University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Why isn’t Contribute equipped to handle large scale (~10,000+ pages) sites? Contribute doesn’t really have the tools to do anything with regards to content reuse across a site. So as a result, there’s no way to develop interactivity (well, really, you can’t develop anything with it, it’s not a developer tool).....

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Comment by Jake McGowan on January 25, 2008 at 1:50pm
I can't disagree strongly with any of the comments made regarding the limitations of Contribute as a robust CMS. However, I'm compelled to defend it at some level, as we have implemented it with great results. I believe there is still a place for products like Contribute in the University environment. Here was the scenario where it was a great fit:

* university museum little to no in-house technical or design capabilities,
* limited access to university IT resources,
* smallish site (~ 300 pages),
* need for frequent updates to home page and news section,
* semi-regular update needs for other sections,
* content updates handled by distributed team of 7-8 non-technical curators and program leads (zero Web programming experience),
* limited maintenance and budget,
* basic workflow requirements (writer -> editor -> publisher)
* no alternative CMS option provided by the university

The site is museum.stanford.edu . It launched two years ago has run very smoothly. Contribute was absolutely the right tool for their situation at the time and still makes sense for them today. I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand, but would take a close look at the ultimate application while considering the trade offs between ease-of-use and and need for a more sophisticated solution.

I completely agree that Contribute is all wrong for 10,000 + page sites, but I don't believe that's the market Adobe is going after with the product. There is plenty of money to be made at the lower end of the spectrum for sites with more modest needs.
Comment by Mark Greenfield on January 25, 2008 at 11:21am
Here are my thoughts on Contribute (taken from my response when this topic came up on the uwebd mailing list)

IMHO – Contribute is a good alternative for those seeking to allow people to update their content. It doesn’t do much beyond this. It has very rudimentary workflow and does nothing for syndicating content.

We are using it on about 20 sites, all in a LAMP environment. We do not use Dreamweaver templates. Pages are created with a series of server side includes which prevents navigation and other page elements to be changed by the end user. They have access to a limited style sheet which prevents them from doing anything crazy with fonts. We allow them to only update the content on existing html pages. This has been a tremendous time saver for us. We have had no issues with the software and permissions and training can be done in minutes.

That being said, Contribute is very basic and does not offer the features of a sophisticated CMS. We are currently using WordPress as a CMS where sites need syndication, and will be moving to Drupal down the road.
Comment by Michael Fienen on January 25, 2008 at 11:17am
No, it isn't a CMS, but it is used like one in most places, or rather, in place of one. And there's no actual page limit built into it, it's just that on a site that big, it's not very effective. If you have a 20 page site, that's one thing, because it can handle that a spot of all right, but when there's just that much weight, it's a very inefficient tool to wade through it with.
Comment by David Anderson on January 25, 2008 at 11:12am
Contribute isn't a CMS, it's just a cut-down version of DW. I wasn't aware of the 10,000 page limit but I suppose it makes sense: all the settings, page information, etc, is stored in text files on the server.

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