Venturing into flat-file Content Management Systems
Life has been busy with school and all taking up an inordinate amount of my time. However, I have also been playing around with some small coding projects. I have some big ideas but they’re going to need a lot of time to build. I realized that to get these projects off the ground I’ll need to really buckle down and work on my PHP coding skills, so these projects will have to wait till next year.
Apart from that, I’ve been working on some small website projects using PHP, and one thing I’ve been playing with is the concept of flat-file content management systems. These are content management systems that don’t use a database to store information, but instead, the information is stored in text files. If you have worked with any of the database-based content management systems before, such as Joomla, Mambo, or MODX, you know that they are pretty heavy duty, and sometimes resource hungry because of all the utility and functionality that the try to provide.
Flat file CMS’s are ideal for smaller websites that don’t require loads of information to be pulled from many different places at the same time. Since I am just starting to explore these kinds of systems, all I want to do in this post is introduce the concept to you and explain why I think it’s such an attractive option. Here are advantages, I am finding, of using a flat-file CMS:
- I don’t need a database – This is useful because one of the hosting accounts I use offers only a limited number of mySQL databases, but unlimited add-on domains. So I can reserve the mySQL databases for my bigger websites and use flat-file CMSs for my smaller websites. With today’s ever-expanding hosting solutions, this might not be an issue for most people, but it’s definitely an advantage to keep in mind.
- Installation is easy – Flat-file CMSs are a breeze to install and setup, since all the configuration information is in easily accessible files.
- Updates are easy -Unlike most major CMSs where updates involve going back and figuring out what to do with all your plugins, and what files had you edited where, updating flat-file CMSs is a breeze since changes are usually to specific files and are easy to implement. And because you’re not working with databases, updates are an easy DIY task.
- Editing and tweaking is easy – Most of the flat-file CMSs that I have had a chance to glance at are written in PHP, so they are easy to figure out and tweak. As I mentioned in a previous post, playing with CMSs is a great way to master PHP.
There are a number of flat-file CMSs out there and I will be talking about them in future posts. The one that I am currently dabbling with is NanoCMS, a nice little flat-file CMS that is proving to be quite useful and easy to play with, so you may want to check it out if you need to whip up a quick website without much ado.