While every project has different needs, I am finding that database-based CMS platforms such as WordPress are often too complex/feature-laden for the needs of individual educators/publishers. In contrast, flat-file CMS platforms offer more simplicity and control. Here are some of the key reasons I am now focusing on using modern flat-file CMSs for my development work (especially when implementing a flipped LMS approach):

  • Modern
    • Modern PHP code (i.e. reliability, speed, extensibility, etc.)
    • Use of current standards (i.e. Markdown, Twig, YAML, etc.)
    • Modular/customizable content chunks (i.e. reuse of content)
    • Further separation of content (i.e. files) from presentation
  • Flat-file
    • No database means less (or no) IT involvement needed
    • Content stored in text files rather than in a database (often translating into faster page access times)
    • Takes full advantage of the collaborative ecosystem now available (i.e. GitHub)
    • Increased portability, as moving a site now only requires simply copying files to another location
    • All template and content files are 100% version controllable

So, what is my favorite modern flat-file CMS right now? Without a doubt the rising star in this space to me is Grav, which is actually more of a web-platform than a traditional CMS. After trying out a number of flat-file CMSs, including Kirby and Statamic, I found Grav has a perfect mix of flexibility and ease of use for web-savvy educators. In addition, Grav is backed up with solid documentation and community support.

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