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CityDesk too much for small publisher

Citydesk looks great but I have a small website to maintain that has more than 50 files (what site doesn't) and was looking for an alternative.

$299 is simply too much for small web sites but out of the budget of most hobby/part time web publishers.

I'd pay around $100 if I could get something more reasonable like 1000 files.

Telling me its free for 50 files is like telling me I have a free use of a Mercedes that I can only drive 1/10th of mile.  Easy on the eye, fun to look at,  but ultimately useless.

What are the alternatives? 

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

"What are the alternatives?  "

notepad, emacs, an oreilly book about HTML.

rz
Monday, October 20, 2003

Macromedia Contribute would be a perfect fit.

Interaction Architect
Monday, October 20, 2003

Frontpage 2002.

Andrew Burton
Monday, October 20, 2003

http://download.com.com/3120-20-0.html?qt=cms&tg=dl-2001


Monday, October 20, 2003

MovableType, which is a weblog software but also usable as a simple CMS. It's well-tested, used widely, has a large user community, lots of useful plugins and the most beautiful administration interface and documentation I have seen in a long time. And it's free.

http://www.movabletype.org/

Martin Dittus
Monday, October 20, 2003

"notepad, emacs, an oreilly book about HTML"

----

Very clever.  Like saying the alternative to paying $500 for a flight to Aruba is to swim.

To the others that responded in a true attempt to help, sans the acerbic replies, thank you.

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

it wasn't an acerbic reply. that is what I use to maintain my website.

rz
Monday, October 20, 2003

you can also look at a wiki. though they're not really a general purpose CMS. probably very good for an intranet.

(examples: http://www.wikipedia.org/ , http://c2.com/cgi/wiki )

mb
Monday, October 20, 2003

I've used emacs, Ant, XML/XSLT and CVS.

Works well for a one-person site -- I've done several of them that way.

Small Is Beautiful
Monday, October 20, 2003

It is just unfair to advertise competitors' programs here.

(my 2 cents)

.
Monday, October 20, 2003

> just unfair

This thread is probably slated for extinction then...betcha won't see it in a few hours

Small Is Beautiful
Monday, October 20, 2003

This thread is not unfair.  The original poster explicitly stated that Fog Creek's product was unsuitable, and asked for alternatives.  Fog Creek doesn't have to host this discussion, but it's not being hurt when people suggest alternatives in cases where Fog Creek's products simply aren't going to be used.

I second with rz's recommendation, though, and the comparison about flying does not hold up.  I maintain many websites, with a combined hundreds of files, using nothing more than a text editor.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Monday, October 20, 2003

It's kind of lame to come here, bash the forum owner's product and ask for alternatives. There's quite a lot of material on the subject easily findable by Google, et. al.

pb
Monday, October 20, 2003

Would any of you guys that use EMACS or VIM to maintain several websites actually use something like City Desk even it was free for unlimited files?  My guess is no.

From my understanding, City Desk's end user is the less technically inclined person that might find themselves in charge of maintaining a website.

If you aren't a swimmer (or don't want to swim) and still want to get to Aruba then EMACS and a HTML reference book can't possibly be the answer.

It may sound shocking, but there are an incredible number of people with websites that don't have a clue what shell access is.  They don't want to acquire that knowledge either. They want better site management than Frontpage and want something less code/HTML oriented than Dreamweaver.

The answer would be City Desk except that part of my question is "affordable".

Alas, I'm not in the consulting business but it seems City Desk is priced out of the marketplace despite an attempt to pacify the notion its not by offering a worthless 50 file version for free.

I'm off to the Macromedia site to make a purchase.  Contribute looks perfect. Thanks again for the help.

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

Not bashing City Desk it would get my business but its not marketed to my segment of the marketplace.

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

Userland's Radio, but I never got into it :-)

http://radio.userland.com/

Frederic Faure
Monday, October 20, 2003

A little less attitude might go a long way. 

Emacs and an O'Reilly book aren't necessarily intended as an insult.  Using these tools and the features of your web server effectively can  make for an easy to manage site.  Look into Server Side Includes for your web server and you'll find some very powerful things. These are the tools I use for the bulk of the work on my site, although admitedly I am a programmer.

I'd recommend one of the easy to use content management systems, like Movable Type.  I use this myself for some things, and it's a great tool.  They want money if it's being used by a business, but they don't want that much, and given the quality of the product it's worth the money.

It seems to me that what you're really after is something for nothing, and being churlish about your own cheapness. I think you have a lot of nerve to complain about the lack of features in a free product. The $299 that you would have to lay out for the full product is still cheaper than hiring somebody with the technical knowledge you need. I personally would appreciate it if you didn't do that. As somebody who writes both free and commercial software, I find it insulting.

Clay Dowling
Monday, October 20, 2003

Emacs + XSL vs. CityDesk is like saying, "If you can't afford a pneumatic nailgun, try using a hammer."  It's perfectly reasonable.

The original poster is not complaining that CityDesk is too complicated for its target market.  He's complaining about the cost.  Now, if it was $1000, I'd understand.

