An existing client had a site done for them using (I guess) Dreamweaver which is maintained by Contribute. I have neither of these. They wish the home page reengineered and have asked me to do the work. I do not have and do not want either of these products and my inclination would be to move them to a more conventional CMS in due course but for now ...

Is it feasible to redesign the site and manually place Contribute comment tags (InstanceBeginEditable etc) around the segments the user can edit? I'm thinking e.g. of a div containing H tags and P tags wrapped in InstanceBeginEditable/InstanceEndEditable

Is there a list of tags I can refer to? This is meant to be a quick and dirty job, is it even feasible?


Making large design changes to an existing Contribute-based site without Dreamweaver or Contribute is not a quick or easy task, largely because:

  • There's no documentation for the Contribute tags.
  • There's no easy way to grant and revoke access keys for the Contribute client application.
  • There's no easy way to define master templates. These are required both to let users add pages based on an existing template and to reuse repeatable elements such as nav bars.

In addition, it seems that Adobe no longer plans to develop Contribute beyond simple and occasional maintenance updates. [See source 1 and source 2.]

I'd recommend suggesting that your client moves to an alternative content management system. If you need to keep costs down, you could use a lightweight CMS that's not too tricky to implement and maintain, such as CushyCMS (free, hosted solution, edit existing content only, no ability to create additional pages), or Perch (self-hosted solution, pay per licence, simple but powerful). You could sell it to them on the basis that:

  • Contribute will be discontinued in future, at which point they may have to upgrade anyway.
  • Web-based content management systems allow greater flexibility in terms of ease of access and ease of upgrades than desktop apps like Contribute.

If all you're doing is making small design tweaks to an existing Contribute site, it's possible to edit the source or individual pages directly, as long as you edit the master templates to reflect those changes as well.

  • Yes, I have regretfully declined this particular task and suggested moving to some slightly more friendly CMS approach. – epo Aug 20 '12 at 14:27
  • @epo That was probably the right thing to do. I've inherited two Contribute sites for redesigns, and both times it took longer than I estimated to redevelop and iron out all the creases (and I own both Contribute and Dreamweaver). Contribute isn't a fun app to work with if you're used to web-based CMSes. – Nick Aug 20 '12 at 15:53

I would also look at Konductor CMS - great for little projects that needs an easy UI and really simple to integrate. http://konductor.net

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