Add and update basic web content, including formatted text, images, tables, and links, using Contribute in Dreamweaver.

Manage Contribute sites

Adobe® Contribute® CS4 combines a web browser with a web-page editor. It enables your colleagues or clients to browse to a page in a site that you created, and to edit or update the page if they have permission to do so. Contribute users can add and update basic web content, including formatted text, images, tables, and links. Contribute site administrators can limit what ordinary (non-administrator) users can do in a site.

Note:

This topic assumes that you are a Contribute administrator.

As the site administrator, you give non-administrators the ability to edit pages by creating a connection key and sending it to them (for information on how to do this, see Contribute Help. You can also set up a connection to a Contribute site using Dreamweaver, which lets you or your site designer connect to the Contribute site and use all of the editing capabilities available in Dreamweaver.

Contribute adds functionality to your website with Contribute Publishing Server (CPS), a suite of publishing applications and user management tools that lets you integrate Contribute with your organization’s user directory service—for example, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or Active Directory. When you enable your Dreamweaver site as a Contribute site, Dreamweaver reads Contribute’s administration settings whenever you connect to the remote site. If Dreamweaver detects that CPS is enabled, it inherits some of the functionality of CPS, such as file rollback and event logging.

You can use Dreamweaver to connect to and modify a file in a Contribute site. Most Dreamweaver capabilities work the same way with a Contribute site as they do with any other site. However, when you use Dreamweaver with a Contribute site, Dreamweaver automatically performs certain file-management operations, such as saving multiple revisions of a document, and logging certain events in the CPS Console.

For more information, see Contribute Help.

Site structure and page design for a Contribute site

To enable Contribute users to edit your website, keep the following points in mind when you structure it:

  • Keep your site structure simple. Don’t nest folders too deeply. Group related items together in a folder.

  • Set up appropriate read and write permissions for folders on the server.

  • Add index pages to folders as you create them, to encourage Contribute users to place new pages in the correct folders. For example, if Contribute users provide pages containing meeting minutes, create a folder in the site root folder named meeting_minutes, and create an index page in that folder. Then provide a link from your site’s main page to the index page for meeting minutes. A Contribute user can then navigate to that index page and create a new page of minutes for a specific meeting, linked from that page.

  • On each folder’s index page, provide a list of links to the individual content pages and documents in that folder.

  • Keep page designs as simple as possible, minimizing fancy formatting.

  • Use CSS rather than HTML tags and name your CSS styles clearly. If the Contribute users use a standard set of styles in Microsoft Word, use the same names for the CSS styles, so that Contribute can map the styles when a user copies information from a Word document and pastes it into a Contribute page.

  • To prevent a CSS style from being available to Contribute users, change the name of the style so that the name starts with mmhide_. For example, if you use a style named RightJustified in a page but you don’t want Contribute users to be able to use that style, rename the style to mmhide_RightJustified.

Note:

You have to add mmhide_ to the style name in Code view; you cannot add it in the CSS panel.

  • Use as few CSS styles as possible, to keep things simple and clean.
  • If you use server-side includes for HTML page elements, such as headers or footers, create an unlinked HTML page that contains links to the include files. Contribute users can then bookmark that page and use it to navigate to the include files and edit them.

File transfer to and from a Contribute site

Contribute uses a system much like the Dreamweaver Check In/Check Out system to ensure that only one user at a time can edit a given web page. When you enable Contribute compatibility in Dreamweaver, the Dreamweaver Check In/Check Out system is automatically enabled.

To transfer files to and from a Contribute site using Dreamweaver, always use the Check In and Check Out commands. If you instead use the PUT and GET commands to transfer files, you might overwrite the modifications that a Contribute user has recently made to a file.

When you check a file in to a Contribute site, Dreamweaver makes a backup copy of the previous checked-in version of the file in the _baks folder and adds your user name and a date stamp to a Design Notes file.

