Just attended a demo of Macromedia’s new product Contribute, which is designed to provide an easy way for non-web-staff people to add to or modify content on a web site. This could potentially be very useful to me at work where staff and faculty have a lot of plain content to get online – this could relieve a lot of the burden of tedious, repetitive conversion of text data into simple pages.
It does a lot of things very well, e.g. lets you drag a Word doc right into a template body and have its contents cleanly formatted and inserted into the template (rather than dealing with the rat’s nest of spaghetti that Word generates on HTML output). Allows for restriction of users to given directories. Lets you force no FONT tags, force users to title their documents, etc. Upload is virtually transparent.
On the other hand, it’s tricky to imagine how something like this could integrate with a fuller Content Management System, where content would be stored in a database and which would provide lots of other benefits but probably wouldn’t offer WYSIWYG editing, etc.
Oddly, there is no server component to the system – it all runs with keys that are sent to the user and interact with the desktop app to restrict access as specified by the administrator. Kind of weird to think of running security that way, but I can’t actually think of a hole in the system — it’s just weird.
Hmmmm… will have to ponder this one. I’m very shy of proprietary solutions, trying to do everything open source here, but damn, this is a good product for what it is.