Played around a bit with Macromedia’s Contribute today — it looks pretty promising. After 10 minutes I was editing a dummy page on a public web server, adding unordered lists, bolding, italicizing, etc and publishing it right back to where it came from via some simple FTP settings. Browse to the page you’d like to edit (it seems to use IE underneath it for previewing), click a big “Edit” button and you’re off. The beauty is that the code underneath was coming out as valid XHTML. Cool. Administrators can save the FTP settings as a clickable file that can be sent to clients, resulting in extremely simple setups.
The only mystery here is how one can lock down certain sections of a page so that editors can’t damage the sites layout. Macromedia is a bit vague about this, only suggesting that developers buy Dreamweaver as well. I’m not into that, but I’m sure hiding sections of layout is nothing more than a few extra lines of code.
All in all it looks like a great solution when building a site for someone who’d like to update it themselves. At $99, you really can’t beat it.
Other features such as Word document import and drag and drop image insertion are useful as well. I’ll post an update as I find out more about using non-Dreamweaver templates.