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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 4 declined, 1 accepted (5 total, 20.00% accepted)

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Submission + - Ohio State University and Deque Support Accessible Content Management (

matria writes:

Take your eyeglasses off (they’re assistive technology) and see how easy it is to use a website or interface. Try surfing the web with your eyes closed while a web page is read aloud to you. Or, enlarge your fonts to 3× their normal size, crank down the contrast and brightness on your monitor, and only use your thumb on your non-dominant hand. For many people, there is no other way to interact with the web.

Ohio State University and Deque University are supporting the development of an accessible UI for the MODX CMS. With this backing, the team behind the open source web content management system and framework has started a project to make the MODX Revolution back-end Manager fully accessible for people who use assisitive devices and technologies for accessing the web. While MODX can be used to build accessible websites, its back-end Manager UI was never designed to be accessible.

Work has started and progress can be seen at the project's github repository. MODX users are able to install the in-progress admin interface theme for testing and to provide feedback to the project developers. Personally, I've installed it and use it as it's developed at this point, and already find it much easier on my failing eyesight.

Key alterations being made include:

  • Keyboard Navigation
  • ARIA roles, states, and properties for all the major areas of the Manager UI
  • Visual Contrast to meet WCAG guidelines
  • Clean up text presentation for screen readers
  • Focus indication

Submission + - Hialeah Shooter Downloaded "Anarchist Cookbook" ( 2

matria writes: Reports on the possible motivation of Pedro Vargas, who shot six people before being killed by police, appear to make much of his accessing the "Anarchist Cookbook". Even the name of the page of the article emphasizes this — "at-former-job-hialeah-gunman-downloaded.html" investigation into Vargas prompted by his poor work performance found he had downloaded a slew of inappropriate files onto his office desktop, including a so-called “Anarchist Cookbook,” which includes instructions on making explosives at home, counterfeiting money and killing someone with your bare hands...

Of chief concern to Vargas’ supervisors was a file titled “1000 hacking tutorials,” which, according to the university, included an “Index to the Anarchist Cookbook IV, version 4.14.” The Anarchist Cookbook is a bomb-making manual first published in 1971 during the Vietnam War.

Submission + - MODx Revolution - Building the Web Your Way 1

matria writes: MODx is a free, open-source Content Management System and Framework, developed and supported by MODX LLC and a global community. The latest iteration of MODx, called Revolution, is entirely object-oriented. To take advantage of the power of MODx, the developer needs to learn how MODx works and how to use its building blocks to extend it to satisfy his purpose. While there is official documentation and a number of websites with tips and tutorials, as well as an active and friendly forum, for the dedicated developer one of the publications that it is good to be aware of is W. Shawn Wilkerson's MODX Revolution — Building the Web Your Way.

Known to the MODx community as "sottwell", I've been a developer and contributor to MODx since its beginnings, so I'm well-familiar with W. Shawn Wilkerson's contributions to the MODx community over the past six years. He is the founder of Sanity LLC, a technology integration company, and holds 9 degrees in programming and web design. His book on MODx Revolution, subtitled A Journey Through a Content Management Framework, was published in August of 2012 by Sanity Press, with ISBN 978-0985853204. It has some 600 pages, with 19 chapters divided into 5 sections.


This begins with the obligatory introduction to what MODx is (and is not). Use MODx as it installs for nearly instant, fully-functional sites, or turn it into a framework for complex web applications.

The second chapter introduces the Manager interface. This is an excellent place to start for new MODx users. We are taken step-by-step through the Manager, with each feature and function explained. Of special importance is the tree structure that lists the content Resources that provide the main content elements for each page, this tree structure reflecting the overall site structure.

Shawn explains how the Manager itself is built on the core MODx framework, and so it is customizable and even totally replaceable

The next five chapters discuss the basic building-block elements that are used to build a MODx site. The coverage of these elements is by no means superficial, everything from customizing the Manager forms for creating and editing them to how they are stored in the database to how to format and manipulate their final output on your web page is explained. Plenty of actual useful code samples and in-depth explanations make it easier to understand how MODx builds up a site using these modular blocks of content and content-generating elements. One entire chapter on Output Modifiers caught my attention here, as it covers a topic often overlooked or, conversely, overused.

