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I was working with Drupal, and was just appalled and with how bad the admin UI was, the inability to theme some items spit out by the core, and how chunky the code was. While looking for another option one of my colleagues pointed me to Symphony and I haven’t looked back. I even managed to convince the company we were working at to switch over to Symphony while they were doing a redesign.

I even managed to convince the company we were working at to switch over to Symphony while they were doing a redesign.

Nice work Ambassador Bitfyre!

Another satisfied convert :-)

My appreciation for Symphony has doubled since I started my new job. Learning CakePHP has made me realise how good I have it with Symphony :(

Hi! I’m just tired of WordPress custom fields and the inability to use ModX anywhere other than corporate sites and directories.

So I just went to Google and wrote there “custom field cms” and now I’m here!

This is best CMS I ever work with, one problem is in XML / XSLT understanding.

P.S. Maybe you give me your opinion in how and where start learning it?

This is best CMS I ever work with

Great to hear!

one problem is in XML / XSLT understanding

This is an often cited as a problem. The best place to start is looking through the default “workspace” that comes with Symphony — the blog — and see how the templates are used to render Articles and Comments.

This is best CMS I ever work with, one problem is in XML / XSLT understanding.

Nick’s suggestion is a great one and also know that Symphony’s implementation of XML and XSLT is standard; nothing special about it so you’ll find the plethora of resources on the web applicable and helpful.

I was introduced to Symphony by a co-worker. I was complaining about Wordpress and most other CMSs that are all set up around blogging and he gave me a quick tutorial of custom fields. I've been working with it ever since.

Preface: I hope my somewhat rambling post doesn’t offend sensibilities.

I’m a (very) long-time programmer and part-time web hobbyist… building some web skills while between jobs. I had a few reasons to evaluate Symphony - still not sure I’ll stick with it - but it is growing on me.

Templating I’ve done a few sites in hand-coded XHTML… then a much more sophisticated site in Drupal (www.authorcollector.com) (note: Drupal is hard to learn, but a very capable CMS). So when I decided to do a third site, I got hung up a bit on the whole “templating” concept. Obviously templates simplify creating a consistent site design, but I had trouble with the idea of learning some CMF/CMS’ arbitrary templating scheme. Then I found Symphony…

The idea of using XSLT seems not only unique in the CMS world, but struck me as the right thing to do. What better way to template a site than using the web standard designed for that purpose? Not to mention that I’m a big fan of XML and there is great appeal in dealing with my data as XML.

Data organization A second reason I gave Symphony a whirl was I really liked one of the sample websites presented (www.ravirajakumar.com). For my next site, I want to do something similar… to be able to make available different facets of my life (personal, professional) and to present different views of each. The professional view, for example, would allow the user to be to view my professional background chronologically, by project, by skill, by keywords, etc. As many have pointed out, this is pretty tough to do when pushed into a “blogging” framework… I don’t want to fight the system… I need it to work for me.

Learning Symphony as a journey As I study Symphony, I find myself distracted by the approaches taken… not distracted in a “bad way,” rather distracted as in “why did they take this approach?” or “how does this even work?” For example, I wrote my own code in PHP to transform XML and XSL into XHTML… enough to understand how it works and to realize I’d be smarter to just reuse Symphony than reinvent everything. Understanding how data is structured… why it takes 88 queries to present a “Hello world” page… this I’m still working through. But I learn as I go…

Room to grow I’ve found documentation a bit sparse, but I’ve inferred that Symphony is sort of the CMS for smart folks who can figure things out for themselves… I’m open to being corrected if I’ve missed the big picture. And I’ve read some of the posts asking why Symphony hasn’t seen broader adoption… I’ve got a few ideas on simple ways to improve this… if anyone is interested. I do suspect this gap is more a time issue than a desire issue… as the folks contributing to this CMS seem to have extraordinary passion and breadth.

Well that’s enough for now… back to learning (playing).

Mark

Thank you for that, Mark. That’s really great feedback. As you’ll see, we’re working actively to tackle many of the issues you’ve discussed here. In the meantime, please feel free to continue sharing your thoughts as you work with Symphony.

