Control Panel but I’d love to be able to go one step further and theme it a little.

    You can use UI plugins to add your own CSS and JavaScript – does that give enough flexibility?

    06 June 2011

  • Jonas E

    A thing I’ve come across while working with a few clients is that I wish there were some simple way to associate an album to an item, because I can’t seem to find a way to add a dynamic number of images to an item.

    A perch:list or something, listing all albums would be nice. Or simply some way to add a dynamic number of images to an item.

    I’ve discussed this a bit in the forums, but thought I might put it here.

    08 June 2011

  • Totally forgot about this one, but am spec’ing a job right now that sorely needs it (for image galleries): drag and drop ordering of multiple items in a region. I know it’s a can of worms, but it would really be a big improvement if you can figure out a way to do it.

    Perhaps it could be done in the sidebar list as well as the main list to get around the “big item” issue (fitting enough items in the viewport at one time). Or maybe there is a Reorder button that puts you into a different mode to do the reordering and you save it to return to the regular list.

    Reordering by a Sort field using numbers works but is not up to par with the rest of the Perch experience.

    10 June 2011

  • The next thing on the wish list for me is a Search facility. A ‘Perch Search’ if you like :)

    Some way of having a search field that looks up all the meta in the database and displays the results/links on a results page.

    I realise this would only be be useful for those who use Perch for the compete content of the site, not for just editing small parts of content on the pages.

    14 June 2011

  • role based page access for editors. Editor can be restricted to only edit certain pages.

    23 June 2011

  • I also agree that a search add-on would be awesome :)

    24 June 2011

  • Å ime


    05 July 2011

  • I love the Perch CMS recently I had to develop two websites one in SilverStripe and a smaller website in Perch. The difference in the way the client grasped each system was miles apart. Silverstripe I had the client phoning or emailing every days. Client using perch was shown once and that’s it.

    What about clean URLs could this be possbile with Perch?

    08 July 2011

  • We absolutely love Perch but if we could had three wishes for future versions they would be:

    1) a search facility
    2) the ability to add comments on the blog
    3) a secure contact form

    12 July 2011

  • Shaun Murray

    Search is a big one for me which I’d have thought would need to be implemented in the core.

    Multiple items within a page like the aforementioned perch:list or like the matrix addon in ExpressionEngine which is the cms I tend to use for bigger sites with larger budgets.

    15 July 2011

  • @Barry Corrigan as long as you have mod_rewrite on your server then it’s pretty trivial to rewrite your URLs (I’ve seen a lot of people doing that already).

    We don’t do it by default as we aim for Perch to run on everyone’s server with the minimum of configuration to keep things simple.

    18 July 2011

  • multi user access level control.

    I know it seems like an overly robust thing for the goals that perch seems to be shooting for, but if I could have a simple access levels 1,2, or 3 that could be assigned to perch content and users – it would be a CMS I could use for nearly every project I work on. there’s just too many instances where the client wants some people to have access to only ____ pages or only create pages under ____ page.

    01 August 2011

  • 1) a search facility

    01 August 2011

  • Chris Moore

    Blog commenting. All the third party commenting systems I’ve tried—google, facebook, discus etc—were either bloated, difficult to integrate, or flaky as hell.

    Contact forms.

    Role based access.

    09 August 2011

  • An add-on for commenting on posts. At the moment there are a lot of third party options but they all look kinda “dodgey” when compared to integrated support for comments.

    SEARCH. The ability to search through uploaded content would be a lifesaver and would push Perch up to being the only CMS I’d have to use for the foreseeable future.

    12 August 2011

  • mjg234

    • Role based access (like John, Jackson A, Jeffrey, etc.)
    • Perch:list

    These others would be nice:

    • Commenting system
    • Built-in search

    I like many other ideas mentioned here.

    14 August 2011

  • Anthony S

    Our main frustration is the lack of features in the blog posts.

    1. Not being able to view the post before publishing is very poor. Adding a simple preview feature would make this platform much better.

