How many times has a Web design client asked you, “Can I edit it myself?” Immediately you cringe, thinking about how hard it will be to train them to make small edits to their Website, and how easy it is for them to ruin your hard work. Well, if you use DreamWeaver and are willing to upgrade to CS4, Adobe has come up with a fairly good solution, Adobe InContext.
InContext allows you to define regions on a page within DreamWeaver that endusers and clients can then edit from Explorer or some other Web browser, and then save their edits back to the Web server. InContext is a bit of a hassle to setup-each site has to be registered at adobe.com-but once you’ve gone through all the setup steps, sure enough, the document can be edited from a browser. The best part is that only the regions you define as editable can be changed; the rest of the page is untouchable.
It works like this:
- You define a region or regions on the page for InContext editing.
- You then go to the Adobe Website and register the site. If you haven’t registered a site before, you will also have register as an InContext administrator-a relatively quick and easy procedure. And, so far, it is free.
- After you register the InContext site, you can then add users and send them invitations to edit the site using InContext. An email with instructions for accessing the InContext session from inside their browser is sent via email.
- Now, when you or a user browse to that site and go to an editable page, all you have to do is hit Ctrl-E (Windows) or Command-E (Mac).
- This starts the InContext session and the site can now be edited in the browser.
There are two tutorials on the Adobe Website describing this process. One for the DreamWeaver designer, or developer – http://www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/getting_started_with_ice_dev.html
And one for the enduser, or “content editor” – http://www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/getting_started_with_ice_eu_03.html
Depending on the role you choose on Adobe’s site for the enduser, they can make various types of edits, including:
- Text formatting and style (the default)
- Image insertion and management
- Insertion and management of hyperlinks.
Pros of InContext
The best thing I can say about this solution is that it works and works fairly well. The enduser doesn’t need to have or know how to use DreamWeaver or any other Webpage design program. Nor do you need to teach your client (or employee) the intricacies of FTP and editing a page in a text editor, all the while praying that they don’t change the wrong things. Once up and running, it is pretty slick and works well.
Oh yeah, and did I mention it is free?
Cons of InContext
You can find a good description of InContext on Adobe’s site at http://www.adobe.com/products/incontextediting/
An ongoing discussion of InContext can be found here: http://www.graphicrating.com/2008/10/27/adobe-incontext-editing/
Bill Harrel – www.williamharrel.com