Macromedia Offers Free Web Publishing System Update

The new version adds RSS feeds and improves the interface for LDAP and Active Directory.

Macromedia announced Wednesday that it is offering a free update to its Web Publishing System application suite. The new version includes Macromedia Contribute 3.1 and Macromedia Contribute Publishing Services 1.1.

Coming six months after the initial product launch, the update offers enhancements to WPS server components, including extensibility and connectivity solutions, said Craig Barberich, senior product manager of WPS and Contribute at Macromedia Inc.

Macromedia first released WPS in August 2004 to help large enterprises manage the client-side copies of Contribute for company intranets and extranets.

Macromedia touts WPS new RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds as one of the key enhancements. Taking a cue from bloggers and wiki users, WPS lets users set up RSS-based feature activity areas so that companies can take RSS management responsibilities out of the hands of specialists.

Rather than relying on an IT department to notify employees of announcements via e-mail, users in their respective departments can publish the information as an RSS activity notification on their intranets that employees can check out on their RSS aggregators or blog readers, Barberich said.

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Macromedia also improved the user interface for LDAP and Active Directory to simplify its use. "For this version, we focused on large-scale deployment and on scalability, and we wanted to improve on a platform that [would allow] a corporation to support thousands of publishers inside the organization," Barberich said.

"When we introduced Contribute three years ago, we wanted to make a publishing and editing tool that we call Microsoft Word for the Web. WPS came about because [corporations] loved Contribute, but they needed something to manage these large groups that would work for business users who arent programming- or html-savvy," Barberich said. WPS allows these users to share information with teams and workgroups, and the back end allows administrators to set up different degrees of access, he said.

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