Want to choose an open source CMS for your website? Know HTML and CSS? Like designing and doing things differently to the one-click crowd? Try Textpattern.
In the open source CMS battlefield, everyone has their favourites; the market leader is currently WordPress. In the supermarket wars, the current UK market leader is Tescos. That doesn’t mean either are necessarily the best in terms of quality or features, just that they’re the lowest common denominator that suit the majority of people who don’t have the time or inclination to explore further afield.
So why do I stick with Textpattern — the perceived underdog — when surely WordPress or Joomla or Movable Type or Drupal are “better” (=more popular) according to the press? Here’s why, in no particular order:
- It is stable. Updates are few and far between for a good reason: security is paramount so there’s no rush to release a bug fix which could introduce more bugs.
- It is secure. By default there is no PHP in templates so injecting malicious code into your sites is tricky.
- It is lightweight. Everything is stripped back and bare so it does only what is necessary to get the job of rendering a page done. For everything else there are a wealth of plugins or themes.
- It uses tag-based rendering so pages can remain small, allowing the tags to handle the complexity that other publishing systems require you to code in PHP. Great for designers and non-coders alike.
- It is fast due to its lightweight nature.
- It is insanely flexible. I have not yet come across a situation in which I cannot bend Txp into the shape I want. There is nearly always a plugin or a way of tweaking tags-in-tags to reach the end goal. Failing that, there is always the fallback of using a line or two of PHP if absolutely necessary.
- The community spirit on the forum simply rocks. I have never — ever — encountered such a bunch of helpful, level-headed, clever, helpful, polite, helpful and downright decent folk in all my 17 years of webbing. And whether you’re learning the ropes or looking for advanced tips to make your site stand out, that’s the sort of group you need. Did I mention they’re helpful?
Sure, as a one-click blogging tool or those that want a super-crunjo-whizbang shiny admin interface out of the box, Txp may be deemed far from perfect. And where it has shortcomings I aim to help improve it as the product evolves. But currently Textpattern’s sheer unassuming character offers everything I — and thousands of others — need to make unique and cutting edge websites.
It has power, it has flexibility, it has a tiny footprint and it does what I need with no fuss, no superfluous frills and little bloat.
In short, for designers who wish to make beautiful, maintainable websites, Textpattern can be as individual as you or your client are, and a niche tour-de-force worthy of serious consideration. Those who don’t have the desire to learn the considerable craft of HTML or CSS — or are content with upgrading their sites monthly to fix security flaws — can follow the crowd to the market leader.
I prefer quality. I prefer the design process. I prefer Textpattern.