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When Macromedia Contribute was introduced, both an opportunity and a challenge emerged. True, Contribute converted the Web from a read-only medium to a two-way communication tool and made it easy for almost anyone to publish online. It's also true that Contribute works with any type of static HTML page, regardless of the authoring program used to create it. Web content contributors were suddenly freed from their dependency on Webmasters to make any and all site updates—much to their mutual relief.

Before long, however, both camps realized that the break was not such a clean one. Some Web pages could not be edited as completely as contributors needed, whereas elements of other pages were too easy to modify: Layout choices implemented by the Web designers were being overwritten. Moreover, new content brought online by the contributors—including pages, images, and linked documents—often was stored improperly, which complicated site maintenance. Clearly, the workflow needed some work.

All these issues are easily addressable when a site is properly designed in Macromedia Dreamweaver and deployed correctly for Contribute users. By investing a little focused effort during the initial site architecture and page composition, the Web page designer reaps benefits over the life of the site; a Web site properly set up for Contribute simplifies the Webmaster's involvement and minimizes ongoing site maintenance. Additionally, a well-thought-out site makes it easier for Contribute users, who become more productive and get their content online more quickly. The biggest winner, however, is the organization that implements a Contribute-ready site. The organization's information flows more effectively and, perhaps most importantly, some of its most valuable resources—Web designers and contributors—spend more of their time performing their primary duties.


To follow the lessons in this book, you need only a general working knowledge of building Web pages in Dreamweaver; no previous exposure to Contribute is required. Within Dreamweaver, it's assumed that you're familiar with the interface and the basic relationship of local and remote folders underlying Dreamweaver sites. Although the book is written specifically for Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Contribute 2004, many techniques will work with earlier versions of the programs.


A primary goal of this book is to illustrate best practices for Dreamweaver designers to use when constructing sites for Contribute. Following an experiential introduction to Contribute, you'll learn how to structure a site from the ground up. Further lessons cover the proper use of basic page elements, styling with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and working efficiently with external documents. A good portion of the book is devoted to Dreamweaver templates, a key power tool in your Contribute tool chest. Mastering templates is essential to optimizing a Web site for Contribute users. The final portion of the book focuses on the administration of the site and strategies for deployment to Contribute users.

Of course, not every designer has the luxury of building a site from scratch. Reflecting that reality, many lessons include dual techniques: one for correcting an existing condition to make the page and/or site more Contribute-friendly and another that shows how to do it right the first time.

Lesson 1: Exploring Contribute

Lesson 2: Developing Site Structure

Lesson 3: Implementing Common Elements

Lesson 4: Establishing CSS Guidelines

Lesson 5: Handling External Documents

Lesson 6: Making the Most of FlashPaper

Lesson 7: Exploring Templates

Lesson 8: Setting Up Optional and Repeat Regions

Lesson 9: Using Template Parameters

Lesson 10: Setting Up Contribute Publishing Services

Lesson 11: Defining Contributor Roles

Lesson 12: Administering Sitewide Services

Lesson 13: Customizing Contribute's Help System

Lesson 14: Rolling Out Contribute

The Project Site

As you progress through this book, you'll revamp and expand a sample site for a fictional hospital, Bounty General. The site has both Internet- and intranet-oriented pages, which is a situation often encountered by Contribute users. Because Contribute is a program intended for editing online content, a Web site has been established for you to interact with. As explained in Lesson 1, the site (bountygeneral.com) requires a connection key that can be found on the CD-ROM.

The accompanying CD-ROM also contains both starting and completed pages for further lessons. The starting pages supply the basic elements you'll need to focus on the lesson at hand as you work through the tutorials; the completed pages give you a chance to compare your work to the final results. The CD-ROM is a hybrid that works with both PCs and Macintosh computers.

Before you begin to work in Dreamweaver, you'll need to transfer the files from the CD-ROM to your computer system so you can establish a Dreamweaver site. The CD-ROM file structure is set up so you can copy all the contents into a single folder on your system. As demonstrated in Lesson 2, this folder becomes your Dreamweaver site and the basis for all the project work associated with this book.

Standard Elements in the Book

Each lesson in this book begins by outlining the major focus of the lesson at hand and by introducing new features. Learning objectives and the approximate time needed to complete all the exercises are also listed at the beginning of each lesson. The projects are divided into short exercises that explain the importance of each skill you learn. Every lesson builds on the concepts and techniques used in the previous lessons.

