Hotaru CMS is an open source, PHP platform for building your own websites. With flexible plugins and themes, you can make any site you like. There are 100's of plugins freely available that can turn Hotaru into whatever you need; a web magazine, a community journal, a link voting site, anything!

If Wordpress didn't do blogging by itself, you'd need plugins to do it for you. And if you had to make plugins, you wouldn't be limited to just blogging. You could make plugins for any kind of site, whether a blog, a social network, an online shop, etc. That's Hotaru CMS, a framework for making websites customized to your needs. As an example, check out the demo. It showcases a Digg clone made with Hotaru plugins.

The core Hotaru package provides the absolute basics for a PHP-based website: A home page, an admin page, function libraries and a plugin management system. It comes with a straightforward installation script that installs some database tables and registers you as the administrator. And that's about it. You are then left to plug in the functionality you want your site to have.

If you wanted to, you could use that foundation to build a blog, a directory, a forum, or any other kind of website, but we decided to start with a collection of plugins that make a social bookmarking site when used together. Whereas Wordpress plugins or Pligg modules tend to be quite small, Hotaru plugins provide such key components as user systems and post publishing. That means you can completely change how your website works by editing, changing or developing your own plugins - leaving the main Hotaru core files free from modifications and easy to upgrade.

Hotaru offers four main areas for customization: main themes, admin themes, plugins and language packs. Themes are small and easy to customize, and the admin section is kept separate from the main theme so you can make or use different admin styles. Plugins use templates and language files that can be edited and saved without being overwritten when upgrading. Language packs are collections of raw text used in Hotaru that can be changed or translated into different languages.