Content Management System needed

On behalf of a client, I’m looking for a web standards-compatible CMS. I need to find a system that allows full control of the generated HTML and doesn’t clutter the markup. Any WYSIWYG component used must create fully valid, semantic and accessible XHTML. URL:s should be search engine friendly. The CMS needs to be available now, have a decent installed base, and be reasonably priced. Feature-wise we’re looking for a system that supports things like polls, news, commenting, message boards, and mailing lists. If the administrative interface is available in Swedish, that’s excellent. If not, English will do.

The site will consist of several hundred pages and have around ten editors/writers, whose HTML skills vary from novice to advanced.

I know I’m placing pretty high demands on the CMS here, but standards compliance and accessibility are very important to the client (and to me, obviously). Anyone know of a CMS that will fit my description?

Update: After doing some research and presenting a few alternatives to the client, it turns out they had more or less made a decision already. They just needed to be reassured that they aren’t making a bad choice. And as far as I can tell, the vendor of the CMS they are going to use does take accessibility and web standards seriously. Anyway, thanks everybody for your input on this.

Posted on April 4, 2004 in Content Management


  1. try start looking at, they have a top 40 list over there. from enterprise to open source cms.

  2. We sell EpiServer. I think that this is a good system that you should look into. I think that it got much of what you asked. But I’m no expert on it.

  3. There is phpwcms ( which is very nice and while it is not xhtml compliant it is html 4.01 so that is better than nothing. Another would be drupal which is a very nice community focused, slashdot like cms that has tons of modules although I don’t think it has much as far as rich text support. There are good editors you can add like fckeditor, spaw (my fav) and htmlarea but none that I have seen do well with standards compliant code (xhtml) so unless you want to play with their code then you might have to be stuck with something not quite perfect. Hope that might help someone :)

  4. I have written a CMS which meets all of your requirements - bar one, it’s English only for now (obviously the content can be any language). “Shapeshifter” powers my own website (, my Company’s ( and various others (available on request). Shapeshifter is also endorsed by the UK’s Department for Education and Skills and is used by students, parents and educators with wildly varying levels of technical expertise ( for reference sites). Please drop me a line if you need more info:

  5. April 6, 2004 by Roger (Author comment)

    I’m looking at a number of CMS:s now. Several of the commercial systems seem to be based on .net, which is a bit worrying, considering the crappy and cluttered HTML output I’ve seen from .net. And .net-based sites tend to have a form with a hidden field containing 8-12 KB of garbage on every page. I don’t know much about .net, but I really hope that is a “feature” that can be switched off.

  6. From “WordPress is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.”

  7. Take a look at Plone (

  8. I’ve built a product that combines a weblog, threaded readers forum and a CMS. You can view more information about this product at

  9. Could you tell us about which CMS that they have choosen? It would be really intresting to know.

  10. April 10, 2004 by Roger (Author comment)

    Dag: The client is most probably going to go with EPiServer.

  11. Try Absolut Engine at: It is a news publishing system (content management system) - developed in PHP and MySQL, includes WYSIWYG editor, produces valid XHTML Strict and has clean URLs support built-in.

  12. “I’m looking at a number of CMS:s now. Several of the commercial systems seem to be based on .net, which is a bit worrying, considering the crappy and cluttered HTML output I’ve seen from .net.” Roger…I went through a long, and painful year looking for good .net CMS solutions. My conclusion: there aren’t any yet. And, to add to that, I’m not sure if there are a lot of CMSes that really focus on standards…both at the presentation level and storage level. I did come across this this morning, though…looks promising:

  13. U should check (open source). It is a weblog system and is capable of creating multiple blogs. There are a lot of plugins available.

  14. June 9, 2004 by Claus Jacobsen

    OK. it’s been over a month since th alst post but here’s my 2 cents. I have seen someone on cssvault with a valid xhtml 1.0 transitional site made with mambo 4.6 from It has a very userfriendly administration area, and is of course free.

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