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Limitation on number of articles

I find the article quantity limitation a little tragic - five hundred articles for the home edition.  Surely this limit will hit many home users over time.  Having already paid $80, $350 is a big surcharge to continue without deleting entire year(s).

I wonder how far along current users are towards this limitation?  Perhaps Fog Creek could offer special savings accounts for users wishing to soften their 499 moment? ;)

/Mark

(P.S. The beta looks really nice.  Got to find time to play around with the new code possibilities!)

Mark Major
Thursday, May 08, 2003

It's even worse than that - it's not 500 *articles*, it's 500 *items*, where each image, pdf file, article, html file, css file, etc counts as an item.

I've hit the limit several times, and had to split my sites up into subsites. This makes it really annoying to manage links between subsites, because I can't use Magic Names. I also can't display the most recent additions on the home page, since you obviously can't make CityScript work across sites.

It would be great to have a product halfway between Home and Pro. I don't need all the multiuser stuff, so paying an extra $270 just to remove the 500-file limit seems a bit pricey.

Darren Collins
Thursday, May 08, 2003

Let me add my hearty agreement.

Bob

Robert Pawlak
Thursday, May 08, 2003

Didn't you just get CD2 for free?

Jorgen Brenting
Thursday, May 08, 2003

I guess many businesses doing once-a-week updates could save money by getting the 'home' edition.

Personally, I keep my images, files and link paths independant of CityDesk - in the ordinary HTML kinda way.  I guess that's how I'm still with the Starter edition.

Mark Major
Thursday, May 08, 2003

Amen. 500 is the most ridiculous limiting factor that I can think of. (Do you see other CMS vendors with this kind of a ludicrous limit?)

Stop molesting your loyal users, FC, by adding true value to any sort of a "professional" edition instead of excusing it by serving "crippleware" to your paid customers.

R C
Friday, May 09, 2003

I find the 500 limit ... euh... limiting one's possibilities and imagination. Plus I think the jump in price to professional is really a mental barrier. Consider my case:

I would like to add a blog section to my web site. I have the Home edition; 500 files is OK for the web site. But if you have an active blog, your 500 allowance will last only so long. An active blog, say with 3 entries per day on average, would be 300 files after 100 days! Knowing I will hit the file limit someday keeps me from going ahead in CD.

My options are:
1)start the blog in CD, knowing I will have to shell out a chunk of money in the future
2)start the blog in another tool: some are free, some have more blog features like forums and registrations, but the MAJOR inconvenience is managing links between CD and the blog

Since blogs are reported as being the fastest growing web site segment, but for other applications too, I think it would be nice to have a CD version without a limit on number of files.

Like Darren suggested: something in between Home and Professional, with no file limit but perhaps not multiuser (btw, calling it the Blog version would perhaps be a good for marketing).

But that creates 4 options, perhaps confusing. Why not removing the limit of Home edition, perhaps making it a tiny bit more expensive, say $89 or $99. I agree the free Starter edition should have a limit, but why saddle paying customers with mentally crippling barriers?

Paul Iliano
Friday, May 09, 2003

Another option is to have a pricing model in steps like Constantcont.com; see http://constantcontact.com/pricing.jsp .

Paul Iliano
Friday, May 09, 2003

Not matter where you put the limit there will always be someone complaining. Come on guys, we want this and we want that, the only thing we do not want is to pay for it. That's not reasonable.

Besides it's shortcomings and bugs CD is a fine product which saves us many, many hours of tedious work. The sites it creates can be hosted anywhere.

Joel has had a public relations problem, but he seems to have learned from it. Give the man a break. I would very much prefer that he could make a comfortable living out of CD and continue to develop his idea, than I would rely on a program from someone forced to program in his spare time because his users would not pay for his efforts.

Perhaps in future versions one could imagine a regular and a pro version with real differences, but at this stage in the process an item-limit is ok in my humble opinion.

(I have the Pro version and never the less has split some sites out of practical reasons – if anyone is interested.)

Jorgen Brenting
Friday, May 09, 2003

I've used CD for a website and Movable Type for associated blog. They're very compatible, with somewhat similar template-expansion systems, and can share a stylesheet.

