Conveyor

How Craft teams work

Our design team moved the Wildbit site and blog to Craft in early 2016. And we’ve never looked back.

We appreciate this CMS and the community behind it. The small-to-medium web agencies that use tools like Craft for their clients are the kinds of teams that also valued Beanstalk over the years.

And so with Conveyor, we’re focusing on web agencies first. It will provide an experience that makes managing multiple client projects more enjoyable. A part of this focus was to get a better understanding of how Craft teams work.

We’ve done a lot of research interviews over the past two years and a lot of the teams we talked to used Craft. But we wanted to focus in on this audience and get more detailed results on how they used Craft and where they experience annoyances in the process.

Here’s what they shared with us as part of a recent survey.

The Results

First, we include a collection of multiple choice questions that had a limited number of responses to choose from.

What best describes your team?

A chart showing agencies comprising 55% of respondents and freelancers in second with 36% of respondents.
Agencies are still alive and well.

Which OS do you use?

A chart showing Mac in the lead with 85% of respondents and Windows and Linux with 8% and 7% respectively.
We're still waiting for the year of the Linux desktop.

While our own customers include a bigger mix of Windows users, it was interesting to see such a large percentage of the Craft community using macOS.

How do you work with Git?

A chart showing CLI in front with 67% followed by Tower, Sourcetree, Other, and GitHub Desktop at 50%, 21%, 11%, and 10% respectively.

More than one option could be selected on this question. So most respondents use both the command line and a Git client.

What Git hosting provider do you use to host your Craft repos?

A chart showing GitHub at 46%, Bitbucket at 45%, Beanstalk and GitLab each at 17%

How do you deploy your Craft sites?

A chart showing Other coming in at 47% followed by manual (S/FTP, SSH, etc.) at 40%

Based on the results, this was a poor question. My bad!

It’s clear that there is a lot of variety for how teams deploy their projects. Here are some of the services that were mentioned in the Other category.

  • Ansible
  • Laravel Forge
  • DeployHQ
  • Buddy.works
  • Envoyer

There was no one clear cut leader in this space. But what was a little surprising was the number of respondents who deploy without a dedicated service!

Do you host Craft sites for your clients?

A chart showing that 67% host client Craft sites with 23% of cases where clients manage hosting themselves.

What tool(s) does your team use to manage tasks or tickets?

A chart showing Trello used by 33% to manage tickets with Other coming in second at 25%.

This question had the lowest number of responses (only 11% of respondents). With an open ended Other option being available, it’s telling that so few people answered the question.

I’m speculating here, but a couple of possible reasons come to mind. One, agencies could track project documentation and communication in various tools, but tasks themselves are less important. The few respondees who chose “Other” listed personal task management tools like Things or plain text files.

Another possibility is that it doesn’t matter to people. Individual team members can use a variety of tools that fits them best (pen & paper included). This could make the question harder to answer.

Perhaps it’s a poorly worded question, period. In any case, the lack of a response was of note.

Open Ended Questions

As well as the multiple choice questions, we asked a few questions that allowed for a free-form response. Since there is so much variety in how teams work, some questions are best asked unguided.

How many people on your team handle Craft code?

The average here was just under 3.5. For all respondents (who did not respond as a freelancer), the average was less than 4 people per team working with Craft code.

Does this indicate that teams that use Craft are small to medium sized agencies? Or that the job of managing Craft falls to just a couple of team members on a larger team? The answers here would require a little more research. However, the number was smaller than expected.

How many active Craft sites do you manage?

100% of respondents answered this question (a result of it being required). The results were interesting:

  • The largest number listed was 100
  • The average was 13.5
  • But the higher volume of a few teams skewed the numbers. 75% of respondents manage fewer than 15 sites

How (and where) do you test your changes in Craft before deploying to production?

As another open ended question, this one had a lot of variety. However, there were several categories or replies that stuck out.

  • Local only (20%)
  • Only on a staging, testing, or dev server(s) (29%)
  • Local + some form of staging, testing, or dev servers (33%)
  • Living la vida loca, baby (i.e. testing in production) (3%)

And some do not test at all:

I don’t :-O

It’s not for everyone ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There were also a scattering of other mentions, such as CircleCI or Laravel Homestead.

Which hosting provider do you use to host your Craft sites?

This was another question that brought a lot of variety. However, there were some services that led the way.

  • Digital Ocean was the most frequent with 39% of respondees mentioning the service
  • Other popular names were Arcustech, AWS, Cloudways, Liquidweb, Laravel Forge, and Linode

There were a handful of other mentions.

What is the most annoying part about setting up and using your environment when working with Craft?

Ok, the big moment. Surveys like this are often interesting, but it’s when people have the chance to share where they experience pain that the real fun begins. As expected, there was a lot of variety to this question as well. But one pain point did jump out ahead of all others.

Databases!

Whether syncing between environments, migrating changes, or dealing with client content, databases are clearly the biggest point of inconvenience for teams using Craft (the same could be said for Wordpress and other CMS’s of this type).

  • Databases (59%)
  • Setup and install of Craft and multiple environments (18%)
  • Configuring environments (10%)

While all software tools can improve, the Craft community seems satisfied overall with what Craft enables them to do for their clients.

Agencies are alive and well in 2018. And it’s in part due to the improving tools, such as Craft, that are available for agency teams. We’re excited to help these kinds of teams — and look forward to getting Conveyor into their hands!

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