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The Future of CityDesk?

Okay, so I just went through the Shorewalker article posted a fews days ago and I'm a bit surprised with CityDesk being labeled as a "failure". Is CityDesk really doing this bad?

I've been using it for a while to maintain a site on my ISP 5MB web hosting account. It's done a great job so far and I see room for a lot of improvement. I consider myself one of the so-called loyal followers of CityDesk and I'm a bit worried by the negative review coming from Joel himself. What's in store for CityDesk?

(someone please reassure me !;)

My Code Has Low "Carbs"
Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I am a newbe and I really like it.

Joe Knapp
Tuesday, September 28, 2004

There is no one, not even Joel himself that can assure you that there will be a future. Not until we get a version bigger then 2.0.19. Until then you can only fear for the future of Citydesk.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Joe Knapp :re I really like it

So do I. For many CD is a very good solution. Its very easy to learn and *much* easier to use.

CD may not have achieved the critical mass the FC had hopped for -- although I suspect that CD is not a cost center for FC [in other words CD is still profitable] and will probably continue to enjoy market share among the WEB publishing novices.

For the more advanced user CD is lacking the scripting power and backend support [like MySQL or Oracle or MS SQL/Server etc] -- and in this instance I prefer CMS Encore Pro which provides more power [and backend support] ] than the sun generates :-) and BTW, Encore *once learned* is not only easy to use – but--  does just about anything and everything that most people could ever want.

David Mozer
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Here's another one to watch:

David Burch
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

...uh oh!

john cesta
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

And another:

although this one doesn't use a database to store the site, it is stored as flat files.

Ron Lane
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I got excited when I saw what looks like a PowerBook in the image on the front page of the EffectiveStudios web site. If I could get something similar to CityDesk on OS X, I'd be all over it!

Then I read the system requirements: Windows, Windows, Windows.

Damn royalty-free clip art. :-)

Darren Collins
Thursday, September 30, 2004

*shrug* Joel in some interview said that it wouldn't be worth it to port CityDesk to Mac or Linux becase the sales would be around a couple dozen per month, implying that sales are currently greater than a couple dozen per month for PC.

CityDesk 3 was promised a year ago. is made with:

<meta name="generator" content="Fog Creek CityDesk 2.0.20" />

Draw your own conclusions (which would still be just speculation anyway).
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Judging from their websites I'm guessing biitsoft is a two-person business, at best, and the other two look like one-person affairs. And none of them have any support to speak of and no reference websites.

You telling me you'd seriously drop one proprietary application (CD) that works very well 90+% of the time and make a bet on another propietary app, especially ones without customers or a developer community?

Scott McDonald
Thursday, September 30, 2004

CD = 0 Developers + 0 Support + 0 Bug Fixes + 0 New Releases + 0 Communication with Customers.

Can anyone here do the math?

me again
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Re: Can anyone here do the math?

Well, what about this: at least there is 1 lively users community. Did you notice that even the official test drivers of the other shop need to come to THIS forum to have their doomday prophecies heard? Of course without mentioning that they are the other shop's official test drivers.
If the other shop offers such a fabulous swiss knife product, why not rely on its capacities in stead of coming here all the time repeating that CD has no future? We are really able to realistically judge that ourselves, reckoning with worst case, probable case and best case scenario's.

Ruud van Soest
Thursday, September 30, 2004

I probably wouldn't drop CityDesk (already got a lot of sites done in it), but if there was an OS X app that provided the same sorts of functionality, yes, I would take a bet on it. Just like I took a bet on CityDesk when it was first released, before it had a developer community or customers.

If the app is good enough, customers will find it and community will form. I'd even go to the lengths of setting up a community web site myself to give it a little push.

But I'm picky, and none of the CD-like apps that I've seen so far have been better *for me* than CD. Only one of them claimed to run on OS X, and it turned out to not work when I tried it.

CityDesk is the primary reason I still use my Windows box.

Darren Collins
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Oh, and if CD3 comes out before an OS X alternative, I'll be paying to upgrade. I'm quite happy with CD, I'd just really prefer something that ran on my primary platform.

In fact, if CD3 arrives and has the right mix of features I need, I'll probably even buy MS Virtual PC just to run it on my PowerBook.

Darren Collins
Thursday, September 30, 2004


I'm still a "happy" user of CD so this is also my forum. I only predict a dark future for CD. Is that forbidden? Am i only allowed to say things that are positive and take everything that FC says without some scepticism.

If questions are stated on this forum about the future of CD shouldn't they be answered here?

Why do you think does questions about the future of CD come up? And remember, i didn't put the question here, i just answered it.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Hi peter,

>> I'm still a "happy" user of CD so this is also my forum.

I am glad to hear that you are still happy with CD. I guess we agree that FogCreek came up with a superb concept. That has some following now by other companies. Which is great, because competition is good for us.

What else might we agree upon? That FogCreek, while they gave us a very powerful tool CityDesk, also give us a really lousy customer experience. We all know what I am talking about. We probably also agree that the FogCreek guys eens een flinke schop onder hun kont zouden moeten krijgen (transl.: need a nice kick on the ass ?) to do a better job on customer relations. Our complaining now and then is definitely a positive thing.

