I think that we pay enough to have the software . . . Sure this feature is great and it does help a lot of people out but I dont think a paid service is a good idea.
If you did want a paid service, I recommend you have another version of incontext editing, where more features are available . . then you can charge a fee, but not for this version
For once would Adobe just let us have a little cake and eat it too? Just dropped close to $2000 on Adobe products and did a happy jig when i found out about inContext. Finally a usable. stable, easy to integrate CMS. Oh wait...no... yep... here comes the taxman. Dont you guys (adobe) have enough yet? lets see, you already dominate the industry to the point of monopoly. Of course this is due to creating awesome products, but this is like selling photoshop then charging a monthly fee to use filters and blend modes... Throw us a freaking bone!
Like many I would really would like to use the service, but will not if there is an anual fee.
So here's an idea.
It has already been pointed out that you don't need to use DW to access Incontext, so why don't Adobe sell Incontext Editing as a separate license and bundle it free with Dreamweaver CS4 for those buying or upgrading.
I'm sure there is a huge market of web developers who would buy Incontext but do not use Dreamweaver.
If Adobe add additional functionality to Incontext that would be sufficient to justify an upgrade charge, fine. We can buy an upgrade to access new features.
inContext editing has just too many shortcomings to be really useful. I just had another customer completely distroy his page. Will he pay me for removing his mess? Nope, of course not. Basically, you have to design the page idiot proof so that people can edit them.
That would mean tables instead of css. But.... inContext cannot handle tables. So this elimintes the usefulness for any kind of lists with columns. Restaurants with menus, for example.
The more experience I get with this program, the more it is a no-go.
I have to admit InContext Editing is cool and my clients would love the idea of it.
I personally do not want to own the site after I am done designing/coding it. My clients don't want to pay the extra fee to me to edit the site let alone pay a yearly fee to gain access to edit their content. So, InContext Editing is very appealing, has a "wow" factor, and it has a nice upsell. But to charge for it? Adobe will never win that argument because of the free alternatives such as WordPress and the like.
There is a compromise I believe, if Adobe can offer InContext Editing as a product. I've bought many online apps for managing images and such, why not an InContext Editing online app? Maybe it's $40 bucks a domain and that's it. Make the install a piece of cake, maybe the app can be customized for the client so it maintains their brand.
You can pass that cost along to your client, $40 won't break the bank, and they'll love you for giving something to them to make their life easier.
Just a thought.
I bought Dreamweave CS4 for its features. I did not know some of them would involve an additional charge. Thanks but NO thanks. Is this bait and switch? Adobe has come down a notch in their reputation IMO.
InContext Editing can handle the editing of a table's content (within table cells).
Taking your example with a restaurant menu - you (as a designer) will create the layout by insert the table(s) in the page, then you will enable the InContext Editing function for each table cell. This can be done by defining an Editable Region on each TD element.
Hope this helps.
With "handling tables" I mean add delete rows/columns etc. As far as I know inContext cannot handle that. When you give customers tables, they need the flexibility make changes to the table structure otherwise it is no use at all.
Indeed, currently there is no option of inserting&managing tables. However, InContext Editing covers the use case when the table has a fix number of columns (again, like for a restaurant menu list) and the editor only needs to edit/add/remove table entries.
You can obtain this with a table having all TD elemens defined as Editable Regions and all TRs defined as Repeating Regions, like this:
<table width="200" border="1" ice:repeatinggroup="*">
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
<td ice:editable="*"> </td>
I am a freelance designer, both print and web. I have only a few clients to keep up with, but as busy as I am with freelance and a full-time job, I find it time-consuming to offer timely changes to my clients.
My fees are minor compared to many of you on here... I'd never charge $150 to convert someone's site to InContext. Maybe half of that. It would have to be major work before I'd consider asking them to pay that.
I would rather wait until the next design, which is usually an annual thing as my biggest client is a Southern Gospel artist in Nashville. His changes, while not frequent, are ill-served because of my time constraints. I would just wait and incorporate the editable regions into the new site as I design it.
A service like InContext would be a great value to add to his site. Guys, at $240 a year for up to 5 sites, that is $4 a month per site. If a business or organization cannot swing a $4-5 increase in their service, they need to shut their doors.
My client would pay 5-10 times that much easily just for the ease of being able to edit his own pages, easily. Yes, I could use Joomla or Drupal or something along those lines but it's not user friendly to those who have no experience. As inferior as it was, this is where Frontpage excelled for many years for smaller websites, because it kept it simple in a familiar interface (i.e. Word), and changes were as easy as clicking Save.
