Mmmm…Macromedia Contribute & Publishing

How do your customers add/update content to the sites you build for them? Is it easy and robust? Is the site still standards compliant and accessible three months after launch? Is the content fresh?

I’ve been struggling with these questions in my work and recently embarked on an enterprise wide content management solution (cms) at the University of Texas. Finding a CMS that fits higher education has been tricky. We searched and found a CMS vendor that is willing to partner with us and enhance their product to better fit the eccentricities of a research institution. And while I’m thrilled with the partnership with Stellent, I’m wishing with all my heart that Stellent had bought Macromedia instead of Adobe.

I’ve had a long love affair with Macromedia. It started in the 90’s when I was hand coding all of my html in bbedit. I’d stuck my toe in a few of the early wysiwyg tools, but found them to be a waste of my time. I was faster and preferred the control and responsibility of my bare bones editor.

Then, I met Dreamweaver. I was hesitant at first, untrusting. Then I saw the light. Back in those days, pages were laid out in tables and handcoding tables was tedious and oh so very boring. The GUI that Dreamweaver provided was indeed dreamy. And most importantly, she respected my code (never overwriting me) and wrote quality code herself. I was hooked.

Now, years later, Dreamweaver is still my editor of choice. I love her template features (for creating websites with vast numbers of contributors) and I’m even beginning to warm to their Contribute product.

Warm to Contribute? Okay…I’ll admit I’m quite smitten. I had the honour of meeting the brains behind Contribute this week. I saw her current capabilities and the dreams for her future. Indeed, I was drooling. I wanted the next version of Contribute NOW! No, I wanted it yesterday! Okay, okay, so patience has never been one of my virtues.

Best of all, as this week draws to a close, I breathe a sigh of relief. Macromedia is alive and well. I met a part of her heart and soul and they are visionary, brilliant and passionate about making the web easy, accessible and standards compliant. So, no matter what the company name is…I know that the software I love, Dreamweaver & Flash, is built by people. And the whole reason that Adobe and Macromedia have joined forces is because they recognize the incredible value of these special people.

So, if I had three wishes, one of them would still be that I could have the best of all worlds…a combination of Stellent, Contribute, Dreamweaver and Flash. A girl can dream, right?


  1. Have you heard anything about the future of Contribute?

    I must admit that I kind of love this product as well. My university doesn’t have a CMS in place yet, and Contribute is a really good way for the department secretaries that always get handed the job of updating the department web sites to do so without having to understand the ins and outs of FTP, HTML, etc. And we can set up standards-based accessible templates for them, lock them out areas that aren’t relevant for updating content, and have at least some control over the site. And we can rollback to old versions when they mess something up…

    It’s a really good interim solution until we can get the CMS bought, installed, and functioning. I really don’t want it to go away!

  2. Future of Contribute looks very bright. Strong commitment to this product. They are in the design phase and seeking feedback from webmasters like you and me as they build out the next version.

    Interesting perspective on the Adobe / Macromedia merger. Adobe comes from the print publishing background, Macromedia comes from the web publishing background. The merger is complimentary. I now think of A/M as Publishers.

    When we asked if Macromedia would retain it’s upstart spirit and creativity, the resounding answer was YES!

    And…it may be that Contribute really is a full blown CMS on the next release. That is the future that I saw yesterday.

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