Ever since Dustin Curtis shared his Svbtle platform with the world, I’ve been fairly interested in finding a similar system. Thus far, I’ve found three different “clones” of Svbtle, one of which I’m using on this blog.

WordPress Svbtle (wp-svbtle)

This Svbtle clone, created by Gravity on Mars takes of the form of a WordPress theme and alternate content editor written in PHP.


Obtvse was created by Nate Wienert, who even copied the “Codename” titled used by Curtis. Wienert presents some interesting points in Obtvse’s introductory post. He does a good job of explaining Curtis controversial decision to keep Svbtle an exclusive network and a closed platform:

I wrote this engine entirely for myself, without the intention of opening it up to other people. But since realizing that it has improved the way I think and write, I’ve decided to open it up to a small number of vetted bloggers. — Dustin Curtis

Obtvse is written for Ruby on Rails, so if you’re more of a PHP person, stick with WP-Svbtle.


Orbvt is a Svbtle clone written in written on the Meteor Application Framework.

I’ve never used the Meteor platform before, but it is open source and it is pure JavaScript, so it seems friendly enough. Looking at the demo, it doesn’t appear to resemble Svbtle as much as WP-Svbtle and Obtvse do, but the general design is still the same, with the simplistic sidebar on the left and date at the top.

Modifying WordPress Svbtle

I found that most of the modifications I needed to make to wp-svbtle were in the header.php file. I removed most of the default sidebar code, opting to use a link widget with a specific link category to better manage my sidebar links. By default, WordPress Svbtle automatically includes every page on your WordPress site in the sidebar, which is fairly annoying. This is easily remedied by deleting the appropriate code in the header.php file.

Somewhat oddly, the preferences for the icon/logo don’t appear on the Svbtle options dashboard page, but rather on the Header options page.

Another area that could use some modification: the HTML title attribute. By default Svbtle handles this attribute like this:

<title><?php wp_title( 'by', true, 'right' ); bloginfo( 'name' ); ?></title>

However, this could improved (ex. using your name rather than the blog name). I’ve found that the easiest way to manage titles and HTML meta tags is to use a WordPress SEO plugin.