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So far, the only one I've found is the excellent tangocms.

However, although tango is simple enough for me to use, I'd like something simpler for use by non-programmer clients.

Silverstripe can be made to use html 4 templates, but one needs to be a very good php programmer in order to implement it.

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I had good result using Drupal and Wordpress.

Wordpress is more of a blog engine but Drupal on the other hand is versatile and quite mature and stable, you can easily add an administration section for clients. There is also a lot of useful modules to choose from.

As for valid HTML, I've never had this kind of issue.

Good luck!

EDIT HTML4 is already 10 years old so you might want to look at old CMS. Any CMS still using HTML 4 is unlikely to be popular.

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Alas, wordpress does not produce valid html 4. It forces users and developers to use xhtml. This is exactly the situation that I'm trying to avoid. – robert Mar 1 '10 at 22:35
XHTML is over 10 years old as well... – Arjan Mar 1 '10 at 23:06
Yes, html4 is old. But it can actually be delivered correctly, unlike xhtml. Xhtml is also about 10 years old. And it's implementation is internet explorer has always been broken. XHTML is broken in ie, broken in delivery most of the time and unneccessary. It has no advantages over html4 in the vast majority of cases. – robert Mar 2 '10 at 0:58
What do you think is broken about xhtml? What specific features are you using? – Chris S Mar 9 '10 at 18:47
We are using drupal. While it may be heavy, knowledge wise, when you implement it. People with basic html(or even less) knowledge can use your product, if done properly. – artifex Mar 9 '10 at 18:50

I've used before, and it's pretty easy to use for non-techies.

If you want something to manage your entire site, Wordpress is about as simple as they come to get going, and has lots of extensions that do a variety of clever things.

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Ckeditor is not a cms. Although it can be used inside one, it doesn't reliably produce html 4. Wordpress does not produce valid html 4. Rather, it forces you to use xhtml. This is exactly the opposite of what I am looking for. – robert Mar 1 '10 at 22:33

Have you considered Plone? It validates.

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The Plone homepage validates as xhtml. This is exactly what I don't want. I'm looking for a cms that will let me use html 4, rather then forcing me to use xhtml. Last time I looked at plone, it was inadequate in this regard. Are you aware of a means by which plone can easily be made to produce valid html 4 ? – robert Mar 1 '10 at 22:40

Isn't the reason why xhtml appears broken in IE because IE won't adhere to certain html standards, or wont follow those standards? For instance, if you view the code in IE it appears broken, but in Firefox or Opera it doesn't.

Back to the original post; is it possible you could just use a different Internet Browser and then it wouldn't matter if xhtml was used?

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Most of the web development world is moving to XHTML. Very rapidly. At the moment, it's considered the de-facto minimum standard for sane development. Are you using a recent version of IE? Are you trying to do something very strange with the page? My personal site and blog are valid XHTML 1.1 Transitional, and appear fine in IE8 (or so I'm told, I've never used it...) – Jason Antman Mar 3 '10 at 22:46
My statment was more to the OP than anything else. I dont' use IE so I don't have any problems ever viewing XHTML. But users that view my website in IE have a much different experience. So my question to the OP was can he use something else? – Webs Mar 4 '10 at 14:06

MODx gives you 100% control over the HTML, including the HTML that the various widgets, plugins, etc. output, so the quality of the HTML output is entirely within your control. Drupal is the same way, other than what comes out of the WYSIWYG editors. Those are all plugins, so it's up to you to pick one that is good for your needs.


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I'm a long-time user & fan of Textpattern, and have used its tag-based template system to produce valid HTML4, XHTML (1.0 & 1.1), and HTML5 sites. There may be certain tags and/or plug-ins that prefer to render more modern, XHTML-like, code at this point, but you should still be able to generate valid HTML4 relatively easily.

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