5th August 2020

Craft CMS x W3C | A more accessible Content Management System

Jamie Jenkins 5

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Jamie Jenkins

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Why W3C Shortlisting Craft out of 3 other CMSes, as their future CMS, is huge!

Who are W3C, why are they important and what’s Craft got to do with it?

“The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organisations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Led by Web inventor and Director Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe, W3C's mission is to lead the Web to its full potential”

So, yeah. The W3C are kind of a big deal.

Last week, W3C shortlisted 3 CMS platforms (Statamic, Craft and WordPress) and tested all 3 as their new potential CMS, as they progress toward replatforming themselves. However, they did not come to a conclusion in the end as to which CMS to use.

Why?

They encountered a bit of a hurdle as none of the CMSes were compliant with the authoring tools accessibility guidelines, which is an essential requirement for W3C. A lot of CMSes aren’t compliant when it comes to accessibility. We know that Craft’s Backend / Control Panel is brilliantly accessible already, but not quite up to the required standards for the diverse range of content moderators at W3C.

That’s another reason as to why we love Craft, they’re very quick to turn around changes to better their developers and their users, which leads me to believe (and is purely my speculation) that W3C asked all 3 CMSes if they could do anything about their accessibility.

Low and behold, Craft delivered (again!)

Just 2 weeks since the breakdown was released on the W3C website, Craft have pushed their latest version — 3.5 — to the public, which contains a wide range of updates including a bunch of changes to the Control Panel’s Accessibility and Content Author Experience.

What's included in the Craft CMS 3.5 update?

As mentioned previously

Accessibility

  • Use shapes to represent statuses – Replaces circular status indicators with orange triangles to indicate pending statuses, and red squares to indicate expired statuses.
  • Underline links – Adds an underline style to all links in the control panel, making it more obvious that they’re clickable.

Author Experience

  • UI elements – Add custom headings, tips, warnings, and horizontal rules to your field layouts. You can even add custom UI elements based on Twig templates. (Yes, plugins can register additional UI elements as well!)Title field control – You can now set the position of Title fields within your field layouts, so they don’t show up at the top of every content tab.
  • Field relabelling – You can now override the label and author instructions for each of your fields right from the field layout designer. No more need to create multiple identical fields, just because you want to change the label.
  • Custom field widths – Set the widths of each of your fields to 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%. Fields will be displayed side-by-side when there’s room.

GraphQL

  • Mutations – It’s now possible to mutate entries, categories, tags, users, global sets, and Matrix blocks via the GraphQL API.
  • Explorer – We’ve bundled the OneGraph Explorer plugin into Craft’s built-in GraphiQL IDE, so building GraphQL queries is now as simple as ticking some checkboxes.
  • Prettify & History – The built-in GraphiQL IDE now has the ability to prettify your query, and you can also browse your recent query history.
  • API improvements – Querying for elements over GraphQL has also improved, with several new arguments, fields, and directives, as well as the ability to set aliases on relational fields.

What could this mean for Craft, if the W3C decide to choose it for their next CMS

Here’s my thoughts on what I think this could mean for Craft, if the W3C go ahead with the content management system:

Popularity

The W3C is a huge organisation that defines the Web standards and when considering the sheer amount of people who are involved, I believe this could lead to a huge boost in popularity for Craft.

There’s the potential for a surge in new people looking to learn about Craft CMS and why this organisation chose to build their website on it. That would mean more developers picking up the platform and a lot more businesses trusting and using it as their CMS too. This would be a great turning point for Craft and we’d love to see more businesses embracing the platform. No matter how quickly it grows (and it has, a lot!) We've found that clients looking at their CMS platforms are still a little weary of Craft at first (because it seem seems small and less well known) but hey, everyone has got to start somewhere, right?

As of the Craft Conference back in 2019, there were over 70k websites using Craft worldwide with 148 development partners (including us, actually, we’re one of 28 who’re verified and 1 of 7 in Europe!)

Continuous updates

As there’s a lot of potential for Craft to explode in popularity, this could also lead to huge spike in commercial license sales for Craft, which in turn, would sail the Pixel and Tonic boat into the future — leading to more and more development, continuing updates and even more growth for the company.

All in all, if we’re putting our twopence in, we’d say that W3C can’t go wrong with Craft. We moved to Craft over 5 years ago (from WordPress) and we’d never look back: that goes for our team (not just developers, designers and marketers too) as well as all of our clients that have either moved from their previous CMS or started right out of the gate with Craft.

Not sure if Craft is for you or want to learn more about the platform?

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Interesting? There’s plenty more where that came from…

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