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 ?

As far as I know the team support IE8. IE7 support has added, but I’m not sure whether it is checked regularly. Symphony has never supported IE6.

Sorry , not to mention about IE version. I was testing with IE7 but not working.

I got to know Symphony through Nils a few years ago. I’m not nearly as deep into working with it as most of you guys, but madly in love with the backend interface.

I was an TextPattern user and I was pretty happy with it. But one day I was at The Big Noob site reading an article about Symphony on how powerful the CMS was. I will say it has been fun using Symphony for the past few weeks. The only down side of Symphony is no where to find a stater book for rookies like myself or documentation.

I’ve been a LAMP developer for a few years and I’ve built a few frameworks and the odd CMS with mixed success and many of the same old problems all my developer colleagues have had. I stumbled upon this just by searching for PHP CMS options, and I’d love to get behind it because it seems to be a true “content” management system not a “page” management system. This simple difference is what sets it apart from the huge number of bloatware CMS systems (you know who you are) that dictate to me how I should build a site. It should be the other way round.

I’m yet to do more than play around, but if I can get past my XSLT cold sweats, I think I could do almost anything I could need with this one. It’s exciting!

Like so many others, I am a pretty hardcore Textpattern user. The general lack of interest by the development team and community for that product, coupled with the fact that I am bumping up against the limitations of Textpattern in some of my upcoming projects, has led on a search which so far ended at Symphony CMS. I’m evaluating it now, and pretty excited for the most part.

On the down side, the extreme lack of resources for those new to the system is a bit disconcerting. I am sure I can bash my way through and figure it out, but at what cost? Every hour I spend learning how to make this system do what I want it to is a potential hour lost to development, along with the subsequent loss of revenue.

I will be following along, while I evaluate Symphony to see if it is what I want to be using.

Welcome Adrian :-) Symphony can appear daunting, but we’ve got the beginnings of a documentation section going and there’s always someone kicking around on the forum who should be able to help. There’s also an IRC channel: #symphony at

Good luck!

I’ve been a long time wordpress user and in general I’m happy with it. A lot of things have been improved over the past few years and I like most the new features. But my needs are changing. I want some thing clean, simple yet more powerful.

Ironically what made me find Symphony is the news that wordpress won the CMS award I saw from wordpress admin. Although Symphony is not on the list, that news made me seriously consider switching to a real CMS. Wordpress is great for what it is, but it’s not really flexible as a CMS. I have to say, I have the tendency to be drawn to things that have nice, clean and modern user interface. Symphony website is very nicely done which gave me a very good first impression when I got directed from a post comparing EE with Symphony. I don’t like Drupal and I’m kind of interested in Joomla! and MODx, but in the end I installed two CMS to try out: EE 2.0 beta and Symphony.

EE2.0 beta is quite buggy now, I couldn’t get the tabs to work until yesterday’s new build came out, and there’re still a lot of php errors here and there. Nevertheless, I feel EE is very easy to start, the video tutorials on their website definitely helped. The videos are only covering fairly simple basics, but sometimes you just need something to kind of ease you at the very beginning. And I think videos work better than written tutorials for this purpose. Although EE seems nice, I really don’t like its overly complicated tab structure. You have to go through layers of layers of menus to find things. After a while it probably won’t be a real problem but it just feels messy, and kind of annoying. Also building website is only my hobby, I have to really like it to pay $99 for EE.

Symphony, on the other hand, has a very clean and simple interface which I absolutely love. The documents on the web sites are helpful although I feel they are a little scattered and it’s not very easy to find what I need. The default theme is very nice, and is really a good starting point. It would be much more helpful though had the codes got some comments so users who don’t know XSLT like me can easily understand what the codes are doing. I should say XSLT seems to be fairly easy to understand even without the comments, but still, having some explanations would be better. Nevertheless, by experimenting with the default theme for a night, I feel I’ve grasped most of the basic concepts. I didn’t know XSLT at all, but I feel I don’t need to know that much to start building a simple site with Symphony. And coming from wordpress, the easiness of adding custom fields really excited me. Even though Symphony lacks some build-in functions like WP or EE, I feel I can implement many of these functions relatively easily. For example, WP has the post slug field EE has the post url field built in which is actually very handy for me. I’m writing in Chinese and the title won’t convert to url nicely so I usually just write a simple English version of the title to be used for the url. I added a titleshown field and changed the datasources and template a little bit then I got what I need. It’s a very simple task but it gives me a very satisfying feeling :). But Symphony could consider having a url field built in to be a little more friendly to international users. Another small suggestion is the names of the tables in the database don’t look very good… entries_data_1, entries_data_2…. In the rare case I may need to directly work with the database, these names certainly are not easy to work with. Maybe a better naming convention can be used in the future?

