Css / cms

Hi Guys,

I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently working through all the lynda.com vids and trying to learn as much as possible about HTML/CSS. It’s really fascinating and I love the amount of control that CSS gives me over the appearance of my sites. The problem is that by using HTML/CSS alone I’m only able to produce static sites. I want to be able to design sites with blogs, shopping carts and an ability to be easily updated by muggles, but I’m realistic about the amount of time it will take me (a lot) to learn the JavaScript and PHP necessary to custom code these elements.

Using a CMS seems the obvious choice, but I want one where I can still use my HTML/CSS to take complete control over the appearance of the site. I don’t just want to check boxes, I want be able to get my hand dirty (if you know what I mean) but without having to delve into other languages right now.

Out of the big three I’ve been told that Drupal concentrates more on structure and doesn’t lend itself easily to custom design, but what about Joomla and WP? Are there any other CMSs people would recommend?

Thanks in advance,

You certainly have full control of the CSS with WordPress, but it can get a bit tangly. I love ExpressionEngine, which has a complete separation between back end and front end, so that it’s like coding a static site. There is a free version of it for non-profit sites, but otherwise there’s a modest price tag (inconsequential for most clients, IMHO). A similar, free alternative is MODx.