But I agree, there should be an intermediate version with no limit but single-user. Joel did offer the upgrade for $99 a while back, but it was over a weekend and I didn't pick up on it in time - or I might have gone for it. I think if he offered this again, with enough time to see it and act, he'd get a lot of takeup from "just in case" users who would otherwise go for site-splitting, MT for the blog, images in a separate directory, etc, etc, etc ... As I said,I'd certainly have done so if I'd seen it in time.

Michael Wild
Friday, May 09, 2003

$100 bucks for "just in case"?

My car has 250,000 miles on it, but you don't see me shelling out $5,000 "just in case" it dies . . .

R C
Friday, May 09, 2003

Jorgen: sorry if I sounded like complaining, that's not how I intended it to.

I merely wanted to describe my problem, my options and the possible solutions I see; meant as constructive feedback. I hope Joel sees it that way.

I love CD and would like to see both the product and the people who make it flourish. That's why I take the time to give feedback.

Paul Iliano
Friday, May 09, 2003

If you've got Moveable Type and CD running, I must wonder what you use CD for?

RMS
Friday, May 09, 2003

Personally, I also feel the 500 file limit is a major problem.  I have hit this several times with www.valleyofthegeeks.com and the solutions are inelegant.  Although I admire the fact that the 2.0 upgrade is free, $350 is still a major leap to get to the "enterprise" version when the only feature that matters to most people is the file limit.  If there were other features there that saved me time, then it would be less of an issue.  But I also agree, it would be nice to have a mid-range product without the 500 file limit or make it at least twice as much.

--Zack

Zack
Friday, May 09, 2003

I always thought that a crippled version of the software to people who paid was a bad idea. Something that your typical blogger is definately going to hit.

I guess the software (a) isn't really aimed at the Blog community, and (b) isn't at the point where it has any extra features that can go into the pro edition, except the multiple users thing.

Given CityDesk's feature set, are there any more logical places to slice the home edition? Or maybe make a special blog edition... Uh... you can't maintain multiple sites (i.e. CD no open/create new site option), maybe only 1 audience, 1 template and 1 location. No import website, no palette, no variables. Maybe a limited subset of cityscript... most bloggers won't need previous/next, for example.

Actually, when CD2 was "pie in the sky" full of features, I thought that CD1 would be a good home edition... but now that CD2 is "CD1 plus" I wonder if CD3 will be it.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 09, 2003

Perhaps CD could offer page bundles.  Once you have 500 pages you can buy another 500 pages for $25.00 or whatever.

Lawrence
Friday, May 09, 2003

I was mistaken in my last post.  I said the "enterprise" version but I meant Pro.  At any rate, I think Joel is doing some very good promotion of the Pro version as an easy way to upgrade at a modest price, so perhaps that mitigates the need for a mid-level product.

Joel, thanks for listening.  I will upgrade and stop complaining about the file limit...

--Zack

Zack
Friday, May 09, 2003

Add source control, version control, true user management (which would be included with the previous two--meaning you can't accidentally mess up someone else's work a la permissions, check-out, etc.), then make _that_ the pro version.

That is worth 350 bucks per user. A couple more files isn't.

RMS
Friday, May 09, 2003

Jorgen Brenting>  the only thing we do not want is to pay

I disagree.  I acknowledge CDs excellence and am prepared to pay accordingly.  Before choosing CD, I examined every CMS and blog system to be found.

$350 though, **purely for continued usage**.  That's four times the supposed 'home' cost.  It would pay all my website bills for five years.

Obviously, many people here have already disfigured their site logic to avoid the aerial expense.  Just to continue with work they've commited to the architecture.

Mark Major
Friday, May 09, 2003

"If you've got Moveable Type and CD running, I must wonder what you use CD for? "

Simply a matter of achieving the end-result with minimum effort. MT is much better for a blog because it has all the blog-specific functionality out-of-box. CD is better for a general website because it is much more flexible. It's straightforward to use MT's templates in CD to achieve a common style.

Michael Wild
Friday, May 09, 2003

I think the problem is that the price delta between the versions is too large, and that there is an artificial limit imposed on the home version.

That being said, I don't expect to go from 500 to unlimited articles for free. After all, I knew the limitations when I purchased CD (but maybe did not fully appreciate them). When I bought CD,  I thought the limit applied to articles and not the total number of objects in the site.