Contribute file and folder permissions on the server

Contribute provides a way to manage file and folder permissions for each user role you define; however, Contribute doesn’t provide a way to manage the underlying read and write permissions assigned to files and folders by the server. In Dreamweaver, you can manage those permissions directly on the server.

If a Contribute user doesn’t have read access on the server to a dependent file, such as an image displayed in a page, the contents of the dependent file don’t appear in the Contribute window. For example, if a user doesn’t have read access to an images folder, the images in that folder appear as broken image icons in Contribute. Similarly, Dreamweaver templates are stored in a subfolder of the site’s root folder, so if a Contribute user doesn’t have read access to the root folder, they can’t use templates in that site unless you copy the templates to an appropriate folder.

When you set up a Dreamweaver site, you must give users read access on the server to the /_mm folder (the _mm subfolder of the root folder), the /Templates folder, and all of the folders containing assets that they will need to use.

If, for security reasons, you can’t give users read access to the /Templates folder, you can still enable Contribute users to access  templates. See Enable Contribute users to access templates without root folder access.

For more information about Contribute permissions, see Administering Contribute in Contribute Help.

Contribute special files

Contribute uses a variety of special files that aren’t intended to be viewed by visitors to your site:

  • The shared settings file, which has an obfuscated filename with a CSI extension, appears in a folder named _mm in the root folder of the site, and contains information that Contribute uses to manage the site

  • Older versions of files, in folders named _baks

  • Temporary versions of pages, so that users can preview changes

  • Temporary lock files, indicating that a given page is being edited or previewed

  • Design Notes files containing metadata about the site’s pages

    In general, you shouldn’t edit any of these Contribute special files using Dreamweaver; Dreamweaver manages them automatically.

    If you don’t want these Contribute special files to appear on your publicly accessible server, you can set up a staging server where Contribute users work on pages. Then periodically copy those web pages from the staging server to a production server that’s on the web. If you take this staging-server approach, copy only web pages to the production server, not any of the above-listed Contribute special files. In particular, don’t copy the _mm and _baks folders to the production server.

Note:

For information about setting up a server to prevent visitors from seeing files in folders that begin with an underscore, see “Website security” in Contribute Help.

Occasionally you might need to manually delete Contribute special files. For example, there might be circumstances in which Contribute fails to delete temporary preview pages when the user is finished previewing; in that case, you would have to manually delete those temporary pages. Temporary preview pages have filenames that begin with TMP.

Similarly, under some circumstances an outdated lock file may be accidentally left on the server. If that happens, you must manually delete the lock file to allow others to edit the page.

Prepare a site for use with Contribute

If you’re preparing an existing Dreamweaver site for Contribute users, you need to explicitly enable Contribute compatibility to use Contribute-related features; Dreamweaver does not prompt you to do this; however, when you connect to a site that’s been set up as a Contribute site (that has an administrator), Dreamweaver prompts you to enable Contribute compatibility.

Not all connection types support Contribute compatibility. The following restrictions apply to connection types:

  • If your remote site connection uses WebDAV, you can’t enable Contribute compatibility, because those source-control systems aren’t compatible with the Design Notes and Check In/Check Out systems that Dreamweaver uses for Contribute sites.

  • If you use RDS to connect to your remote site, you can enable Contribute compatibility, but you must customize your connection before you can share it with Contribute users.

  • If you’re using your local computer as a web server, you must set up the site using an FTP or network connection to your computer (rather than just a local folder path) to be able to share your connection with Contribute users.

When you enable Contribute compatibility, Dreamweaver automatically enables Design Notes (including the Upload Design Notes For Sharing option) and the Check In/Check Out system.

If Contribute Publishing Server (CPS) is enabled on the remote site you are connecting to, Dreamweaver notifies the CPS every time you trigger a network operation such as checking in, rolling back, or publishing a file. The CPS will log these events, and you can view the log in the CPS Administration Console. (If you disable CPS, these events are not logged.) You enable CPS using Contribute. For more information, see Adobe Contribute Help.

