Macromedia’s Contribute

By Deane Barker on November 11, 2002

Picture of the box for Macromedia ContributeSome very interesting news out of Macromedia this morning. They plan to release a lightweight Web editing tool called Contribute that’s geared for non-Web developers that need to make changes to Web pages.

I’m interested in the possibilities this could open up for the workplace. I’m involved in using content management to allow departments in a company to maintain an intranet presence. Often, I’ve wondered, why not just train one person from each department to use Dreamweaver or some other tool? Then I get to looking at Dreamweaver, and realize it’s probably too complicated for a non-Web geek to work with.

FrontPage is simpler, but until Microsoft works out its atrotious handling of include files and goofy webbot add-ins, I wouldn’t be happy with it. I’ve looked at other WYSIWYG tools in an effort to find one that’s simple and functional enough to fit the need: Web Weaver, Netscape Composer, etc. None of them worked for one reason or another.

What Macromedia needs to do with this product, is have a central server that controls the interface, preferably by URL. So, for anything that matches the URL “http://sitename/SomeDirectory/*” the user gets, say, font color controls, but not font size controls. For all URLs (all instances of the software), the BLINK tag is disabled, etc.

I’m anxious to see Contribute. It’s going to be priced at $99. I think this may usher in new…paradigm (sorry, sorry) for collaborative Web development.