I am working with Symphony now for +/- 6 months. Before that, I worked with various CMS-es, created some of my own, and also worked with ModX (like 1,5 year or something). Although ModX was nice in the beginning it was especially the overkill of features ModX that became an anoyance over time.

That last sites we created with ModX we had to explain our clients stuff like:

  • “Ok, you cán fill in those 20 field forms, but the site only uses 5 of them.”
  • “Yeah, you have to fill in a page title, a long title ánd a menu title.”
  • “Yeah, I know the CMS allows you to create subnavigation everywhere you want, but the frontend isn’t really build to deal with that.”

So most of the time we ended up hacking ModX and disabling a lot of stuff using their ‘ManagerManager’-plugin, just to get things done. And after that we had to write a manual the size of a phonebook.

Therefore we were pushed (me and another developer in our company) to another CMS. Symphony really got our attention because you only allow your clients to do what you want your clients to do. The whole approach of ‘sections’ instead of ‘pages’ were a bit strange in the beginning, but we soon adopted it. Our first few Symphony sites were structural wrong, but they worked, and as soon we had to update those sites a couple of months later, we immediately used the right ‘Symphony-approach’.

We are even rebuilding old websites in Symphony, just because it’s cheaper to rebuild and support a site in Symphony than to support the sites in ‘those other CMS-es’. I think that really says enough…

6 months ago I didn’t know a word XSLT, and now I’m writing stylesheets, extensions and utilities. Everyday with a smile on my face. Symphony & XSL is a winning combination for me.

@kanduvisla, your comment about rebuilding sites does say a lot about the efficient workflow Symphony affords:

it’s cheaper to rebuild and support a site in Symphony than to support the sites in ‘those other CMS-es’

Thank you for all your contributions, as well. It’s a testament to Symphony that you’ve been able to pick up the skills to write stylesheets, extensions and utilities in a relatively short period of time (and without an extensions API). It puts a smile on my face.

(and without an extensions API)

This doesn’t mean it isn’t still on my wishlist… ;-)

I’ve been able to figure a lot out with extensions by looking and ‘borrowing code’ from other extensions. As for XSLT: Google helps a lot with this, but when you grasp the simple concepts like displaying and filtering data the rest is less complicated.

Thumbs up to kanduvisla comments. I’m in a similar situation 6 month ago and now I’m working with smile in my face too ;-)! Thanks Symphony!

I downloaded the latest version of Symphony last week and have been ploughing through docs and tuts ever since.

I have my own XML/XSLT framework, which currently is very DRY, reusing the same resource files that produce the same theme across my static XHTML files (Which I can update in XStandard, and re-generate as a static file, thus no database or server process dependencies), Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, DotNetNuke, my own PHP and ASP.NET frameworks and now, Symphony.

It is all working nicely, validating XHTML strict and CSS3 throughout. I have been working hard getting CSS3 validation (see and check out the blue and amber buttons to test validation) and trying to get progressively enhanced HTML5 across browsers.

The reason I found you was because I could not get my pages to validate HTML5 and you folk had the solution that fixed it for me. Impressed, I studied Symphony and was delighted to see it uses many of the approaches I use myself, which has reduced the learning curve considerably.

The use of other CMS packages is really to give customers choice (If they ask). I have favoured Drupal but I like what I see in Symphony.

One down-side, I do not find that the Search facility here filters very well. I tried to find a solution for:

Symphony is in a sub-folder of my site and I have resource files outside of this folder. $root is OK for Symphony resources but I need to get to the parent site root dynamically. I know how to generate this parameter in PHP. How do I access PHP parameters or is there a solution built in? I’m using a hard-coded solution currently.

Not to be off-thread, can someone point me to an answer elsewhere?

Liking the look of Symphony 3 and must get into this GIT stuff (Zip and FTP currently because host does not support SSH).

Keep up the good work and I hope to get involved with the project.

I myself am coming from wordpress. I really liked the initial simplicity of wordpress, until I had to hack a couple of client projects together with plugins and a lot of custom code.

I’m looking forward to using symphony as a blank canvas for new client projects.

@seanwwashington: I’m exactly the same, I’ve use Wordpress quite abit, and for sites that are more than a blog are generally painful to make, a lot of hacking and custom code to get it how you want.

I did struggle with Symphony to start with, left it alone for a while whilst on the search for other CMS’s, had no joy and revisited Symphony… It took a bit of patience but when the penny dropped, it was worth it! One thing I like is that it only outputs the HTML I want; I get frustrated with Wordpress outputting HTML that I’ve not put in!

ModX seems very powerful too, but I find the workflow and backend confusing (as mentioned above, far to many options!), so I can’t expect my clients too find it easy either.

Symphony is a CMS I can enjoy working with (especially with the helpful community!), where as others feel like a chore to use.

I’ve been a Wordpress user for years but I would have to say that the bloat-factor makes it a sluggish CMS in a lot of cases. I ran across an article speaking of a few great CMS’s and saw this one in there, despite being listed with Joomla (which is heavy bloatware) I decided to take a look and so far really like what can be done!

A developer friend introduced me to Symphony a few months back. I took note but didn’t really get stuck in until recently. Though my day job is as a (digital) designer, for a long time I’ve been searching for a flexible CMS like Symphony to replace Wordpress for projects where I don’t have a talented geek at my disposal.