What I don't buy (at least at this moment) is this 'there is no future in CD' story. It is mostly based on Joel Spolsky's not answering questions about the release date of a new version, or giving even a hint of a roadmap with timetable. I consider the reasons he gives for that omission as utter utter utter blah. Nevertheless, he can choose the arguments he wants of course.

So, why don't I buy the doomsday story?
1. Spolsky explicitly and repeatedly said CityDesk will be developed further. And as I don't see him as a complete cynical "money is everything" s.o.a.b. I take his word for it.
2. Why would he throw away FogCreek's investment in the development of CityDesk? Because if he does NOT develop CD further, not for long it will be extinct.
3. The reasons FC gives for promoting its FogBugz tool one place up are sound. You allocate your resources to the place where you make the most money. But that doesn't mean at all that you'll leave your other products for dead, only that your priorities have changed. I see nothing worrying in that, on the contrary: a healthy company is good for us too, it can allocate new resources to its other products.
4. A development cycle of about a year is not really exceptional in softwareland, isn't it?

>> Why do questions about the future of CD come up?

Actually, I think because they are legitimate questions if a company doesn't give its customers a product roadmap and timetable. So we estimate what's going on, develop all sorts of scenario's and exit strategies, keep an eye on alternatives from other companies. But, as stated above, my conclusion for now is that it is a vast overinterpretation to think CD has no future.

>> I only predict a dark future for CD. Is that forbidden?

Not at all. The point is that if you keep reiterating this opinion time after time at every possible occasion, it will start leading a live of its own. And it can kill a product, and the story doesn't even have to be true to do that. And than we'll have killed the competition. As a user I'd say: let's not kill the competition. It is a reason for a bit more restraint. Especially since some of the 'no future in CD' guys are official testers of a competing product - getting a 500+ euro application for free. By the way, I really am following the Encore business with interest. But it should prove itselve on its own merit, not with doomsday stories about the competition.

Ruud van Soest
Saturday, October 2, 2004


Glad to see we agree on several things. I don't think it's in my power to kill a product like CD. I would like to have different view about what i think will be the future of CD. It has nothing to do with the fact that i am/was a tester for "the competing product".

We certainly agree on "the kick in the ass bit", but we might only hurt ourself doing that.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

It seems to work already. Our scientists have discovered life and an unusual amount activity lately. We noticed the presence of Michael Pryor on this forum, but one bird doesn't bring spring. But now there is zowaar appearing news in the news section. We keep a close eye on it.

The 30 sept news item contains an interesting phrase: "Normal View will simply delete the invalid parts of the source code! (In version 2.0, that is.)" It suggests imo that this 'feature' will be  addressed in upcoming CD v3 (ok, whenever).

Ruud van Soest
Monday, October 4, 2004

Yes, you can use CD with PHP & ASP. I've been using javascript in this kind of fashion for a while. And good ol' HTML DbSCRIPT too, which can't be PREVIEWED, is embedded within cityscript.

It's old news, really. And it's not a new feature either, and it's not really a new discovery.

Maybe it's a way to sound fresh and new so as to not have a stale news item on the CD home page, which could impair sales.

I do applaud FC for not deleting these posts.


Bob Bloom
Tuesday, October 5, 2004

I think it's a rather lame attempt to update  Look at the Using SFTP, SCP, or RDIST instead of FTP article.  It links to the CityDesk help file on running external processes after publishing (
Which, by the way, does not mention any particulars on obtaining, configuring or creating batch files for SFTP, SCP, or RDIST.

David Burch
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The funny thing about running external programs is that I blew that up too!

The external program feature just let's us run one external program. Alas, there are two that I want to run: HTML DbScript (of course!), and Ken McKinney's terrific CtyCalendar.

All the data for CtyCalendar resides in my external Access database. So... I need to run HTML DbScript first, to run the SELECT stmt. Then, I gotta use that article to run CtyCalendar.

Yes, yes, I jimmied up a batch file. But gosh darn, the timing didn't work out -- heck, the two programs even seemed to be running concurrently. Maybe I coulda shoulda used the PAUSE command, but for all the time and effort, I jimmied up a manual way to run 'em instead.

Embedded within my articles are javascript, sql SELECT stmts, ctycalendar set-up, and I've been lightly testing php. Captain, she can't take it any longer!

Bob Bloom
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

I do hope CD will go on from here. I have tried some of the other so called web authoring software, and find that CD is much easier to learn and use. You will also find that the users on this discussion group can be of great help. :-)

I will keep checking back, because I know CD is a great product, that Uncle Bill doesn't own or control. Do you really think Word and Excel are better than WordPerfect and Lotus?

Corey Johnson
Sunday, October 10, 2004

Right now I'm trying to get a new client. He's using some "free" web authoring software. He's not very proud of his site but he's very proud that his tool is free.

The problem is that it's a major chore to for him to make changes. He could easly do his site with the free version of CityDesk. What he's done so far has taken such a big effort he's very wary of trying something new.

I'm having a hard time convincing him of how much easier it could be with CityDesk. He must think I'm trying to con him. There isn't any doubt that considering his time, he's paid a lot of money for his free software.

Monday, October 11, 2004

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