Project Management

Oversee Web site editing with Macromedia Contribute 2

You want to hand off some Web maintenance tasks, but you're afraid to turn users loose with editing tools. Macromedia Contribute 2.0 works hand-in-hand with Dreamweaver MX 2004, so novices can work on site content--but under your administrative control.


Web site maintenance tasks often fall through the cracks due to tight schedules and limited resources. One way to stay on top of the maintenance chores is to roll out Macromedia Contribute 2 to your internal customers and let them shoulder some of the responsibility. The tool enables users without HTML knowledge to create and maintain Web pages. Contribute's browser-based user interface provides a quick ramp-up for novice users who have basic word processing and Web browser skills.

If the thought of a GUI-based Web editor in the hands of your sales staff strikes fear in your heart, don't worry: Contribute 2 is based upon Macromedia Dreamweaver technology. In fact, Contribute 2.0 is closely tied into Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 and shares its administration features.

Unleashing Contribute 2 on your internal customers
Implementing Macromedia Contribute 2 within your organization does require some planning to ensure that the introduction of the new tool benefits both the users and the development team. It takes more than just a copy of Contribute 2 on a desktop for the user to edit Web pages. The administrative tools in Macromedia Contribute 2 and Dreamweaver MX 2004 govern what users can edit and maintain on Web pages. The management tools put you in control of access, so users can't edit a site unless you let them.

Preparing the Web site
You'll need to prepare the Web site for Contribute 2 by going to Dreamweaver MX 2004's Site menu and selecting Manage Sites to open the dialog box shown in Figure A.

Figure A
The Manage Sites dialog box


Select a site and click Edit to open the Site Definition dialog box. Then, click the Advanced tab, shown in Figure B.

Figure B
Site Definition dialog box with Advanced tab selected


In the Advanced tab, select Contribute from the Category list to open the dialog box shown in Figure C.

Figure C
Select Contribute from the Category list


Now, select the Enable Contribute Compatibility option. Contribute 2 access to a Web site works with Dreamweaver MX 2004's remote access method, requiring Dreamweaver's Check In/Check Out and Design Notes features to be implemented on the site. Click OK to exit the Site Definition dialog box and then click Done to close the Manage Sites dialog box.

Administering Contribute 2 from Dreamweaver MX
You can administer Contribute 2 users directly from Dreamweaver MX 2004, but you must have a copy of Contribute 2 installed on the same PC that's running Dreamweaver MX 2004. First, open the Manage Sites dialog box in Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Then, click on the Advanced tab and choose Contribute from the category list. As long as Contribute is enabled on the system, you'll be able to click the Administer Site In Contribute button. If you've set up a Contribute administrator, Dreamweaver MX will then display the Administrator Password dialog box. Just enter the Contribute administrator password and click OK.

If the site doesn't have an administrator, a dialog box will appear that enables you to set one up. It is recommended that you establish a Contribute 2 administrator at this point, whether it be the current user or a central Contribute 2 site administrator (preferably a senior member of the Web development team).

After you enter the administrator password, you can access the Administrator Website dialog box. It includes a number of administrative functions:
  • The Sitewide Settings button enables the changing of site-wide settings.
  • The Permission Group Settings button lets you edit group permissions on the Contribute 2-compatible site.
  • The Send Connection Key button enables the transmission of the site key to Macromedia Contribute 2 users.

If you click Send Connection Key, the designated user will receive an e-mail with all the setup information needed to use Contribute 2 to access a Web site. The recipient just has to click on a link in the e-mail to enable site access.

Administering users within Contribute
You can also administer Web site connections from Macromedia Contribute 2. You can set these connections when you install Macromedia Contribute 2 on user desktops.

To use Macromedia Contribute, you need to connect to a Web site via the Create A Connection wizard on the Macromedia Contribute 2 Start page. To enable the connection, you must have an authorized FTP username and password for the site. The Create A Connection Wizard walks you through the entire connection process, including establishing a Contribute site administrator.

You can access Contribute 2's admin features by going to the Edit menu, choosing Administer Websites, and selecting the site you want to administer. The Administer Websites dialog box offers the same options that Dreamweaver MX provides:
  • Sitewide Settings
  • Permission Group Settings
  • Send Connection Key

Dude, it's not my job
Although I've tried to cover the technical issues related to administering Macromedia Contribute 2 users, I have yet to mention push back from the masses. The introduction of Macromedia Contribute 2 into an organization can be met with a number of attitudes:
  • Dude, it's not my job, by internal customers who are used to going to the Web team for site updates and maintenance. They believe that's the way (corporate) nature intended it to be.
  • Let me at it, you never served me, by internal customers who may or may not have been short-changed by the response time for updating existing Web content and posting new content.

Putting Web site updates into the hands of the marketing or sales staff can sound like a leap of faith to even the most overworked Web developer. However, Macromedia Contribute 2 enables you to lay out the playing field for those updates and to make sure that novices don't run your Web site into the ground.

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