So I think something like the following is reasonable:
Home - 500 object limit
Pro - No object limit, no multiuser capability
Enterprise - Full rhino package with unlimited objects and multiuser capability.

I think a reasonable delta between Home and Pro is in the $50 range. It's certainly easy for me to say this of course, since I am not running the Fogcreek.  But they might find they get proportionally more income from this kind of gradation in the versions.

Bob

Robert Pawlak
Friday, May 09, 2003

If the decision was mine to make I would give Robert Pawlak's mail (all of it) some serious consideration ... and raise the $50 a bit.

Jorgen Brenting
Friday, May 09, 2003

I think the problem here is that there should be 3 versions of CityDesk and not 2.

A "small site business" version
A "large site business" version
A "web log" version.

All this talk seems to stem from the fact that the licensing structure doesn't work for your typical web log usage, which creates a lot of very small articles.

Maybe if there were some specialized script that created daily/weekly/monthly archives, but no other pages, bloggers could use that version pretty much exclusively, with less robust scripting in other areas.

Businesses could use it for their archived news, and would get all the other features as well.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 09, 2003

Are you listening, Fog Creek? These are your *customers*. The people who ***paid money for your product***.

Ever wondered why NT let you play games with Direct X in a Service Pack? What's the business use? None, but the ***customers wanted it***.

A satisfied customer tells a friend.

A dissatisfied customer tells ten friends.

Jogurt Joe
Saturday, May 10, 2003

I find it silly to shut out X customers (x being the number of potential bloggers in the world) just because your price is too high for their use.

Many bloggers would pay $50 for CD. Some would pay $100. A few would pay $150. Almost none would pay more than that (in my humble estimation).

Ricky D.
Saturday, May 10, 2003

(Warning - very long)

Kibitzing as someone who tried the 1.X version and decided it was underpowered but who is now considering 2.0 might not be altogether irrelevant to FC's revenue plans and target audience. I am a former long-time user of Lotus Notes, a current long-time user of Frontier/Manila and Radio and tire-kicker of other blogging products as well ....

My first instinct is to agree with the complaints about file limits. If I decide(d) to use 2.0 as a blogging tool, this will be a Very Bad Thing. But should FC so position CD? And would it really be good for the FC community if it did?

IMHO, we are about to see an explosion of blogging tools (and their ultimate commodification) that might render the vast majority of them bankrupt. Cf rumors about Microsoft and AOL about upcoming plans to smash the little guys .... Course, many of them never had a business model, did they?

It's not that blogging is hyped but that blogging will take its place within a spectrum of CMS layers trending towards the improvisational side - a side vital to corporations/small biz but not the only domain of significance.

At the other end of the spectrum, thousands of corporations really do need massive CMS systems support but the tools (as many of you know far better than I do) are vastly expensive to buy and support. At best.

I have thought that FC's intention has been to demonstrate that sophisticated high-end CMS can be simplified radically.

I guess that FC is still two to four releases away from proving the case and why not? What's wrong with a ten-year development window (I speculate) given that we are moving to a world where real CMS must handle zillions of pieces of stuff owned by lots of people sharing in the fun together. Across dozens of cultures/languages too, eh?

I don't know that FC has, by design, yet released even a true V1 of that higher-end product.

(Digression - Ray Ozzie demonstrated with Lotus and plans to demonstrate with Groove that taking years to realize an ambitious vision has its place ....).

I say higher-end but CD wants to inhabit the middle zone between blogging tools and the CMS monsters, no?

If so, it could be devastating for FC to position CD against blogging tools.

First, CD isn't a good blogging tool because it wasn't designed as one.

Second, it is possible (not certain, but possible) that MS/AOL/others will eat FC's lunch if they do so.

Finally, even if one and two were overcome, it is hard enough to deliver one marketing message clearly - two are impossible. If FC's target is big-boy CMS that .... works! ..... it should stay away from direct competition with blogging.

