BigTree CMS vs. Middleman: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems

BigTree CMS vs. Middleman: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between BigTree CMS and Middleman. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your organization is a crucial decision that can have a significant impact on your digital presence and operations. In this guide, we will explore the key features and functionalities offered by both BigTree CMS and Middleman, helping you make an informed decision for your organization.

Foundations of CMS

Both BigTree CMS and Middleman are robust and flexible content management systems that empower users to create and manage digital content easily. BigTree CMS is an open-source PHP-based CMS that offers a user-friendly interface and extensive functionality. On the other hand, Middleman is a static site generator that provides a simple and efficient way to build static websites.

BigTree CMS stands out with its intuitive content editing capabilities, allowing users to easily create and update content directly through the user interface. It offers a visual editor that simplifies the content creation process and provides WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing, making it accessible to users with no coding experience.

On the other hand, Middleman shines in its simplicity and speed. It generates static HTML files, which means that the websites built with Middleman load quickly and require less server processing power. This makes Middleman an ideal choice for organizations that prioritize performance and want to deliver a fast browsing experience to their users.

In terms of foundational features, both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer powerful tools for content creation and management. The choice between the two will largely depend on your organization's specific needs and priorities.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer flexible options to create visually appealing and user-friendly websites.

BigTree CMS provides a range of built-in templates and customizable themes, allowing users to customize the look and feel of their websites without diving into complex coding. It offers a responsive design approach, ensuring that websites built with BigTree CMS look great on any device or screen size.

Middleman, being a static site generator, provides complete flexibility in terms of design and layout. It allows developers to leverage popular front-end frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation to create highly customized and visually stunning websites. Middleman also supports multiple templates, enabling users to create different page layouts based on their specific requirements.

While both BigTree CMS and Middleman excel in providing design flexibility, the choice may ultimately depend on your organization's design needs and the level of control you require over your website's appearance and user experience.

Content Management

Content management is at the core of any CMS, and both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer robust functionality to efficiently manage and organize your digital content.

BigTree CMS offers a user-friendly interface with a comprehensive set of features for content creation, editing, and publishing. It provides a flexible folder structure, allowing users to organize their content hierarchically for easy navigation. BigTree CMS also offers powerful content editing capabilities, including the ability to create custom content types and fields to accommodate diverse content requirements.

Middleman, as a static site generator, takes a different approach to content management. It treats content as files, which are organized in directories and can be easily managed using version control systems like Git. While the file-based approach may require a slightly steeper learning curve, it provides a lightweight and efficient way to manage content, especially for smaller websites.

The choice between BigTree CMS and Middleman for content management will depend on the scale and complexity of your content requirements. BigTree CMS offers a more traditional content management approach, while Middleman provides a streamlined and file-based approach for simpler content management needs.

Collaboration & User Management

Efficient collaboration and user management capabilities are essential for organizations with multiple content contributors and teams. Let's explore how BigTree CMS and Middleman cater to these requirements.

BigTree CMS offers robust user management features, allowing administrators to create and manage user accounts with different roles and permissions. This enables organizations to have fine-grained control over user access and editing capabilities. Furthermore, BigTree CMS provides a workflow system, facilitating content approval processes and ensuring the quality and accuracy of published content.

On the other hand, Middleman, being primarily targeted towards developers, lacks built-in collaboration and user management features. However, organizations using Middleman can integrate third-party solutions and services to meet their collaboration needs, such as version control systems for efficient collaboration and deployment.

If your organization requires extensive collaboration and user management features out-of-the-box, BigTree CMS may be the more suitable choice. However, if you have a technical team comfortable with integrating external tools, Middleman can still be a viable option with the flexibility to meet collaboration requirements.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance, scalability, and hosting are crucial considerations for any organization's digital presence. Let's examine how BigTree CMS and Middleman perform in these areas.

BigTree CMS offers excellent performance and scalability, thanks to its efficient caching mechanisms and optimization features. It utilizes caching strategies to minimize server load and deliver content rapidly. Additionally, BigTree CMS supports multiple hosting environments, allowing organizations to choose the hosting setup that best suits their needs.

As a static site generator, Middleman shines in terms of performance and scalability. Since it builds static HTML files, Middleman websites are inherently fast and require minimal server processing. This makes Middleman an ideal choice for organizations that expect high traffic volume and need a performant and scalable solution. Middleman sites can also be easily hosted on Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for optimal global performance.

