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Need templates!

Citydesk seems to have many very nice features for simple content publishing, and I've really enjoyed playing around with it. However, I see one major obstacle in selling it to average users. That is, it seems you have to know at least SOMETHING about HTML to actually create even a very simple template beyond what is provided (which is about as bland as it gets.) With no templates available, my interest drops fast.

Since creating a template is so easy (apparently) if you know HTML, I think Fog Creek would snare a lot more casual users if templates were available for the obvious stuff: Blogger-like journals, or even a page laid out like "Joel On Software" where articles display one after another on the same page with links, a title, etc.

I'm sure I could figure this out eventually, but my lack of interest in tinkering with HTML is what led me to CityDesk originally. So, for now, it's interesting but not all that useful for me personally. But, if Fog Creek or someone enterprising put together some templates that were well commented to allow easy changing, I'd definitely look again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002


Darren has begun explaining some stuff about CityDesk that may help at:

Some folks, including Joel, Michael and others, have made some .cty files that you can download.  You can find them (you'll have to look), several scripts, and a list of every CityDesk site I know of here:

If you see one you like, most folks would be happy to send you their basic .cty file.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

While we're on the topic, a template import/export/packaging feature for CityDesk would be really neat. That way, I could just export all my templates to a single file, email it to Terry, and he could import them to use on one of his sites. I could also easily re-use them myself if I had multiple sites, instead of having to copy-and-paste like I currently do.

The feature would have to be smart enough to export any needed variables, images, etc as well. The import would need to check whether the variables and images already existed before importing them, too, so the templates use the right {$.SiteName$}, logos, etc.

Darren Collins
Wednesday, January 23, 2002

In a much earlier post I asked for some City "Desk-accessories."  The accesories could be separate from CityDesk itself.  The essence of what I want is some documentation of a .cty file:

1. The file and folder structure,
2. Where the scripts are and a listing of each script,
3. What the variables are,
4. Where the variables are used.
5. Which articles use which templates/audiences/whatever
6. Stuff I haven't thought of such as publish locations.

This isn't quite enough to document a site but it would be a start.  I presume an Access programmer could grind through a .cty file and knock this out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

I had your post in mind when I wrote mine above. I reckon it could be scripted in Access, but it would be better to do it with VB so it can be distributed to other CityDesk users. I've even been considering buying VB to write some of the tools I'd like for CityDesk, but haven't had time to look into it.

Darren Collins
Thursday, January 24, 2002

It's now a little easier to find the .cty downloads on:

If you know of others, let me know and I'll list them.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

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