The past, present and future of Alchemy CMS

tvdeyen profile image Thomas von Deyen ・3 min read

Alchemy turns 10 this June and I think it's time for a recap.

Wow. What a ride. Time flies.

It all started early 2007 as a proprietary project called washAPP. I got my first job in a web development agency and my mentor, Carsten, was annoyed of building websites with TYPO3. Rails just released an early beta of 2.0 and I was sold.

So, we started to build a CMS that separates the content from markup and gives structure to content not seen back then. Years before the term atomic design was invented we already had molecules built out of atoms. What feels natural today was a revolution back then.

The agency was closed down in 2010 and I had an agreement with Carsten to continue the work on washAPP as an open source project.

Alchemy was born. And it was a success. We started using it for most of our clients, integrated it with Spree and more and more businesses all over the world are using it. It was and still is a pleasure to work with and for Alchemy.

Alchemy would not be what it is today without the tremendous help of volunteers and contributors in the past 10 years. Besides many I want to give special thanks to

  • Robin Boening (who wrote a ton of specs and fixed lots of bugs)
  • Moritz Hilger (born Scholz) for helping me understand the needs of customers and users
  • Hendrik Mans for adding multi-domain support into Alchemy
  • And of course Martin Meyerhoff a true open source hero for his tedious work on making Alchemy better every day and supporting me in many ways

❤️ Thank you

So, in 2020 one might ask is a self-hosted Rails CMS still relevant?

With the advent of cloud hosted API only headless CMS' this might be true for more and more teams. But not everyone wants to hand over their data to third parties. Also these CMS' have their limitations as they need to fulfill the needs for the majority of users. These needs might not be your needs. And also it's a question of costs. Those CMS' start free but get very pricy pretty fast.

And for teams that already have a Rails app running it is way easier to include a fully featured CMS that also acts-as your Rails admin in one engine. For users of Solidus (and Spree) the deep integration off those engines adds benefits to your business only hard to achieve otherwise. Not to forget the UX of having a the life preview build in.

So, yes. Alchemy is and will be relevant in 2020 (and beyond).

But the world keeps on turning and the frontend world has changed a lot. That is why we have huge plans for the future of Alchemy.

Besides performance refactoring and overall cleanup, one of the goals is the ability to get content into Alchemy via the API and (even) better support for static front-ends.

I am using NuxtJS a lot lately and Alchemy is the perfect backend for it. Alchemys atomic content structure perfectly matches modern component based frontend development. And maybe we will provide hosted Alchemy instances in the near future (you'll never know ;)

PS: If you want to help us maintaining Alchemy please consider supporting us financially on OpenCollective or via contributing on GitHub.

Posted on Jun 4 by:

tvdeyen profile

Thomas von Deyen


Anti-fascist Ruby and Javascript developer from Hamburg, Germany. Most famous for @alchemycms


Rails based content management framework


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