Contribute CS4: Workflow, In-Browser Editing, PDF Embedding and More

Contribute CS4 box

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now that Adobe announced Creative Suite 4 (CS4) today. Along with that news is the announcement of Contribute CS4, which allows users to edit content on webpages without Dreamweaver or HTML knowledge. Contribute is the product I recommend my clients when they need to be able to revise content for small- to mid-sized Web sites. I’ve had a beta copy of Contribute CS4 for a month but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. However, a couple weeks ago I did get to see a demonstration of the app. At first glance there’s some very nice new features that will help streamline workflows and improve integration with other web technologies:

  • Collaborative publishing workflows: Contribute CS4 can manage workflows that you set up and maintain. For example, Contribute can prevent users from publishing content before it is reviewed and approved by administrators. I know from experience this is always a pain for editorial workflows so I am very glad to see this addressed.
  • In-browser editing: Users can now revise webpages with controls in any web browser, rather than the Contribute app itself. This brings users a lot closer to a standard content management system (CMS). However, Dreamweaver CS4 is boasting a new InContext Editing feature that also allows users to edit content with a browser! Will this replace Contribute? What separates the two products?
  • Expiration notices: Content can now be set to expire at a certain date.
  • Support for Movable Type and WordPress.
  • Shared reviews.
  • Word documents can now be automatically converted to PDF and embedded in webpages.

I will be reviewing Contribute CS4 once the software ships and I receive a review copy.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sept. 23, 2008 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe Contribute CS4, the newest version of its easy-to-use yet powerful WYSIWYG Web publishing tool. Contribute allows users to collaboratively author, review and publish Web content while maintaining site integrity – without learning HTML.

Contribute CS4 is an affordable solution that addresses Web creators’ need for a simplified workflow that meets the legal and hierarchical requirements of their organizations. Users can define and enforce custom publishing workflows and implement a real-time notification system that informs various users if and when their attention is required. Content authors and site administrators can also be alerted when a Web page expires.

“With the ability to enforce customized workflows, Web Administrators can rest assured that all the proper approvals are secured before any content is published to a Web site,” said Shameer Ayyappan, product manager for Adobe Contribute. “This eliminates frantic, last-minute requests to pull content from the Web or the possibility of outdated – or worse, inaccurate – information to live on indefinitely.”

To further streamline the editing process, Contribute CS4 offers a full-feature in-browser editor, compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox, which allows users to edit and publish Web pages without opening a separate application. This enables content contributors that are not versed in HTML, such as business users, educators and government employees, to work within an advanced yet familiar interface, and accelerates publishing cycles by facilitating in-context, shared reviews via the Web.

Contribute CS4 also offers seamless integration with Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and the ability to embed Microsoft Office documents as PDF files within a Web page, even if Adobe Acrobat is not installed on a user’s workstation. With cross-platform compatibility, Contribute CS4 easily fits within existing Web and IT infrastructures, enabling Web publishing in almost any computing environment.

Pricing and Availability

Contribute CS4 is available as a stand alone product and as a component of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Standard, Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium and Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection. Stand alone pricing for Contribute CS4 is expected to be US$199. Registered and qualified users of a past version of Contribute can upgrade at the estimated cost of US$99. For more information about Contribute CS4 visit http://www.adobe.com/go/contribute.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information – anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.