It’s been 10 years since I published an article entitled Why I’m So Excited About Craft (and why you should be)” – you really should go check it out – and to my surprise, my excitement during that time has hardly waned. Here’s why.

Craft cms 10 years timeline

From the beginning, I sensed something special in Craft – from the simplicity to the attention to detail; the clarity to the vision; the core team to the community. It’s hard to explain why I’ve felt such continual excitement and draw to this CMS over so many years. I suppose it’s become far more than just software – it’s become my community, my livelihood, and to a certain extent, my passion.

So allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane from the first stable version 1.0 to present day. (This is far from an exhaustive list and still took me much longer than expected to compile!)

Craft 1 #

Jun 04, 2013 🚀

Craft 1 launches with great excitement and a polished control panel (note the responsive design and top navigation). 

It comes with feature packages that can each be purchased individually: Publish Pro (multiple sections, entry versioning and drafts); Users (multiple users, user permissions, groups and public registration); Cloud (assets in cloud storage); Rebrand (control panel branding); Localize (multi-locale support).


Out of the gate, Craft comes with impressive features such as related element fields, multi-locale support, live preview and one-click updating (this was a huge deal back then!).

Craft 1.1 #

Jul 292013

Craft 1.1 adds many small improvements and the installer gets a funky background illustration from Paul Burton.

Install screen

Craft 1.2 #

Sep 182013

Craft 1.2 introduces the concept of section types: Singles, Channels and Structures.

It also brings the possibility of having multiple Entry Types per section.

Craft 1.3: Matrix #

Nov 52013

Craft 1.3 introduces the Matrix field (AKA The One”) for the very first time. Pixel & Tonic originally created Matrix for ExpressionEngine, so we were all eagerly waiting for the Craft version, which doesn’t disappoint! It comes with the possibility of creating multiple block types per Matrix field, making it a super-power in terms of AX design.

Craft 2 #

Apr 12014

Craft 2 introduces three editions: Personal, Client and Pro. The control panel is redesigned to be wider and gets a new layout system. There are lots of general improvements and additions such as categories, dynamic entry titles, background tasks, the {% cache %} tag and the ability for plugins to create their own element types.

Entry type

Craft CMS Summit 2014 #

Jun 172014

The first online Craft CMS Summit takes place. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon reveals that 3,300 websites are running Craft CMS and that there has been massive growth in license sales since Craft 2 was released.

Craft CMS Summit 2014

Craft 2.3 #

Dec 22014

Craft 2.3 brings the ability to edit elements and perform batch actions directly from element index pages and improvements to categories and matrix fields.

Best CMS for SMB #

Jan 222015

Craft is named Best PHP-based CMS for Small to Midsize Businesses in the CMS Critic annual People’s Choice Awards.

Best CMS award

Happy Lager Demo Site #

Feb 172015

A new demo site is released. Happy Lager” is a fictitious digital agency that offers design, development, strategy, and other related services. This is the first demo site that doesn’t require any installation step – enter your name and email, and a link to a ready demo site arrives in your inbox a few minutes later.

Happy Lager Demo Site

Craft CMS Summit 2015 #

Apr 222015

The second online Craft CMS Summit takes place. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon reveals that 10,000 websites are running Craft CMS. Companies currently using Craft CMS include AirBnb, Foursquare and Oakley. 

The big announcement is that Pixel & Tonic has hired Luke Holder and acquired his Market Commerce” plugin. The thinking behind this decision is that a full-featured, first-party e‑commerce solution will be a boost for the whole Craft ecosystem and will help position Craft as the go-to CMS for a wider range of websites.

Craft CMS Summit 2015

Craft 2.5 #

Dec 012015

Craft 2.5 brings a completely redesigned control panel with the side navigation we know today and significant AX improvements such as inline element creation and customisable element index pages.

Commerce 1.0 #

Dec 012015

On the same day as Craft 2.5, the much-anticipated Craft Commerce is finally released, bringing the power and flexibility of Craft CMS to e‑commerce.

Edit product page

State of Craft 2015 #

Dec 302015

Pixel & Tonic boldly claims that Craft is the most popular commercial CMS in the world”. They’ve issued over 12,000 licenses (deployed on unique public domains), and adoption is trickling into enterprise and higher education, including the Associated Press, Canon, Emily Carr University, Intel, Netflix, Salesforce and Wired. Revenue is up more than 40% over the previous year.


Best CMS for Developers #

Jan 262016

Craft is voted Best CMS for Developers in the CMS Critic annual People’s Choice Awards.

Best CMS award

State of Craft 2016 #

Dec 192016

Pixel & Tonic shares that Craft has been deployed on over 22,000 unique domains and the community has grown larger, more diverse and more helpful than ever. The software has seen significant improvements in security and performance.