Tips. Alternative ways to perform tasks, and suggestions to consider when applying the skills you are learning.

Notes. Additional background information to expand your knowledge, as well as advanced techniques you can explore in order to further develop your skills.

Boldface terms. New vocabulary that is introduced and emphasized in each lesson.

Italicized text. Words that appear in italics are either for emphasis or to indicate text that you must type while working through the steps in the lessons.

Menu commands and keyboard shortcuts. There are often multiple ways to perform the same task in Dreamweaver and Contribute. The different options are pointed out in each lesson. Menu commands are shown with angle brackets between the menu names and commands: Menu > Command > Subcommand. Keyboard shortcuts are shown with a plus sign between the names of keys to indicate that you should press the keys simultaneously; for example, Shift+Tab means that you should press the Shift and Tab keys at the same time.

CD-ROM. The CD-ROM included with the book includes all the media files, starting files, and completed projects for each of the lessons in the book. Anytime you want to reference one of the files being built in a lesson to verify that you are correctly executing the steps in the exercises, you will find the files organized on the CD-ROM under the corresponding lesson. For example, the files for Lesson 4 are located on the CD-ROM in the Lesson_04 folder.

For additional practice with the skills you'll learn in each lesson, try re-creating the starting files that have been provided for you in the lesson files.

Macromedia Training from the Source

The Macromedia Training from the Source and Advanced Training from the Source series are developed in association with Macromedia and are reviewed by the product support teams. Ideal for active learners, the books in the Training from the Source series offer hands-on instruction designed to provide you with a solid grounding in the program's fundamentals. If you learn best by doing, this is the series for you. Each Training from the Source title contains hours of instruction on Macromedia software products. These books are designed to teach the techniques that you need to create sophisticated professional-level projects. Each book includes a CD-ROM that contains all the files used in the lessons, completed projects for comparison, and more.

Macromedia Authorized Training and Certification

This book is geared to enable you to study at your own pace with content from the source. Other training options exist through the Macromedia Authorized Training Partner program. Get up to speed in a matter of days with task-oriented courses taught by Macromedia Certified Instructors. Or learn on your own with interactive online training from Macromedia University. All these sources of training will prepare you to become a Macromedia Certified Developer.

For more information about authorized training and certification, check out www.macromedia.com/support/training.

What You Will Learn

You will develop the skills necessary to create Web sites in Dreamweaver to be modified and expanded efficiently by Contribute users.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Set up your site structure to be used by a variety of Contribute users without overlapping permissions and access

  • Correct improperly architected Web sites to better take advantage of Contribute

  • Use server-side includes in your Web pages without fear of their being editable in Contribute

  • Make images, Flash movies, or Dreamweaver Library items available for Contribute users on the server

  • Implement CSS designs that mask designer-only styles, yet are easy for Contribute users

  • Establish dependent file folders for documents and images uploaded in Contribute

  • Create FlashPaper documents in Dreamweaver that can be easily inserted in Contribute

  • Build correctly formatted templates to clearly delineate modifiable areas for the Contribute user while protecting design-sensitive elements

  • Add optional areas to the Web page that contributors can enable or disable on a page-by-page basis

  • Include repeating rows in tables that maintain the layout and desired table elements but still allow Contribute users to add more content when needed

  • Put specific attributes, such as table row background color, under the contributor's control while locking the other elements of the code

  • Establish the proper protocols to handle, publish, and review workflow

  • Enable the Web site server to handle Contribute users while simultaneously protecting areas of the site

  • Customize aspects of Contribute for your or your client's organization

  • Deploy Contribute to the users

Minimum System Requirements


Macromedia recommends the following minimum requirements for running Dreamweaver on a Windows system (the same requirements are more than adequate for running Contribute):

  • Intel Pentium III processor, 600 MHz or equivalent

  • Windows 98 SE, 2000, XP, or Windows Server 2003

  • 128MB of available RAM

  • 275MB of available disk space

  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 × 600 resolution

  • CD-ROM drive

  • Access to Web server, running either locally or remotely


Macromedia recommends the following minimum requirements for running Dreamweaver on a Macintosh (the same requirements are more than adequate for running Contribute):

  • Power Macintosh PowerPC 500 MHz (G3 or higher recommended)

  • Mac OS 10.2.6

  • 128MB of available RAM

  • 275MB of available disk space

  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 × 600 resolution (OS X requires thousands of colors)

  • CD-ROM drive

  • Access to Web server, running either locally or remotely

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