Serious: the CMS without database

Published by TheJoe on

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


This article was published more than a year ago, there may have been developments.
Please take this into account.

With the term “CMS” (Content Management System) we mean a web application that allows the user to create / change / delete the data through an administrative interface making the entered data usable by users or by subscribers to the application itself.

The most famous CMS, those most used on the internet today are open source. We can quote WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PHP-nuke, TYPO3, OpenCMS… and many others. There are also several closed license CMSs, developed directly by software houses, but they usually have a slower development and a higher cost.

All the CMS mentioned so far separate the interface from the contents. The interpreter (usually PHP) takes care of transferring the content to the database. He database “salvo” the content and makes it available if called up.

Today we talk about Serious: a CMS that works like all those already mentioned, but whose data is saved instead of in a database in text files.

This blog more than ten years ago it was made with a CMS without database: Flat Press. In 2010 I migrated to WordPress while FlatPress was abandoned over the years, but development seems to have resumed for a couple of years.


There are two versions of Grav. A, Grav Core, allows installation “standalone” without the administrative plugin. The other one, Grav core + admin plugin, includes a plugin that manages the backend and allows site administration.

The installation is quite basic. Once the archive has been downloaded, it must be unpacked and uploaded to the server (essential requirement: PHP 7.3.6 or higher versions). Anyone wishing to use Grav with the administrative plugin must configure the file .htaccess (its apache) or NGINX configuration files. Find examples in the directory “webserver-configs“. Once the changes have been made, simply visit the homepage of the site to start the installation.


The admin panel is similar to that of WordPress. From there the user can create pages, goods, configure the site, update plugins and themes.

Look here:  Print in a series of addresses from a database with OpenOffice Writer and Base

Once you delve into the sections, however, you realize that WordPress manages some aspects in a better way. He menu “Configuration” contains a myriad of settings, some of which are organized in an unintuitive way. On the other hand, WordPress has the essentials accompanied by inline help that avoid the user having to resort to documentation.

Plugin and theme

Grav integrates a theme manager and a plugin manager. Both themes and plugins can be installed manually or downloaded from the linked repository. Being a relatively young project (certainly younger than WordPress) we cannot expect the thousands of components available for the most popular CMSs.


Grav offers SEO permalinks automatically but leaves the rest to the developer or any plugins. Those who use WordPress can count on plugins with proven experience such as YOAST or All-in-one-SEO-Pack, those who start using Grav instead soon realize that the plugins dedicated to SEO are still behind, there may be developments but the developers have focused more on something else.


Grav's documentation is truly its flagship. Everything is explained well and intuitively.

Premium version

Grav is open source, released under the MIT license. Most plugins and themes are freely available via repositories, and creating new ones is relatively simple. However, there are premium themes and plugins available in the repository, developed directly from “Grav team” or by external developers. The premium ones are obviously advanced content, even if not essential.

In conclusion, Grav seems to me an excellent project, actively developed, currently supported by a small community, well documented. During my use I was quite satisfied with the project and the product, even just for the simplicity of use.


I keep this blog as a hobby by 2009. I am passionate about graphic, technology, software Open Source. Among my articles will be easy to find music, and some personal thoughts, but I prefer the direct line of the blog mainly to technology. For more information contact me.


Andrea · 15 June 2022 at 4:41 PM

Eh ,but the difference is noticeable, I am using grav in a project but despite the skeletons it takes a more technical hand,

    TheJoe · 15 June 2022 at 4:55 PM

    I agree with you, Andrea. A true comparison to WordPress (or with another CMS “famous”) we can't do it yet e, even if in reality the Grav project seems to be going fast in the right direction, WordPress has become almost unattainable.

    Thanks for the comment!

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