View Full Version : I'll be using Visual Studio - what about my content authors?

15 Jul 2010, 11:05 AM
Hi everyone - got a question for ya

I'm preparing to re-write my companies website, and I'm looking for the best tools to use, both for myself, as the sole developer, and my authors, who are all marketing folk without development talents.

Current we're using the Dreamweaver/Contribute combo, which has pros and cons:

Contribute: because Contribute connects to Active Directory, I can assign specific people to be able to edit the website. I can also assign those people to 'roles' which only allow them to edit specific folders within the site (i.e. my French marketing manager can only create/edit pages in the ~/fr/ folder and not the ~/us/ folder)
Contribute: By using Dreamweaver templates I can control the creation and editing of pages on the site, by defining editable regions. This way the marketeers cannot inadvertently remove any .NET code I may have added to the template or create a page using their own CSS or break the overall look and appearance of the site.

Dreamweaver: Dreamweaver is not a .NET development tool: it includes no .NET intellisense, does not natively support codebehind/codefile pages (it only creates .aspx pages, with no supporting .aspx.cs pages)
Dreamweaver: If I have to make a change to the templates it's a long job. We have about 3,500 .aspx pages on our site, all created using templates. If I have to add something new to the templates I have to a) sync my local site with the remote site, b) download/check-out the differences, c) update the templates and apply the changes to my local .aspx pages, and d) upload/check-in the changed .aspx files. This process usually takes about 15hrs.

What I'm looking for is pairing of tools that allows me to use Visual Studio as MY only development tool, and another tool for my authors. The tool for authors is where I'm getting stuck.

My first thought was Microsoft Expression Web, but I'm not sure it has all the features I need, which are:
- access control: I want to be able to limit who can access the website for editing, i.e. I want to allow my marketing colleagues into the site to edit pages, but block the sales and support folk.
- role based editing: I want to continue to say that only French marketing person can edit the pages under the ~/fr/ folder of the site
- publishing workflow: my Marketing Director currently has to approve ALL pages that his employees (the authors) create or edit. i.e. if the UK marketing author creates a new page they can only "Send for review". This action then notifies the Marketing Director who can either deny or approve the page.

In my relatively brief time trying out Expression Web, I haven't found any of these features. I also found some alarming options that authors could use, such as "Format > Master Page > Detach from Master Page" - yikes!

Another concern is that Expression Web seems to connect directly to the website, so newly created pages and edits to existing pages are made live when saved. Not good for us, given the requirement of publishing workflow.

Finally, I was wanting to create the site as a Web Application within Studio, but this, I believe, means that I have the site locally on my PC. If authors use Expression Web they are editing the live site, so my local Studio project would be out of date very quickly.

So, here I am asking for advice for you guys and gals. Is there a better alternative to Expression Web/Studio? Are any of the required features I mentioned available, just hidden so well I've not found them yet?

I did hear something about using WebDAV for access control, but would this also cater for the role/permissions requirement? Could simple FTP be used for this instead? I doubt either of these would allow for publishing workflow, though, right?

Any ideas, avenues for further investigation or exact solutions (please please! <g>) would be greatly appreciated.

22 Jul 2010, 02:20 PM
If anyone could offer some advice, I'd really appreciate it (I think my question got buried because of the very long moderation time)