Simpler Content Management » Linux Magazine

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Not everyone needs a conventional database content management system. For beginners and smaller websites, a flat-file content management system offers ease of use, while eliminating attack vectors.

Almost half of all websites are created with WordPress [1] according to current estimates. While WordPress is a mature, proven, and easy-to-use content management system (CMS), it is still often too complex, especially for beginners and smaller websites, and unnecessarily consumes server resources.

Beginners in particular don’t need all the functions provided by a database CMS such as WordPress. Ironically, beginners often turn to WordPress, even though a flat-file CMS would be a far better choice. A flat-file CMS, such as the well-known open source Grav [2], offers most of the features of a conventional database CMS, but it does not require its own database: The content is in the form of files that reside directly on the web server. A flat-file CMS simplifies the software installation and makes it easier to set up and maintain the website. In addition, doing without a database eliminates some attack vectors for hackers.

This article introduces Bludit [3] and GetSimple CMS [4], two flat-file CMS alternatives to Grav. Both are far leaner than Grav, but still come with all the important features. Each provides a graphical user interface, multi-user capabilities, themes for custom website design, and a large selection of plugins to extend functionality. The most important difference between the two programs is that Bludit uses JSON to store web content on the server, while GetSimple CMS relies on XML.

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