Macromedia Contribute 3

  Sir Radfordin 10:50 26 Jan 2005

Does anyone have any experience of this product? Views and opinions being sought!

Have installed the demo version and had a very brief play with it last night and have to say am fairly impressed with the ease of use.

Is this an undiscovered product?

  Taran 11:55 26 Jan 2005

and no, it isn't an undiscovered product. It had been roled out and is in commercial us on a fairly widespread basis, but there are a lot of reasons why this won't be obvious.

In my experience many businesses and organisations do not want the overhead of having their own site/intranet managed by their own staff. Some do, but most (that I deal with) seem not to, even when the option is offered. Oddly, when a browser based Content Management System is offered, this often finds more favour than Contribute.

Consider this:

1. Software licensing/purchase

2. Staff training

3. Designer/developer still has to create template based site and assign editable regions

4. Major changes still require designer/developer input

5. Most larger sites that would benefit from Contribute are data driven, which effectively robs you of Contribute's power to a large extent

Where one or two people will be regularly updating largely static content over a reasonably large site of, say, around 100 or 200 pages or so, Contribute can really come into its own. Most businesses that require updates on a less frequent basis or that use a data driven site can find that Contribute is a less than optinmal solution and, in the case of data driven sites, it can be very counterproductive.

One of my clients use it on their site and it serves them well and saves a lot of designer/developer fees. They update at least once per week, the site is quite large but it is all static content. They do want to keep it fresh and up to date and some of the news and product pages really need to have a finger on the pulse approach.

It's all about matching Contribute to its most suitable environment. When you do that it really is superb. It is not an ideal solution in many cases though, and often its benefits are outweighed by its limitations.

Could I be any more ambiguous ?


  Sir Radfordin 12:39 26 Jan 2005

Looking at it I think the biggest flaw is the fact that it is client-side software so has to be installed on the PCs.

I can see for a small company with static content that does need to be kept up-to-date it would be ideal. You pay a developer to build your templates in Dreamweaver and then pay a fraction of a DW licence to keep your site up-to-date.

It waw being considered as an alternative to the CMS solution click here from since it is cheaper (on a per users basis) but also likely to be a lot more powerful.

Like you say, as with all software, when matched to the perfect need it will be a powerful application.

  Forum Editor 18:10 26 Jan 2005

and I liked it, so did my client. I can't say I'll be falling over myself to recommend it to every client though - I need to earn a living.

  PurplePenny 22:06 26 Jan 2005

Can't get any cheaper than Plone:

click here

Mr T:"Could I be any more ambiguous ?" It depends, maybe you could, maybe you couldn't, but on the other hand it could go either way.

  Sir Radfordin 22:20 26 Jan 2005

PP - looks interesting. Shall have a look and see where we end up.

APLAWS+ looks like a similar thing - click here

  Taran 00:45 27 Jan 2005


  Sir Radfordin 09:31 27 Jan 2005

...and another one click here

Amazing what you find when you start looking ;)

  Taran 12:13 27 Jan 2005

There are some truly superb Open SOurce CMS and groupware applications out there. A brief look through SourceForge will net a lot of returns, and there are always review and news sites to let you see what some of them can do:

click here

click here

click here

Part of the problem in applying CMS technology is in selecting the right tool(s) for the job and in that few single products offer an all things to all men (and women !) scenario. Compromises usually have to be made, but if the deployer is happy about rolling out one of the products either with or without modification they can, in some cases, offer everything required of them.

There are certainly some excellent products out there that you can use. Whether you should, is another question entirely.

  Sir Radfordin 08:58 29 Jan 2005

Have had a play with both Type3 and Plone towards the end of this week and whilst they are no doubt very good products they do depend on some understanding of the technology behind them. With no time to learn a new language be it PHP or ASP or anything else these solutions don't seem ready to 'roll out' that quickly. That isn't a criticism of them as products as such, just the fact they aren't the right product for the situation.

Contrbute however may get a look in as it is simple to use and for a site consisting primarily of static pages a powerful tool. I am most impressed with its ability to import Office document and the additional bonus of FlashPaper is also a good point.

  Taran 13:00 29 Jan 2005

Only you have the better idea of your actual requirements, however, I would echo Forum Editor's advice in your other CMS thread: get in touch with a Microsoft Partner and have them come along and talk with you/your compnay.

They will ask questions that I can guarantee nobody will have considered, they will force you to admit a degree of requirements that you probably weren't even aware of and they will recommend appropriate solutions.

You may or may not choose to go with their advice, but the time taken could well be worth its weight in gold.

I am assuming that this is related to your intranet/CMS project and if so, keep this in mind: a good intranet is a pleasure to use, effective in its role of offering a sharing portal for information and projects and can realise considerable cost savings in the long term.

A bad intranet is the exact reverse - it costs an arm and a leg to deliver features in a way that is counterproductive to your working environment or methods and evenually gets ditched once you reach a 'last straw' stage after much banging heads off walls.

An old chap I met years ago once told me that "to go well shod is half the journey".

Sage advice if ever I heard it and applicable to most things in life, including CMS's, Intranets and similar...

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