Dot All 2017 #

Oct 22 – 232017

The first Dot All conference, a 2‑day event, takes place in Portland, Oregon. In his State of Craft talk, Brandon discusses the growth rate of the Pixel & Tonic team, license sales and sites running on Craft.

More Awards #

Nov 142017

Craft is voted Best CMS for Small to Midsize Business and Best WordPress Alternative (yup, way back then!) in CMS Critic’s 2017 People’s Choice Awards. Craft is also named a High Performer in G2 Crowd’s Best Web Content Management Software report.

Best CMS awards

Craft ID #

Mar 212018

Craft ID, the portal for Craft CMS developers, launches. It allows users to view their order history and manage their Craft and plugin licenses, and plugin developers to publish plugins to the Plugin Store.

Craft ID login screen

Craft 3 #

Apr 042018

Craft 3 turns out to be a massive rewrite. Three years and three months after work on it began, Pixel & Tonic finally releases Craft 3 to the world. It is packed with hundreds of new features and improvements, but most notably is built on Yii 2, requires PHP 7.0 and is available as a Composer package, setting a solid foundation for modern web development.

Craft 3 logo

Craft Plugin Store #

Apr 042018

Long-awaited and highly-anticipated, the Craft Plugin Store launches on the same day as Craft 3, making it possible to find, install and purchase plugins right inside the control panel.

Craft Plugin Store

Dot All 2018 #

Sep 27 – 282018

The second Dot All conference takes place in Berlin, Germany. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon highlights some of the companies using Craft, including Bill Nye, Converse, Mini, Top Ramen, Tito’s Vodka, Dialpad and even Reddit.

Craftcms​.com Redesign #

Oct 102018

Craft launches a redesigned website at craftcms​.com highlighting why Craft is a CMS that makes the whole team happy. The homepage backs the claim up with explainers, features and social proof.

Why Craft

Craft Partner Network #

Nov 162018

The Craft Partner Network is launched, making it possible to find and contact agencies with Craft experience to partner with.

Craft Partner Network

Craft 3.1 #

Jan 152019

Craft 3.1 introduces Project Config, a new way of keeping sections, fields, and other project configuration settings all in sync across multiple environments without sharing database backups.

It also includes a redesigned Plugin Store that shows plugin changelogs, lets you purchase plugins with extended update durations and supports plugins with multiple editions (like Commerce Lite and Pro).

New plugin store

Commerce 2 #

Jan 152019

Commerce 2 is released and made available in two editions: Lite and Pro. Commerce Lite is intended for websites that need the basics, while Commerce Pro is a full-featured e‑commerce platform for traditional e‑commerce stores.

Commerce 2 logo

Dot One 2019 #

Feb 52019

Dot One, a single-day Craft conference, takes place in Melbourne, Australia. In his Future of Craft” talk, Brandon discusses what was recently released and what’s still to come.

Discord #

Feb 112019

The Craft community gets a new home on Discord which is more suitable for communities rather than teams, moving away from the old Slack workspace.

Discord screenshot

500 Plugins #

Mar 012019

The Craft Plugin Store hits a major milestone, featuring over 500 plugins.

500 plugins

Feed Me #

Apr 092019

Pixel & Tonic acquires Feed Me, an import plugin for Craft, from Verbb, gives it an amazing new logo and makes it free.

Feed Me logo

Craft 3.2 #

Jul 092019

Craft 3.2 brings several enhancements to Craft focused on improving the author experience. Some notable features include autosave, preview targets, headless preview, related element validation, multi-site element queries and a testing framework powered by Codeception (thanks Giel!).

Craft 3.2

Craft 3.3 #

Aug 272019

Craft 3.3 ships with some exciting features for front-end development, the big one being a new GraphQL API.


Dot All 2019 #

Sep 18 – 202018

The third Dot All conference takes place in Montréal, Canada. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon announces that Craft 4 will focus on features related to accessibility, collaboration, content modelling and author experience, as well as Craft Cloud.

Craft 3.4 #

Jan 282020

The control panel is redesigned to feel more user-friendly and snappy, making it easier to focus on content. Delta entry updates make saving complex entries quicker, as only changed values are submitted and processed. Entry drafts now show you which fields have changed within them.

Craft 3.4 screenshot

Commerce 3 #

Jan 282020

Craft Commerce 3 brings new features, including back-end order editing, GraphQL support, customer management and new dashboard widgets.

Commerce 3 logo

New Docs #

Aug 042020

The Craft documentation gets a new home at craftcms​.com/docs and has been redesigned to improve searchability and legibility.

Documentation homepage

Craft 3.5 #

Aug 042020

Craft 3.5 brings accessibility improvements, GraphQL mutations and an explorer, as well as a new field layout designer with UI elements, field relabeling and custom field widths.