For anything I build i always find that documentation is the hardest thing to do. From what I’ve heard, you need 3-4 times more time for documentation than build time. though symphony is lacking in that department, there are more people to tackle this issue than there was before. Can’t wait to see what is in store!

A second reason I gave Symphony a whirl was I really liked one of the sample websites presented (www.ravirajakumar.com). For my next site, I want to do something similar…

Wow - thanks for the compliment. That’s great to hear. It was a lot of fun to do my personal site with it, and yeah - the cool thing is that you can kind of do your audience modeling in tandem with your database design. I was thinking: “What does a hiring manager need to do with my portfolio when they’re looking at me for a position?” so I arrived at this idea of creating work samples as discrete entities and then tagging them for skill sets and sorting the skill sets with jQuery (don’t know if you noticed that that interaction is asynchronous).

I found Symphony through Craig Zheng, who was my colleague at the time that I was managing a major overhaul of an mess of a web site (7k+ pages managed in Bricolage). The new site is also in the showcase – www.ssrc.org. I can’t imagine choosing to use any other CMS now. WordPress has a lot of appeal for out-of-the-box blogging features, but it’s not a real CMS in my opinion.

Ravi,

Great work deserves recognition… your site strongly resonated with me as it is very well conceived and executed… and I want to do something very similar. A “flat” resume just doesn’t cut it anymore. Didn’t notice that it was asynchronous… you’ve got a good host and page refreshes happen so fast that it is hard to tell. Neat trick, though… I adore jQuery.

PS. Sorry all if this post was a bit off-topic… but perhaps a good opportunity to float a “marketing” idea. Suggestion - categorize the showcase page.

Suggestion - categorize the showcase page.

Yep. That’s coming down the pipe.

@ravi, you ever think of using swfaddress (or something similar) for deeplinking your filters on your homepage? just a thought

@ravi, you ever think of using swfaddress (or something similar) for deeplinking your filters on your homepage? just a thought

No - I didn’t think of that actually, but it’s a great idea. To be honest, I’ve only really gotten into programming this way (for asynchronous interaction) pretty recently – in the last 6 months, and part of my reluctance to do so in the past was that I was unaware of any mechanism for addressing this issue (deep linking). I wasn’t worried about my portfolio because I couldn’t imagine anyone needing to bookmark or browse to a particular state (there are only 6 possible states and they overlap a lot). So thanks very much for pointing me to that – I’ll definitely implement it if only to get some practice using it.

Mind you, it seems to me you could use Symphony’s own features to do the same thing – set up a datasource that filters my work samples by Area of Expertise with tokenized names as IDs or some such. That would be less efficient right now because of the unnecessary calls to the database for such a small amount of data, but if my list of samples got very long, I maybe would look at doing something like that instead.

I came across Symphony via The Big Noob.

I was searching a cms with a maximum flexibility and lite. I have used etomite and modx cms for 5 years for that reason. But they are good solution for standard page type based web site projects.(I won’t mention about negatives about them. That is not the case.)

I have found symphony cms by googling .I don’t remember what was the query and impressed the symphony cms has an unique flexible admin area. And you can decide how data will be organized for project. I can say that I recognized to admin place in a short effort. But the difficult part was for me to understand xslt stylesheet templates. I haven’t had a change to work with xslt stylesheets. Nowadays , my hobby to learn xsl.

I have some questions :

  1. symphony cms use xslt 1.0 , do you have a plan to implement xslt 2.0 support ?
  2. Admin area don’t work well with IE browsers. Example , when you go to the section area to create a new section you can’t use filter tools as usual. Also menus have a problem with IE . But firefox and opera there is no problem. Are these known by you ?

symphony cms use xslt 1.0 , do you have a plan to implement xslt 2.0 support ?

PHP is using LibXSL wich in turn only supports XSLT 1.0 and a few eXSL features. Its something we can’t do anything about but hope that LibXSL will be updated to support XSLT 2.0.

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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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