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Macromedia's Contribute

Macromedia has released contribute. A direct competitor to citydesk.

Any reactions, thoughts, here at FogCreek?

Manuel Razzari
Monday, November 11, 2002

I only have one answer to these questions: at Fog Creek we pay attention to our customers, not our competitors.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, November 11, 2002

I'll wait until folks smarter than me make some comments but I do have a first impression.  It's in the "careful what you wish for" category.

Nearly everything I saw in the demo is a CityDesk feature request. So, when you put all that stuff together in "Contrubute" I'm not sure I'm enough of a web professional to handle it.

Monday, November 11, 2002

I've downloaded the demo.  It looks a lot more complicated than CityDesk, though I've only been playing with it briefly.  It does have some nice features in it. 

If you downlaod it, see what it takes to add a new page to the website.  Seemed like a lot more steps for the end user.  I think the key for CityDesk is the scripting language, and how once a page is set up, automates what needs to be done for the adding of new pages (articles).

Jeff Kolker
Monday, November 11, 2002

The ability to delegate editing rights to groups or individuals – on different levels if you want - is a nice feature.

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Hmmm. It's not a bad piece of software but is a bit too FrontPage-esque for my liking. One of the best things about CityDesk is the main tree view that shows you where everything is, and you're driven from that tree. The trouble with the Contribute GUI is that it makes working out your context (where you are) a lot more diffcult in terms of site organisation. If you edit several pages at once you can very quickly forget what you were doing and what you've actually changed. There's no substitute for having a window per article, rather than the nice looking but less useable SDI (single document interface).

And scripting? Where's the scripting in Contribute?

Once again, Macromedia have created a very pretty looking piece of software, but it's nothing ground breaking. And it's not as good as CityDesk, imho. A few nice features and all that, but nothing that can't get into the next version of CityDesk. Joel, I wouldn't worry...

John C
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Well... I hope it is another motivation for the people of Fogcreek to bring out Citydesk 2.0 soon. Although I haven't used it, I really like the metamorphosis on FogBugz 2 to 3. I have high expectations of the next version.  Also I'm convinced they are listening to the suggestions of the users (which I prefer over copying bells & whistles of competitors).

Adriaan van den Brand
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Don't forget the nice separation between Contents and Presentation, which is, as I said in another forum, a CityDesk's outstanding feature.

I still prefer CityDesk to solve the problem that Contribute tries to solve (CMS for the masses)

Leonardo Herrera
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I immediately downloaded Contribute and found a couple of things:

1.  It's basically a dumbed down version of Dreamweaver for people like me who don't know web design with a little CMS stuff built in.  I probably wasn't looking hard enough but I couldn't even see anywhere I could view source.
2.  I looked at it for awhile and decided to stick with CD.  CD doesn't do everything I want/need it to but it's good enough to get me started.

I just hope that some of the requested features and bug fixes will be put on a fast track now.

My two cents.

Mark Singletary
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Mark: "I just hope that some of the requested features and bug fixes will be put on a fast track now."

No kidding. The first thing I thought of when Joel said they pay attention to their customers was "then get rid of the stinking <!-- Published by .. --> thing" that's obviously not there for the customers (since it causes so many of us validation problems) but for Fog Creek.

Troy King
Thursday, November 14, 2002

I thought the Published by FogCreek message was there so I could select Edit Page from my browser and CityDesk would load up with the appropriate page to be edited.

I like that feature a lot.  Its very helpful when browsing my site I find a typo or soemthing, and I can just click to edit, and boom...I'm in CityDesk on the right page. 

That is one feature I hope does not go away.  If there is another way to implement it, that would be okay....

Jeff Kolker
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Jeff, as a 'workaround' you could start CD yourself and edit the page in question :-) ... The <published by ..> is a bad thing causing much trouble and I simply can't understand why a fix /SP3 haven't been sent out long ago. I wonder also why someone at Fog Creek haven't made a comment in the Forum long ago. Joel asked for feedback in another mail. Feedback from Fog Creek to the Forum would be nice too. Or are we simply bug finders?

Jorgen Brenting
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Jorgen, I think Jeff's way is much nicer. If you have multiple sites to manage, and some of those sites have hundreds of articles, it's nice to be able to click Edit in your browser and have the right article pop up for editing.

The alternative is to find the .cty file and open it, find the article in the tree and open it, and then edit it. That's a pain.

The nicest solution would be to make the CityDesk 'magic comment' a CityDesk system variable, so you could include it wherever you like in your templates, or leave it out if you so wish. That should keep everyone happy!

Darren Collins
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Darren is on the money as usual.  I really need the "publish by" thing.  Folks email me a URL and tell me a phone number is wrong.  I paste in the URL, hit the edit button and I'm in the right site editing the right page.  It's a big timesaver sometimes.  I use it a lot.

There should be a way to shut it off or move it somewhere else though.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

If Darrens last suggestion could be implemented, I would be happy too.

Jorgen Brenting
Friday, November 15, 2002

If you want to change something, you can "Search" the whole CD DB to find the mistake, and go change it on the appropriate page(s).

R. C.
Monday, November 18, 2002

Back to the topic at hand:

Contribute is a very well presented package. A lot of web professionals will go for it because it works the way they're used to working.

What Contribute does not have is a system behind it -- database, templates et al.

What Contribute does have and what CD *needs* is versioning control and user access control to specific folders and to specific elements -- articles, templates, variables, etc.

This is THE major reason why the organization I work for is shying away from CD.

Amos Satterlee
Friday, November 29, 2002

Ok, I've got to chime in here.

Where can I get some of this CityDesk Cool-aid?  I'm obviously missing something here.

About a year ago I tried using CityDesk to build a website for a non-profit I do pro-bono work for thinking I could hand over CD to this nice lady to update her own content at will.

Well after nearly pulling my hair out trying to muscle my way through building her site with this tool I made a decision to give up.  The UI was clugey (sp?) , it was creating all sorts of proprietary file types as part of it's "project" (scary) and there seemed to be very little flexibility in layout and design.

Now I know I'm not being fair to CD, because I haven't seen it for some time.  That being said, I'm vowing to give it another evaluation.

I recently downloaded Macromedia's Contribute 30-day trial and immediately felt comfortable recommending it to my client.  It' very intuitive and user-friendly for non-htmlers to use in content mangement situations.

I seemed very flexible in allowing me to design a site (with no proprietary files or software needed) where I can control what becomes editable and to whom.

For $99, it's a no-brainer.

Regardless of where my decision to use CityDesk ends up, I'm keeping Contribute for at least some of my applications and clients.


Monday, March 3, 2003

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