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Alternative to CityDesk?

Hello,

Don't get me wrong. Like everyone here, I think CD is a killer ap. The concept of a dedicated Windows client that lets users create web pages in WYSIWYG mode and save the entire site in a database before publishing it in HTML is a very cool idea.

Unfortunately, its support of HTML is pretty basic (no table, etc.), it doesn't let users publish just one article (besides, when rendered, filenames are meaningless outside of CD), and for the time being at least, it's clearly aimed at bloggers.

That got me wondering whether there are other similar products that I should know about. Zope is interesting, but it doesn't offer any dedicated client yet, and I don't know of any way to extract a whole site or just one document before uploading the stuff to a remote FTP site.

Any idea?
Thx
FF.

Frederic Faure
Sunday, October 28, 2001

I'm guessing that dealing with tables was a feature scratched off the list in order to make the release date.

I'm building my humble html and style sheets in FrontPage and pasting them into city desk.  It's worth the trouble but when and if CityDesk manages tables itself, I'll be happier.

I find myself wanting a template for the index or other html pages I might build:  A template that I could "clone" to make the other templates.  I suspect there are some clever ways to manage this that I haven't thought of yet.

Dealing with .CSS files raises an issue for me: I'm pulblishing some CityDesk pages within a static FrontPage site:
http://tk-jk.net/tk/tklog.htm

My question: How much do I need to worry about relative addresses when part of my site is in FrontPage and part of it is CityDesk?  (I'm sure the best way to handle it is to publish the whole site in CityDesk.)

Terry Kearns
Sunday, October 28, 2001

Frederic,

CityDesk does let you just publish one article.  Open the article you want and choose File->Save and Publish and just that article will get published (along with all the other "files" it might need such as .jpgs and .bmps).  Unfortunately a bug in the beta also prevented the efficient uploading of big files so each time you publish all those .jpgs and .bmps, etc get uploaded every time even though they don't need to, but thats been fixed in the next beta.

As far as the HTML being pretty basic, I have to admit that that's the whole point.  CityDesk was designed so that content creators could just put the content in after the designer gets finished with the templates.  Designers usually have their religious editor of choice anyway, so we allow them to use Dreamweaver or Frontpage or any other app they choose, seamlessly.  (Don't worry Terry, it will even be easy for win98 users in the next beta :-)  We purposefully don't want content people getting all fancy with design.  That is the job of the designers.  Its a content management app, not an html design tool.  It doesn't compete with Frontpage or Dreamweaver - in fact the people making articles don't even have to have a clue what .css means.

Although CityDesk would be a cool tool for blogging, that is definitely not who it is aimed at.  Rather than try to "pitch" CityDesk I'll just give you a classic example of a great CityDesk user.  A friend of mine's dad owns a machinery company.  He doesn't know a thing about computers, but he got some high school kid, who was the son of one of his business partners, to make him a website.  Its just a big list of his machinery and then links to a page with a picture and a description.  So the kid (the designer) writes the site, but then he has to go back to school.  So the machinery man doesn't know how to update his webpage and all the data is out of date and the links are all broken.  He doesn't have time to learn html nor does he even want to.  The kid could have easily set this site up in CityDesk (which I did in 15 minutes) and now the man can update his own site without even knowing what FTP stands for.

I think the disconnect that is going on is that beta testers are usually a somewhat "knowledgeable" group, and so a lot of people are helping us test and then saying "ah, this isn't for me, I need XML-RPC and Soap on a rope support".  But really CD isn't for those people.  CD is for those people to set up their mom's petunia picture collection site and then mail her a copy and say "Ok, mom, if you want to add a petunia, click on the new article button, paste your petunia picture in and then click the big publish button" - so they can get their mom off their back and get back to posting their rants on the joelonsoftware discussion board.

Anyway, I guess its going to be tough actually getting people to understand what citydesk's purpose is, because so far everyone is getting it confused with something else...

