Nice new forum feature: the who’s online list above the factory. Which brings to mind an interesting topic:

How did you hear about Symphony?

I was an avid Textpattern user and I was trying to get it to do things that it couldn’t do out-of-the-box. I seem to remember Lewis there (but I can’t see any record of him on the Textpattern forum), and that Mark might have posted a link to Symphony. The first mention of Symphony that I can find is this:

My involvement with Textpattern trailed off very quickly after that. Even though there were some growing pains with Symphony at the beginning, I was sold on the idea of Symphony and I’ve been hooked ever since.

I used to work for a CMS company as a product manager and upon leaving I needed to make a bit of money. They had solid principles and foundations and I wanted to find a similar product. Symphony released 1.4 around then I think (2005ish) and I liked the look of it. I started using it properly around 1.6 when the $50 support package was dropped. In the meantime I messed with ModX. Like most I have never looked back since using Symphony, and was ready to wait for new releases etc.

Just by accident, I was googling somthing about XSTL templates and found code sample from symphony, then decided to see what Symphony is and that’s how I found it.

I discovered XSLT from within Dreamweaver, and after learning it, quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted a CMS that used it. A quick google led me to Symphony (1.7 at the time I believe). Being an irrationally DIY type, I proceeded to NOT use Symphony and create my own XSl-based CMS (sans interface or database). Once I got familiar with the data modeling in Symphony, that was all i needed to walk away form my own project and start using Symphony for pretty much all my client work.

I had used Joomla in the past and to a lesser extent Wordpress, but they generally made me claustrophobic.

I was an avid TextPattern user and I was trying to get it to do things that it couldn’t do out-of-the-box.

Me, too. But one day I read this line in a journal entry by Jon Hicks:

There is another on the horizon that I’m keeping a keen eye on (I’m looking at you Symphony), but for me, there’s still nothing that beats Textpattern.

That time Symphony wasn’t free of charge yet but I really liked the interface. After it was available for free, I tried it. I saw its possibilities but coming from Textpattern it was quite hard to understand its flexible approach where everything could be configured. It took a while to fully understand that content (sections) and presentation (pages) were completely separated and that I needed data sources as a bridge between both sides. I never heard of XSLT before and I really liked the idea that Symphony didn’t create any markup by itself (as all the other content management systems I knew did).

It was fun to see quite a few people from the Textpattern forums here. One of the first has been you, bauhouse.

Yeah, I noticed a lot of familiar usernames from the Textpattern forum, including yours, Nils.

I run my CMS website, so I’m trying to learn about a lot of different ones. I have used Wordpress to build a number of client sites, and one in ExpressionEngine. I really like how flexible Symphony is, so I feel like I can build almost any kind of site, and not just hack it together with different plugins.

I was using an enterprise CMS at work that used XSLT as the templating language. While searching for other CMS systems that used XSLT, or for XSLT tutorials (can’t remember which), I came across Symphony 1.7. It had become free and someone figured out how to make it install on Dreamhost and I’ve been using it ever since.

I’m from a .NET background so had the unfortunate experience of Sharepoint and Ektron. Airlock started using Symphony at pretty much the same time I joined them in early 2008, so the decision was pretty much made for me. Haven’t looked back since.

I was searching for a CMS and noticed that most of them are rather crude. Then I found Textpattern and Expression Engine and used the latter on some projects. Still I thought: There might be something different out there. So I continued my search. I do not remember how I found Symphony (1.7 at that time), but I remember exactly what I thought about it:

This – is – it.

Like all you crazy people, I have never looked back.

I’d done a few years of sort of amateur-level web design using CMSes like Mambo/Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Textpattern, and so on (I’ve tried dozens). But the more I learned about how web development should be done, the more frustrating these systems became for me.

Being something of an obsessive early adopter, I was always on the lookout for the next thing. I came across Symphony (can’t remember where) at a serendipitous moment: I was just getting serious about web development; I was willing to spend time learning; I was gung-ho about web standards; and Symphony 1.7 had just been released. After that, you know the rest…

(Funny side note for @nickdunn: I’ve been in that Sharepoint hell too here at work, and believe it or not we’d be using Ektron today if I hadn’t sold them on Symphony).

I read todd dominey enjoying blurp about typeworks, how symphony was called back then, and its big promises, like reinventing everything. At that time the team was , I believe 12 strong and VC funded. I did play with textpattern before bc it was the most elegent/zen to my liking.

Just to clarify, we were almost VC funded.

Actually at the end of 2004, I ran across a blog post about Symphony’s first alias, Typeworks. At that time, I was in CMS hunter mode. I was looking at Textpattern, Wordpress, pMachine’s Expression Engine, and even Blogger.

I actually remember subscribing to get updates on Typeworks. After searching my Gmail, I ran across an e-mail response concerning Typeworks from Allen.

date Thu, Jan 20, 2005 at 8:07 PM subject Re: Typeworks Update

Dear Brian,

We are holding a small private meet up over IRC (Internet Relay Chat) this Sunday 6:00pm CST. I would love for you to join us and try out the User Interface of TypeWorks. Hopefully this session will help answer your questions about TypeWorks.

More information can be found at:

All the development team will be there. Come by and say hi!


– Allen

TypeWorks Team

Dude, old school!

I have been writing my own (horribly unflexible and page-based) CMS for quite some while now but I got fed up with maintaining the core and not being able to implement any new wishes my clients had.

I remembered Symphony from some time back. I took another look just to realize that it was free now. After installing and reading some docs I didn’t get what Sections, Pages, Ensembles and Components were but I got that figured out too.

It was its simplicity that intrigued me the most: The small footprint, the compact backend… even is beautifully well organized and minimalistic. I instantly fell in love. :-)

Same as Nils if I memory serves me right, read Hicks blog at the same time I was trying out Textpattern, Wordpress and a few others.

Symphony wasn’t free at the time so I just had it in mind and when I revisited a few months (or a year?) later 1.5 (or was it 1.6) was released for free.

Tried it out and since then I’m stuck. Haven’t used it for a while now since I get my XSLT need filled at work, but now I’ve started with my new site and it’s really a plesure to work with.

Mr Hicks is obviously a devout Textpattern user now but I wonder if it would be worth approaching him again. He has mentioned Symphony a few times on the Rissington podcast — the “A list” is less prevalent these days, but I imagine Symphony would be very appealing to the Web Standards crowd.

@ bzerangue, hey your oldschool too !

@nick In fact I have been mailing with timotheygrey back in 2006 who lost interest and jumped to EE, can’t find him now though. It migth be good to approach some of the initial community again who left us bc they found -at the time- the offerings to be too little too late

Finally I found a flexible CMS. Thanks for developing Symphony! By the way, I found Symphony through this site. Symphony is everything I wanted.

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Symphony • Open Source XSLT CMS

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