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Well, I was wrong. I thought it was free and then $350 -- but I thought it was FREE and 500 files.  $80 gets you only 500 files???  Does anyone know how fast a blogger would fill that up? WHY the limitation for personal, non-commercial use?

This is a very nice program. It could be huge. But the limitation of 500 files for $80.....could someone explain the business model???  It seems so obvious that he would sell more than 10-1 copies at $50 UNLIMITED for every ONE person willing to dish out the cost of a bargain computer these days. That's probably being conservative.

Nice product - but I honestly don't understand the thinking. I would think a software developer would much rather process hundreds of $50 orders than a dozen $350 orders.  I could understand if there was something akin to a monopoly and could do that (ala MS OFFICE).  But an upstart, relatively unheard of product with all kinds of other options???  If Fog Creek focused on bloggers or had an aggressive program to reach bloggers --- the sky is the limit!! Think:  A ready-made market (bloggers) springs up almost simultaneously with City Desk and it is - for the most part - ignored.  And then when a blogger DOES look into it, the high cost is prohibitive.  Isn't the idea to get your software on computers? I have read that someone said they didn't want to market it aggressively until it's ready for "prime time"....well.....if it's not "ready for prime-time" why the $350 price tag? Plus - waiting until you develop the perfect software before you market it means - forget it. You BLINK and you're out IF you don't JUMP at the opportunity. The product is FINE - rough around the edges? Yes. So what? You PRESS ON.  I'm baffled.

Such a missed opportunity!  Such a shame!

Mike Donovan
Friday, June 13, 2003

Make no mistake, the market is corporate.

Friday, June 13, 2003

If you look at the statement of direction on the public beta test page, you'll see that the developers seem to have set their sites on the upscale corporate content management market for the version 3.0 product to be released by the end of the year. They describe version 2.0, now in beta, as a polishing of the version one code base.

I wonder if this is a good strategy from an architectural point of view. The content repository is implemented in Jet, aka Access. Unless there has been some major upgrading of that engine since last I looked, I don't think it is robust enough for a full bore many user corporate application. But perhaps there are plans to hook it up to MS's corporate server DB, whatever its called these days.

My sense of City Desk is of a really nice single user maybe small team based publishing tool. I'm looking at it to try to solve some maintenance issues on my own traditional website and I could probably get interested in using it as a replacement for my Moveable Type weblogging environment if, for example, some typographical issues could be resolved, e.g., m-dashes, smart-quotes, elipses, etc., in a way that didn't require me to do wierd things with the keyboard or learn unicode sequences. And, generally, if it were a little more "blogging friendly", i.e., of the culture so to speak.

And if the pricing model changed.

I think the number and functionality of the built in variables could be expanded a lot. For example, I just left a query on the forum about creating template-based hrefs that are agnostic with respect to their location in the site document tree. A built in function/field, if it doesn't already exist, to take care of this would be a big help; I guess it would be something that does something about knowing the site BASE or whatever.

I'd also suggest they look at the MAC blogging products, like Tinderbox and another one that I can't find a reference to. The Mac folks love these tools and I don't think there is anything on the PC side that comes close to the scope and function of CD in this segment.

ed nixon
Friday, June 13, 2003

ed - You're right about the direction of CityDesk. My guess is the corporate edition will be much heavier duty, and they'll release a blogger edition around that time as well.

I'm hoping the blogger/small company edition will be a fully functional 2.x version, perhaps without the multi-user thing. That ought to stop the complaining and remove people's fear of using the Enterprise edition.

Then the corporate/enterprise edition can add features like version management, multi location, update via browser, etc.

If they do make a server component, I'd suggest that they do it in Perl and that it should work with multiple databases, such as Oracle. Some of the bigger corporations favor Solaris & Oracle, even if Merril Lynch may have just announced they're saving money by going Linux, nobody's announcing they're going Microsoft.

Of course, if Fog ever got a major corporate customer asking for these things, I suspect the Fog guys will jump through hoops to accomodate them.... for a price.
Friday, June 13, 2003

There are lots of bloggers, but I really doubt that the market for selling blogging software is very large. 99.999...% of bloggers are on free hosted solutions, and will never see the need to pay a dime for blogging software.

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, June 13, 2003

This brings up an interesting point.  JOS is a nice place to visit and has a small, intimate feel driven by individuals.  What happens when the hockey stick takes effect?

Friday, June 13, 2003

You mean that hasn't already happened?

Why do you think he made the NY forum, and the .net forum.

I was going to relate this story, but didn't have the time.

I bought a software package for my website that integrated with vBulletin and other forum packages. But it didn't integrate with Nuke, and I asked why not, or if it was in the works. The developer told me that he didn't make a integrated Nuke version becuase people who like free software don't tend to buy software.

