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Macromedia Contribute 2 Review

Macintosh Users Get Initial Taste of Website Management Program By Don Lee
When the first GUI based HTML editors reached the market, people from all walks of life could now realize their dream of having their own website without the need to learn HTML coding. When I started out, you had no other choice but to learn to code which I find to be very useful in those frustrating times when your finicky web page just doesnt want to cooperate.

I remember the days of launching into Notepad on my PC or the Macintoshs SimpleText and writing those hundreds of lines of HTML code and the always popular <BLINK> tag. Ah yes, those were the days. Thats nothing to scoff at since many business ideas and companies got started this way.

With the invention of such popular HTML editors like Adobe GoLive, Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver, building a cool looking website quickly and somewhat easily has become less of a coding chore and more of a true WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) application.

One of the biggest problems among professional web designers and their clients is the ability to update their current website information without causing any design problems within their current layout. Many people ask me how they can update their website since their contracted web designer is no longer in business or their web staff has been eliminated. This would lead to problems for most situations because the individual wouldnt want to get into the web design issues but would just like to make a quick update. The more sophisticated web design programs like GoLive, FrontPage and Dreamweaver would be too overwhelming for such an easy task, this is where Macromedias Contribute would enter the picture.

Macromedia has created a well-known list of web creation products such as their popular Flash for animation and application development, website design program Dreamweaver, web graphic editor Fireworks and now Contribute. Their intention is to combine both applications to create a full website design and management suite. While Dreamweaver can provide a user with the ability to do more high end functionality like database development, javascripting, cascading style sheets and more, Contribute is the program that would allow less experienced internet savvy people to maintain a sites content without needing to know HTML coding, scripting or even programming. Heck, Contribute doesnt even have any option to be able view source code.

Oooooooooh?what a pretty interface
If youre familiar with Macromedias Dreamweaver, then you should have a relatively short learning curve. Dreamweaver users will notice many of the page editing options and general webpage features have been stripped out immediately. You may feel an initial sense of having your web design creativity handcuffed but remember that Contribute was developed to provide a quick and easy way to update their website and not to get fancy and highly technical towards producing fast results. Believe me, thats a point I cant stress enough if youre considering Contribute as a cheaper alternative to Dreamweaver. You can still do the basic design elements like creating HTML tables, setting colors but you're basically restricted to whatever the webmaster of website administrator leaves available to editing.

Even though the interface may remind you of Dreamweaver, this product has some pretty nice features of its own. One of the most touted is FlashPaper which is a built in technology that allows users to convert any document into a Flash file. The process is quick and painless and requires nothing more than specifying the document and selecting ?Convert to FlashPaper from the Tools pull down menu.

A little WARNING
Even though Contribute comes in the hybrid platform CD, you can only install it on one extra machine of that same platform. I design my websites using a Apple Macintosh as well as a Windows PC so to learn that Macromedia would be selling it as a hybrid was a nice surprise. Having a hybrid CD would enable me to utilize the FlashPaper technology using my PC but I could use the Mac version too when I needed it. With their "calling home" encryption method that sends the system info and the serial number to a database at Macromedia, that hybrid usability has gone out the window. So make sure before you install it, that this will be THE platform of choice. That's right, FlashPaper technology is not ready for Mac Contribute 2.

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Related Keywords:Macromedia Contribute 2, Don Lee, Website Management Tool


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