Mara flatfile CMS

Hosting requirements

 Apache 2 webserver or LightTPD on Linux or Windows host
 PHP 5.3 or later, tested up to php7

 Being file-based, No SQL or other database support is necessary
 These requirements will be met by the vast majority of hosting companies.

 Note that Microsoft IIS has NOT been tested as a platform, and might or might not work. (success reports welcome)
 For testing purposes on Windows desktops, we release a portable version with its own webserver. 
 For testing on Linux, install Apache and php (in that order) from your distro's repository.

In the vast majority of cases, simply uploading the zip contents to the host will result in a site that works perfectly.

Requirements for advanced setups

If you want to import bulk quantities of existing HTML files, or create a site with multiple directories/folders, then you might find it more convenient to activate Mara's automatic reflex-loading mode. In this mode, ordinary HTML pages created outside of the editor will behave as part of the Mara website, simply by placing them in the site structure.

It should be noted that the host's php implementation must support auto_prepend directives if automatic reflex loading is to be used. The vast majority will do so. Unfortunately the actual method of setting this feature on depends on the php version being used by the host, which is why we don't supply it as the default mode of working. 

See the advanced installation page for more information on this.

We host most of our client sites on Siteground space, which is a CGI php implementation. Hence, for Siteground the prepend directive must be in php.ini

Page editing Requirements


Any modern operating system
Modern browser; Mozilla Firefox 22 or later recommended.
Screen resolution larger than the page being edited


Familiarity with webserver directory structure and file types
Familiarity with HTML4/5 and basic css
Familiarity with .ini configuration files
Some knowledge of php and javascript is helpful but not essential

Browser compatibility for page editing

Mozilla Firefox, version 26 or later, is the de facto browser used for testing.  Use of other browsers for editing (as opposed to viewing) pages is generally possible, though please note that Mozilla browsers are the only approved editing platform, so results may vary. At time of writing, editing has been tested in Firefox versions up to 48.

Other Mozilla browsers such as Seamonkey are generally suitable, being based on the same rendering engine it is unlikely there will be any issues.

For Apple Mac users, the latest Safari browser supports all editing functions except image drag-to-rescale.

Linux users may edit with Firefox or Iceweasel (Which is effectively the same browser)

Google Chrome (or its open source derivative SRWare Iron) appear to support all editing functions with the exception of image drag-to-rescale.

Opera does not appear to support some functions required for page editing, and is not advised.

Safari for Windows is now a very out-of-date version compared to the Mac release, and may not give good editing support. 

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 appears to edit pages satisfactorily. Earlier versions may work but their use is not advised.
Tip: If using IE to edit pages in a corporate environment, ensure that Compatibility Mode is turned OFF. The issue here is that if you are editing a site hosted on an inhouse webserver, then for some perverse reason compatibility mode may automatically activate itself, causing the browser to simulate IE7.

The new Edge browser edits pages acceptably well, although image drag-to-rescale may not be available.

If you are unfortunate enough to be constrained by office IT rules to use a specific OS or browser, then version 11 of IE should be OK, but use of anything earlier to edit pages is strongly advised against. The sensible thing in this case is to persuade your IT admin to install the latest Firefox for you. Or, get a copy of Firefox Portable which will run on XP or later, and does not require admin priveleges or installation. (Best clear this with IT first though)

Site visitor requirements

Any modern browser on most desktop or mobile platforms
Support for textreaders or non-javascript browsers is provided via sitemap navigation

Note: The H5 theme will not display acceptably in legacy versions or the 'compatibility mode' of Microsoft Internet Explorer, since these do not properly support HTML5 page markup semantics. If your target audience includes such environments, base your site on one of the other themes.


Mara cms is distributed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 This is similar to the GPL, but allows greater freedom as regards the creation of derivative commercial products such as professsionally-built client websites.

Cookie Requirements

Mara sets a session cookie for both viewing and editing sessions. This cookie is not essential for viewing, but is essential for proper editing function. The session cookie is deleted when all windows and processes of the browser instance are fully closed. No persistent cookies are set by Mara.

 EU Law:
Our understanding is that for users in the European Union, session cookies do not require a cookie warning to be posted on the site, because these cookies are regarded as temporary, and therefore are not a means of tracking the user's browsing habits beyond the current session. Thus, Mara sites need not carry these intrusive and annoying notices unless they also contain other software which sets persistent cookies. Be aware, though, that third party software or add-ons may set persistent cookies, in which case EU Law requires such a notice. This would typically arise if your Mara site includes a forum, Google advertising or stats-gathering code or suchlike. If in doubt, check the browser's cookie manager to see what is being installed.


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