Friday, November 15, 2002

My colleague, Terry Kneen, downloaded the beta of a new product from Macromedia called "Contribute". We experimented with it and became quite excited about its potential. The product allows you to log in to an ftp server (which you save in your settings) and browse html documents. If you need to make a correction to text or graphics you simply select "Edit document", the document is displayed in an edit window, and you can change or add text, or change a graphic or edit an alt-tag, like you would in a simple word processor. You can then click "Publish" and you're done. I see great potential for this tool to use in combination with Dreamweaver templates to enable "non-html" staff to make quick text edits to a website without knowing a bit of HTML. Here, the communications director opted to hire a Cold Fusion programmer to develop a complex template driven site that involves a vast amount of proprietary code. "Contribute" allows you to manage user access to specific documents and even portions of documents in a very simple, easy to maintain system and would be ideal for informational websites that do not require database aspects such as management of inventory and sales. Now, Macromedia, if you would make the product available through a user account on the web like Blogger, edits could be made anywhere, anytime without having a machine with the client software installed!