I'm sure Joel has considered pricing it at $100, but believes he can make the most profit at $299.  (X sales at $299 beats 2.5X sales at $100)

Personally, it seems like CityDesk is exactly the tool you want.  It's not as dumbed-down as FrontPage and doesn't require as much code-level tweaking as Macromedia's product.  Now you're just complaining that $299 is too much.

I think it's reasonable.  Far from "pricing itself out of the market".

Richard Ponton
Monday, October 20, 2003

The original poster "wants" the now-discontinued $79 personal edition of City Desk which had much higher limits for file counts in a project than the free version.

Personally, I never grasped the reason(s) why the personal edition was a money loser for Fog Creek. To me it seemed like a good interim solution for someone with middling needs.  Since downloaded software has almost zero cost of goods associated with it, and I can't see the support burden being that high for this product, the discontinuance mystified me and still does.

And I think the attitude that the OP is whining is inappropriate and rude.  I get the sense he'd pay something less than $299 for something less than Citydesk Pro that does what he needs.

Bored Bystander
Monday, October 20, 2003

PS: If I have one thing negative to say about CityDesk after taking advantage of Joel's one time only implicit upgrade offer (the CityDesk 2.0 Pro sold for the price of the personal edition), it's the *complete* absence of prepackaged templates that illustrate how to make full use of the CityScript and other CityDesk features.

I know, I know, it's a tool for professional IT people and examples are wussy. But the total lack of included, refined examples of CityDesk - needing to hunt around the net instead - beyond one vanilla example included with CD - is really not appropriate for a $300 product. It was OK for the price I paid, but doesn't feel like a good value for the regular price.

Bored Bystander
Monday, October 20, 2003

"It seems to me that what you're really after is something for nothing, and being churlish about your own cheapness."

---

That $99 I just spent on a competing product must be a figment of my imagination.

You guys are funny (and educational).  When was the last time any of you spent a sawbuck on software tools for your own use?  I'm a wild eyed consumer who's only crime is I don't want to spend $299 on a product and came to a cummunity seeking alternatives.  If nothing else I got to learn what "churlish" meant.

Heck of a way to treat a member of the free market, money in hand, looking for a place to spend his money.

Incidentally, since no one likes my tone and one even finds my potential actions insulting, have you ever given serious though to  the phrase "no offense".  You know like if I say "I don't like the color of your yacht" and you say "no offense".

Offense is something that has to be siezed, grabbed or taken.  It requires action on part of the listener.  The easiest way to keep from being offended or insulted is to simply be like Johnny Unitas...

...and pass.

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

"its not marketed to my segment of the marketplace."

This is correct.  Fogcreek knows that they're not selling a lot to people like the orig poster.  But he comes here because he is comfortable and will likely consider Fogcreek products when he has someone else's money to spend.

Therefore alienating him is the only bad thing to do to Fogcreek.

anonymous
Monday, October 20, 2003

RHB:  When was the last time any of you spent a sawbuck on software tools for your own use?

Um, yesterday? And last week? And the week before? I probably spend $2K per year on tools for my own use. CityDesk was also pricey for my own use, but I bought it anyway, and don't regret it.

As for the alternatives, several have been listed here. And FYI -- you can have multiple CityDesk projects with the free version that total more than 50 files. If you're trying not to spend the money, but you like CityDesk, just put each directory into a separate CityDesk file, and publish that way. It's extra work, but it keeps you from spending.

Troy King
Monday, October 20, 2003

IMHO, there really are no other good Content Management packages in the sub $1000 range. Those of you recommending Macromedia Contribute, how much is a Dreamweaver License? And last time I looked (it was still in Beta, maybe even Alpha) it was barely what I would call a Content Management system.

eGrail and Interwoven Teamsite on the enterprise level are priced MUCH higher than CityDesk. Plus the CityDesk Contributer Edition is aimed solidly at these small time guys.

Much smaller than that and you're talking about static HTML and a free WYSIWYG editor, a Nuke, or as someone mentioned, Moveable Type, which I haven't toyed with, and I don't know if it does much beyond your standard Blog.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, October 20, 2003

Does anyone here think they can clone CityDesk? Why or why not?

Li-fan Chen
Monday, October 20, 2003

I'd clone it and give it away for free, purely out of spite.

Guy Incognito
Monday, October 20, 2003

From my point of view, 50 files is not a small site, unless you're talking about a handful of HTML pages and 40+ images.

If the content in 95% of those files is static then your administration needs is realistically only for the 5% that  changes - in that case use the free CityDesk to administer the 5% of files you deal with, or just use HTML and FTP.

Walter Rumsby
Monday, October 20, 2003

If it ever gets successful enough, I'm sure a clone will turn up on sourceforge.

It usually does.

Sum Dum Gai
Monday, October 20, 2003

Clone CityDesk? Why? Just write a bunch of M4 macros. Should be simple and quick. <G>

Bored Bystander
Monday, October 20, 2003

"From my point of view, 50 files is not a small site, unless you're talking about a handful of HTML pages and 40+ images"

A spacer image, a css, a few .js files and a few basic header and footer graphics and you are looking at 20 files or so.

