Choosing a system

Step 4: The language or system used to build your site will influence the type of site you can create.

System comparison

Various systems are used to build websites at ANU. The table below compares some of the popular options. Please ask your local web support if you would like to discuss these options further and find out what they recommend for your site.

Comparison on systems for building ANU websites
Details PHP templates Drupal WordPress Squiz CMS
Availability & contact

Anyone can use the centrally administered PHP templates.

When you request a Site ID, we will send you a link to the templates.

If you already have a Site ID, you can find the templates in the Web Publishers Group Alliance site.

Contact the Webstyle team if you have any questions.

Those within Colleges are encouraged to have their site built by their local web team in Drupal.

Other areas can access templates (Acton theme and modules) via the Drupal Users Group website but need their own local web support.

Anyone can have a WordPress site on a central installation.

Contact IT Services Unix team via the IT Service Desk

The Webstyle team can also provide basic help with Wordpress enquiries.

Contact IT Services Enterprise Systems via the IT Service Desk for availability and further information

Website PHP templates page Drupal Users Group WordPress page ITS CMS Alliance site
Skills required HTML coding Drupal training will be needed Basic training will be helpful Basic training will be needed
Software required Text editor or Dreamweaver Any web browser Any web browser Any web browser
Advantages Flexibility in layout and functionality Dynamically generated views of the content with a database backend. Coding not required for complex layouts Easy to learn and quick to build a site Moderately easy to learn
Disadvantages No database backend. Complex behaviour needs to be coded by someone with expertise Steep learning curve and potential lack of support outside CHM/COS Only basic layouts and functionality, some coding is required HTML coding required for layouts that are not basic. Editing interface requires training, can be slow, and can only be used in some web browsers.
Good for ... Small, simple sites for non-experienced coders, larger sites for experienced coders only Large, data-driven sites which require dynamic views of the content. Good for people who don't code, provided they are trained in Drupal Blogs, news sites, small, simple sites. Good for people who don't code Small, simple sites which do not require dynamic webpage elements

Creating new templates

We strongly recommend you use a system that already has ANU-styled templates. However, if you need a template that is not yet available, or if you want to adapt a template to work with a particular system or language, please let us know so we can work with you to create a template that everyone can use.

Do not use source code on existing sites to generate your own templates. Base them on the PHP template and use scripted inclusions.

Scripted inclusions

ANU templates use scripting languages to automatically retrieve objects from the central store and include them within your page. This ensures that everyone is using the latest versions of content and code.

Scripted sections should not require any changes because they are automatically updated for you. In the PHP template, you can see the scripted sections within your config file underneath //Scripts and includes - no need to update//

The scripts automatically populate things like:

  • Metadata – the standard ANU block of metadata is included, along with metadata specific to each page
  • Style sheets – the style sheets that are relevant to your area are automatically based on the site ID number in your config file
  • Explore bar and site banner – the global explore bar, and the relevant banner for your website, are automatically included based on the site ID number in your config file
  • ANU footer – the global ANU footer is automatically included and the page footer (update section) is created based on the values you enter at the top of the config file

Script problems?

Includes should be retained to make sure that your website is using the latest versions of any central objects.

If you cannot use scripts for any reason, please work with us to develop an alternative.

Updated:  20 October 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director Marketing/ Page Contact:  Webstyle