Links - PHP Content Management Systems

Oct 14 2009: What's going on ! Yet another good small CMS emerges from the pack. Added phpSQLiteCMS.
Oct 10 2009: added Zikula CMS framework.
Oct 9 2009: added XMLNuke, XML CMS framework.
Oct 4 2009: discovered gpEasy CMS.


The new version of phpSQLiteCMS takes it to new level. It is, as it says, based on PHP and Sqlite. Before you start yawning ( oh no, yet another CMS ), look at my phpSQLiteCMS demo ( though it needs more work on my part to make it interesting ).

I tried version 1.0 of phpSQLiteCMS about a year ago and found it adequate to the task, but not remarkable. The new version feels very different, much tight, faster and more mature. It's still needs some features, such as better anti-spammer protection and other things, but it's very solid and usable right now.

One small limitation might be that it requires PHP5, mod_rewrite and PDO with the Sqlite driver. Not all shared hosting environments have up-to-date server configurations ( so change your hosting service, it will be well worth the effort ).

If they can build a small community, phpSQLiteCMS should be hot item in coming years.


I stumbled across gpEasy today, as a link on the Wikyblog site.

It may qualify as the smallest, fastest, most functional little CMS I've encountered. The download unzips to 3.4M, of which 2.6M is FCKEditor ( a net of 800K code, templates, starter pages ... ). Pages are stored as a flat file with a PHP extension. It has some nice Ajax effects, such as content block outlines when mousing over edit buttons, easy editing and ordering of menu items, etc.

This is the list of features.

  • WYSIWYG Editor (FCKEditor)
  • Galleries (Lytebox)
  • SEO Friendly Links
  • Free and Open Source (GPL)
  • Runs on PHP
  • File Upload Manager
  • Editable Theme Content
  • Deleted File Trash Can
  • Multiple User Administration
  • Works in Safe Mode with FTP Functions
  • Flat File Storage
  • Fast Page Loading
  • Fast and Easy Installation
  • reCaptcha for Contact Form
  • HTML Tidy (when available)

It also has user permissions levels, a little site map, extra themes and features that few small CMSs have - quite an impressive collection. You can even embed snippets of PHP in the page, although FCKEditor keeps mangling it ( there may be an option to default to straight HTML rather than graphical editing ).

I haven't tried everything, but what I've seen is very tight and very quick, sort of a CuteNews on steroids. For a simple site, you can hardly do better.

I've got a funky little demo of gpEasy going, almost before I knew it.


Update March 22 2009: ImpressCMS 1.1.2 released.

For most web applications, I assume PHP and mySQL as the CMS environment. Excluding big commercial C++ and Java systems, the ratio of PHP-based CMSs to all other languages combined must be at least four to one, maybe more. Slow perhaps, but PHP CMSs are easy to customize and virtually zero-configuration to deploy ( in sharp contrast to C++ and Java ).

Basic requirements for a small, general purpose CMS could be:

  • Simple administrative interface, fast learning curves
  • Large, mainstream, well-established developer community. Open Source.
  • Well-written, well-documented code base. Less code is better than more code.
  • Extensible via API, good bells and whistles and the ability to uninstall them if not needed.
  • Simple interface for content development. Good templates, Smarty for example.
  • General resource efficiency, in term of CPU, memory and disk consumption.

Note that comments in source code can make up a significant percentage of the total file size, so the 'smaller is better' metric may not be a good measure of the efficiency of the code base, except in a gross sense.

There can also be a trade off between the simplicity of the administrative interface and configurability of the content layout. The interface may be simple, but you must go directly to PHP templates to do anything constructive. Often, it's not a good trade off.