I'd consider 50 pages NOT small, but 50 files can be consumed quickly, like the shiny Mercedes you can only drive 1/10th of a mile.

I think the Macromedia product is going to be perfect for my needs. 

Thanks again for the great commentary its been educational.

RHB
Monday, October 20, 2003

I use emacs to maintain my web site too, combined with some python scripts to separate from from content in a dynamic manner.

I don't see what the problem is- it's a good way to do it.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, October 20, 2003

>Would any of you guys that use EMACS or VIM to maintain several websites actually use something like City Desk even it was free for unlimited files?  My guess is no.

I use emacs and I would recommend CityDesk even if it cost money for a customer who wanted to me to design a web site that they could maintoain themselves with relatively static content.

For my own sites and sorts of work I do there, emacs is more suitable for me.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, October 20, 2003

> When was the last time any of you spent a sawbuck on software tools for your own use?

Last month. I spend about $3500/yr on tools for development, and about $1000/yr on books. These numbers are pretty standard in my opinion and are a necessary investment in keeping up to date.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, October 20, 2003

I'm a handcoder myself, ultraedit and all that, but I've had a look at CityDesk and find this whole "pricing out of the market" thing is kind of funny. You gotta think outside your area, people. There are JoS readers from all over the place, and $299 US may be nothing to you, but in Aus, that's around $430... more than enough to kill my enthusiasm.

Jack of all
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

But $299 US *is* $430 Aus. dude!

Salaries in both of these modern western democracies are comparable but the cost of living in Aus. is a bit less.

I shudder to think how many yen $299 is - how can Joel change so many yen? It's simply unreasonable, don't you think?

Denis Atkins
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

But it's a lot of money to take out of someone's allowance.

John Ridout
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I use a text editor for my websites, and if CityDesk were free, yes, I'd consider trying it and using it.  I'm all for packages like this; I don't use them because I'm comfortable with my current system and haven't found a packaged solution that's flexible enough for my needs and worth the money.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

You look at the competition and I suppose you see why Joel can charge $299.

The original poster has a fair point though. 50 files is a trial version, and frankly you might as well use an HTML editor and FTP for a site that uses less than 50 files.

But $300 is a lot to pay for a personal web site. And ten or twenty times $300 is a lot to pay for a college start up web site, where most people would only be using it a few times.

Perhaps he was tactless to ask about the competition on this forum, but pissing him off is pretty poor PR. He might recommend it to somebody else who has a company and does need it.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I use citydesk for a personal site (mostly a blog with lots of pictures).  I think 300 bucks is too much for my personal site.  I paid 80 bucks for the 2.0 pro upgrade deal.  I would never pay 300 for the product, even though I do use it and think it's pretty good.  There is probably something out there cheaper and better for my needs, but I have gained some great information from JoS, so I don't mind making a donation at the 80 dollar level...

I think the idea that it is priced out of some markets is true.  Whether Joel and Co. care about those market segments is another question.  I don't think the product is really targeted to someone like me using it to maintain a smallish personal blog.

chris
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

There are a ton of people in the hobby/small web site marketplace - one look at all the hosting companies (resellers, colo and dedicated servers) confirms this.

Moveable Type's main (entire?) business model can be sumeed up like ths: Give away the software but charge $10 for hosting.

But what do I know I'm just some idiot that doesn't understand that EMACS and City Desk are analogous.

RHB
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

It actually dependes what you need to do with the "small site".

Do you need to design it? write the HTML code? than other tools and programs might be better.

Are you looking for something that you can setup once, and forget (about design)? while someone else (or you) will update and make changes? CityDesk is great for that.

And there are other tools too. Joel knows that too, right?

That "small site", what are the requirments, and what are the conditions?

Bobb
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

RHB,

No one said that emacs and citydesk are the same. You asked for alternatives and several people thoughtfully provided you with helpful replies for free alternatives. You then lashed out at them and started in on a rant. I don't know if you are an idiot or not, I will assume that you are not, but I can say that you seem very rude and you have certainly shown no appreciation for the assistence others have provided you.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sites under 50 files simply don't need Content Management. CityDesk Free is for evaluation purposes only.

If you think CityDesk costs too much, why not offer an alternative in a lesser price range? CityDesk is aimed at small to medium businesses that can't afford the quarter of a million dollar per server and $3,000 per seat solutions but want similar functionality.

A University / Non Profit license may be a good idea, especially since this can also be considered advertising.

Also, if you have a vendor design your site, you can get the updates-only copy of CityDesk.

Though I do have one quesiton. If a vendor hands over a .cty file to someone who has an updates-only copy of CityDesk, how does that vendor - from a distance - change the settings in that file or update the template?

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

MarkTAW, I guess you email, FTP or burn-n-post them your .cty file, and they send it back when they're finished.

Other options would be to set up a VPN or some other method of file-sharing across the internet, or you have them come on-site and connect their laptop into your LAN.

It's not particularly simple, but CityDesk isn't a server-side solution so access to the source data file is always going to be an issue.

Darren Collins
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

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