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Compare CityDesk to Dreamweaver

I'm mildly competent at using Dreamweaver's Templates.  I happened across this site and wondered if it wouldn't be better for my purposes (a small school and a university department website) than trying to do everything in Dreamweaver.  I'd appreciate responses from anyone who knows more about the relative merits of using Dreamweaver vs. CityDesk.

I'm particularly concerned about generating good navigation through the sites - in Dreamweaver I'm doing it with graphic pop-up menus that requires a somewhat complex sequence with Fireworks and Dreamweaver.  I'd appreciate comments on how easy it is to generate the equivalent using CityDesk. 

To see what I'm attempting to achieve take a look at the current version of the school's site:

James Mitchell
Sunday, March 9, 2003

Citydesk is a content management system, and is no substitution for graphics such as with fireworks and complex html editors such as dreamweaver.

However, only the person(s) creating templates need to worry about graphics, roll over menu's etc. (which you can still do best in Dreamweaver). However, once this is done, anyone can update or add content and even have it added automatically in the (text based) menu's. Even if this is done by the same person experienced in dreamweaver, it is still a great time saver.

Citydesk separates content and layout. Want a new layout? change it seperately. This is not so easy in Dreamweaver.

Adriaan van den Brand
Sunday, March 9, 2003

Based on a quick review of your site, I think that CityDesk would be a good fit. The greatest difficulty will be figuring out how to get your menu system into CityDesk. For the rest of it, CD can easily handle all your text and image layout issues.

Adriaan is correct in pointing out the difference between a CM system and a graphics system. I have found that the much greater part of keeping a website together has to due with content management than with the graphics.

For that, CityDesk is probably the most easy to use, versatile CM system going. Once your templates are set, it literally takes minutes to post "complex" pages -- text wrapping around images, for instance.

So yes, I think CD would be appropriate for your school site.

Sunday, March 9, 2003

About menus: Graphic menus can be both great looking and very efficient for humans, but search engines can't see them. So if it is important to you to be seen by Google's robots and the likes, you should keep graphic links to a minimum. On the other hand if this is not important – your users know you already – you can use all the tricks in the book to make fancy navigating systems.

Jorgen Brenting
Monday, March 10, 2003

Thanks to those who've commented here and privately. 

If I could get CD to install I'd be able to test the comparative ease (it installs and then crashes when I try to look at a default file).

I'm still interested in anyone's opinion on the comparative merits of using Dreamweaver templates vs. CD.  It seems to the outsider as though they offer the same thing "pour the content into a container."  What I suspect is that CD makes it much easier  to place that content within a site - my concern there is then accessing it via a menu structure.

James Mitchell
Monday, March 10, 2003

Even Joel has said that he uses Dreamweaver to build / edit CityDesk templates.  I use FrontPage.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Accessing content via menu structure should not be a problem. And if you can populate the menu from Cityscript, it is basically automatic.

Adriaan van den Brand
Monday, March 10, 2003

I've used Dreamweaver Templates.

Dreamweaver Templates are great, but they don't auto-update themselves when you add new content. CityDesk does. I use DW to build my CD templates... usually no more than one per site.

MacroMedia has some new content management engine, but it sucked when I saw it a year or so ago. I would be surprised if CityDesk 2 didn't completely blow it out of the water. All CD needs is a few flashy (pun not intended, but cool anyway) tours & a smarmy brochureware site. =)

You can use dropdowns with CityDesk & I posted something about this a few months back.. maybe as much as a year ago that IMHO are better than the ones Dreamweaver does. I took a look at your site & think this might work for you:

You have to be really comfortable with HTML and at least a little comfortable with JavaScript to get them to work. You also have to buy the DHTML dropdowns. Then again, it's not much more complex than CityScript so any CityDesk "power user" should be OK with it. - posting while on vacation (I have some down time)
Monday, March 10, 2003

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