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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS. ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


“With ocPortal, we are committed to using our experience and talents to keep the web open, ensuring people don't need legions of programmers to build websites with the features they truly need. Through our open-source Content Management System, ocPortal, we are carrying the web forward by empowering people to build sophisticated sites with elegance and efficiency.”

ocPortal manifesto

ocPortal isn't just thrown together on a whim. It is developed to a very particular vision, which we describe below in the ocPortal manifesto:
  1. Article publishing is just one thing an ocPortal website should do well, and nobody should have to rely on non-standard addons to achieve common website functionality – on the flip-side every feature must be easily justifiable and software bloat avoided
  2. Features should almost always be designed for users not developers, but developers should also be supported in achieving their optimal productivity
  3. A CMS should embody and reflect web standards: it is a tool for building for the mechanisms we define in our standards; standards and tools are other sides of the same coin
  4. Everything should fit together smoothly, into a tidy streamlined model – from the features running through the software, to the clean design of the ocPortal website
  5. ocPortal should remain Open Source software, free to use and modify
  6. Everything should be as documented and user-friendly as possible – any area where this can't be done inside the development process should be made achievable by a well-integrated crowd-sourcing mechanism
  7. ocPortal is here to empower everybody, from casual users, to programmers, to web managers; and people in every country of the world
  8. ocPortal users should be encouraged to give back to the ocPortal project in what ways they can, to ensure ocPortal continues to push forward unencumbered by external influences – and contributors should be given the credit they deserve for the efforts they put in
  9. ocPortal development should not be guided by short-term fads, reinventions of the wheel, and it should not be biased in it's affiliation with third party companies
  10. Everything in ocPortal should be done to best standards, and fully flexible and customisable

Standards & accessibility

One key factor we emphasise is the growing importance of accessibility on the internet. For the web to progress, we all (website developers) share the obligation to build semantically-correct websites. This essential consideration ensures that innovative new software can interact with websites in clever ways, and that everyone—including paralysed and blind users, can fully participate on the web.

Sadly, widespread standards support is largely lacking within the CMS industry. ocPortal, by contrast, currently conforms to dozens of strict standards—something for which we are extremely proud:

Accessibility and Internationalisation

Additionally, we have two documented formats of our own:
  • Comcode XML – this language allows people to implement rich media functionality without being programmers, which has not previously been possible. It is essentially a higher-layer above normal web standards, introducing powerful new interface constructs and extensibility.
  • OCP Core – this is a simple extension to Dublin Core, extending it to encapsulate Web 2.0-style data.
Security model (click to expand)
Finally, we are very vigilent about solid security and employ many layers of security throughout our development process to ensure that the only person making changes to your website—is you. Click the diagram to the right to learn more.

If you're interested in our standards support, and reasons for supporting the semantic web, read our article,
The Semantic Web”.

The future

The internet is changing faster than perhaps any mainstream technology has in our past. Here is a sense for the direction we see it heading next:
ocPortal's history - the highlights of our major versions over the years:
  • v1 (March 2004): limited page support & basic features
  • v2 (August 2004): completely rearchitected, added Comcode
  • v2.1 (November 2004): introduced members, attachments
  • v2.5 (October 2005): created our integrated forum, OCF
  • v3 (July 2006): UI overhaul
  • v4 (August 2008): UX, lots of rearchitecting
  • v5 (July 2010): significantly improved UX
  • v6 (March 2011): big performance improvements
  • v6.1 (April 2011): interactive CSS editor
  • v7 (May 2011): significantly improved UX again
  • v8 (March 2012): many major feature upgrades
  • v9 (March 2012): big theme design improvements
  1. Better desktop integration:
    If web applications were freed from the constraints of a browser frame, and could integrate with the rest of the programs on the dock/system tray, we would see a whole new avenue for real-time data flow: separate icons for alt+tab, true integration with desktop notifications… all allowing websites to actually behave like the rest of the programs on your computer.
  2. Richer websites:
    We are only recently able to implement trivial features like file upload progress indicators and native video support. But there are lots of similar enhancements we've been waiting for, like table sorting, and true sub-page caching ability so we can deliver real-time performance without complex Javascript (which often causes accessibility problems). The latest iteration of standards (CSS3, HTML5 and HTTP2) are coming along, and we eagerly look forward to finally using these.