What Is Adobe Contribute?
Adobe Contribute allows content authors to edit existing web sites, without having to learn HTML or other complex web technologies.
Adobe Contribute at George Mason University
Contribute is used by several departments and groups at the university. The software works very well for departments and groups that only have a small number of staff members editing content. The software does not require any server set up and tends to run well out of the box.
The software has integrated “behind the scenes” FTP/SFTP functionality. This allows images, Word Documents, and PDF files to be easily uploaded.
If you are considering using Adobe Contribute, it is recommended you talk to other departments and groups that are currently using it.
Adobe Contribute vs. Server-Side Content Management Systems (Open Source and Proprietary)
Contribute is installed locally on an end user’s computer whereas most other CMS software runs server-side and has a database back end. There are Pros and Cons to this setup:
- Easy to Set Up – Contribute is compatible with most pre-existing websites. The software does NOT require a content or design rebuild (see Templates).
- Familiar Graphical User Interface – Contribute’s interface is comparable to Microsoft Word (font formatting, tables and Inserting images). The familiarity of the interface normally shortens the time needed for proper training.
- Pages Can Still Be Edited by Dreamweaver and Other HTML Editing Software – Since Contribute only manipulates the raw HTML, then it’s possible for multiple end users to edit the same site with a variety of HTML editing software.
- No Web-Based Editing and Administration – A server-side CMS runs within a web browser. This functionality means that web sites can be edited in just about any modern web browser. This approach also means that adding a new end user does not require any software to be installed on their work computer
- Contribute Software Updates Must Be Done Locally – All computers must be physically touched when a group or department decides they want to update their Contribute software. A server-side CMS requires one update to the software running on the server.
- Lack of Built-in Functionality – Many server-side CMS systems have dynamic features such as custom forms, calendars, blogs, and forums built-in.
There are several departments at Mason using server-side content management systems. If you are interested in a server-side CMS please take your time and talk to each of these groups about their experiences.
Some server-side CMS systems require special templates to be created specifically for the system. If you already have a web site and decide to move into a server-side CMS, then the structure and content will likely have to be rebuilt. Contribute does not require special templates and can edit existing conventional websites. If a designer/developer wants to lock down areas of a web page, they can use the “editable region” tag found in Adobe Dreamweaver templates.
If you already have a web site that you feel works well for you and you do not need to overhaul content or design, then Adobe Contribute might be a good choice. However, if you have an older site that needs a total re-haul of either content or design, then a server-side CMS could be your answer.
Important Technical Note: Fix Server Upload Permissions
On www.gmu.edu, newly created files aren’t available through the web browser by default. It is important to fix this setting before editing a site with Contribute:
Last Updated: October 10, 2017