Flat-file & Simple Content Management Systems

Date: 
03-07-2014

Content Management Systems are growing too big and heavy in my opinion, that's why I have been looking for lighter but powerful ways to develop web applications with easy to manage in mind. I'm getting tired of solutions that require many dependencies and consume too many resources that only helps on making the development process painful and risky.

 
In my journey I stumbled with several good alternatives for managing full featured websites, blogs, documentation, wikis and galleries among others, but the ones that really catch my attention are the flat-file CMSs. This platforms are by far lighter than any of the most used CMSs, don't require the use of databases (mySQL...etc.) and are incredibly easy to manage. If you know how to edit a text file, thats it, you're in. Yep!, that's it, I just edit a Markdown document and Boom! my website post / content is ready for the WWW.

Ok, with nothing more to add here they are, a list of awesome flat-file and dead-simple content management systems worth checking.
 

Kirby

Kirby is a file-based CMS. Easy to setup, easy to use, flexible as hell.

Website: http://getkirby.com/ 
Github: https://github.com/bastianallgeier/kirbycms 

Ghost

Ghost is a platform dedicated to one thing: Publishing. It's beautifully designed, completely customisable and completely Open Source. Ghost allows you to write and publish your own blog, giving you the tools to make it easy and even fun to do.

Website: https://ghost.org/ 
Github: https://github.com/tryghost/Ghost 

Jekyll

Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator perfect for personal, project, or organization sites. Think of it like a file-based CMS, without all the complexity. Jekyll takes your content, renders Markdown and Liquid templates, and spits out a complete, static website ready to be served by Apache, Nginx or another web server. Jekyll is the engine behind GitHub Pages, which you can use to host sites right from your GitHub repositories.

Website: http://jekyllrb.com/ 
Github: https://github.com/jekyll/jekyll 

Statamic

Statamic is a flat-file content management system. It’s not a static site generator. Statamic renders pages on the fly just like many standard database-backed systems do.

Website: http://statamic.com/ 
Github: https://github.com/statamic 

Blosxom

Blosxom (pronounced "blossom") is a lightweight yet feature-packed weblog application designed from the ground up with simplicity, usability, and interoperability in mind.

Website: http://blosxom.sourceforge.net/ 

razorCMS

Sharp and Simple Flat File Content Management System.

razorCMS, the databaseless flat file content management system, that can be as small or large as you wish. It's structure allows you to have just the amount of functionality you need in a flat file CMS solution, helping to keep speed and simplicity at a maximum whilst allowing setup on simple servers with no database.

Website: http://www.razorcms.co.uk/ 

Sculpin

Sculpin is a static site generator written in PHP. It converts Markdown files, Twig templates or standard HTML into a static HTML site that can be easily deployed.

Website: https://sculpin.io/ 
Github: https://github.com/sculpin/sculpin 

Pico

Pico is a stupidly simple & blazing fast, flat file Content Management System.

Website: http://pico.dev7studios.com/index.html 
Github: https://github.com/gilbitron/Pico 

Dropplets

Dropplets, a fresh platform dedicated to making blogging simple again. With no database, you can install Dropplets in seconds on any server, compose offline using markdown, then simply upload to publish.

Website: http://dropplets.com/ 
Github: https://github.com/Circa75/dropplets 

La.Plume

la.plume is a small, open source flat file system to build fast, simple websites

Website: http://www.mini-print.com/ 

Feindura

You can do more with feindura than just build simple websites. feindura has a set of tools to build any kind of website.

Website: http://feindura.org/ 

Get Simple CMS

GetSimple is an XML based, stand-a-alone, fully independant and lite Content Management System. To go along with its best-in-class user interface, we have loaded it with features that every website needs, but with nothing it doesn't. GetSimple is truly the simplest way to manage a small-business website.

Website: http://get-simple.info/ 
Github: https://github.com/GetSimpleCMS/ 

FlatPress

FlatPress is a blogging engine that saves your posts as simple text files. Forget about SQL! You just need some PHP.

Website: http://flatpress.org/ 
Github: https://github.com/evacchi/flatpress/ 

Nibbleblog

Nibbleblog is a powerful engine for creating blogs, all you need is PHP to work. Very simple to install and configure (only 1 step).