Now, look, this isn't totally binary. There may well be a case for some shift in file limits. I'm not smart enough nor close enough (duh) to FC community/customers to opine. But I don't see this as a case of pricing either way so much as a matter of corporate mission. Short-term, blogging probably hurts FC's bottom-line and tempts it to grab some low-hanging fruit. Long-term, CD has the potential to carve out terrain that could create not only big success for FC but for a loyal group of partners and consultants.

Why blur the mission?

Russ Lipton
Saturday, May 10, 2003

Given that Vignette Stoyserver & Interwoven Teamsite are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars range, FC could charge $1,000 for a pumped up CityDesk and still make decent sales. I think Vignette & Interwoven's nearest competitor is eGrail, and they're in the tens of thousands of dollars range.

The next level of competition is the free CMS packages like the various "Nukes."

All of them require hosting & out of the box programming to get it to look like anything but the default site.

CityDesk, on the other hand, is SO simple to use that even I figured it out. CityDesk is great for a designer who some basic HTML knowledge and a little scripting (like me). It also doesn't require any hosting.

In the blogosphere, CD's competition is Frontier - of which there is a free version, Radio, which only charges for hosting, and various "we host your blog" options. Many of which are free.

If you want a pure blog, why not go with Radio or Blogger? I've used Blogger and I know that it's as-easy to use as CityDesk, with the added bonus of me not having to worry about getting home to post.

IMHO, Blogger and Radio are the killer apps in the blog world. CD is different... it's not a true blog. It's more of a CMS, and I think a tour of CD sites would reveal a more CMS feel than a blogger feel. My personal website certainly does, and a certain business website does.

I think that if CD really wants to position itself as a blogger, it would need a different featureset - a calendar generator, for instance. A monthly archive tool. These are possible, but you have to jump through hoops to get them.

While these may be on Fog's plate, they weren't important enough features to put in even for 2.0.

If you really want to publish a Blog, why choose CityDesk? Why not choose Blogger?

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, May 10, 2003

I agree.  The answer to our problem is not trimming current features for a 'Blog Edition.'  Everyone here is power user, right?  Did anyone purchase CityDesk because they hadn't heard of Blogger or LiveJournal?

No, the price tag is too high for a blog solution.  Even higher than those like Movable Type, with powers approaching CityDesk level.  Scripting loops, templates, multiple categories.

Within a year, dozens of home users will hit the limits of their version.  We may see requests for a 'purge' feature to delete older articles!!

Mark Major
Saturday, May 10, 2003

Under the blog-orientated hood, Radio appears to have a feature set comparable with CD, but it looks _much_ harder to use. Has anyone tried?

If you're looking at blogging apps, go see what the Trotts are up to now with MT <http://movabletype.org>. There was a clear distinction between Blogger (ease of use) and MT (powerful, but you had to host and configure it). They're about to blow that apart with Typepad http://www.typepad.com/ - effectively a hosted version of MT.

Michael Wild
Saturday, May 10, 2003

I almost settled with Movable Type, the power in scripting is similar to CityDesk.  Radio was unremarkable and fiddly.

You'll note that neither of these 'premium' blog products have limits on the number of articles ;)

Mark Major
Saturday, May 10, 2003

Easier to use .... for what end? .... By who?

These are tangly questions. If, as I argue, CD is not a blogging tool, you can't (shouldn't) compare it heads-on with either Radio or MT. Or them with CD.

Radio is a gloriously messy sandbox that Mom can use in five minutes to run a simple blog but that can be hacked/scripted by Junior forever. Because Dave Winer eats the dogfood as he goes, both it and Frontier/Manila are simultaneously usefully leading-edge and ... well, I used the word 'messy' already, right? That will never change. It is Userland's design point.

Significantly, Manila is a CMS app on top of Frontier. Not only Manila but other such apps (go ahead, write one) can sit on top. Userland refers to Frontier as a platform with more than a little justification .... and Radio is 90% Frontier under the covers.

By comparison, CD is a tightly designed, narrowly tuned thing that isn't yet what it will be but knows pretty darn well how it is going to get there ... and is blocking out all distractions along the way. I find FC's very slow extension of the scripting language indicative of its overall philosophy - each feature must justify itself exhaustively before being admitted to the party. This will always try the patience of users pushing the envelope (FC's best friends and I think they know that) but FC's design point (seems to be) power-in-simplicity for end users. Including CMS buyer-implementor-end users if you follow me there.

