Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Knowledge Base
Terry's Tips
Darren's Tips

Target market

Joel, without giving away trade secrets, what set of business processes is CityDesk aimed at? What will be the defined business roles of the people using it? Will they be more likely to be called "Webmaster" or "secretary"? Will they write their own templates from scratch, or change a few elements in an existing template?

My suspicion is that the biggest hole in the market is for people who want to concentrate on their content and have everything else just happen. That means they want to select templates (and probably style sheets, especially when CityDesk supports them better) rather than write them. They may also need a lot of educating in your clever use of "keywords".

Your biggest challenge here may be that this audience isn't used to structured data. I believe you are well-placed to meet this challenge - but I'd like to know whether it's the challenge you're trying to meet.

David Walker
Tuesday, November 6, 2001

We think there are two kinds of users: the web designer, who creates templates and index pages, and the end-user, a non-HTML person who just creates new articles.

(Thus the distinction between "designer mode" and "non-designer mode").

Suppose you're a web designer - reasonably sophisticated at HTML, but NOT a programmer - who wants to create a site for a real-estate agent client. You want your client to be able to add new listings, remove listings, change prices, etc. without knowing HTML, without using Front Page, without messing up the index, without breaking the templates, and without knowing how to use FTP.

So you buy them a copy of CityDesk (we say "Kaching!") and create a site with all the templates. Then you turn OFF designer mode and teach them the three things they need to know to create, edit, and delete articles.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, November 6, 2001


Leonardo Herrera
Tuesday, November 6, 2001

That would be the sound a cash register makes.  Ka-Ching!

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

What about when the designer is also the end-user?  Joel is certainly in that category.  (I really like the new

Calling me a designer is an exageration but I've built a CityDesk site that I plan to use myself to write about and document my other sites.  CityDesk is a wonderful tool for doing it.

Today I'm starting new article and I find myself wanting  just a little more than the article editor can manage: I want some bookmarks.  So I'm going to create the article in FrontPage and paste it into the CityDesk article.  No problem.

This thought leads me here:  We all know that web publishing get's in you blood; it's very empowering.  So, there is a good chance that our novice article authors will catch the publishing bug and become more demanding.  They'll ask, "Why can't I put a table in my article and some of those horizontal line things?"

This is a good thing but it might generate some feature pressure on CityDesk.

Terry Kearns
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

I agree with Terry's comments. I don't think CityDesk is designed for such tightly defined roles, i.e. editor, designer, etc. It is designed around the altered versions of these traditional roles - hybrid roles -  that have evolved due to new publishing realities.

Applications like QuarkXPress are getting less and less relevant, and applications like CityDesk will occupy key places in the new hierarchy of applications moving forward.

Go Joel!

Mark Lemmons
Friday, November 9, 2001

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home