Michael Pryor
Sunday, October 28, 2001

Michael,

"CityDesk does let you just publish one article.  Open the article you want and choose File->Save and Publish and just that article will get published (along with all the other "files" it might need such as .jpgs and .bmps).  "

Er... I selected an article in the Articles folder, then hit File | Publish, and the entire site was rendered into D\TEMP

Publish Location Test
Publishing HTML English
Publishing for 29/10/2001
Mapping File Names
Generating articles in temporary folder
Publishing file \Articles\New Article
Using template \HTML\Simple
Translating links
Publishing file \Articles\My new article
Using template \HTML\Simple
Translating links
Publishing file \Articles\Getting Started ... double click here!
Using template \HTML\Simple
Translating links
Extracting file elements
Translating links [self links]
Publishing file \index.html
Translating links
Publishing file My_book.html
Uploading to Test
Copying site to D\temp
Done

"As far as the HTML being pretty basic, I have to admit that that's the whole point.  CityDesk was designed so that content creators could just put the content in after the designer gets finished with the templates.  Designers usually have their religious editor of choice anyway, so we allow them to use Dreamweaver or Frontpage or any other app they choose, seamlessly."

I understand. Personally, the whole point of using a WYSIWYG tool like CD is for intranets, so that users don't have to use any other tools to contribute. I don't think they'll like it much if they have to first create a document in Word, save its output as HTML, and add this file into CD.

"But really CD isn't for those people. "

I wholeheartedly agree. So far, I haven't found good alternatives to Notes/Exchange/Groupwise to allow any one to contribute to an intranet that were easy and cheap enough. Most people seem to find those three too complicated to use, anyway.

"Anyway, I guess its going to be tough actually getting people to understand what citydesk's purpose is, because so far everyone is getting it confused with something else..."

A picture being worth a thousand words, my favorite tool is Lotus' ScreenCam (not available for W2K)
http//www.lotus.com/products/screencam.nsf

Now that I finally understood the whole idea behing DB-based tools like Radio or Zope, I can't wait to find one where I could easily keep all my documents in a DB and have them rendered out of the DB ready to be uploaded by FTP.

Thx
FF.

Frederic Faure
Sunday, October 28, 2001

Oops. I understand now when you said that I should open the document, ie. double-click on it, and hit File | Save & Publish in the WYSIWYG window. Stupid me :-*)

FF.

Frederic Faure
Sunday, October 28, 2001

I'm pitching CD to two potential customers.

The first is a non-profit, with almost no $$ in the development budget. I hope to be able to structure their site in CD, then teach someone in the organization how to use CD to flesh it out, and use a CD support contract ( assuming the choice will exist) to handle maintenance down the road.

The second is a much larger NP, this time with a tiny (60K) budget for development and maintenance for 1 year. Here, too, I'm going to find a way to make sure the site is created with CD - by the customer.  If we need any "features" that won't be supported by static html (discussion boards), i'm expecting to be able to deploy these features as an external app, and point the CD app at the external app.

I'm hoping that the 60K development budget can drop down to under 10, maybe way under 10K this way.

What I'm getting from CD is the ability to  suggest to my customers that they don't hire people like me (except maybe to get the original CD site configured with CD).  So far, the response from the customers has been very positive. They are absolutely willing to live with many limitations in order to avoid custom development, especially since the price plummets as a result.

Does FC expect to offer training or site-setup (using CD) ? What about support contracts (as in "support the developed website", not the software)?

u d a y i v a t u r y
Monday, October 29, 2001

I'd like to humbly submit one potential competitor.
http://www.campware.org/campsite

More setup on the server (But its mostly standard Apache and Perl). I'd say more but I can't get the thing to install. Whereas CD was smoooth.

But I've been told its cool, tries to have that same smooth client interface (using a Java WYSIWIG editor integrated with a server-based content management system). It uses mysql. I have a feeling that the server installation is probably more roadblock free on Red Hat (I've only tried it on Debian).
Plus its open source.

So you're not alone, IMO, but you're looking pretty good.

For me, I'd really like to see some kind of server-based remote access, just because all my friends and family who would want to help build a web site are elsewhere. Suppose I could use VPN but then we get into licensing.

Whats the licensing going to look like? If I buy a copy as a designer will every client also have to buy a license?

Perhaps you should offer a package - one copy of the full CD and unlimited (or x copies, where x is large) versions where all you can do is add/remove/delete articles.

 

Owen Byrne
Friday, November 16, 2001

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