Content management systems (or CMS for short) are software packages designed to streamline and ease content implementation on web sites. A CMS provides a simple interface allowing the administrator to easily add, change, and remove content without fiddling with complex code. Instead, this code is produced by the CMS, and all the administrator needs to see is the end result. TextPattern is one of the oldest and most well-known CMS packages available. Here, you will find details regarding how TextPattern compares to others available on the market today.



Built upon the powerful scripting language PHP, TextPattern provides an interface that can be controlled via any standard web browser. Data is stored in an MySQL database on the server, secured by administrator-defined logins and passwords. This data is accessed and stored by the PHP front end, without the need for human intervention. Because all data is stored in one place, the entire site can be backed up easily.

Types of Editions

Rather than providing multiple versions at varying price points like many CMS packages, TextPattern offers only one package, and it's free. A wide range of plugins are available from the ever-expanding community which can be used to add new functionality and features to TextPattern.


Installing TextPattern is quite simple. The whole program is less than half a megabyte in size. To install, this file needs to be downloaded, extracted, and then the contained files need to be uploaded to the server where the new site will be hosted. Then, an SQL database needs to be created with a login and password pair. Once these steps are complete, all you need to do is log in to the new TextPattern installation, and you will be guided through the final steps right in your web browser. TextPattern can also be automatically installed by some web hosts' software, such as CPanel.


Following are the features that make the system stand out:

  • Tag-based dynamic content handling
  • Plugin system backed by the user community
  • Full GPL source code available
  • Low disk and memory utilization
  • Wiki documentation available
  • Available in over 40 languages

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  • Ease of installation (drag and drop via FTP, make a database, and you're ready to go)
  • Simple to back up and restore due to its use of an SQL database
  • Simple to upgrade to the latest version
  • A wide variety of available plugins to expand TextPattern's feature base
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) content editing, no need to mess with code
  • Compatible with most web server configurations running PHP and MySQL
  • A helpful community of TextPattern users and plugin developers ready to help you out


  • Not as robust from initial installation as some other CMS packagse
  • Aside from documentation, tech support is not available from its publisher
  • Requires PHP version 4.3 and MySQL 3.23 or newer to operate

Who Should Use TextPattern?

TextPattern is appropriate for a wide range of users, and especially well suited for novices who are unfamiliar with PHP, XML and SQL. Because these elements are handled behind the scenes, it is not necessarily to hold an understanding of these languages. Some basic HTML knowledge can be helpful in order to format content in the exact manner you'd prefer, or to custom-design your own visual themes. However, it is not required, as many themes are already available from the TextPattern user community.

What Kind of Websites Should Use TextPattern?

As far as web sites that could make use of this technology, any site ranging from small to very large would be a very good match for this particular CMS. TextPattern is able to easily generate a simple web site in a short period of time, but still maintains the flexibility to expand upon that base and add content in the future. It is best suited for sites that are still in the conceptualization phase, because sites that already exist in another form (HTML, PHP, or in another CMS) will need to have their content migrated, which can be a time-consuming process, and may require knowledge of HTML, PHP, XML, or other languages depending on the source material.


TextPattern is a powerful and flexible content management system that would be an excellent choice for most users. Compare it against some other CMS packages on the market, and see if it is right for you. TextPattern's web site offers demonstrations of the software running on other sites, so you can get a feel of just what your end result will look like. Based on my own experiences running this CMS, I found it is not as feature-rich as some other CMS packages like Wordpress, but with a little time and proper plugin selection, all the same capabilities can be attained. TextPattern would be a terrific choice for anyone looking for a free and versatile content management system.

Categories : Web Development, CMS
Tags : cms, TextPattern

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Author : Susan Haynes

I have been in software industry for more than 10 years. I have developed different type of software using different languages. I have knowledge in languages such as Ruby, Python, PHP, Flash, .NET, Java, and jQuery. Currently I am working as a Tech Lead in Singapore.

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