Macromedia Offers Dreamweaver Lite

Contribute enables people with minimal training to expand or change information on Web sites.

Macromedia Inc. this week plans to announce Macromedia Contribute, an application that enables users to add to, update and change Web site content without the help of a professional developer or Web site manager.

The San Francisco companys Contribute is based on Dreamweaver, Macromedias professional product for creating Web sites. Contribute is lighter and less expensive, said Susan Morrow, director of product management at Macromedia.

Kevin Lynch, Macromedias chief software architect, said Contribute enables developers and site managers to delegate content management while maintaining control of design, code, layout and standards.

Lynch said Contribute tracks changes made to a Web site. Encrypted connection keys and permission groups enable control of who is allowed to access what information.

"Macromedia is definitely addressing the need for more simple Web site development and maintenance tools," said Rob Lancaster, an analyst with The Yankee Group, in Boston. "Empowering the content creator or content owner with the ability to quickly change or update Web content will reduce IT strain and help departmental managers communicate more effectively."

David Schatsky, an analyst with Jupiter Research, in New York, said Macromedia has "done a good job understanding the usage patterns and psychology of light users. Packaged content management solutions are way too costly to support the customer base they are targeting. Authoring tools like [Microsoft Corp.s] FrontPage or Dreamweaver are overkill and dangerous in the wrong hands. Contribute nails the needs of casual users who, nonetheless, need to keep a Web site up-to-date."

One such person is beta user Mary Norbury-Glaser, a LAN administrator and Web designer at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, in Denver. "I can envision creating an online resource for families and caregivers based on templates that I [as designer] create and the clinical staff edits. Instead of them bringing me updates and addenda, they can manage the interface using Contribute without needing excessive amounts of training."

Contribute will be available next month for $99.

Dreamweaver MX costs $399. It will be available next month for Windows in English. Windows versions in French, German and Japanese and a version for Mac OS X will be available next year.