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design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

Adobe Contribute vs. RisingLine WebSite 2.0

January 15th, 2008

FAQ: How does Adobe Contribute compare to RisingLine’s Content Management sites?

Our WebSite 2.0 sites are based on the open source application CMS Made Simple which is completely different than Adobe Contribute. CMSMS offers all the non-technical editing capabilities of Contribute (in a much more productive
server side software model) plus it offers all features and capabilities to develop an enterprise class site.

WebSite 2.0 offers all the features that would be available through a developer using Dreamweaver and a content manager using Contribute with the notable differences that WebSite 2.0 is exponentially easier to use and after we configure it on your Web server doesn’t require a technical expert “developer” even for many advanced features such as dynamic drop down CSS menu systems.

Here’s a brief list of the major differences of Contribute when compared to WebSite 2.0:

  • Contribute is client side software. This means that you will only be able to edit a website on a desktop that has Contribute.
  • Contribute requires that every user be licensed. This can be a costly process if there are a lot of users set to update a website.
  • Contribute is a website editing tool, not a website development tool. A web developer is still required to build the initial website design (usually using Dreamweaver).
  • Contribute edits one page at a time, making complex design elements such as navigation menus hard to manage if they aren’t controlled through a single source, like a database, Server Side Includes, or XML file.
  • Updating a website’s content through Contribute can be a much slower process than using a server side CMS system like WebSite 2.0, since each page must be downloaded (and uploaded) individually.
  • User cannot access source code, therefore any function code must be edited in a secondary program such as Dreamweaver.
  • Contribute is a proprietary solution that is based on the concept that other Adobe software will be involved in the production process . . . our Content Management software is open source and does not require other specific software for optimal performance. In other words, there are no additional software purchases intended for those who use WebSite 2.0

Regarding editing and adding content to WebSite 2.0 . . . any skilled user or developer can work with WebSite 2.0 at their own level so there is nothing that really can’t be done, it would just depend on the skill level of the user.

We have different permissions that can be turned on for individual users depending on their expertise (or you can turn them on/off yourself). For example one user may be non-technical so we might just give him/her permission to edit
the content of one page, while another may have more technical aptitude so we would give them permission to create & delete pages, move pages around in the site structure, and edit any page.

A user could also be given the ability to edit the design skin(s) for a site if they were skilled in XHTML & CSS. Also, you have direct access to the code level of the content (and even the entire page if you want it) just by pressing a button on the page edit screen.

Another significant difference is that our WebSite 2.0 sites are coded for optimization with the major search engines. There are a lot of details in the code that we optimize for the target keywords of your pages that would require much more manual coding with a Dreamweaver / Contribute platform.

In addition we configure your Web server for optimal indexing with search engines and utilize Web 2.0 technology, namely Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to increase our clients search engine profile whenever possible. We’ve written a number of articles on SEO that go into the topic much more:

http://risingline.com/blog/labels/Search-Engine-Optimization.html

Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 4

February 1st, 2006

Today’s post is the last in a series of four. In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives, in Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive, and Part 3 covered external hard drives.

This concluding post emphasizes archiving your vital data. I recommend creating a special folder within your data folder hierarchy that contains your most important data – something akin to the type of important information you would store physically in a safe deposit box. I protect this data two ways:

  1. First, I periodically burn it on a DVD and keep it in a safe deposit box.
  2. Second I use an encrypted automated FTP backup service that automatically updates my critical files every evening. My company sells this service for less than $30 per year. Search for “online file folder” at RisingLineWeb.com.

These are worst case scenario precautions, if my office burns down my most important data is still secure.

So, in conclusion, you’ve got to have the mindset that your system will crash. So many people who’s life and livelihood are based in the millions of 0’s and 1’s that they’ve created on their PC’s fail to realize the likelihood of a catastrophic system failure and the impact it will have on their lives.

The strategies I mentioned are the only solutions, or even necessarily the best, but if you implement them you will have a multiple redundant system in place to recover your most important data.

Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 3

January 28th, 2006

In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives. In Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive.

This weeks strategy is about using an external hard drive for data backup. There are numerous options for dedicated external hard drives designed specifically for small office backup solutions, many that feature automated backup software. There are lots of good products on the market, but some of the better values I’ve found are from SimpleTech:

  • 160GB External USB 2.0 with backup software, 1 yr warranty ($96 at Costco.com at the time of this posting).
  • 500GB External USB 2.0 with 1 touch backup software, 3 yr warranty, Kensington lock bracket.($219 from Costco.com at the time of this posting).
  • 400GB SimpleShare Wireless NAS. It doesn’t seem to be listed on Costco.com but I saw this recently at a Costco store…it featured a 802.11 Network Attached Storage unit that could accept additional external hard drives, was
    priced at Costco at $389.00. More info can be found at simpletech.com

(Costco is one of my preferred suppliers for computer hardware peripherals because they have the most liberal return policy for computer hardware of any supplier of which I’m aware.)

Buying a dedicated hard drive backup solution allows most users to back up an entire drive, but really the critical files you want backed up are your data files. So, depending on how much data you actually have, a large external drive that backs up your whole drive (operating system, application files, and data files) might be overkill, especially if your already replicating your hard drives internally as mentioned in part 1 of this series.

Another, less expensive option, is to buy an external hard drive enclosure ($20-$40) in which you can mount a extra hard drive. If you’re like most small businesses, you probably have accumulated a small stack of these extra hard drives…just make sure the hard drive you pick was not orphaned because it had potential technical issues. External hard drive enclosures connect to your PC via USB or Firewire cable, and you can buy a software utility to automatically backup or just back up manually on a regular basis. As long as you’re not relying on this as your only backup it’s an inexpensive and effective option.

Ideally, you should physically move your external hard drive backup to a safe, or at least another room, when you’re away; or buy one with a Kensignton lock bracket (you’ll have to buy the Kensington cable lock separately). That way you’ll be more likely to retain your data backup if your PC is stolen.

Try searching for “hard drive enclosure” at Tiger Direct, or CDW.

Next weeks post: Remote data archiving for disaster recovery.

Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 2

January 14th, 2006

In part 1, we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives.

Today’s strategy is segregating the data on your hard drive. By keeping all your important data in a primary folder hierarchy you’ll be able to manage your important files more efficiently and reduce the risk of overlooking important
information that needs backed up.

You’ll want to make sure that your data is organized in under a single folder (like My Documents) and organize within that folder. For those who don’t know, there are three basic types of software on your computer: the operating system (e.g. Windows), application software (e.g. Word), and data files (the files that that you’ve created and want to protect).

You’ll need to take a look at your application software settings and insure that your data files created in those programs are stored in the folder you want, examples include your Outlook pst file, other Office applications, and your accounting software.

Next weeks post: Using an external hard drive backup.

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