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.

Music: Rickie Lee Jones :: Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

6 Replies to “Contribute”

  1. yeah, it’s definitely not designed for database-backed sites or CMS’s. it’s more like the “dreamweaver lite” that developers have clamored for for years, saving $300 per seat for simple text updates.

    didn’t know rickie lee jones recorded low spark.

    btw, i replied to your comment on the pixies a while back on my blog. mt isn’t as clever as lj about where to direct the email notifications…

  2. Rickie’s cover of Low Spark is on “It’s Like This” – worth having if she turns yr crank, not a great deal if yr not. The Low Spark cover is really nice.

    Saw your Pixies response, and realize I need to re-word not to say they weren’t influential, but that I don’t find them inspired. Of course you’re right, many bands cite them as an influence. However I can’t help but think the musical landscape isn’t actually much affected by them. There were already three decades of on again off again garage and grunge to draw from… the Pixies sound was recyled, not original.

  3. i can’t believe you’re giving me an originality argument when talking about rock ‘n’ roll, a hybrid that itself evolved from several bastardized fusions.

    but there’s no arguing taste. the pixies sound was abrasive, for one thing. and when the pixies had the reformed pere ubu open for them it was obvious that the world is not fair.

    but, to me, they made four great albums and then broke up at the top of their game.

    i also notice that among some people who are about 10 years younger than you and me, and thus were in high school when the pixies emerged, there is a cult.

    the lyrics were inspired too.

    but i’m really not trying to convince you…. we agree on so much else (p-funk, the minutement, capt. beefheart, etc.)

  4. Certainly the term “originality” has meaning in the context of music?! Sure, everything evolves from everything else, and almost nothing arises wholecloth without being inspired by other forces – that’s part of what fair use is all about – a legal acknowledgement that everything inspires everything else. But that doesn’t mean that originality doesn’t exist or matter.

    I do feel that their lyrics are more interesting than their music.

    And yes, we do agree on lots of other music. In fact you and I agree on more music than than I do with friends from childhood and high school.

  5. The original version was by Traffic. Perhpas for those who like the lyrics but not the music should listen to Traffic instead of the Pixies.

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