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Statamic

Statamic is a premium Flat-File-CMS with a modern code base and an extensive set of functionalities. You can create simple blogs as well as websites of mid-range complexity. All without the need for a database.

Statamic was introduced in 2012. It started as a side project of Jason Varga and Jack McDade, but sometime in 2014 or 2015, they decided to focus completely on Statamic and founded a startup. After a year of development, they published a new version called “Statamic 2”. Statamic was probably the first very modern and professional flat-file system working with the combination of YAML and Twig that is well established today.

Statamic focuses on developers, who are looking for a highly flexible, but lightweight, CMS to build small business websites, blogs, one-pagers, or any other website of mid-range complexity. Statamic is constantly maintained and adapted to new trends, so that the code is always fresh, modern, and easy to work with.

Statamic for Content Editors

Statamic has a very clean and user-friendly, yet feature-rich, admin panel for content editors and webmasters. You can create posts and pages, add tags and assets (like images), and configure your entire website. You will also find a built-in tool for creating forms, and an updater to install the latest version of Statamic. And, of course, you can change themes, add plugins, and even create your own fieldsets for the administration panel.

Statamic provides static “pages” and dynamic “collections”. Collections can be used for time-sensitive content, like blog entries.

Statamic is one of the few flat-file-systems with a mature asset management. That means, that you can manage your uploaded images and easily add descriptions or alternative textes. This is a huge advantage and qualifies Statamic for a full-blown CMS without limits for content editors.

The standard installation starts with a WYSIWYG-editor called “Redactor 1”. With Statamic, it ships without an image-upload per default, but your developer can configure an image-upload and add a button to the toolbar of the redactor editor. I am not sure, why Statamic does not ship with an image upload per default since this is probably a widespread requirement for most website projects.

Statamic for Developers

The first version of Statamic was built upon the PHP-micro-framework “Slim”. In March 2016, Statamic 2 was completely rebuilt upon “Laravel”, so you can use the full power of this highly popular PHP-framework. With version 2, Statamic also integrated some former pro-features, like Raven (a form-builder) and Bloodhound (an extensive site search). To me, the admin-panel of Statamic 2 feels a bit slower than the panel of Statamic 1.

Some facts for developers:

  • Build upon Laravel.
  • Control-Panel with VUE.js
  • “Antlers”, a template language similar to Twig.
  • Configuration with YAML.
  • Develop with the API and create Addons.
  • Statamic supports mutli-language and localization.
  • Good documentation and screencast-tutorials.
  • There are a lot more features as well, like caching, flexible urls, image manipulation, version control, forms, and validation.

The installation of Statamic is quite easy. You just download the files and paste them to your server or your local folder. Then you go to your-domain.com/installer.php or your/local/folder/installer.php. Just fill out the forms and run the installation routine. If you run Statamic on localhost (tested with XAMPP), then you have to configure some additional files:

  • Open the index.php  in the root-folder and change $site_root from "/" to "/your_subdirectory/"
  • Open site/settings/system.yaml and change the URL from / to /your_subdirectory/
  • Check the .htaccess-file and change the RewriteBase accordingly.

Compared to other flat-file-CMS, the (local) installation of Statamic requires a bit more configuration work.

One of the best things for developers is that you can define the field sets for the author’s input in the control panel. This means that you do not have to fiddle about with YAML-configuration-files a lot. Instead, you can use the predefined sets. If you need some special definitions, you can still change the YAML-files, or add new ones, according to your needs.

The basic theme development follows the well-known concept of modern flat-file-systems. First, you define some field sets for the author’s input in the control-panel with YAML. If the author creates a page with that field set, the input is stored in a markdown file. Finally the developer creates a template with Antler, which uses the markdown files to generate the HTML website.

Your YAML file for the user’s input in the control panel might look like this:

title: National Parks
fields: 
  parks:
    type: list
    display: National Parks

The input of the user is stored in a markdown file like that:

national_parks:
  - Acadia
  - Denali
  - Redwood

Now the developer can generate an HTML website with a template like this:

{{ national_parks }}
  {{ value }}
{{ /national_parks }}

If you want to dig deeper, just use the documentation of Statamic that is linked in the factsheet below.

Statamic for Non-Coders

No. If you are not a developer, then Statamic is probably not the right choice for you. There are some ressources, like themes and plugins for Statamic, so that you could give it a try if you are a little bit tech-savvy (just download the free developer version). But to customize your website, you will need some templating skills.

Pricing

Statamic started with a price in the mid-range, but as of Statamic Version 2, it became more premium. You pay $199,-  per site or a monthly fee of $299 for unlimited sites. Compared to the first version of Statamic, there are a lot of improvements:

  • The form builder “Raven” ist integrated.
  • The search plugin “Bloodhound” is integrated.
  • You can download a free developer version and test it before you buy it.

The last point is the most important in my eyes. Just test it and look, if it fits to your needs …

Recommendation: When to use it?

Use Statamic if you are a professional developer who wants to build websites of a simple or mid-range complexity for paying customers. Statamic is the most advanced Flat-File CMS out there and you will probably not run into serious limitations. As far as I know, you cannot run multiple websites on one installation. Bu who wants to build multi-sites with a Flat-File CMS anyway?  Last but not least, Statamic is a good choice for content editors.

The e-commerce plugin “Bison” is not compatible with Statamic2, so if you are planning a shop, you can use an external option, like snipcart, or just choose another, more specialized CMS.

There are many company websites, private websites, and blogs, that are build with Statamic.

So you like PHP and Flat-File-CMS for simple websites? Then you might also like these CMS: Grav, HTMLy, Kirby, Statamic,

Fact Sheet

Language:
Complexity:
Special-Features (Selection):
  • Installer
  • Updater
Requirements:
  • Apache, Nginx, or IIS
  • PHP 5.5.9+
  • URL Rewriting enabled (mod_rewrite, try_files, etc)
Pricing:
  • $99+ per site (upgrade from Statamic 1)
  • $199 per site
  • $299 per month (unlimited sites)
Licence:
  • Proprietary

Last reviewed: February 27, 2017

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