Both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer robust performance and scalability; however, Middleman's static site generation approach provides an edge in terms of performance and scalability, particularly for resource-intensive websites.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization, extensions, and a thriving ecosystem play a significant role in the long-term success of a CMS. Let's explore the options offered by BigTree CMS and Middleman.

BigTree CMS boasts a vast ecosystem of plugins and extensions, allowing users to customize their websites with additional functionality. Whether you need advanced SEO tools, e-commerce capabilities, or social media integrations, the BigTree CMS community offers a wide range of plugins to meet your specific requirements.

Middleman, although primarily targeted towards developers, also provides a rich ecosystem of extensions and integrations. Developers can leverage the power of Ruby gems to enhance the functionality of their Middleman-built websites. Middleman also integrates well with popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries, enabling developers to create highly customized websites.

Both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer extensive customization options through their ecosystems. The choice will largely depend on your organization's technical expertise and specific requirements regarding the availability of pre-built plugins and extensions.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

Strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization), marketing, and monetization features are paramount for organizations aiming to maximize their online reach and revenue generation. Let's analyze the capabilities of BigTree CMS and Middleman in these crucial areas.

BigTree CMS offers essential SEO features such as customizable URLs, meta tags, and XML sitemaps, enabling users to optimize their websites for search engines. It also provides integration with popular marketing and analytics tools, facilitating effective marketing campaigns and performance tracking.

As a static site generator, Middleman generates SEO-friendly websites by default. It allows developers to optimize metadata, titles, and other SEO aspects directly in the code. Additionally, Middleman can integrate with various analytics and marketing tools, empowering organizations to gather valuable insights and drive marketing strategies.

Both BigTree CMS and Middleman provide solid SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities. The choice between the two will depend on your organization's specific requirements and priorities in terms of SEO, marketing, and monetization features.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations for organizations, especially those dealing with sensitive data or operating in regulated industries. Let's see how BigTree CMS and Middleman address these concerns.

BigTree CMS prioritizes security and offers robust protection against common vulnerabilities. It follows industry-standard security practices and regularly releases security updates. Additionally, BigTree CMS provides fine-grained access controls and permissions, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access and modify content.

Being a static site generator, Middleman is inherently secure as it generates static HTML files that are more resistant to attacks. However, since Middleman relies on external tools and services for hosting, organizations must ensure that they choose secure hosting providers and follow established security best practices.

Both BigTree CMS and Middleman provide a solid foundation for security and compliance. The choice will depend on your organization's specific security requirements and resources available for implementing and maintaining the necessary security measures.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migrating to a new CMS, along with ongoing support and maintenance, is an important aspect to consider. Let's explore the migration options, support, and maintenance provided by BigTree CMS and Middleman.

BigTree CMS offers tools and documentation to facilitate the migration process from other CMS platforms. It provides import/export capabilities, allowing users to migrate their content easily. BigTree CMS also offers extensive online resources, documentation, and an active community forum for support and troubleshooting.

Middleman, being a static site generator, requires a different approach to migration. Since it generates static files, migrating to Middleman may involve redesigning the website structure and converting dynamic content to static content. However, Middleman's active community and online resources ensure that users have ample support and guidance during the migration process.

When it comes to ongoing support and maintenance, both BigTree CMS and Middleman provide regular updates and bug fixes to ensure the stability and security of their platforms. While BigTree CMS offers official support channels for assistance, Middleman relies more on its community-driven support mechanisms.


Choosing the right content management system is a critical decision, and both BigTree CMS and Middleman offer unique features and functionalities.

BigTree CMS stands out with its user-friendly interface, comprehensive content management capabilities, and extensive ecosystem of plugins and extensions. It is a great choice for organizations looking for a feature-rich CMS with a traditional content management approach.

On the other hand, Middleman excels in performance, scalability, and customization possibilities. It is ideal for organizations prioritizing website speed and overall performance, while maintaining flexibility in terms of design and layout. Middleman's static site generation approach enables organizations to easily host websites on CDNs and ensures fast-loading and efficient websites.

In the end, the choice between BigTree CMS and Middleman will depend on your organization's specific needs, technical expertise, and priorities. We hope this comprehensive comparison guide has helped you gain insights into the features and capabilities of both CMS options, facilitating your decision-making process.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.