Live Projects

The Quick Start chapter walks through the simple procedure to create a basic website after installing MODx, from a few basic System Settings such as a name for your site, through setting up the Template for your pages and assigning it to the Resources that will provide the main content for the pages, using Chunks, Snippets and Template Variables to add dynamic content to your pages, and installing and using third-party add-ons via the handy Package Manager. A complete site, with a dynamic menu structure, search functionality and a contact form can be set up in less than an hour, using any one of thousands of free HTML templates as the base Template.

The rest of this section goes on to show how common Web essentials such SEO, AJAX, friendly URLs and .js and .css minification can be easily arranged, to how a full-blown blogging platform can be added to your site with the Articles package.

One of the more frequent questions that comes up in the forums is how to use JQuery or other libraries, or how to handle AJAX in MODx. Basically, MODx doesn't interfere with your css or javascript in any way. But there are speed and optimization considerations in how and where Javascript links and code should be inserted, and MODx APIs can make processing AJAX requests or inserting data into Javascript functions clean and easy. A chapter on Javascript, CSS and JQuery works through several examples of how various features of MODx can be leveraged to automate best practices for everything from a simple JQuery slideshow to a complete AJAX-driven web application.


The MODx Revolution user management system is a complex network of users, user groups, roles and policies, based on the ACL model of user management. This section is vital to understanding how to control and manage user access to both protected sections of your front-end site and limit Manager functionality. With plenty of screen shots and examples, the reader is gently guided through the whole inter-related subject of organization and controls.

The chapter on Contexts explains how this feature can be used for dividing the site into sections. Contexts can be used to manage separate domains, allowing multiple websites to be managed from one MODx installation. They are also used to provide virtual subdomains or subdirectories for easy management of multi-language sites. Again, plenty of screen shots and examples open up the possibilities of using Contexts. Some of the limitations and pitfalls of using Contexts are explained and resolved.


Since this is not exactly a beginner's tutorial on OOP, the section begins with a brief overview of what OOP is, with some useful links to OOP and OOP in PHP tutorial sites. Then it continues by describing the fully object-oriented MODx Revolution API and the basic $modx object. MODx, like most CMS applications, relies heavily on the database, so there is an emphasis on understanding the database access methods and how MODx stores and caches data. Using the API simplifies just about every facet of MODx development, and the explanations and examples here make this a good reference to keep close at hand.

The foundation of MODx Revolution, the xPDO ORB/ORM object library, is extensively discussed. Coding best-practices are discussed. Real-world, complete, functioning and useful examples abound.

The section ends with how to install and use third-party add-on packages, and how to create your own packages.


Everything from MODx Revolution terminology through system settings and how the MODx parser works, ending with an interesting set of "rules", shared nuggets of hard-won programmer philosophy, make the Appendix another useful resource.

The book is clearly based on a deep understanding and love of programming, web development, and of MODx Revolution itself. One thing I especially appreciated about the layout of the book is the extra large font used for the code examples. It does't make for a pretty layout, but it's a great improvement in usablity over the usual prettier blocks of small, often hard-to-read text. This is even more significant when considering that Shawn is the founder and CEO of Sanity/Sanity Press. While typos and grammatical errors are common, this was understandably explained by the need to get such a book published and available before the fast movement of the web development world in general and MODx in particular make it at least partially obsolete. A year later, it's still covering material well within the leading edge of MODx Revolution functionality. The occasional personal ramblings actually give us an insight into Shawn's programming philosophy, and make the whole book seem more like a personal message, almost a conversation, than a cold presentation of facts. Overall, this is an excellent book, I very much enjoy it, use it, and recommend it.

The book can be purchased from Sanity Press and Amazon. A Kindle version is in process.

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