October 16, 2019
By Scott Gallant
Update: The Tina API has been evolving, and the content in this post is outdated. For help getting started with Tina, we suggest checking out our getting started doc.
Today, we’re excited to announce TinaCMS: an open-source site editing toolkit for React-based sites (Gatsby and Next.js).
Tina is not a CMS, in the traditional sense. As in, it’s not a separate system for managing content. Instead, Tina adds editing functionality to your site when running in dev mode locally, or when using Tina Teams (cloud)...In fact, I'm writing this post with Tina right now:
When you install Tina, your site gets a floating edit icon in the corner that toggles an editing pane (left) to expose the CMS fields. This gives your content editors a visual editing experience that’s super intuitive. When you click "Save" Tina writes your content to external data sources, such as markdown or json files. Try the Gatsby starter site to see for yourself.
Currently, Tina writes to Markdown and data files and commits to Git but it can be extended to write to other data sources (think, a WordPress database, Google Sheets, Airtable, etc). When running locally, Tina writes to the file system and if you're using Tina Teams, it commits to your GitHub/GitLab repo.
I’ve been setting up content management systems for people since the early 2000’s. In the beginning, CMSs like WordPress and Drupal gave our non-developer colleagues website editing powers. But we’ve seen very little innovation on the editing experience in the past 10+ years. Meanwhile, the editing experience of site builders like Squarespace, Wix and Webflow have become very sophisticated.
When I watch people use a traditional CMS, I often see them struggle because the input (the CMS) lacks the context of the output (their site) and using a CMS feels more like filing your taxes than editing a website. Now that we’ve moved to headless CMSs and the JAMstack, editors often lose the ability to preview, leaving them in the dark as they create content.
We developers have hot-reloading, and Tina is the hot-reloading for content editors.
We're coming out of a monolithic CMS era and we believe next-gen sites need a next-gen CMS. Checkout Tina and let us know what you think!