Stop Dreamweavers Contributions to Contribute
March 11, 2007 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how to rescue my business website from the clutches of the evil Dreamweaver?

For years my web site and I coexisted in FrontPage. I was able to do what I needed including forms, etc. About three years ago my site got bigger and I switched to a Mac for the home office computer. At that point I hired a web designer who redid the entire site in Dreamweaver. For 2 years I used Contribute to edit the site and add content.

About a year ago the designer moved away and took Dreamweaver with her. Now my site needs a serious redesign, I have a low budget and would love to continue using Contribute. The problem is the master template regions in Contribute are locked and I can't change them without dreamweaver nor can I reformat my forms.

Using Dreamweaver to redo my site would be costly, have a steep learning curve, and would seem to defeat the reason for using Contribute in the first place, i.e, keep it simple.

I have to make some changes very soon and am desperate for a workable solution that I can do myself.
posted by Xurando to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm afraid there isn't going to be a solution to this that's cheap and easy.

The easiest and most expensive thing would be to hire someone with Dreamweaver to make the design changes. (From your post it seems like you were able to afford a web designer for two years. Could you afford a one-off payment?)

More difficult and less expensive is buying Dreamweaver and learning how to do it yourself, but it sounds like you've ruled this out. You could also try redoing the site with something like Nvu, which is similar to FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

The cheapest and most difficult thing would be to download the files, learn HTML and CSS, and make the changes in a text editor.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:58 PM on March 11, 2007

The reason Contribute is there in the first place is not only to keep it simple, but to prevent users who don't know code or how to use Dreamweaver from messing up their site accidentally.

In other words it's designed to prevent you from doing the things you're trying to do.
posted by jeremias at 7:00 PM on March 11, 2007

Uhm... I think it might be easiest to keep the site in dreamweaver, see here, where I had the exact same problem. It's fixable in DW.

If the site's well-designed with CSS (probably isn't), you can make design changes just by changing the main stylesheet.

Otherwise, you're looking at a lot of regular expressions and probably some serious modifications to any CMS.
posted by tmcw at 7:01 PM on March 11, 2007

If you do end up having to just bite the bullet and toss any relationship with Dreamweaver out the window, you're going to want to look at Tidy, a little tool that will clean your pages of that ridiculous cludge of coding that surrounds any Macromedia HTML creation.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:12 PM on March 11, 2007

Now my site needs a serious redesign, I have a low budget... keep it simple

There's your problem. A serious redesign of a website is not simple, unless you understand some HTML, CSS, etc.
Either learn web design (with or without Dreamweaver) or hire somebody, those are your options.
posted by signal at 7:28 PM on March 11, 2007

Dreamweaver runs about four hundred, doesn't it? I know you probably don't want to learn dreamweaver, but if you need it to keep the master templates unlocked, or to keep Contribute happy, $400 is a pretty small price to pay. If your budget for a complete redesign is far less than $400, you may have problems.
posted by boo_radley at 8:12 PM on March 11, 2007

>>Dreamweaver runs about four hundred, doesn't it?

Good point, and even more to the point, can't you download a fully functional 30-day trial of most Macromedia apps?

You could get an entire site remade in a lot less than 30 days if you were disciplined.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:54 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the options. I know a bit of HTML and should be able to do the redesign in something like Nvu. I've tried to learn Dreamweaver before and found it non linear and therefore hard for my learning style to grasp. Is Dreamweaver for Dummies any good? Are there anyother MAC design resources? Thanx.
posted by Xurando at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2007

Perhaps it would be easier for you to start from scratch? If you could get all the content from your site, via your site, ie photos, logos and text. Then maybe use a programme like Rapid Weaver to re-make it. The other option, is find a friend or colleague that might have Dreamweaver and get them to unlock the templates for you. You'll be able to edit the site, but it will be messy if it is a fairly big site, say more than 10 pages.
posted by Sevenupcan at 2:05 AM on March 12, 2007

In Dreamweaver, Modify-->Templates-->Detach Page from Templates, then edit everything to your heart's content.

But I join the chorus in saying if it's big changes you want, scratch the entire DW template scheme and redevelop the content using a simpler css-based website tool like RapidWeaver or iWeb or some online site creator tool for dummies.

Learning the basics with Dreamweaver takes about 2 hours.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:05 AM on March 12, 2007

Oh, and there's really nothing evil about Dreamweaver. It's a powerful tool, and even though modern web design and development has moved past it in some ways, it's still incredibly useful.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:06 AM on March 12, 2007

IIRC If you use FTP to download the files they should be plain old HTML. Dreamweaver/contribute adds some additional tags and xml files but they should be fairly easy to clean out and relatively nonharmful to other editors/browsers.

Of course if Contribute is the only access you have to the site you may be in trouble.
posted by Artw at 5:26 PM on March 23, 2007

« Older Antivirus for server OS at home?   |   What could be the problem with sharing an external... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.