Contribute 3 full review

I have numerous friends who ask for my help in setting up Web sites up for them, only to find that they’re nervous about updating the site content themselves. Luckily, Macromedia’s Contribute comes to the rescue. Version 3 includes a bundle of new features to make it more flexible and user-friendly.

Contribute enables editing and updating of pages, including images and video content, by users with no HTML skills. It’s aimed at anyone who is non-technical, and it makes updating Web pages a cinch – especially if you work as part of a team on the same site.

As well as sporting many new features, Contribute now works with the Mac’s native browser, Safari. If you’re a .Mac member it will also automatically offer you direct FTP connection to your .Mac homepage, freeing you from using iPhoto to update pages.

Improved administrator settings now include the new Publishing Services; Web server options have been redesigned; and there are new pages settings and better compatibility with previous versions of Contribute.

Guard pages are completely new. Most sites have settings preventing some file directories, or files, from being viewed by visitors. Users can now also create their own new pages (including links) without relying on the Web designer to create one. Installing the new Contribute Publishing Services feature on the server enables reviews of documents and draft tracking, and administering groups.

Other useful improvements let the administrator define user groups and see which user is part of which group in the new dialog window. If you work as part of a team, an enhanced approval system lets you email review alerts or drafts of pages to subs or editors for final checking before publication.

Flash Paper support is also available. This converts any printable document into a Flash document that can be viewed in a browser. And you can now add QuickTime movies to your site straight from within Contribute 3.

Connection speeds are reliant on the ISP as well as bandwidth access, although Contribute now helpfully offers an integrated server-connection checker. Connection choices now include WebDav support.

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