It would be less of a headache to me to absorb the $240 a year personally than to worry about client's sites getting updated.
I don't charge a lot, because it's not my freelance work that pays my bills. I am a full-time graphic designer for a publishing company and that job makes me comfortable enough that I can afford to design and host sites for my clients at extremely affordable prices.
Quit the whining over the proposed InContext pricing. Now, the idea that it is an added feature of Dreamweaver and people being duped into thinking it was always a free feature, that's another issue. But the service itself is more than reasonable at $240 (or less, remember) for 5 websites.
I just wanted to throw in my two cents about ICE and having to pay for it. First of all, I think we can all agree that Adobe should have been much clearer that there was going to be a fee coming down the pike. I think the fact that they weren't clear about that has rubbed many of us the wrong way causing us to react to the ICE product with distain. However, if you look at it for what it is and compare it to what is out there (and throw your frustration to the side for a bit) we can get a clearer picture of what we're dealing with.
If ICE were free like most of us originally thought it was, that would be fantastic, right? Why? Because of the ease of use, there is nothing for us to install on our servers or our clients servers, the learning curve is minimal, design flexibility, etc. Most of us admit that we were giddy with excitement when we heard about this program (that we thought was free).
Now we find out that there will be a fee. How much is it? No one knows exactly but the numbers seem to be around $2-$4 per site per month. So should you use ICE? Is the ease of use and the minimal learning curve worth the $4 a month fee or should you use another CMS like Joomla or Drupal that currently have a lot more features?
The answer. Why not offer options to your clients? Those the might be intimidated by a system like Joomla or Drupal might have no problem paying a monthly fee for ICE.
If you're concerned that they would be paying too much for you to be doing work that only takes you 5-10 minutes, you have to remember a couple things: 1) they are not paying you to "do work" in this case; they are paying for a service that they expect you to monitor for them; and 2) as they make changes in ICE, the code that is generated should be checked periodically for cleanliness and validity (check it every two weeks or once a month and run the W3C validator for every page - that would take enough time to justify the cost and it would provide your client with an invaluable service).
I think ICE is a good CMS system. Yes it has bugs. In fact, Adobe should list it as a beta version. However, I will be offering it to my clients and I will be adding my fee on top of Adobe's fee for this service. Nevertheless, I think Adobe needs to learn from this blunder that they need to be upfront about any potential fees with regard to any of there products and if they are in a testing phase (which this seems like) they need to be honest about that.
Any site should be regularly checked, no matter what CMS you are using.
I think for what my clients would need, ICE would be the better fit. Adobe should have been much more in your face about the pricing and what their plans are for sure, and I also agree that it should be listed as a Beta service, not a trial period. Very misleading.
But all things aside, Adobe makes the best software in its field (for print design anyway and to me DW is the best site editor) even though it's pricey. Designers need not buy every upgrade of Creative Suite or individual programs every time they come out. I wait for features that catch my eye. This is one with DW CS4 but I will be cautious in implementing the technology and will definitely be upfront with my customers as to what I am doing with their site, and give them the option of ICE. I am just not achieving what I want with Joomla or Drupal, and while these CMS's have more features, they are way overkill for what my clients need.
If this were "my living" I'd probably have more gripes, but I think ICE is a good fit for what I do.
As for fees, I think most of my customers that would benefit from this would rather pay the $4 /month and a small quartery fee for upgrades ICE can't handle, rather than paying a set fee every time they have me do something, but it's not going to break the bank for them and it will be a much needed feature that some will absolutely love.
I guess we will have to wait and see where this goes. It's early yet.
I thnk your missing some of the following points.
1. There is extra overhead in billing clients for monthly or yearly service. It may take more than $4.00 per month to invoice for this, not including postage.
2. There are free alternitives to ICE that are as good if not better. Cushy CMS is super easy to impliment and use. Offering both free and paid versions.
3. The use of wording similar to "free included preview" was a very sneaky way to hook people into paying for a service.
There is a differance between free trial and free preview. A free trial implies that there will be a fee at some point.
4. Developers deserve to be told the truth up front, even if it is a preview product.
5. Developers also should have the option to run this "service" in house, and charge what they want. I cannot see any reason NOT to open source this technology, and allow developers to add this as a service for their clients running on their own host.
