Frameworks, Open-source, Tools, Web Apps

Is this the best open source CMS ever created?

Meet TYPOlight, a powerful Web content management system that specializes in accessibility (back end and front end) and uses XHTML and CSS to generate W3C/WAI compliant pages.


A growing number of countries around the world have introduced legislation which either directly addresses the need for websites to be accessible to people with disabilities, or which addresses the more general requirement for people with disabilities not to be discriminated against. TYPOlight does not treat accessibility as just an additional feature and is thoroughly accessible.

Web 2.0

PHP 5 and Ajax are modern “Web 2.0” technologies that you can find in a lot of contemporary applications. TYPOlight has a solid codebase built on the new object-oriented programming features of PHP 5 and can therefore be considered a future-proof software. To ensure back end accessibility, every Ajax feature includes a graceful fallback in case JavaScript is disabled.

Page features

  • Different page types
  • Multiple websites in one tree
  • Manual or timed publication
  • Hidden pages
  • Password protect pages

Editing features

  • Clipboard feature
  • Edit multiple records
  • Built-in rich text editor (TinyMCE)
  • Different content elements and modules
  • Multilingual spellchecker
  • Insert tags (similar to server side includes)
  • Manual or timed publication

File manager

  • Multiple file uploads
  • Image thumbnails and file preview
  • Edit uploaded files with the source editor
  • File operation permissions
  • Copy, move, rename files or folders
  • Delete folders recursively

Form generator

  • Automatic input validation
  • Store uploaded files on the server
  • Send form data via e-mail
  • Send uploaded files as e-mail attachment

Search engine

  • Automatic page indexing
  • Search indexing on protected pages
  • Phrase search, wildcard search, AND/OR search
  • Search result caching and pagination

Full feature list

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Accessible XHTML strict output
  • Meets W3C/WAI requirements
  • Web 2.0 support (mootools-based)
  • Live update service
  • Accessible administration area
  • Multiple back end languages and themes
  • Generates search engine friendly URLs
  • Multi-language support
  • Powerful permission system
  • Versioning and undo management
  • Advanced search and sorting options
  • Front end output 100% template based
  • Automatic e-mail encryption (spam protection)
  • Supports SMTP in addition to PHP’s mail function
  • Supports multiple websites in one tree
  • Supports GZip compression
  • Print articles as PDF

System features

  • Open Source (LGPL)
  • Web-based administration
  • Platform independent
  • Over 150 third party extensions
  • Multilingual documentation


15 thoughts on “Is this the best open source CMS ever created?

  1. Could you tell us why it’s the “best open-source CMS ever created”? Why it’s better than Drupal for exemple.

    Thank you

  2. Hi aubin,

    Drupal is not a bad CMS, specially if you are developing small sites. Drupal modules are very easy to install and they work out-of-the-box. However, the admin interface is not very intuitive. Also, the CSS, template and PHP files are all mixed together, and they are very difficult to edit, due to the fact that they have weird extensions, like .module for example. The problem with this is that text editors treat files with unknown extensions as text files. And finally, extending and maintaining procedural code is not an easy task.

  3. Let me tell you why this is not better than Drupal in one word: Modules.

    Drupal has hundreds of modules available that allows you to create whatever you can think of, and if it doesn’t exist, there is a Content Creation Kit (CCK) for you to create your own stuff.

    I saw this CMS looking for the best of them all and even though Federico is right when he says that is not an easy task to maintain procedural code, they have their reason why they did it that way.

    If you have any other CMS to show me, I will be happy to see it.

  4. I use Drupal because I like some of the concepts which I can not find on other CMS’. For instance, there is no separation between Front End and Back End in Drupal. I see no point at all in separating them. But all lot of CMS’ including TYPOLight are doing it.

    But that is about the concept. About the support from the developer community, I think Drupal is at the bottom of the list. I think TYPOLight is better in this respect.

  5. i used typolight during 2 years but i’m not sure it is the best cms created. it has some good points like ‘content elements’, something leo borrowed from typo3 and an accessible backend. But there’s a lot of things i dislike:

    o- it’s _not_ a community driven project
    o- it required an ugly signature in the source code (like typo3, phpwcms..)
    o- leo’s ask for denouncement: is the point where i decided to no more use this piece of code
    o- the core is too feature rich, too heavy for simple website and it not scales well for larger ones

  6. I’ve seen a demo of a CMS that is supposed to be launched in the next weeks which is just amazing. It’s clealy the next generation of CMS, a very intuitive interface, all the design in drag and drop, automatic keywords detections for SEO, online image editing, it is just amazing, they declare to be able to realize very complex sites fully customized in few hours and I trust them !!!

    I know that the demo is reserved to beta testers right now but its far beyond everything I’ve ever seen. And by the way includes already all the features you mention plus even more !

  7. @ jean
    what is the name of this new CMS you talked about
    I would be very interested to have more informations


  8. Hi Federico,

    you seemed very enthousiastic, a few months back, about typolight. And what about now are you still thinnking it’s the best cms ever created? did you use or are you still using it? if not, what is your php choice for this kind of software.

    i’m asking you, because your reading is, for me, still very inspiring.

    thanks for your answers

  9. I don’t know if it’s the best CMS ever created, but IMHO it’s for sure the best CMS I’ve ever used. I’m using it since I found this article googling around searching an accessible CMS, one month and half ago, and I’ve already made two projects, converting poor static sites into dinamic ones with success.

    It was quite easy doing it (I was frightened at the idea of doing it with Joomla!) and the customers learned how to manage it in half a day. Plus, with its good user management, I could decide since the beginning what he can and can’t see, beginning to macro areas and ending with single form fields.

    Once you get into its logic (something that requires just some trying and look around through example website and docs) it’s also quite easy to customize, having every FE and BE area its own template, which can be easily overrided without modifying the core.

    Plus it has well written modules which integrate perfectly into the CMS structure, mantaining the BE aspect and layout (something that, e.g., Joomla! miss in most of its modules), so a costumer hasn’t to learn and understand different control panels for each and every task he has to do, like e.g. inserting a photogallery (someone said Phoca gallery?!?).
    Also modules are easy managed through BE area and you can browse and install them with just few clicks.

    I’m enthusiast about it, and I wanted to thank Federico because I discovered it just through his article :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s