• United States

New content management options

Jul 19, 20043 mins

Macromedia Contribute 3 includes high-end Web publishing system

Macromedia Contribute 3 includes high-end Web publishing system.

The new version of Macromedia’s Web development software package, Contribute 3, manages a nice trick: It serves as the front end for an optional Web content management system controlled by Macromedia’s high-end development suite Dreamweaver.

Do you need it? If you’re still the only one creating your Web pages, no. But if you’re managing three other people creating pages and need to check their work before posting, yes.

For folks in the first group considering the upgrade from Contribute 2, Contribute 3 ($79 upgrade, $149 full product) will get you better performance, as well as easy integration with FlashPaper 2 (Macromedia’s Adobe PDF file equivalent) and Microsoft Office. This makes creating FlashPaper documents for your Web site as easy as printing. If you’re new to Contribute, we tested Version 2 last September (see editorial link below).

Folks in the second group: Take a close look at the new Macromedia Web Publishing System offered with Contribute 3.

Contribute 2 has a “Publish” button that sends changes to a new or edited Web page to the server. Contribute 3 lets you turn it into a “Send for Review” button that forwards the new or changed page to an administrator. Upon approval, one click sends it to the Web site and updates the site automatically.

Macromedia claims to have nearly 500 school districts as customers, and I know my daughter’s is one of them. This system makes it possible to give the software to students without sweating over what could appear publicly before teacher approval. If you’ve ever had a Web page get loose with an embarrassing mistake (say, 10 for $1 rather than $10 for 1), you understand the value.

Be warned that anything labeled “system” is a substantial investment. The Web Publishing System costs $2,500 for 10 users and one administrator. But you get a lot for your money. The package includes Contribute 3, FlashPaper 2, and development applications Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional and Dreamweaver MX 2004. The publishing system ties it all together and includes ways to use your existing network authentication service to log on users.

The price is also less than that of other content management systems from Lomtec, MethodFactory and Ektron, which start at $3,000 to $6,600. If you’re serious about your Web site, like the two guys who built an Internet furniture store (see editorial link below), this is for you. 

Still not sure? Macromedia offers a trial copy of Contribute 3 and the Web Publishing System free for download.