FlatPress: blogging for the people

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It's been more than half a year since I reviewed any software here, and that's a shame. I love playing with new toys. Or in this case old toys that never caught my eye until now for some reason.

Screenshot of a website with a maroon-grey-black design, showing the About page of a typical blog.

FlatPress has been around for a while; in fact it just turned fifteen this summer. It's a flat-file CMS made for personal blogging, and one of the lightest out there. Also fresh and usable despite its age.


First impressions: The default theme looks good, modern and classic at the same time. It also adapts to mobile devices remarkably well. Installation is a one-step affair, like with most software in its class. Security appears somewhat lax, at least by modern standards; you should limit access to some folders manually after installation. There's no way to change your username and password from the control panel however, so any intruders can deface your site, but not take over. So all you'd have to do is restore the latest backup. Talk about surprise quirks that can be seen as features.

Big surprise #2: FlatPress uses BBCode as a markup language! That's nice to have on top of raw HTML. There's an editor toolbar, too, and shortcodes.

It's also easy to upload and insert images, complete with gallery and lightbox support; the UI is better than in bigger, fancier competing apps. Comments can be enabled selectively and/or moderated; there's both a captcha and Akismet plugin. Categories are built-in, but tags come in a plugin, that's not included.

There are many other plugins, too, most of them shipped in the download package. By contrast, extra themes must be downloaded separately. There are plenty to choose from (though a lot of them are green), and it seems easy enough to make your own, judging from the documentation.

Speaking of which, documentation is plentiful and excellent, both for users and developers. There's a wiki with open registration, and an active support forum. Though for basic use it's easy enough to figure out FlatPress. If anything, its small quirks make things more interesting.

It's also a very snappy app, and compatible with PHP from 5.6 to 7.4, on any web server software. Really, the kind of app that does one thing and does it well. Which pretty much sums it up, so I'll just let you try and see. Cheers!

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Tags: blog, software, review