Isn't Radio the only other pay blog package out there?
Friday, June 13, 2003

There are other ways to pay for blogging -- Blogger Pro and Trellix come to mind. I don't think either one has been fabulously successful.

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, June 13, 2003

"There are lots of bloggers, but I really doubt that the market for selling blogging software is very large. 99.999...% of bloggers are on free hosted solutions, and will never see the need to pay a dime for blogging software. "

Very widely-held misconception.  The above is totally out-of-touch with the web logging community - which runs into the millions and millions worldwide.  Yes, many use "Blogger" - more and more are fleeing for Moveable Type, an application that is doing extremely well that, for individuals, is DONATIONWARE!! Small business is paying for a business license. But, Mike Gunderloy's belief that "99.999...% of bloggers are on free hosted solutions, and will never see the need to pay a dime for blogging software "  is far from the truth, still believing that "blogging" is a teen phenomenon - FAR from it.


"There are other ways to pay for blogging -- Blogger Pro and Trellix come to mind. I don't think either one has been fabulously successful." to web loggers and they'll tell you that the product is not right. What if PALM had said, "There's not a market for PDA's -- look at the NEWTON -- it was not just 'not fabulously successful', it was a joke."  With THAT mindset you wouldn't have the immense selection of PDA products today.  Just because somebody else hasn't done it right doesn't mean YOU can't do it right and be VERY successful.  That kind of thinking has sunk more than a few high-tech companies. Reaching for the demand has made millionaires - uhh.... BILLIONAIRES...out of people in the software industry.

I will say again, City Desk has ***very much*** to offer the mid-upper scale blogging community. Namely - timesaving and SIMPLICITY.

The shame is to sit on a mint and do nothing about it.  A "blogger's edition" should be out next MONTH!  There seems to be many on the forum here who think of traditional business models when suggesting a blogger edition can wait. As I said in a post above, if you BLINK, you will miss out. There's not time to see how others are doing, analyze Blogger Pro, Radio Userland, etc. If you have a better mousetrap - MARKET IT!  Ask and Yahoo about waiting and observing before being aggressive in marketing online auctions. They BLEW it and eBay this quarter will gross 5.5 BILLION dollars.

Mike Donovan
Friday, June 13, 2003

I've been weblogging for four years, almost an eternity, mainly Frontier-Radio but also others, most recently Tinderbox.

Weblogging as a cottage industry, let alone a big market, is already dead - if it ever existed. No one makes or will ever make any real money at this. Not least, Microsoft will come into the market this year and blow blogging away into the commodity ether. Apple too. And this on top of the fact that the number may not be 99.99% but blogging has always been a market where only very few want to pay.

This commercial reality will only get worse (or better, for most users) as the free products continue to improve. The fact is, developing weblogging software is easy. Happily.

Medium and high-end content management is another story. This is a vast, financially rewarding (designers and consultants too) and still unexploited market for a simple reason - it's extremely hard to do it right. Not impossible, just tough.

Fogcreek hasn't taken the only possible approach but they have chosen an intriguing one - develop a slickly simple interface since CMS has to be useful by ordinary employees first or the complex stuff will inevitably founder. Lots of stuff can be kludged behind the scenes (not inevitably but when need be) but the stuff up-front can't be.

If (and the jury is obviously out) Fogcreek can keep the scripting language evolving nicely without its becoming a monster and ratchet up the underlying database engine, they have a legitimate shot at hitting the jackpot. By rough analogy with Lotus Notes, this might a huge niche that Microsoft can't readily clone.

This won't happen with CD version three or even possibly version four. Most likely, these will be useful for small-team CMS. Cool but not sufficient. Think version five and 2005. Or 2006. Too slow? For whom? Large-scale CMS is still in its infancy .... as is the realization of how desperately it is (will be) needed. We can barely imagine the size and complexity of the task circa 2010 and the competitive advantage to corporations that are given a useful tool.

Fogcreek might well (and maybe should) enhance its weblogging features a bit but marketing CD as a weblogging tool? I would be utterly disappointed. Who needs YAWT (puzzle it out guys)? There are way too many anyway and most of them are already plenty 'good enough'.

I'm still a tire kicker and may well remain that way until CD V3. But I am kicking ..... and thankfully, I'm reasonably confident Joel and gang will stick to the knitting.

Russ Lipton
Saturday, June 14, 2003

So, is $349 per user competitive when there are manageable open source solutions out there?  I'm an amateur working on a school website and church website.  I have looked hard at CityDesk, and I like a lot.  But, we've decided to go with Mambo.

