Flat File CMS
Flat File CMS are pretty en vogue since some years. These systems store the content of the user in files on the server and do not rely on a database. This has some advantages:
- Flat file systems can run with very simple hosting packages and with minimal ressources.
- Content migrations and backups are done with copy & paste.
- File based systems are usually quite fast, performant, lightweight and often easier to use for developers.
Of course, there are some limitations, too. A flat file system is not a clever solution for a multi user blog with a shop extension and several complex features. But a flat file system is a much more appropriate solution for simple websites, portfolio websites or one pagers. Established systems like WordPress, Joomla! or Drupal are a massive overload for simple use cases like this.
On the other side, most of the flat file systems focus on developers and have a limited set of ready to go templates and themes.
This is a quick market overview:
|CMS Simple_XH||06.2009||12.2016||free||CMSimple_XH Website||./.|
|Grav||2014||02.2017||free||Grav Website||Grav Review|
|HTMLy||2014||06.2016||free||HTMLy Website||HTMLy Review|
|Kirby||2009||03.2017||15€/79€||Kirby Website||Kirby Review|
|Pulse||2012 (?)||9.2015||50$||Pulse Website||./.|
|Statamic||2012||03.2017||199$||Statamic Website||Statamic Review|
Depending on your needs, you should give all of the systems above a try. There are some older or more special CMS, that are not that popular but still do a very good job.
|PHP||all except Nesta|
|Markdown||Baun, Bludit, Daux, FlatPress, Grav, Herbie, HTMLy, Kirby (KirbyText), Nesta, Phile, Pico, Textpress, Typemill, Sphido|
|HTML-Content||Blozilla (in txt-files), Bludit, CMS Simple_XH, Sphido|
|Twig-Templates||Baun, Daux, Grav, Herbie, Phile, Pico, Typemill,|
|PHP-Templates||Bludit, CMS Simple_XH, Feindura, HTMLy, Kirby, Monstra, Razor, TextPress,|
|Other-Templates||Nesta (Sinatra), Statamic (its own similar to Twig), Sphido (latte), FlatPress (Smarty)|
When it comes to popularity and professionality, there are some systems, that stand out (in my view):
- Kirby: This is the pioneer of professional Flat File Systems with a long history and an incredible continuity. Kirby 2 has been recoded from the ground up, but compared to newer systems, it remained still follows its own philosophy and avoids the use of too many libraries and frameworks. For example, it does not use Twig, but Kirbytext.
- Statamic: Following Kirby, it is one of the first Flat File Systems of the new generation, using modern frameworks (first Slim, then Laravel) and a great set of features.
- Grav: This is a shooting star and one of the few open source systems playing in the same league as Kirby, Statamic and other commercial systems. It is highly popular, but in my eyes a littly bit hacky.
Many of these systems are great for really quick and simple websites, the two I like most are:
- Bludit: Bludit is one of the leightweight and simple flat file systems, that you should give a try, if you are looking for a simple website without a big feature overload.
- Pico: Bludit is one of the leightweight and simple flat file systems, that you should give a try, if you are looking for a simple website without a big feature overload.
Some systems have specialized for a certain niche, such as documentations or blogs. Some of theses niche systems are:
- HTMLy: This is probably one of the easiest and best flat file systems for bloggers. The code is a bit hacky and the admin interface is quite ugly. But it has everything a blogger needs.
- Daux: With daux you can create a documentation and optionally statify the website as html. So daux is a mixture of flat file system and static site generator, but it has no admin panel.
- Typemill: Typemill is similar to daux but without a statification. It is good for documentations, manuals, online books and similar content. It has no admin-panel yet.
- Razor: Razor completely works in incontent editing mode. I don't think that it is good for blogging, but for simple and more static websites it might a great option.
- Yellow: Yellow is probably the best choice, if you want to create a fancy brutalist website.