Note:

You can make a site Contribute compatible without having Contribute on your computer; but if you want to be able to start Contribute Administrator from Dreamweaver, you must have Contribute installed on the same computer as Dreamweaver and you must be connected to the remote site before you enable Contribute compatibility. Otherwise, Dreamweaver cannot read Contribute’s administrative settings to determine whether CPS and Rollback are enabled.

Note:

You must make sure that the shared settings file (CSI file) that Contribute uses to administer the site is on the remote server and uncorrupted. Contribute automatically creates this file (and overwrites old versions of it) whenever you administer in Contribute Administrator. If the shared settings file is not on the server or is corrupted, Dreamweaver returns the error, "The file required for Contribute compatibility does not exist on the server" whenever you attempt a network operation (such as put). To ensure that the correct file is on the server, disable the connection to the server in Dreamweaver, start Contribute Administrator, make an administration change, and then reconnect to the server in Dreamweaver. For more information, see Adobe Contribute Help.

  1. Select Site > Manage Sites.

  2. Select a site, then click Edit.

  3. In the Site Setup dialog box, expand Advanced Settings, select the Contribute category, and then select Enable Contribute Compatibility.

  4. If a dialog box appears saying that you must enable Design Notes and Check In/Check Out, click OK.

  5. If you haven’t already provided your Check In/Check Out contact information, type your name and e‑mail address in the dialog box, and then click OK. Rollback status, CPS status, the Site Root URL text box, and the Administer Site in Contribute button appear in the Site Definition dialog box.

    If Rollback is enabled in Contribute, you’ll have the ability to roll back to previous versions of files that you’ve changed in Dreamweaver.

  6. Check the URL in the Site Root URL text box and correct it if necessary. Dreamweaver constructs a site root URL based on other site-definition information you’ve provided, but sometimes the constructed URL isn’t quite right.

  7. Click the Test button to verify that you’ve entered the correct URL.

    Note:

    If you are ready to send a connection key or perform Contribute site administration tasks now, skip the remaining steps.

  8. Click Administer Site in Contribute if you want to make administration changes. Remember, you must have Contribute installed on the same machine if you want to open Contribute Administrator from Dreamweaver.

  9. Click Save and then click Done.

Administer a Contribute site using Dreamweaver

After you enable Contribute compatibility, you can use Dreamweaver to start Contribute to perform site administration tasks.

Note:

Contribute must be installed on the same computer as Dreamweaver.

As an administrator of a Contribute site, you can:

  • Change the administrative settings for the site.

    Contribute administrative settings are a collection of settings that apply to all users of your website. These settings enable you to fine-tune Contribute to provide a better user experience.

  • Change the permissions granted to user roles in Contribute.

  • Set up Contribute users.

    Contribute users need certain information about the site to be able to connect to it. You can package all of this information in a file called a connection key to send to Contribute users.

Note:

A connection key is not the same as a Dreamweaver exported site file.  

Note:

Before you give Contribute users the connection information they need to edit pages, use Dreamweaver to create the basic folder hierarchy for your site, and to create any templates and CSS style sheets needed for the site.

  1. Select Site > Manage Sites.
  2. Select a site, and then click Edit.
  3. In the Site Setup dialog box, expand Advanced Settings and select the Contribute category.
  4. Click the Administer Site in Contribute button.

    Note:

    This button does not appear if you have not enabled Contribute compatibility.

  5. If prompted, enter the administrator password, and then click OK.

    The Administer Website dialog box appears.

    • To change administrative settings, select a category from the list on the left, and then change settings as necessary.

    • To change role settings, in the Users and Roles category, click Edit Role Settings, and then make changes as necessary.

    • To send a connection key to set up users, in the Users and Roles category, click Send Connection Key, and then complete the Connection Wizard.

