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FlatPress: The Database-Less WordPress

A “lighter” alternative to the full version of WordPress is in development called FlatPress. FlatPress is in early development and NOT a full alternative to WordPress. It uses fewer server resources, works without interaction with a MySQL database, lacks the ability to use WordPress Themes and most WordPress Plugins, so it is not a WordPress version for everyone.

FlatPress works by storing post data in text files called “flat files”. The FlatPress site admits that this isn’t the best way to blog as “flat files are painfully SLOW”. Still, it’s an interesting twist on the WordPress platform and may work for those who want a very streamlined but slow version.

In a review in Italian on FlatPress, The Alternative to WordPress Without MySQL (Italian) (English Translation) by OSS Blog.it, FlatPress is described as (my edited version of the translation):

The main difference between WordPress and FlatPress is that FlatPress does not require MySQL in order to work. This feature benefits those who do not want to spend a lot of money for a hosted stie with a MySQL database, great for low cost hosting and saving money. The other characteristics that render this interesting blog engine are: the adhesion to xhtml 1,1, use of Smarty for the management of the graphical templates, the possibility to import post from SimplePHPBlog (other blog engine based on flat-rows).

FlatPress promotes that it will work with WordPress Plugins and Themes including , the comment spam fighter. It will also work with permalinks (pretty URLs), and a few other normal WordPress features, though, as clarified by the author, NoWhereMan, only the the “simplest” WordPress Plugins will work and WordPress Themes will not work. FlatPress uses the Smarty engine, but reports there are a few ported Themes on fpthemes.

Have you used it? What do you think?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

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14 Comments

  1. Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    I assume “lighter” in quotation marks is sarcasm? Flat files are hardly “light,” and though they may be faster for tiny blogs with very little content and no comments, a SQL-powered blog is hundreds of times “lighter” in reality.

    I/O access – opening and closing the flat file to read and write to it is very, very, slow and resource-intesive. In SQL dbs, an entire table is in one file, and it’s committed to memory (at least a portion of it). Not only is it faster, it’s also not going to bog down your server as much.

  2. Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    (It’s not “streamlined” either, I have no idea where you get that from)

    A better alternative for those not wanting to install a full-fledged SQL db on their server is to use SQLite, which is basically half-way between flat files and a SQL db. It’s one file, one executable, and no configuration – just a hundred times more efficient than flat files and far more (truly) “light” than MySQL.

  3. Posted January 9, 2007 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    This sounds like a great adaptation of WordPress for largely static sites (I’m exploring this idea for my small business clients).

    The content doesn’t change often (and doesn’t grow), yet my tech-challenged small biz customers would enjoy the key benefit of a CMS site – access to their site’s content without going through a third party.

    I’m going to check it out.

    Tom Chandler

  4. Posted January 9, 2007 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The Italian post is actually wrong! :D

    This is NoWhereMan from FlatPress; the Italian reviewer wanted to put some sensationalism in his article, so he has exaggerated a bit (too much?): actually this is not FlatPress on text files; as you have/may read on the official blog, I’ve just borrowed the plugin interface and a sound-alike name :P

    With plugin interface I don’t mean WP’s plugins will work as they are; some (the simplest) work with little or no effort (markdown can work commenting one line) but this is not a rule at all: those having an interface… well, forget them :P

    About the themes, no, we use a completely different system, which is the Smarty engine, but there are a few ports on fpthemes of the most known.

    Thanks you for your post, though, I’m honored I’m even on Matt’s blog!

  5. Posted January 9, 2007 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Hem…

    “actually this is not FlatPress on text files”

    You meant “actually this is not WordPress on text files”
    :)

  6. Posted January 9, 2007 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I think this would be a wonderful way to build small sites quickly and yet still have the CMS/Blog feel. Raring to give it a go!

    Also, some hosting providers charge an extra fee for mySQL databases, this could help them!

  7. Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    This is an interesting idea, but it will take a lot of storage space, since it is a file per post.

  8. Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    @RianB: they’re not Word files, they’re just small txt’s :D if you have a 10kb file it means you wrote about ten thousand characters ;)

  9. Posted November 25, 2007 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    A bit late, but an organization I volunteer at uses an annoying server that hardly gives us any functionality. And oh yeah, it’s on IIS and the only DB you can use is MS access (or pay extra for mssql/mysql while you’re already paying too much).
    We can’t switch soon because we have a big event coming up, and we need news / comments.. So FP works so far, I activated it today and got some content in.

    (Galia, the girl who drove you after Wordcamp Israel)

  10. Posted November 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    @ailaG:

    Galia! How wonderful to hear from you. I’m thrilled that FlatPress works for you. It’s a good endorsement. Let me know how it handles with more content and I’ll report on it. Wonderful!

  11. Posted November 26, 2007 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    @Lorelle VanFossen
    “Let me know how it handles with more content”

    The current FP 0.703.6.2 work really fine and fast. It is small, compact and easy to use. It is possible to port WordPress themes to Flatpress and some plugins will also work with small adjustments.

    I work with WordPress and Flatpress, but more with Flatpress. One points is, that I can easy transfer the content to my laptop, writing offline new entries and transfer it back if there is a connection to the web. With WordPress I need a database on my laptop and must import/export the content with many steps. Not so fine.

    Aside from that, a new Flatpress version is now available as beta release. First impression, great :)

    I think, the slowness all people tell, will come with more than 1000 entries and comments(Writing one entry every day in 3 years). But for all others it is a great alternative solution.

  12. Posted November 6, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I’m using FlatPress to run a blog at aux.uncc.edu/news because the university servers would not function well at with WordPress because of all of the security limitations, etc. (I don’t know the backend well, so I can only offer vague and limited explanations, but WordPress was horrible to use on those servers). FlatPress is so easy to use and making a theme to match the look of the site took no time at all, very straightforward. It’s not as robust, functional and cool as WordPress, but I think it is great and easy to use, especially for cheaper hosting (as others mentioned) or for limited server privileges.

    • Posted November 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      FlatPress is also not currently supported and based upon a vulnerable old version of WordPress. I do hope you are checking with the original authors to keep it updated. And most universities now host and support WordPress freely.

  13. Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I have been using wordpress since before Christmas and have a web site of over 500 pages (+ another 500 + in a related sub domain to convert to a cms.

    The value of static pages to me is when all else dies – the viewer can see something..

    … but I somehow do not think I have reached this goal…

    I want a dbase when I need a dbase – but I want (some) flat files to make sure something appears even if (and when)the sql dies.

    Have tried various plugins etc… but cant get what I understand as a true flat html page….which i could then link to the wp/cms.

    I have probably missed something along the way – and as I am naturally impatient – always looking for a short/quick solution. SO if Flatpress were able to provide this type of solution to me – I would be a delighted user

    .. and thanks for the information I have gained to date.

    Magoo


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