will announce on Monday a new product called Macromedia Contribute — a desktop application designed to provide an easy-to-use way for non-technical users to update Web pages and add pages to existing Web sites, Product Manager Erik Larson told MacCentral.
When the product ships next month, it will be Windows only. However, Macromedia is developing a Mac version, which will be Mac OS X only.
“We’ve taken the core technology of Dreamweaver MX and, over the past 18 months, built this new product that anyone can use,” Larson said. “You can browse through a Web site, click the edit control, make changes and publish back to the Web. There are administrative controls so administrators can control who can change what. The whole goal is to keep Web sites up to date and reduce costs and inefficiencies. We’ve found that Web designers and developers are spending around 20 hours a week doing mundane content updates.”
With Macromedia Contribute, you’ll also be able to import content from Microsoft Word and Excel. The data will be published as “clean, standard HTML,” Larson said. The product, which will have an introductory price of US$99, can be set up to work with any existing Web site immediately without any changes to the site or servers.
“Once it’s up and going, Webmasters can control what sections of a site people can edit, can automatically lock out all server code on a page, and more,” Larson said. “End users won’t be able to change something they don’t understand.”
Contribute is also compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Under this section, federal Web sites are required by law to make all content and programs offered on their Internet and intranet sites accessible. The product automatically conforms to these standards.
When Contribute ships next month, Macromedia will also release an update of Dreamweaver MX designed to integrate with the new product. The tweaked Dreamweaver will be Mac and Windows compatible. Though no timetable is given on the Mac version of Contribute, it’s in development now, Larson said.
“We’re working on it as hard as can,” he added. “Half our team are Mac fanatics, and Macromedia is highly dedicated to the Mac platform.”
When Contribute for Mac OS X ships, it will include Opera Software’s Opera browser as the embedded browser. The Mac OS X version of the Opera browser is still in beta testing; see our
September 25 story for details.
“Usability studies have found that people like concrete metaphors, and the easiest way to view a page you want to change is, of course, a Web browser,” Larson said. “On Windows, Internet Explorer was the obvious choice since it’s part of the operating system. On the Mac, there wasn’t a similar browser we could incorporate into Contribute. So we made a deal with Opera Software to use their browser, because it’s small and fast. However, the API — the way Contribute ‘talks’ to Opera — isn’t proprietary so other Web browsers could be embedded, as well.”