  6. Click Close, click OK, and then click Done.

For more information about administrative settings, managing user roles, or creating a connection key, see Contribute Help.

Delete, move, or rename a remote file in a Contribute site

Deleting a file from the remote server that hosts a Contribute site works much like deleting a file from the server for any Dreamweaver site. However, when you delete a file from a Contribute site, Dreamweaver asks whether to delete all older versions of the file. If you choose to keep the older versions, Dreamweaver saves a copy of the current version in the _baks folder so you can restore it later.

Renaming a remote file or moving it from one folder to another in a Contribute site works the same way it works in any Dreamweaver site. In a Contribute site, Dreamweaver also renames or moves the associated previous versions of the file that are saved in the _baks folder.

  1. Select the file in the Remote pane of the Files panel (Window > Files), and then press Backspace (Windows) or Delete (Macintosh).

    A dialog box appears asking you to confirm that you want to delete the file.

  2. In the confirmation dialog box:
    • To delete all previous versions of the file as well as the current version, select the Delete Rollback Versions option.

    • To leave previous versions on the server, deselect the Delete Rollback Versions option.

  3. Click Yes to delete the file.

Enable Contribute users to access templates without root folder access

In a Contribute site, you manage underlying file and folder permissions directly on the server. If, for security reasons, you can’t give users read access to the /Templates folder, you can still make the templates available to users.

  1. Set up the Contribute site so that its root folder is the folder you want users to see as the root.
  2. Manually copy the template folder from the main site’s root folder into the Contribute site’s root folder, using the Files panel.
  3. After you update templates for the main site, recopy the changed templates into appropriate subfolders as needed.

    If you take this approach, don’t use site root-relative links in the subfolders. Site root-relative links are relative to the main root folder on the server, not to the root folder you define in Dreamweaver. Contribute users can’t create site root-relative links.

    If links in a Contribute page appear to be broken, it’s possible that there’s a problem with folder permissions, particularly if the links link to pages outside of the Contribute user’s root folder. Check read and write permissions for folders on the server.

Troubleshoot a Contribute site

If a remote file in a Contribute site appears to be checked out, but the file isn’t actually locked on the user’s computer, you can unlock the file to enable users to edit it.

When you click any button related to Contribute site administration, Dreamweaver verifies that it can connect to your remote site and that the Site Root URL you’ve given for the site is valid. If Dreamweaver can’t connect, or if the URL isn’t valid, an error message appears.

If the administration tools aren’t working properly, there might be something wrong with the _mm folder.

Unlock a file in a Contribute site

Note:

Before following this procedure, make sure that the file really isn’t checked out. If you unlock a file while a Contribute user is editing it, multiple users might edit the file simultaneously.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Open the file in the Document window, and then select Site > Undo Check Out.

    • In the Files panel (Window > Files), right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh), and then select Undo Check Out.

      A dialog box might appear, indicating who has the file checked out and asking you to confirm that you want to unlock the file.

  2. If the dialog box appears, click Yes to confirm.

    The file is unlocked on the server.

Troubleshoot connection problems for a Contribute site

  1. Check the Site Root URL in the Contribute category of the Site Definition dialog box by opening that URL in a browser, to make sure that the correct page opens.
  2. Use the Test button in the Remote Info category of the Site Definition dialog box to make sure that you can connect to the site.
  3. If the URL is correct but the Test button results in an error message, ask your system administrator for help.

Troubleshoot Contribute administration tools

  1. On the server, make sure that you have read and write permissions, and executable permissions if necessary, for the _mm folder.
  2. Make sure that the _mm folder contains a shared settings file with a CSI extension.
  3. If it doesn’t, use the Connection Wizard (Windows) or Connection Assistant (Macintosh) to create a connection to the site and to become an administrator for the site. The shared settings file is created automatically when you become an administrator. For more information about becoming an administrator for an existing Contribute website, see Administering Contribute in Contribute Help.

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