Macromedia today announced the release of Contribute 2, their web authoring tool, for both Mac OS X and Windows. We had a chance to sit down with Erik Larson, Contribute Product Manager, and Aaron Wessels, Macromedia PR Manager, to get the scoop on this product, which, up until now, was only available on Windows. Introduced in December 2002, Contribute is a product that allows casual content contributors to update web sites, while allowing web professionals to maintain control over aspects of the site that casual users shouldnit have to worry about.
Built using Dreamweaver technology, Contribute 2 is a client program that lets users access and make changes to a web site. Like other content management systems, users can check out a file that theyid like to edit, and check it back in when theyire done. This of course prevents two users from working on the same file at the same time, causing much confusion. Unlike other content management systems, Contribute 2 users donit need to know the details of site addresses and file transfer; a Contribute 2 administrator simply give the user a Connection Key file, which contains all of this information.
The Mac Version of Contribute Integrates with .mac
In addition to making the authoring process easy for users, Contribute 2 allows an administrator to maintain control over which parts of a web page can be edited. This is great news since it allows users the ability to only edit relevant content, and not mess up the look and feel of the site. Plus, even if a user does make a mistake, they can roll back their changes to revert to a prior version of the content.
One feature that really caught our eye is the introduction of a "Flash Paper" feature, which converts documents in other formats, such as PowerPoint or Word, into read-only Flash documents. This is a plus for those that would like to offer documents via a web site, without requiring visitors to have extra programs. With hundreds of millions of downloads, we think it is a safe bet that your site visitors are already equipped to handle Flash content. For Mac users only, Contribute 2 offers integration with your .mac account, so that one doesnit even need to maintain their own server to offer web content.
Contribute 2 will be available in download version on July 25, and a boxed version shortly thereafter. Pricing for the full version is US$99, a 5-unit pack is US$399, a 10-unit pack is US$749, and upgrade pricing from the first version is US$9.99.