1. Technology

Adobe Contribute CS4

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Contribute CS4

Contribute CS4

Image courtesy Adobe

The Bottom Line

Contribute is not a stand-alone Web design editor that will work for most professional designers. This is a great tool if you're maintaining a site that someone else built, or you are handing off a design to a non-technical content or website owner. If all you're looking for is a very high-featured blog editor or website editor, then Contribute gets four stars. But for professional Web designers, this tool is too constraining. I use it only to provide my customers an easy way to edit their pages once I'm done building them.

Pros

  • Can be used to edit existing websites and blogs with just a few steps
  • Built-in browser allows you to surf to exactly the page that needs to be edited
  • Define roles and access levels for different users
  • Edit and review drafts of pages for better version control
  • No technical knowledge is required to edit Web pages or blogs

Cons

  • Can't edit multiple files at once
  • Not a good program for designers or developers
  • No access to the HTML or CSS or any code
  • Very difficult to create a new site from scratch

Description

  • WYSIWYG editor that makes it easy to connect to and edit existing Web pages and blogs.
  • Manage your sites with direct FTP connections. Files go up in the background when you publish.
  • Edit content on existing Websites and blogs.
  • Edit sites written in Dreamweaver using templates for control over the site look and feel.
  • Edit images directly inside Contribute.
  • Embed mutlimedia and Flash applications with drag and drop.
  • Use pre-built templates for new Web and blog pages.
  • Version control with rollback keeps mistakes from staying live.
  • Access control gives different levels of acces to different members of the team.
  • Maintains the formatting and style of the original HTML or XHTML.

Guide Review - Adobe Contribute CS4

Contribute is a great tool for its audience. It is perfect for the content owner or small business owner who doesn't want to spend a lot of time managing or maintaining a website. With Contribute you don't need to know HTML or CSS, you just open your website, browse to the page that you want to edit and make your changes. Since it's a WYSIWYG editor and Web browser in one, you know how your changes will look as you're editing them.

The reason I gave Contribute three stars is because it's not well suited to most Web designers as their primary Web editor. It doesn't support CSS or HTML code directly, so you have to rely on the styles and classes already defined for the website.

Two of the best features of Contribute are the version controls and access controls built into the program. When you set up a site to be edited by Contribute users, you are setting up a whole system to manage that site as well. The site administrator can create roles and access levels for different people. And the version control system, with check-in and check-out as well as rollback capability means that you never have to worry about mistakes taking down entire pages.

Finally, Contribute acts as a full-featured blog editor. If you're a Web designer who also writes a blog, you can use Dreamweaver to build your sites with Contribute access. Then you just provide your content owners with Contribute roles so that they can edit the pages. And you can use Contribute to administer the site and manage your blog.

Score: 133
Reviewed: 25 September 2008

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