After seeing Macromedia’s Contribute application, I’m glad they finally created a product they created a market for years ago. Back in 1998, I built several websites for departments at UCLA, and I was using Dreamweaver 1.2 at the time, which retailed for somewhere around $300. When I handed the sites off to the departments, they had no easy way of doing edits and either came back to me to ask that I update text by hand, or they would botch up the layouts by loading them into Frontpage (or worse, Word), doing edits, then saving. Since I used all the templating functions in Dreamweaver, I requested that departments buy a copy, and I’d set them up to have editing capabilities without messing with any of the template code, but many balked at the price. If I remember correctly, only one group I built sites for bought dreamweaver and kept their site up that way. All the other sites I built have long since been redesigned to Frontpage-generated sites.
Not to sound pompous or be an ass, but I submitted wishlist requests to Macromedia back then, asking them to make a stripped down version of Dreamweaver that I could ask clients to use as just an edit interface. People I talked to seemed to want it for $50, though Macromedia is pricing it at $99. My argument then holds true today: a cheap “lite” version would allow more designers to deploy Dreamweaver-built sites, selling more copies of Dreamweaver, even though Macromedia wouldn’t make much on their sales of lite copies. In the years since they launched Dreamweaver, and now this, I’ve instead taken to creating web applications that provide a web-based edit interface, but this Dreamweaver/Contribute combo looks like a workable solution that is a lot less work to deploy.