Still trying to get my head around XSLT completely, but so far so good and looking to roll it out on a number of smallish sites in the near future.

Years ago I had a brilliant idea to combine XML and XSLT in a CMS. Well, I got really wrapped up in a project and years after than I decided that since the idea was so good, there just HAD to be a CMS out there that had implemented it. I found a host of them, but Symphony is the only one that has caught my eye. I’m still installing it as we speak (waiting for my domain to finish registering before I can run the install script), but I’m determined to learn this thing backwards and frontwards. If I like it the way it works, I’m going to launch it on a few large sites I have in mind. If I love everything about it, I’m going to launch an advertising campaign to give back to Symphony. Because I have been given much, I too must give — that’s just how I am.

If I love everything about it, I’m going to launch an advertising campaign to give back to Symphony.

Yes please :-)

My friend had an interview and told me find out information about company.

was just googling out to check for some cool cms options before i decide on… and found Symphony and thats how i got in here..

A colleague of mine mentioned Symphony this morning. I initially thought he was talking about Symfony, the opensource framework, that a few devs I know rave about as being “the mostest and bestest framework EVAR!”—but then, people get pretty hyped up about their religions. We then had a good chuckle over IBM/Lotus Symphony, which may indeed be older than a lot of people now using this site.

If you can use THIS Symphony to build a sentient housekeeper who won’t kill the inhabitants because of some random symbolic logic problem, I’l be impressed. Heck, I’ll be impressed if I can do more than I can with Drupal or Wordpress, which shouldn’t be hard.

I’ve been doing part-time web-dev stuff for many years, and have gotten lazy with age. I’ve been slowing transitioning from building everything myself to using bare-bones frameworks, to a large number of different CMS platforms.

The control freak in me is constantly annoyed by common CMS restrictions, and the lazy bum in me doesn’t want to keep building everything from scratch. I’ve just come out of a horribly painful learning experience with Django, and was rebounding to something more admin-friendly. I don’t recall the site I was on, but I was looking for the new up-and-comer for CMS tools, and they nominated Symphony. The more I read, the more I liked. By the time I finished the tutorial, I decided to kick-off a new project with Symphony and take it for a walk.

It’s been a positive experience so far, but I’ve still got a lot to learn!

I think I first came across Symphony a few years ago when reading thebignoob. It was instantly obvious that they were using something other than Wordpress. Since then, I’ve been experimenting on and off with a couple of projects. However job’s primary focus was of a Flash developer so I hadn’t had time to dive into it.

Over the past 3 months (about the same time as the release of 2.1.2) there has been a major push towards developing html5 and mobile sites. I just got to say, the turn around time on my new projects are AMAZING!

No longer do I have to mashup WP pluggins and themes to get a proper site going. I can build a site from the ground up without having to worry about too many (if not any) limitations.

I can now design freely and create data sources based on my design then easily implement the required page coding. I think I may have built 3 sites this week. In one example I combined a dynamic data source with the Flickr API to generate pages on my photography blog. My only wish is that I knew how to write it as an extension to share it with everyone.

I want to do as much possible to make sure more people know about Symphony to expand upon an already great community.

I just got to say, the turn around time on my new projects are AMAZING!

So happy to hear this, thanks :)

I want to do as much possible to make sure more people know about Symphony to expand upon an already great community.

This thread is a good place to start.

I came across Symphony CMS in a random web search, just a couple days ago.

A few years back, I wanted to implement a CMS for my firm, but found that Japanese support was fairly inconsistent among the open-source and commercial offerings both. I did an extensive search, and ended up implementing client sites in Mambo, Plone, Drupal, Radio Userland and Xoops, finding each of them to variously have good or weak aspects (well, of course). I had given up on Typo3 as it just made my head ache.

Since we are small enough that we can switch things up, I put my firm’s staff through hell a few times, working on re-factoring our firm’s process and kb documentation for this or that system. I had heard about Silva, which runs on Zope like Plone does, and it seemed to have a good XML-based concept that would allow us to make all documentation XML-based, and basically have it be portable - i.e. now web, now word, now pdf. But the timing was not right for us to put a heavy effort into it, so we stuck with bunches of static files of disparate formats.

Currently, we have static sites for my firm and for my personal sites, made using RapidWeaver on Mac and some really nice-looking templates from that community. For my company wiki, we are using Apple’s python-based wiki. My personal site flirts a little with a more dynamic approach, having links to Google Docs and the Twitter-acquired and now pretty-much-defunct Dabble online db.

But, as I was thinking about making my company sites more dynamic, thinking about what I might do with premium subscriber content and documentation portability and so on, I started looking into CMSs again - got that fever going - and looked at Drupal 7, Typo3, Concrete5 and ExpressionEngine.

Then I stumbled across Symphony CMS.

After reading a bit about it, it seems like I would be able to pretty much have everything be data, which is what I have been wishing for. I’m a bit daunted, not being a programmer (I can script ok, but no huge projects really), but this really looks like it will fit the bill for us.

It was a really easy install from the git repository onto our Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, and I basically got it running in 15 mins. Kudos to the dev team for making it so smooth.

Well, anyway, long wordy story but I hope I can make use of it, and perhaps give back at some point.

Sincerely, Rick Cogley

@rickcogley - Thanks for sharing your experience. Very glad to have you as a part of the Symphony community.

@bzerangue - my pleasure. I am ploughing through some of the tutorials this weekend.

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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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