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Re: Evaluation of HTML editors/generators


From: Joel Ward
Date: Nov 12, 2002 12:41PM

> My college is considering a switch from Dreamweaver, which is supported
> campus wide, to a form based program written in Cold Fusion by some
> folks at MSU...

Hi Jill,

I think it could be a more accessible site by using the home-grown "content
management system" instead of an editor like Dreamweaver or FrontPage. If
they write the backend program well, it can check for accessibility issues
and ensure that the rules are applied correctly. And it allows
non-technical users to more easily add and edit content. Plus, it might be
easier for all users to add content as they no longer need a proprietary
application to install on their local systems.

However, you are right to be concerned about a non-supported and
non-standardized product. Your questions are good. There is a lot that
needs to go on in the backend. Alternately, they could buy an off-the-shelf
content management system, which would then be supported and standardized.
There are some free or low cost solutions out there.

In any case, they'd need to make sure that the system validates code like
you mentioned (question is, to what standard), and maybe have a workflow
system that builds-in a manual accessibility check, as some issues cannot be
confirmed by a computer. Workflow in general may require a lot of work to
define properly.

Also, they may need to disable the ability for end-users to insert HTML, to
prevent rogue code from infiltrating the site. That could cause problems,
as formatting needs to be added in some way (e.g. by a rich-text web form,
like Ektron eWebEditPro; simple proprietary tags; DHTML, etc.).

The end-users would need to be trained on the system and how to properly
enable accessibility, and good contextual help or some sort of documentation
could supplement that training.

Just some thoughts...you probably thought of most of this already.

We moved one of our client's site from 1) FrontPage to a 2) database-driven
ASP system to 3) Microsoft Content Management Server over the past two
years, and I feel that it has helped make the site more consistent, the code
cleaner, and accessibility in better shape.


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