A co-worker always talked about a CMS named Umbraco. So i was googling for a XSLT CMS written in PHP.

I started to do freelance programming after 15 years of full-time job, and was looking for a clear and logical tool around the net. I was familiar and actually quite in love with XSLT, so the day I discovered Symphony was, well, THE DAY :).
I build all my projects with it now and feel very confident.

I read an article about Symphony and how powerful the CMS was. I will say it has been mostly fun trying out Symphony for the past few weeks. I still have a lot to learn but I have plenty of free time to bone up on it.

While working for a web design / marketing firm that exclusively used Joomla (yuck!) I was always on the lookout for new and innovative content management solutions. I must have tried thirty of them (though I kept returning to Textpattern), and even wrote some small php cms’s for internal use.

I decided to part from the company I was working with and go freelance, and decided that I would try out Symphony for a client site. I discovered it a while ago, but at that time data sourcing and the pages / sections system was very confusing to me. For whatever reason it just clicked with me this time around though, and I’ve fallen in love with it. I greatly appreciate being able to specify exactly what and how many inputs my clients can see when they log into the CMS — it saves a lot of training time and provides more usability. Symphony is like a CMS dream come true, and XSLT is amazing.

Thanks for the great releases, please keep them coming!

Chris Truett

Now then, everybody should know where they were when they first discovered Symphony CMS. (‘On our computers’ I hear you all cry!)

My brother had acquired rather a good book on the finest whiskies, the location of their distilleries with reviews on taste etc. A few weeks later I decided to google ‘whisky reviews’ and discovered (A whisky social networking site). The rest is history..

Being a front-end designer & developer I can now:

  • model data myself
  • work with XML data
  • reuse code easily (XSLT)
  • offer dynamic websites to clients
  • develop some of those ideas i had left on the back burners…

..all with my design on top!

Has it increased my employability as a contractor or permanent candidate? Probably not in the immediate future but then that wasn’t the point!

Without wanting to sound like a winner of an Oscar, I would like to pay homage to those who decided to offer this system as open source, the developers of the extensions and all those on the forum. Symphony CMS has become my life coach and I have discovered a thing or two about fine whiskies too. I cannot thank you enough!

Did I just spot you wipe away a Hollywood tear too?

Yes but I am a good actor

It was a long time ago trying to find XSLT templates for a java project I had in my hands. I was surprise by Symphony's flexibility and finesse.

I found symphony after hours of seaching for a really flexible cms, i guess i found it, thanks for creating it!!!

@duhpc: thanks for choosing it!

Hi, I'm from Uruguay!!!! I discovered Symphony searching for a CMS to build my portfolio, because the current one is a blog...

It happens that I'm a video game developer and music composer... so Symphony perfectly fits!!!!

Congratulations to everyone! You have a great community and you are doing a great job!

I was looking for a light CMS for my personal site, I didn't want to use something big like Wordpress to manage a simple website.

I was looking for something light and preferably databaseless... GetSimple found. I love XML! It uses XML file instead of SQL database. I really enjoyed.

But I kept searching and found the Symphony. Making templates using XSLT? How can I never have thought of that before? It also has a core very lightweight and extensible without yadda yadda yadda. I fall in love!

Too bad not be databaseless ... but you can't have everything.

I intend to use the Symphony in my next projects and help enhances it! So tks!

I was looking for a very simple, content only, CMS, and I was lucky enough to get here. I had never heard of Symphony before, but it's been instant love. This thing is brilliant!

I was looking for a very simple, content only, CMS, and I was lucky enough to get here. I had never heard of Symphony before, but it's been instant love. This thing is brilliant!

Love is just the beginning, welcome!

Thanks, I'm already looking forward to learn more than the basic and actually contributing to something meaningful :)

I think Symphony is gonna be my companion for all my future projects.

hello people generally being a front-end developer, with little experience in cms, i were searching for a simplie solution for small project, not involving many php or other back-end technologies. just to make work quickly by myself. initially i thought about joomla! as platform, but afterwards i decided to take a look on alternatives. what convinced me to use symphony instead :

  • nice web-site, very well-made by itself
  • standart compliance
  • general minimalistic approach
  • reading this thread :)

and it's true! i doubt becouse of learning curve of XML/XSLT/XPATH (it took about 3 or 4 days to establish a base) but after realizing benefits i made the decision. the right decision : symphony is better :) i'm going to use it a lot for future works, hope that developers &plugin-makers will never lose their interest to the project!! you are amazing

also i'd like to spread the word about symphony in russian-speaking community, when i'll be more familiar with system.. people need to know

ps. &very nice community indeed!! cheers

Thanks, ixi. Welcome aboard, and let us know if you have any questions :)

Hi everyone.

After working several years as sysadmin i've decided i needed more creativity in my everyday activity, so very recently i've started my own web design little shop. Still trembling about it, that recently ;)

Most of my clients are, and will be the "i want you to do it all" type, so i needed a trustable cms i could haevily rely on for many of my projects. Right when i was worrying that most cms have too rigid data structures i readed some big guy tweet saying something like, "if you really want to shape and take control over your data, try Symphony-cms".

atm i've made 2 projects under symphony, i still have plenty of xsl to learn, but so far it's been marvelous. The MVC conservation, the minimalistic approach, the overall Tao. This code is AAA, and the comunity is pure knowledge, some of you guys have really impressive chops.

I hope later or sooner i will be able to contribute. In the meantime lot of thanks for your work.


Hello from me as well!

I've actually discovered symphony about a month ago, but I wanted to first finish a project with it before posting here.

How did I discover it? I think by chance. As a newbie in CMS, I started by trying out wp, joomla, drupal... And I removed each one of these after two days of experimenting. And I thought that I'd be better off learning PHP myself instead of building my clients' websites with such systems. So I decided to download a system and learn from its core files. When searching which system to use to help me learn PHP, I found this article. Somewhere in the comments someone mentioned Symphony (I think Nick Dunn) and I decided to try it out. After trying it out, I got back to the same thread and posted a comment, which pretty much explains why Symphony is the one for me. Here's the comment:

A few days ago I discovered Symphony CMS ( And I instantly fell in love with it for the following reasons:

  1. Small in size – for me this is important as I often work on the go with bad connection;
  2. Well written step by step beginner tutorials, with great explanation of the system’s concepts – all assembled in a logical manner (not just thrown as a documentation, without knowing where to start);
  3. So easy and fast to install;
  4. The perfect interface – nothing, truly nothing, that I don’t need;
  5. Gives me control – I know what it’s doing, why it’s doing it and most importantly, I’m telling it to do it;
  6. Gives me the tools and the guidance, it’s up to me to build what I need – it’s like building your dream house, instead of buying one that’s pre-built to fit the majority;
  7. It actually lets me learn from it – the core files are so easy to read, well organized, with detailed comments of the code;
  8. It got me to learn something new that I haven’t considered before, but I now realize how powerful it is (XML/ XSLT);
  9. I get to write my css and html;
  10. The extensions and utilities are so clean and well supported.

The list can go on, but the overall idea is that I’m in control. The environment is incredibly friendly and logical and I can build everything just exactly as I need it. Nothing more and nothing less. I’m grateful to the guys who’ve built it and taken the time to write the tutorials in such a manner, and I strongly recommend it to all those who love building websites.

So, thanks againg for helping me complete my first symphony project. I hope that some day I'll be able to contribute with extensions, and not only with showcases!

Welcome, Ellie, and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts (both here and on the Nettuts article). And congrats on your first Symphony site!

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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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