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  1. #1
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    Most accessible CMS output?

    What would you say is the most accessible CMS? Not so much in terms of its admin UI, but in terms of its output and theme customisation?

    I spent a frustrating week before Christmas customising a Drupal site that I've taken responsibility for, and it was no fun at all to get it heading in the right direction in terms of clean HTML, WCAG 2 compliance, and best practices. It's still not perfect because some things just can't be changed.

    I wish that I could get a custom CMS built... but that isn't worth doing for me. What CMS do you use when you want a high standard of accessibility? Which CMS should I concentrate on learning?

  2. #2
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    ExpressionEngine. Seriously, it's the best of all the CMSes I've used in terms of code control. 99% of the markup is in your hands. It's 99% because the pre-made email form does have some hidden input elements and markup, but even those you could remove entirely or use your own email form, or an add-on.

    You basically start with a completely blank template. You create your template as you would a normal HTML document. You write your markup or copy/paste the markup of the static HTML documents you've created, add {exp:tags} wherever you want to include CMS functions and that's it. The EE template tags do not contain markup, so it's quite easy to do with it whatever you want, just like you would with a static HTML site where you can determine exactly where, how, and why you want to structure your markup the way you deem apt.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  3. #3
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    Interesting. How is it for features (like polls, comment management, ways to display content, etc.)? Good, I assume... What about reliance on JS? These are two aspects of Drupal that, to be fair, are good: e.g. the Views module is strong and it doesn't demand JS just to run a simple opinion poll, for example (yes, Wordpress, I'm looking at you).

  4. #4
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I have no experience with newer versions of Drupal so can't comment on that.

    Note that EE is more of a "Framework" CMS than just a simple content management system. There is no reliance on JS because, as I said, you control everything, unless you mean the admin panel. The quality of add-ons are very high, but the downside is that most of them are commercial, like the CMS itself.

    Have a look yourself to get an idea:

    EE
    Add-ons
    More Add-ons
    And even more Add-ons
    The list won't end

    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  5. #5
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    Thanks.

    It looks good; but it would be an expensive option, right now.

  6. #6
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat30 View Post
    What would you say is the most accessible CMS? Not so much in terms of its admin UI, but in terms of its output and theme customisation?
    A lot of your accessibility is in (roughly) 4 areas, the design, the navigation of the site, the content and the "semanticness" of the markup (is that a new word?). With most CMSes that are worth their salt, you should be able to control all 4 without too much hassle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mat30 View Post
    Which CMS should I concentrate on learning?
    Are you currently familiar with any CMS at all? If not, then the best thing to do would be to find the best CMS for what your skills are and researching for the "best in class" as it were. One of the important criteria would of course be how much control you have over the code that the CMS outputs, as this will greatly affect how much accessibility you're able to sprinkle around your markup.

    There is a good list of CMS packages here in the Content Management forum http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...-are-available


    I've had good experiences with Wordpress in terms of how much control you have over the code. Even though some of the markup you can't control in a straightforward manner, often that doesn't matter too much because it will generate appropriate markup anyway. (For example, a menu might be generated as an unordered list.)

    I've had a play with Concrete5 before and didn't find it too bad to work with (and AFAIK gives you 100% control over the markup)

    If you're after a .NET based CMS, I've heard good things about Umbraco.
    var details = {
    . . web: "afterlight.com.au",
    . . photos: "jvdl.id.au",
    . . psa: "usethelatestversion.com"
    }

  7. #7
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJohn
    Are you currently familiar with any CMS at all?
    @AussieJohn ; @Mat30 has mentioned Drupal and WordPress.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  8. #8
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat30 View Post
    It looks good; but it would be an expensive option, right now.
    Like kohoutek, I use ExpressionEngine and wouldn't use anything else. But a free CMS that is similar in nature (at least in that you start with a blank slate) is MODx, which is a very good CMS. Also SilverStripe is worth a look.

  9. #9
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    @AussieJohn ; @Mat30 has mentioned Drupal and WordPress.
    Ah yes, I should have probably phrased that differently


    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    But a free CMS that is similar in nature (at least in that you start with a blank slate) is MODx, which is a very good CMS. Also SilverStripe is worth a look.
    I'm pretty sure I looked at MODx a while back and it appealed to me for a few reasons, I quite liked it's templating and the amount of control you have over markup. One of the few things that didn't appeal though was the need to store templates in the DB, other than that, it's quite neat.
    var details = {
    . . web: "afterlight.com.au",
    . . photos: "jvdl.id.au",
    . . psa: "usethelatestversion.com"
    }

  10. #10
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    Ralph, I downloaded Silverstripe a while back, so I'll definitely get around to trying it now. ModX, I tried once briefly, but didn't stick with it. Maybe give that some more time, too.

    Aussie John, I sort of know my way around WP and Drupal, although Drupal is a real curate's egg love/hate kind of product in many ways.

    Thanks for replying. Whatever I pick, I need my investment of time and effort to be aimed at the right product.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    The trade off with Drupal is that it is extremely powerful with the right modules such as; views, panels, web forms, etc. However, the mark-up is generally horrific. The reason for that being that generally module developers will make it easy to target elements in CSS. That is why there is excessive wrapping and very poor html. However, like anything it is a trade-off. Now that isn't to say the mark-up can be be overridden. Though generally it is not worth the extra the time involved considering it can become fairly complex and yield little benefit in terms of return on the business end. With the right modules Drupal is probably 1000 times more powerful with the right modules than Wordpress. Especially true with the advent of Drupal 7. Though it is a huge learning curve interface and programming wise. The little nuances of Drupal and contributed modules always seem endless. Though if I were to take on a project that did not have the appropriate budget to use a mere framework instead of a CMS Drupal 7 would probably be it from what I have used – (WP, modx, joomla). Unless it were a store in which case I would probably recommend Magento or a simple blog set-up than Wordpress.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.


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