I'm not going to say that Mambo's perfect -- I find I'm tinkering with the code more than I'd like to be -- but it is easy and more important it's modified on the server side.  When you have a lot of hands providing content -- we amateurs need a lot of help from other, less geeky amateurs -- you need to maintain the database online.  As I understand, the full version of CityDesk will do that, but not at a price we can justify given Mambo's cost.  Not to say that cost is the only reason we're choosing Mambo, but the price difference makes Mambo a compelling better choice.

So, am I missing the boat?

Worth Swearingen
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Different strokes for different folks. No harm in that.

Russ Lipton
Saturday, June 14, 2003

"Large-scale CMS is still in its infancy"

Interwoven Teamsite and Vignette Storyserver have been in this business for a long time and if a site the size of C|Net, ZD-Net, NYtimes, etc. run on 'em, I don't really see why you think sites will get much bigger than that. Sure each of the aforementioned sites will be bigger in 10 years, but not by a large multiple.

Teamsite scales so that 15 instances of Teamsite can feed one master instance - this is how Ford works, for example. How much more large-scale can you get? 150 instances feeding 15 feeding 1? It can probably do that.

Have any of you guys seen or used Storyserver or Teamsite, or even eGrail (which used to be open source)? They're backhoes and bulldozers and you use them to build skyscrapers. In comparison weblogs are shacks and ranch houses.

I think the blogging guys are drooling because it handles content better than blogging tools, and is easier to use for both the developer and user.

What's your other option  here? Moveable Type,, Radio/Frontier, PHPNuke, Slash, Scoop, and a dozen other free or cheap tools that do one thing very well but others very poorly. (okay, slash is skyscraper, but a very funny looking one)

CityDesk's mission should now be to get the CM guys drooling over it's ease of use and flexibility. Second, since there's such a large & vocal audience, a blog edition would probably be nice.

"is $349 per user competitive"

That's about 1/10 the price per license for Teamsite... after you bought the $250,000 server license. It's closer to a Photoshop or a Dreamweaver, and IMHO is worth the price.

The reason people complain about the cost of CD is that it happens to overlap a category with a lot of free software, and the license structure encourages people to look at it.

//end rant
Saturday, June 14, 2003

>> Have any of you guys seen or used Storyserver....

My last job for a DC publisher used Storyserver.  It was a piece of crapola.  We were using it for the XML templating and the performance was a terrible minute and a half to convert the XML to HTML.  We scrapped it for AOLserver with expat, both open source, had a far better solution, and saved half a million a year (Storyserver license). 

In 2000, Vignette broke $100 a share; now it's a little over $2 a share (  So, I don't think Vignette is a good model for a business.

David Burch
Saturday, June 14, 2003

I don't know much about Fog Creek's size and organization. However, I have done analysis and design of enterprise content management systems and I know that the functional and business requirements for same are a substantial super-set of what I see in the current City Desk product. I also know that the types of companies that potential enterprise content management customers like or need to deal with tend to be of similar enterprise scale with all the same organizational resources and complexities.

Targeting the enterprise content management market is much more than building a better mousetrap or even an adequate mousetrap. For better or worse, ideas of credibility and corporate culture and market visibility come into the equation in major ways.

This is not news. I wonder if the "real" (or realistic) strategic direction for Fog Creek might be to build (or invest) in something that is ver attractive as an acquisition by one of the big fish?

ed nixon
Saturday, June 14, 2003

ed - I'm not really saying CD is a straight up alternative to Teamsite or Vignette, especially in it's current state. A fortune 500 company is going to have enough money to throw around that they're not going to look at a quirkly little $350 per license product. They're going to spend $30 million and it's going to part water for them.

I am saying that for smaller companies that have CM needs it's a great inexpensive alternative - you don't need to hire a programmer, you don't even need to have a server.

The more important thing is that we *can* discuss whether or not CityDesk is an appropriate tool for that kind of job. The fact that it's in the running at all (and remember, good software takes 10 years) tells me that they can do a Clayton Christiansen* and keep gobbling up the lower edge of the market until the larger CM solutions are only doing the very biggest projects and eventually go the way of the dinosaurs.

* Clatyon Christainsen (I could be spelling his name wrong) wrote a book called The Innovators Dillemma about how the larger companies tend to ignore the smaller companies and are glad to lose a certain difficult to do and low profit business. I think the big example in the book is Bethlehem Steel, who kept doing small customized extrusions that the big guys didn't want to be bothered with, and eventually dominated the market.
Saturday, June 14, 2003

What's blogging?

Have I missed something?


James Roberts
Monday, June 16, 2003

Only a minor revolution.
Monday, June 16, 2003

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