content management - contribute?

jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 7, 2002
9,594
3
serendipity
so i've got a website gig where i've been asked to provide content management controls. i know nothing about this stuff

the client's current site that i was directed to as a sort of guideline has a web based system where the less tech savvy employees (editors, writers, etc) can go to the site via a web browser, type in their password, and get access to editing the text of certain static pages within the site.

i have heard that contribute is a good piece of software to use to do this, and that it's fairly straightforward. but i've also heard that the software (contribute) would need to be installed on the clients' computers and then they'd need to be trained on using it... which would clearly not be the simple web based system i'm looking for.

anyone with knowledge on either contribute and/or how to go about getting the type of content management controls i'm trying to create?

thanks!
 

Moria

macrumors regular
May 7, 2005
193
0
Glasgow, Scotland
You'll need to use a scripting lanuage like PHP and then link up to a mySQL database for starters... Then make a login script where they have an adminstrator who can create all the user accounts who can add content to the site.
 
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CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Contribute isn't a content management system per se. It is a cut down version of Dreamweaver that runs on the client machine (they will have to purchase a copy for each staff member who is going to be editing.)

In a nutshell, you have to build the site using Dreamweaver, using Templates for each page, with Editable areas for content.

Then, when you publish the site, you can define certain pages as editable by users from within Contribute, and assign passwords to do so. Contribute can create new pages based on existing Templates, they can edit text, create links and add graphics (although the graphics must have been previously prepped for the web - size, format etc.). Pages can be signed out for editing (which prevents 2 people attempting to edit at once) and IIRC there is a simple approval system.

It is a simple solution for a small number of users. It gets expensive for large numbers.


A CMS is more usually a server-based, database-based technology. The advantage of these is you can offer more dynamic features like forums, blogging, news and time-based lists of items, user-specific customization (like, customers see only the "retail" site, the management team gets a custom status report "dashboard" site while only the Accouonting department has access to the financial section of the site)

There are a number of open source and commercial systems on the market so you don't have to roll your own in PHP -- Google for info. PHP-Nuke and Typo3 are two names I know off the top of my head, MIcrosoft and IBM and other majors have CMS backends that can easily run $six figures.
 
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jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 7, 2002
9,594
3
serendipity
wow. so maybe i'm out of my league here with that type of web based thing?

i really am not very experienced in site building/development... so the whole scripting thing is over my head.

it IS a small organization, but i didn't realize that contribute had to be installed on their machines. hmm. well i guess i need to reconsider and talk to them then... thanks for the info!
 
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steelphantom

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2005
555
1
You might want to try building your site around a pre-existing CMS such as Textpattern. I use Wordpress, but it seems to be more blog-oriented than Textpattern.
 
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jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 7, 2002
9,594
3
serendipity
interesting, thanks for the link steelphantom. i feel so dumb looking at that site and trying to determine whether i'd be able to make it work... but i think it's possible. i'm going to give it a shot tonight on a test site and see what i can come up with.

thanks again.
 
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CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
For any of the CMS systems that are server based, it is relly helpful to enlist the services of a server admin for installation and configuration, unless you have appropriate authorizations on the server and are comfortable with configuring PHP, MySQL and Apache. Your particular server may be set up for everything correctly already, but then again, maybe not.


Thank't the thing about Contribute - it costs a moderate amount per seat, BUT it is single-ended. You don't have to have any server support for it at all, it can work with pure FTP. So with that approach you just budget in several $100 into the website development cost. It's less than you would have to charge for your time learning a server-side CMS... unless you're willing to put in a few dozen hours for free.
 
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jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 7, 2002
9,594
3
serendipity
i am sorry to be a dolt... having read through textpattern's site, it's not clear to me whether it's something that gets installed on the server side, or whether it is something the client runs each time they need to edit...

i think contribute would be a decent option, i just am hesitant to ask them to buy one (or a few) copies of it when i'm new to content management in general

ahh, maybe i'll have to tell them to find someone else for that part of it. hmm
 
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steelphantom

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2005
555
1
jelloshotsrule said:
i am sorry to be a dolt... having read through textpattern's site, it's not clear to me whether it's something that gets installed on the server side, or whether it is something the client runs each time they need to edit...

i think contribute would be a decent option, i just am hesitant to ask them to buy one (or a few) copies of it when i'm new to content management in general

ahh, maybe i'll have to tell them to find someone else for that part of it. hmm
Textpattern is something you install on the server's side. Each user logs in using their browser and is able to edit and create new content for the site. Basically what you would be doing is creating your own web design for the site and just stuffing the Textpattern code underneath it, allowing the client to update the site with new content.
 
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iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
jelloshotsrule said:
ahh, maybe i'll have to tell them to find someone else for that part of it.
From what you've told me, Contribute sounds like the ideal solution to be honest, the site it's to be used with isn't a dynamic one, and Contributes editing environment is relatively bulletproof for the beginner or those that maybe are not familiar with maintaining a website. Also as CanadaRAM points out, it isn't server-side based, and doesn't suffer from the complexities that come with that.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to provide a degree of training regardless of which CMS you use, so that the clients are familiar with how it operates and how they go about editing, updating and maintaining their website... there's no way around that.

That said, you should pick up how Contribute operates in a couple of hours, and a day to familiarise yourself with it to such a degree that you'll be able to train your clients to be able to use it.
 
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jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 7, 2002
9,594
3
serendipity
hmm that webedit looks very simple and seems like the way to go (on very quick glance), but it doesn't work with mac browsers apparently? hmm... tough for me to test it out at home then...
 
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