I got to know Symphony while researching on symfony framework. This is the kind of CMS I have been looking for, this is really a developer tool. Great work guys I am improving my PHP skills so that I can contribute to this technology.

Kudos to the core team. And I will be glad to learn from all of you guys.

I literally just found out about Symphony through a redditor who allegedly works with this framework. I was looking for a back-end developer to manually bang through some code for making a website... and now I'm thinking about possibly doing it myself, seeing as how intrigued I am with the idea of a granularly configurable CMS framework.

Again totally new to this so if there's anyone on here who wants to be my friend... :)

Plenty of friends round these parts! Welcome to the forum and Symphony community as a whole. As a long time user, I will say that this community is very friendly and helpful community.

Ask questions with enough information and you will get helpful advice.

If you are venturing into this framework yourself, be prepared for an uphill learning curve if you are not familiar with XSLT. But also be prepared for the power of that lightbulb moment when it all clicks into place :) You may need to be sitting down when that happens.

You may need to be sitting down when that happens.

Be aware that this is not a figurative language. It's true! :D

Be aware that this is not a figurative language. It's true! :D

But don't worry you can still figure it out with some patience :)

A year an a half ago we decided to build a website for the bio-engineering students of our university. Because we were new at the whole site building thing and I like my software open source and simple, I searched for 'lightweight simple open source cms' en ended up on this site:

We started off quite easily with the basics, but after using it for a year, I'm starting to get the hang of it. Still finding my way in the symphony folder, but the more I explore, the better it gets! So big thanks to the core team and the community!

Who's Online?

This probably is close to a record. I've been a member of the forum since 2007, and this is my first post. :)

How did I first hear of Symphony?

It has been enough years, I can no longer clearly recall how I heard of Symphony. I know it predated Aug 2007 by at least a little while. It seems like it may have been on the forums at Textpattern from other members who worked with both CMSes.

I liked what I saw in Symphony and installed it as an experiment. I didn't have the time to navigate the xml/xslt learning curve and never did much more than one very basic, personal site with Symphony.

Then this past fall I was put on a project that required flexibility in custom content modeling. My go-to CMS (Textpattern CMS) was going to take a lot of customizing to get close to what was required. They are working on unlimited custom fields but it wasn't going to happen in time for the project I was on. So I came back to Symphony and have been catching up on the changes, and finally pushing myself to begin learning XSL.

This time around working with Symphony has been more enjoyable. For whatever reason, it is "clicking" more easily for me. Though there's still a lot to learn!

Thanks to the developers and the creators of the many resources that have been shared in the Symphony Community. It's been really helpful.

Hi Mike,

Glad to see that you've started to explore Symphony in more detail after all that time! It certainly means that it has left a good impression after you had initially come across it.

From your experience seeing that you've started to push yourself to learn XSLT, is there some particular resource which is 'lacking' or stumbling blocks which you might have come across?

Thank you for the welcome Jon.

Good question re: learning XSLT. You'll probably regret asking, but fwiw:

In my case, I think timing was a big part of it. When I first looked, I understood XML easily enough. I understood HTML. I understood Textpattern's xml-like tags. XSLT seemed foreign. It took time to understand it is more than a templating language, but a transformational language. (I know it says it right in the name, but grasping that the difference, and understanding it as a pseudo-programming language was part of the challenge for me).


There are a lot of resources out there. It takes a bit of time to search and find them. Even Symphony-centric resources are spread out over the Symphony Community. (,,,, plus many others). Lots of googling and forum searches.the It's slow and tedious at times.

Stumbling Block-wise:

Outdated and missing information is one. Even the W3Schools seems a bit outdated in some of their references. Among the Symphony official and community websites there are a notable number of dead links to or

The tutorials are pretty good. I remember a couple of times as I was going through the tutorials having the passing thought that it might be helpful if the code was commented, or tutorial explained a bit more in detail. Mostly it was good though.

I could see value if a couple of the open source ensembles on GitHub were heavily commented for use as learning tools.

Probably one of the negatives comes from Googling XML/XSLT. You get a quite a few hits about XML/XSL being an unpopular technology that is on its way out. My guess is that new people read all the negative press and be inclined to switch to JSON and one of the newer templating laguages.