    2. Adding images to the post is a must. How to you expect article to be interesting if they are all text.

    You should really consider these features as we are aware of lots of developers and designer that do not recommend Perch for it basic lack of features.

    I would worry more about getting left behind and being able to service a bigger audience, than i quote ‘Perch is a small content management system, and we plan to keep it that way. We’re not interested in bloating it out with features you don’t need or won’t use.’

    23 August 2011

  • Anthony – I think perhaps you don’t get what we mean by not bloating Perch with features. That’s why the blog isn’t part of Perch. It’s a free add-on for those who want it, and not a concern for those who don’t.

    We don’t mean we’re not going to improve things like blog by deliberately leaving out useful features. If it makes sense to add things like preview then we’ll add it.

    You can already add images to posts.

    23 August 2011

  • Anthony S

    Hi Ian,

    Thank you for reply. I’m sorry if it my points seemed very negative. We have asked for the simple review option many times before and nothing has been done.

    With regards to the blog not being a part of Perch, that shouldn’t matter. If this is an option that is available then it will be seen as a brand item and should be just as good as your own cms.

    You must agree that having an up-to-date full spec blog feature is a must. I fully understand that you are not trying mimic wordpress and that is great, but as is with technology you will need to adapt to make sure you are offering an alternative.

    23 August 2011

  • Rob Reed

    My biggest concern isn’t technical, though there are a lot of good suggestions in the comments here. My biggest concern with small projects is always questions about the developers commitment to the project going forward.

    It’s nice to see the very active blog. (Please keep going with it.) And it’s fantastic to see all of the recent work and new initiatives (e.g. the developer program).

    I’d love to see something like a ‘state of the project’ report. I see the perch just recently turned 2, now might be a great time for it.

    I have my own small project and I’m careful to let users know exactly where the project stands. I’m sure that like me many others have been burned by investing heavily in a solution only to have the project shelved in favor of more ‘interesting’ or lucrative opportunities.

    I think it’s fair to say that there are some gaps with perch at the moment. I’m more than happy to overlook them and get started with perch, if I know there’s a future in this (2, 3, 4, 5 years). Otherwise, it’s tough.

    It’s especially important for anyone pushing a solution like perch to clients.

    I know it’s not necessarily an easy issue. As a developer myself I realize that it’s problematic to make projections about where the project will be in the future.

    Regardless, it’s an important consideration.

    25 September 2011

  • Hi Rob. Perch isn’t a “small project” at all. It’s a solid product that is more than 2 years old and is a sizeable part of our business. That business, edgeofmyseat.com, has been trading for 10 years this month.

    Perch is under constant development. In since launch there have been 17 updates, all free to license holders, and many providing significant additional functionality. We’re currently simultaneously working on Perch 1.7.3 and 1.8, as well as updates and additions to our collection of add-ons.

    See this post where we’re asking our users what sort of add-ons they’d like to see next.

    Can I tell you what Perch will look like in 5 years? Absolutely not. Our roadmap evolves as we go, based on feedback from our customers. If we were to lay out a roadmap that far in advance it wouldn’t be able to take account of the most important factor – our customers’ needs and wants. We have our own ideas, obviously, but those are always open to change, and we do frequently adapt our plans to make sure we’re serving our customers with the best product we can.

    So to address your concerns – Perch isn’t a project, it’s a fundamental part of our business. Perch isn’t going to disappear.

    25 September 2011

  • A true ACL. Simply being able to set what pages a user can edit would sell this to me. Too many projects rely on Mr X only editing news and Mrs Y only editing testimonials etc.

    A nice to have would be automated backups. Otherwise its awesome.

    07 December 2011

  • Nathan Garner

    After seeing this blog entry come up in Google, I though I’d better add a final comment – all the original issues (forms, blog comments, sub navigation) have been added without third party apps. All viewable from with the CMS Dashboard. Very nice.

    06 September 2012