Anyways. It seems that I’m very wordy today, haha. I think I’ll spend more time learning Symphony and XSLT and hopefully build my new site with Symphony soon.

feedpuppy, thanks so much for your very thoughtful and thorough comments. It’s tremendously helpful to get this kind of detailed narrative from someone who is just getting to know Symphony. Please keep the feedback coming :)

A quick note re: built-in url field. Symphony is unlike most of these other systems in that it doesn’t predetermine how or where your content will be displayed on the front end. All of that is entirely up to you. The same entry could be viewed in different formats, for instance, at different URLS. What’s more, it’s up to you how your entry will be matched by your data source. So while very often you’ll match on a sanitized version of a title, for instance, sometimes you’ll match an ID, or another field entirely. In fact, you don’t even have to have a title! So while you’re free to add URL slug fields wherever you like in your project, Symphony’s approach is much too open and flexible to dictate them.

czheng, I see your point about the url field and I think you are absolutely right. My mindset was still in pure blog mode:). I guess my suggestion about the url field should be for the default theme rather than for Symphony itself. The article template in the default theme basically stops working if the title is in Chinese only since $entry will be empty.

Good to see another fellow Chinese user :)

We have plans to update the default theme for Symphony and are currently taking notes from the community. I think your suggestion for adding template comments is something we should definitely do.

With regard to catering for international (non latin-based) users, I think we may create an international ensemble (a fully working symphony website package).

I can absolutely second the sentiment that you don’t need to know much about XSLT to get started with symphony. If you have even the most basic programming or web development experience then you won’t have much trouble.

Most CMS systems ultimately require you to iterate over data to fill out templates and create a finished page, and the absolute basics of XSLT/XPATH will therefore allow you to build your first site in symphony. A lot of systems have proprietary template languages or result in PHP/HTML tag soup so having an open standard which cleanly separates content from presentation is a big step forward from many of the major CMS players.

@feedpuppy - Here’s some old screencasts that Allen put together on XSLT basics. Also, Allen has some great blog posts on XSLT as well. Also the “Learn” section of this site should be of some help.

Also, I think the guys will be posting screencasts here on the Symphony site sometime soon.

Allen: I’ll be glad to help test the international ensemble :)

bzerangue, those screencasts by Allen are very helpful, hopefully we can see more soon! one observation, also from watching other CMS screencasts, it seems most of the developers are mac users, ha.

I’ll get a Linux screencast up at some point ;)

Hah, no one likes Microsoft Windows..

I haven’t managed to find a linux distro I genuinly LIKED. I really like the philosphy of linux, and the way it works (technically). But I just don’t like the UI’s of gnome / KDE.

Any suggestions?

I was searching for an OpenSource CMS that allowed me to easily/quickly implement any kind of website. I tried Joomla!, Wordpress, MODx, SilverStripe and another handfull of CMS and none was as easy to implement as it should be… I have background as a MOSS (Microsoft SharePoint Server) customizer/integrator so I “move well” around XSL, and I actually think of it as “the solution” for templating. I hope I can get here the support I need (or will need) to start my projects using Symphony.

I found about Symphony via

Welcome Bruno! I think you’ll find the Symphony community more than helpful when it comes to XSLT. There are quite a few members that feed off of XSLT challenges.

Looking forward to your Symphony work!

I found it through a twitter message.

Create an account or sign in to comment.

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

Compatible Hosts

Sign in

Login details