Web Publishing Made Easy
Make daily updates a no-brainer.
Fog Creek Software's CityDesk falls broadly into the category of Content
Management Systems (CMS). But it's not a multi-thousand dollar high-end
package like those sold by Microsoft and other big-name vendors. Rather,
CityDesk is a CMS designed to help any reasonably savvy computer user
maintain a Web site without extensive training.
The basic notion of CityDesk is that you write content for your Web site
as "articles," which use a simple word- processor-like interface. You
can work with the raw HTML if you like, but you don't have to. Then the
articles are stitched together into a site by the use of templates, which
have a simple substitution and macro language to allow them to show things
like the date posted or the titles of all articles in a specified folder
as hyperlinks. When you're done designing, it's a one-button click to
publish to an FTP site or folder.
One of the nicest things about the program is that publishing actually
synchronizes the Web site to what's in CityDesk now, which means even
non-technical users can keep a Web site up to date. There's also built-in
support for multiple versions, whether that means an on-screen version
and a printer-ready version, French and German, or whatever. Everything
I've tried in CityDesk works, works well, and works intuitively -- at
least it's intuitive to me.
So why should a developer care? There are at least two places where CityDesk
can fit into my own development life. First, I'll probably start using
it to update some corner of my own web site that changes frequently but
where I don't want to be bothered running FrontPage or some other behemoth
program. Part of the name of the game in being an independent is to get
your name out there; one way to do that is to frequently add new content
to your web site, so that people have a reason to visit and so that you
remain on their mind when they want to buy your skills. The easier it
is to add new content, the more likely you are to do it, right? With CityDesk,
it's a no-brainer to churn a client-oriented page every day.
Second, I'm going to be moving some of my own clients to CityDesk. Likely
you have clients who have web sites but who can't quite seem to maintain
them. Want to get away from that part of the work? Install CityDesk, teach
someone which button to push, end of problem. There's no reason to spend
your time on posting the latest round of company news and picnic plans.
You can get a copy to play with from http://www.fogcreek.com/.
Prices range from Free for the Starter Edition (which is limited to 50
files on a single site) to $349 per user for the multi-user professional
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.