Respectfully, asking whether Radio or MT match up with CD or vice versa misunderstands two different categories of software, even though each can be used twistily against their grain .... Radio/MT for serious CMS; CD for blogging.

Russ Lipton
Saturday, May 10, 2003

The fact that they dismissed some features because they were clumsy to implement tells me something good about FC and where CD is going.

Nobody's mentioned Blogger. I found blogger to be very easy to use & template for blogging purposes. If I was running a traditional blog, Blogger would be the tool for me. It can even FTP into any server I choose, and it's totally free. I use it for my site... but don't do much with it other than create a fun bookmark with comments collection.

I messed with Frontier - the free 5.x version, and I couldn't figure it out at all. Radio was easier to work with, but I didn't want to have to be part of the radio network.

My site is blogish in that it's my thoughts, but I don't really consider it to be a blog. I write articles and not random thoughts... not posts based on on the day.

For most companies with less than 500 articles, CD should be fine. It creates semi-static brochure-ware sites extremely well. It's not so great with blogs.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, May 11, 2003

Russ, I think I'm agreeing with you :

MT is a very good server-based blogging tool. I've tried to use it for general CM and it's painful, though it can be done if you're prepared to write (and maintain!) some PHP or Perl.

CD is a "low-end" but powerful client-based CMS. If you're a single-user, it gives much of the power you'd get from a high-end system, since a lot of the complexity in such systems is around authoring, approval, and publishing in a hierarchical multi-user environment. It's not a natural for blogging because it doesn't natively do things like comments, RSS feeds, pings, and calendars - although again all these things are possible if you're prepared to code and maintain them. I'm not.

Radio is a hybrid. On the surface it's a client-based blogging tool with unique  features that appeal to some. But under the hood is a full-fledged CM that doesn't require you to use Radio's servers - a cut-down version of Frontier. Like Frontier/Manila, it has a steeper learning curve than MT, and no "user mode" except for the blog-orientated Radio.

My preference, as I said earlier, is MT for blogging and CD for general-purpose CM - and I find they co-exist quite happily.

Michael Wild
Sunday, May 11, 2003

However, it seems like Blogging is a suggested use:

".....even a personal weblog, CityDesk lets you add, edit, and remove new content, and it's no harder to use than a simple word processor."
http://www.fogcreek.com/CityDesk/index.html

Mark Major
Monday, May 12, 2003

So would say I ... of course, one can blog in CD. That only reinforces the commodification of blogging, not that CD is a blogging-centric toolset.

Blogging, at root, is time-centered posting, sorted in descending order from 'now'.

100 lines of Perl code yields a blog. I think ;-).

If I adopt CD, I might well blog in it, but I would never purchase it as a blogging product over MT, Manila or Radio.

Finally, and still speaking as a kibitzer, back to file limits. For me, the comprehensible, logical design difference between Home and Pro is single-user to multi-user. What hath this to do with file limits?

It's not bait-and-switch, because FD is more than aboveboard about each product's limits .... offers a free fool-around version and is wisely rewarding 1.X users with 2.0.

But I do think the marketing message is a nutty mismatch.

And forcing one's best users to take a product that is *all about* rational use to create stupid hacks (or just waste their mindshare) to get around file limits seems at odds with the wonderful spirit of Joel on Software.

Russ Lipton
Monday, May 12, 2003

Maybe CD is not an ideal blogging tool, but I think it is good enough for many people. There are quite a few sites out there that are not quite blogs, but have a similar format (and my site is one). I think too that CD requires a little more technical sophistication from the user that many of the blog tools I have seen.

But in any case, I agree that CD's object limit is a serious limitation if it is to be used as a blogging tool.

While the likes of AOL will probably come down hard on the little guys that are just making a name for themselves in the blog business, I am not sure they will compete directly with CD. This is because their solution will in all likelihood be server based.

It is also probably in Fogcreek's best interest not to push the blogging capabilities of CD too much, since it might risk being labeled as a blogging tool, and hence be steam rolled by some corporate giant (ok, it could still happen anyway).

Bob

Robert Pawlak ( www.chessassistance.com )
Monday, May 12, 2003

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