Website: http://www.nibbleblog.com/ 
Github: https://github.com/dignajar/nibbleblog 

Monstra CMS

Monstra is an XML based, modern and lightweight Content Management System.
Monstra is an open-source project licensed under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE v3.

Website: http://monstra.org/ 
Github: https://github.com/Awilum/monstra-cms 

Hyde

Hyde is a static website generator powered by Python & Django. Hyde supports all the Django template tags & filters and even has a few of its own. The built-in web server + auto-generator provide instant refresh and unlimited flexibility

Website: http://ringce.com/hyde 
Github: https://github.com/lakshmivyas/hyde 

PieCrust CMS

PieCrust is a static website generator and lightweight CMS that’s all managed with text files. No complex setup, databases, or administrative panels. Simple, beautiful, and yummy.

Website: http://bolt80.com/piecrust/ 
Github: https://github.com/ludovicchabant/piecrust

PhRozn

Phrozn is static site generator written in PHP. With Phrozn you write text files in your favorite format (Textile, Markdown, Twig, Haml etc), in your favorite environment (Vim, Vim, or Vim etc), spice them with styles (again, in format of your choice - CSS, LESS, or SASS), feed all this to Phrozn, and it will create static HTML site ready to be published.

Website: http://phrozn.info/ 
Github: https://github.com/Pawka/phrozn 

PluXml

Blog or CMS to Xml (No full description but looks cool).

Key Features instead

  • No database required
  • Portable usb key
  • Multi-users with different levels of permissions
  • Static pages, categories, tag management, archives
  • Managing comments
  • Media Manager: images, documents
  • RSS feed of articles, comments, tags, categories
  • Translated into 10 languages ​​(French, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian)
  • Customizable themes (supports themes for mobile devices and smartphones.
  • Plugins
  • Rewriting urls

Website: http://www.pluxml.org/ 
Github: https://github.com/pluxml/PluXml

 Site Cake

SiteCake is a drag and drop CMS for simple websites. It lets you publish the content just by dragging it to your web page. It’s CMS for static websites, with few pages only, to cover the niche below WordPress level of complexity.

Website: http://sitecake.com

 

Comments

Kestrel Blackmore's picture

Nice list! I too created my own flat file blog engine which you can read about here: http://www.kestrelblackmore.com/projects/blogmatrix. It has a couple of cool features: - produces static HTML output, take the HTML and host it wherever you want - uses JSON files for metadata - I've hooked it up to GitHub pages and use git for my deployment I wrote it in WebMatrix with C# and Razor for the view engine.
Roberto's picture

Thanks for sharing your hard work! I'm so glad to see developers like you creating this kind of solutions. Cloning! ;)
Mark's picture

Have a look at Yellow (http://datenstrom.se/yellow/). Greetings from Sweden!
Roberto's picture

Cool! Thanks for sharing your hard work. Looks nice, cloning right now. I think this one is going to be fun. ;)
Mark's picture

Thanks! Anything you like or dislike... let me know. It's open source, you are welcome to change and extend it. :)
Paul's picture

Glad to see Razor CMS (http://razorcms.co.uk) in the list, the latest v3 is aimed to make things even simpler as well as giving auto installations if you get your host through the website. The latest version is more in tune with today's tech (angularJS, requireJS, Bootstrap 3) and is even simpler to use.
Roberto's picture

Great! I installed version 3 on my localhost. Looks very nice, I am very impressed. Thanks for sharing this awesome tool!
Paul's picture

I am hoping to get more extensions out there soon. I am pretty happy with the footprint now so documents and dev guides need to be sorted too. There is a lot of undocumented power I need to make people aware of.
Spazlport's picture

I had high hopes for Ghost Blogging Platform but unfortunately they had no real big updates for almost a year not ever the new 0.5 update made much of a difference besides multi-user or author...WordPress is so Mature and good why would i switch to a platform that has its API out for public and yet after months still no plugins developed...Ghost main website's traffic since August has dropped from 3 Milloin visitors to 1 million and also they raised their blog hosting prices for blogging platform that as really bad SEO from the gecko. I love to see this Project mature more and get better but for now no way we ditching our costume built theme and WordPress tutorial website for Ghost.

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