Managing non-HTML contents
Web content management not only involves managing HTML web pages, but also other documents like PDF, SWF, DOC, XLS, images and other files. Traditionally, the tasks involved in content management are, creating new folder, controlling folder permission, deleting and renaming files, browsing file list and opening them for viewing or editing, version controlling, and searching.
Even though you can manage contents on your web site using the OS file browser by mapping the remote server folder in the client desktop, it fully exposes the server folder and controlling the access using the same web site user role (say, author, reviewer, etc) of the Web Content Management System is very difficult. Another alternative is to use FTP clients. FTP clients do allow secured content management, but are not user friendly.
Contribute is not just a web page (HTML) authoring and management tool. It can also manage non-HTML content exactly the same way web pages are managed – i.e. controlled access based on user role and permission.
Browse Contents in your web site
Apart from using the in-built web browser to browse though web pages, Contribute allows you to choose files using a remote file browser. When you select [View -> Choose File or Blog Entry ...] menu item, the following file browser dialog appears, which allows the contents in the web site to be easily viewed similar to using a File Browser on the local system. It shows preview of the files and also allows creation and deletion of folders in the web site. The file that is selected here will be opened in the in-built web browser.
Managed Editing of non-HTML content in your web site
Apart from allowing opening of non-HTML files using the remote file browser, Contribute also allows user to edit those files in a controlled manner. That is, files of any type can be locked and edited by a person and then published to the site or sent for a review workflow.
For this, the user needs to associate an editor for a particular file type in the preference panel [Edit -> Preferences ...] shown below. For example, all “.txt” files can be associated with “notepad” for editing.
Once the association is specified, browsing to a non-HTML file, say “test.txt”, will show the “Edit” button and the user can edit the file in Notepad. The file is locked in the server and no one else can edit it at the same time. Note that all the user role permissions are honoured for this text file also.
Once edit is completed, the file can be published from Contribute or sent for review workflow.
Publish non-HTML contents to your web site
Apart from editing and publishing non-HTML files that are already there in the web site, Contribute also allows direct publishing of files from the local system to the web site in a controlled manner. The “Publish Files from My Computer …” and “Send File from My Computer …” menu items allow user to upload non-HTML files to the web site.
For example, when we select the “Publish File from My Computer …” menu item, Contribute asks for the local file to be uploaded and then provides an option to select the web site to which it should be published. Once the web site is selected, it will show the following dialog before publishing the file, where we can specify a new file name and also the target location in the site.
Asking users to select proper folder for publishing is cumbersome and may result in files being published in wrong folders. Contribute allows the Administrators to specify the default folder for each file type for a particular role. This is called File Placement Rule and provides finer control is specifying the folder for a file type as shown below.
When this File Placement Rule is set for a file type, say “.txt”, then all files published from Contribute will default to this folder for any user belonging to that role.
These features and also the rollback mechanism provided by Contribute allow easy management of any kind of files in a web site, giving a simple Web Content Management System.