Textpattern: The Text-Friendly CMS


In World Wide Web years, TextPattern is a mature CMS that has been around in alpha and beta versions since 2001 and finally distributed under the GNU GPL in 2004.  The product has been dramatically improved over the years and the most notable enhancements yet can be seen in the latest version release, TextPattern 4.20.  If you need an easier and more efficient way to manage your content, the features of this open-source CMS tool may be of interest.

Word Processing-Like Environment

One of Textpattern’s key features is Textile, an intuitive syntax that allows you to easily convert plaintext into well structured rich web content.  Often nagging elements such as hyperlinks, tables and image tags can be created with one or two markers, making it closer to working with ordinary text as opposed to complex code.  When you are ready to publish your content, Textile takes all marked copy and automatically converts it to clean, valid XHTML.  In addition, all articles you compose in Textpattern can be viewed in plaintext, XHTML or a rendered preview.

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Versatile CSS Editing

Textpattern offers full support for CSS, offering two modes that allow you to customize and enhance the presentation of your site in different ways.  Manual CSS mode lets you to create or edit any CSS data directly from the administrative interface.  This enables you to quickly edit styles without dealing with the hassle that often results from uploading via FTP.  You can create your style sheets from scratch or by using one of many compatible WYSIWYG editors.  Automatic CSS mode is an advanced feature that utilizes an organized interface to make CSS parameters more comprehensive and manageable.  CSS can really enhance the performance of a website and Textpattern allows you to harness all the power of this optimal design technology.

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Link Friendly

There are quite a few CMS tools that offer power and ease of use, but lack the features needed to easily increase visibility via the search engines.  This isn’t the case with TextPattern as the software excels in SEO-friendly pages and link management.  You can store an unlimited number of links in an unlimited number of categories anywhere you want on your site.  It also makes it simple to add news links through the built-in editor or a Javascript book marklet, which displays a popup window to use where ever you may be on the web.

Add-on Functionality

Although Textpattern is not supported by nearly as many plugins as open-source products like Joomla and Drupal, the platform is very extensible.  All available add-on components can be installed and maintained in a straightforward manner.  Once you have incorporated them, they can be easily enabled or disabled through the administrative interface where you can also access help and parameters used by supported plugins.

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Textpattern is an open-source CMS product that is free to download and use.  The software requires PHP 4.3 or higher, MySQL 3.23 or higher and the Apache web server.  Its developer also strongly recommends the use of a Unix operating system, although it states that the software will “probably” work on any platform that supports PHP.  Being a free and user-friendly tool, you may want to check your system requirements and give Textpattern a test drive to see if it meets your needs before giving up your preferred CMS.

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One thought on “Textpattern: The Text-Friendly CMS

  1. I am a big fan of textpattern, not only is it small and simple to install but I love the copy/paste style of plugin installations. It’s a very elegant cms.

    Needs more themes though, I hate designing ;P