Field layout designer

Craft Nitro #

Aug 112020

Nitro 1 is released as a local development environment tuned for Craft CMS but also usable for non-Craft PHP projects.

Craft Nitro logo

Accessibility #

Sep 142020

Pixel & Tonic commits to doubling down on control panel accessibility by hiring Matsuko Friedland as Lead Accessibility Engineer.

Accessibility icon

Extends Conf 2020 #

Oct 21 – 222020

Since Dot All doesn’t take place this year, Extends Conf springs up as an independently organised online event for the Craft community. It features a great line-up of talks from community members, as well as a Craft Developer AMA (“ask me anything”).

Extends Conf

2020 Year in Review #

Dec 182020

Dot All 2020, planned to take place in Amsterdam, is postponed due to Covid travel restrictions. Otherwise, morale seems high, and we learn that Pixel & Tonic has been on a hiring spree – Matt, Matsuko, Dale and John have joined the team, now 14-people strong. 


Craft 3.6 #

Jan 262021

Craft 3.6 brings accessibility, usability and development experience improvements, most notably responsive live preview viewports and improved entry creation workflow.

Live preview phone

Nitro 2 #

Mar 022021

Nitro 2 is rewritten from the ground up to be container-based and run on Docker, giving it better cross-platform support.

Nitro 2

Craft 3.7 #

Jul 132021

Craft 3.7 is released into the wild, bringing editor slideouts, a streamlined entry publishing flow, deep content change tracking and merging, among other authoring improvements.

Control panel slideouts

New Demo Sites #

Jul 132021

Two new demo sites are released. Europa Museum is a marketing site for a fictitious art museum, while Spoke & Chain is a fictitious online bicycle shop powered by Craft Commerce.

Demo site screenshot

Dot All 2021 #

Oct 20 – 21 2022

Dot All 2021 takes place as an online conference MC’d by Matt Stein. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon comes up for air to fill us in on what his 16-person team, firing on all cylinders, is working towards, before diving back down into the depths of the Craft underbelly.

Craft 4 #

May 042022

Craft 4 brings plenty of improvements (far too many to list), emphasising author experience, user management and assets. Some highlights include element index filtering, custom element sources and conditional fields.

Craft conditional field

Since Craft 4 requires PHP 8, all plugins must be updated to be Craft 4 compatible, although the amount of effort required to do so is minimal, and Rector rules are provided for helping to automate the process. A Craft 4 upgrade utility is added in Craft 3.7.40, which provides an overview of a site’s plugin readiness.

Craft 4 upgrade utility

Commerce 4 #

May 042022

Commerce 4 adds tighter integration with Craft, with several new features being implemented at the CMS level (native Craft users and addresses, condition builders, etc.), which other plugins can also take advantage of.

Commerce 4

Nitro is Retired #

Jun 282022

This one still stings a bit, but Nitro turns out to be too much of a distraction and is retired while v3 is in private beta. The TLDR; is to use DDEV.

Nitro retired

Dot All 2022 #

Sep 27 – 29 2022

After a 2‑year break from in-person conferences, Dot All 2022 takes place in New York City, USA. In his State of Craft” talk, Brandon gives an update on the 17-person strong team, profitability and the high adoption rate of Craft 4. Craft Cloud is starting to take shape as a one-size-fits-all service for traditional, headless and hybrid Craft sites, and is on track to launch in 2023.

Craft Console #

Nov 022022

Craft Console is the successor to Craft ID, sporting a new look and an Organisations” feature that allows teams to collaborate better on Craft projects.

Craft Console

Shopify for Craft CMS #

Nov 082022

Pixel & Tonic announces a first-party Shopify integration, making it easier than ever to start selling products with Craft.

Shopify for Craft CMS

Craft Generator #

Dec 132022

Craft Generator is released, a command-line tool for scaffolding new plugins, modules and various system components. This is timed nicely since plu​gin​fact​ory​.io reaches its end-of-life at the end of 2022.

Craft Generator

Craft 4.4 #

Mar 082023

Craft 4.4 introduces authoring, accessibility, development and performance improvements. It marks the beginning of Craft’s entrification transition, with new entrify commands and revamped volume folder navigation.

Volume folder navigation

Dot All 2023 Announced #

Mar 082023

Dot All is coming to Barcelona this year! The event will feature an all-day workshop focused on what’s coming in Craft 5 and Commerce 5, led by the Pixel & Tonic team. There is also an exciting line-up of sessions, including one by yours truly.

We can hopefully expect to hear about (perhaps even see?) Craft 5, Commerce 5 and the long-awaited Craft Cloud. Tickets are on sale now and I look forward to seeing you there!

Dot All 2023