Sep 10 2003
Macromedia Contribute 2
Most of you reading this review are Mac professionals. As such you may never actually use Contribute, but that doesn’t mean it won’t change the way you build web sites.
That said, Contribute has come to OS X after a successful debut on Windows. Why am I not complaining about the release delay? Because Contribute is a client-side web design solution. Dreamwaever MX for both Mac and PC has been compatible with Contribute since the free 6.1 update.
Now, to the application itself. Contribute is Macromedia’s first venture into the business/client market. It provides simple, straightforward authoring power to individuals not savvy with HTML. It is important to note that Contribute isn’t a site creation tool, and shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to designers.
The other first for Macromedia is Contribute 2′s serialization system. Contribute 2 takes a hardware snapshot used to prevent repeat installations. This feature is also coming in the Studio MX 2004 applications. With the corporate application of Contribute, you can understand where Macromedia is coming from.
As for the real features, Contribute 2 supports SFTP, css, tables and integrates perfectly with Dreamweaver sites. It is important to mention that Contribute is compatible with any HTML based web site, though I can’t image why you’d use anything but Dreamweaver.
The only thing lacking in the Mac version is support for FlashPaper and Office document import (features in the Windows version). Again, youâ€™ll probably be buying as many or more Windows versions for your clients, so youâ€™ll want to be familiar with these features.
Support for easy integration of PayPal is nice. You can also set up easy access to your .Mac account. Wizards and a “How Do I…” panel ensure that anyone can figure their way though tasks, regardless of their computer background.
Contribute isn’t only an HTML editor. It controls access through site-wide settings established by the administrator. The version rollback feature and email preview of changes take the risk out of turning the web site over to your client. User control and permissions are also a part of Contribute administration, accessible through Dreamweaver MX or Contribute.
Contribute can also be set up to use Dreamweaver templates. You can send encrypted keys to Contribute users from Contribute or Dreamweaver. Image size restriction allows you to prevent end users from exceeding reasonable size limits.
From a client perspective, Contribute couldn’t be easier to use. From a site administrator, it solves the countless hassles of minor changes and client approval.
Contribute is a very well designed and intuitive program. What’s more important is the value you can add to your site design and administration services. For $99 per license, you will be able to add fees for the software setup and training. In the long run, whether it’s you or your client that makes the investment, you will both find it worthwhile.
Contribute couldnâ€™t be better. It is simple, effective and fills a vital need.