Observation: the ease with which XML errors can be caused are probably a stumbling block. Not that there is anything that can/should about that; but since well-formed and/or valid XML is required, there is less forgiveness. It's easy to break something, and for a newbie, it can be daunting to troubleshoot.

The one XSL item that is poorly explained where ever I've read is name-spacing and why/how which URIs are chosen.


I don't even remember how I heard about Symphony; but i've been trying to decide which cms to use for weeks - i literally installed dozens of them. it's a jungle, and i have not yet found the 1 single resource that would help me find the right cms for me. (there's a saying in german: "one cannot see the forest because there's so many trees", but really it should be the other way round: "one cannot see a tree because there's so many forests.")

Anyhow, being fairly new to all of this, i thought i simply have to get my teeth into 1 of them.

Choosing Symphony wasn't random -

  • it's been around for a while
  • it has good documentation - documentation that starts from zero, or at least from a point that is acceptable for me.
  • it's compact enough to be able to get some sort of understanding of what is going on behind the scenes
  • it's not bloated. every other github kiddie has coded a minimal & lightweight cms - so i will not use these terms. but it's important: no bling, no "up and running in 5 minutes", just a solid base.

hmm. there's a lot of good things i could still say. guess i'll just leave it at that and welcome myself to another forum :-)

I have posted to this thread before, when starting with Symphony. Now that a big project is online I want to post again: I say thank you to all of you who have helped me with my questions and to all developers of Symphony. Working with Symphony is fun.

Hey, that looks pretty cool! (And thanks for the kind words!)

We have used Symphony CMS since 2010 and this is my second post.

We started developing Java / XML / XSL since 1999 and in the end we realized that we could move the logical concepts of separation of environments on platforms lighter and more manageable. Symphony for us it was a revolution: the db abstraction, heart modular application, XML and XSL trasformation output. All this developed by a wonderful community of technical enthusiasts.

With Symphony we have developed projects as, and others.

I want to personally thank you and I promise that we will work to make available to all some XSL utilities that we have developed.

We work continuously to promote symphony in Italy.

Thanks again.

i heard from

Hello, first post. Yet another Textpattern user, I've been intrigued by Symphony for a few years now but have only just gotten around to diving in with a real project. Learning XSLT while learning a new CMS/framework makes for a steep learning curve at first, but now that I have a little familiarity with each, I'm really enjoying working with these elegant tools. Thanks to team and community for continuing to support this project.

Hey Jeff! It's good to see you pop up, even if it's not on the Txp forums. :)

Symphony offers some great features. Your experience with Symphony has been the same as mine. Intrigued by it for years before doing much with it. Steep learning curve. A lot to be impressed by.

Hey there Mike! Txp is still very nice for sites not needing heavy customization or deep URL structure. Not a good fit for my current project, though. I was looking with some dread at Drupal, but fortunately was able to get the rest of my committee on board with Symphony.

@jsoo me was also a Textpattern user, and still loving it. Theoretically, at least.
I've been trying out different Cms, but really can't relate to <a href="<?php echo $foo ?>"><?php echo $blah ?></a> kind of things.

@jsoo - I still like a lot about Txp too. Like you, I needed some heavy customization for my current project, and the amount of work it would take was excessive.

Bloke had a branch with unlimited custom fields, it it was too far from done to wait to try out. Even if ucf was ready, it still wouldn't be quite what was needed. Symphony is handling it like a champ. I really appreciate the front side event handling as well as idea that each field is a custom field, and the ability create a custom backend.

Also like you, Drupal was under consideration, but I was reluctant to go there.

@Manaus - Hi and welcome to Symphony. I recognize you from Txp's forums as well.

i heard of Symphony from head developer of OfflineBazaar. And now I M using the platform for my own project. Till the date Symphony is just great.

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Symphony • Open Source XSLT CMS

Server Requirements

  • PHP 5.3-5.6 or 7.0-7.3
  • PHP's LibXML module, with the XSLT extension enabled (--with-xsl)
  • MySQL 5.5 or above
  • An Apache or Litespeed webserver
  • Apache's mod_rewrite module or equivalent

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