6. This is not an open source project, it is a software service and as such the developers are beholden to Adobe for repairs, upgrades, and support.
7. I have hundreds of clients and cannot afford to pay for ICE for even 10% of my clients sites.
7a. Exactly how would the process work, is there an activation code, is there a license, how would adobe monitor this process?
8. The technology to impliment this as open source is completely within reach of a small group of developers. By charging for ICE and being inflexable about offering this as opensource, Adobe is most certinly precipitating a competitor project. But by being sneaky and vauge about pricing they can forstall the development of an open source version.
9. Bundling anything with DW CS4 should NOT carry additional cost to the developers. Developers already pay too much for the over priced product, and many developers upgrade time and time again, making the true cost of ownership well over several thousand dollars, it is insulting to have an additional fee forced on a small trinket called ICE.
10. Performance has not improved for DW, in reality, the older versions of DW were faster, simpler and easier to use. So Adobe should offer "additional value added service" to sweetin the pill of needing to purchase ever faster hardware just to [code] web sites.
11. We should be charging Adobe to make it popular with non DW users. Developers are providing free advertising and implimentation of an adobe product, without any benifits.
Offering "options"' to the client implies that you can support thise options. If you then have to learn Joomla or Concrete, or any other CMS it is extra work.
The whole point of ICE was to lower the work load on the developers.
I have many many sites using a home grown CMS that I designed and improved over the years. I have had to replace the editor several times, but since I built the CMS modularly that replacement did not take a long time. All you need is a mysql back end or flat file to store users and (optionally page content) and other info. One js file and some CSS should be all it takes to add ICE to any site.
It should not be a big issue to open source this concept of ICE, provide it to the community and allow dreamweaver users free access to the implimentation of it, using DW. Adobe could still charge money to non DW users, and optionally to DW users that did not want to host the back end.
This seems like the best of both worlds, developers deserve a choice and a say in this.
I hope Adobe hears this and hope the community can get be hind this option. Did I mention open source enough?
My firm is relatively small but we deal with medium to large size corporations that generally want to outsource their design needs. Some of our clients are good to go with Joomla and other CMS systems but my main concern with them is timing. They generally have very solid deadlines for getting their sites live and being able to take them over themselves.
I've not tried Cushy CMS but I have tried Concrete and as much as I love the idea behind it, I ran into way too many problems (not bugs so much, just different issues) with it. And because it is so new there isn't enough of a community to help with support just yet. Nevertheless, I expect that within a year there should be a solid support community out there for Concrete. At least with Adobe, you will have the Adobe Team and vast numbers of ICE users.
As far as offering options, I just figured that before ICE most designers and developers were offering something else. Either they were offering a CMS like Joomla, Drupal or Concrete or they were offering a manual service. Whichever they were offering, they can now offer this option to their clients.
That being said, you're right in that there is the extra cost of billing which is why you would need to add your fee on top of what Adobe charges you
It would definitely be wise for Adobe to listen to its customers. If it doesn't, they are no better than Microsoft.
Whether we agree on price or not for ICE, to me the biggest problem in this whole situation to me is Adobe's openness, or lack of I should say, concerning the pricing. Even if they do offer a trial period, why then can they not at least offer a firm price structure. Seems like an afterthought to me... "Hey, maybe we can charge for this.." Which as you read, for my small list of clients this is a feasible option. But I can see where you are coming from with hundreds.
The idea of offering the service free to DW CS4 users, who have most already paid out a fortune for the software over the years, I agree with you. But the even better option would definitely be to make it opensource.
I do hope they listen to the voice of customers... I know I am not in the majority and have reasons for the views I have. But the majority's voice should be heard and followed. I would gladly follow a ICE solution :-)
I read today that Microsoft is making an online version of Office 2010 available next year for free, but after reading deeper, I found that Microsoft was only giving this option to the corprorate / business users. Even on the cable news reports about it, they never mentioned regular users being charged. Free free free. Of course, Microsoft for sure doesn't listen to its customers. All I need to say on that is Vista. W7 is a small shimmer of hope however.
We'll see what Adobe does I guess and hope for the best.
I agree that if your firm is already offering CMS to clients than choice is good.
I used to suggest a one time purchase of contribute, this had its drawbacks in support time for those few MAC users that could not get contrib to work properly. Mostly I provide custom CMS based solutions.
I agree Concrete sucks, and has way too many issues to be useful, I doubt that a community will colases around that product any time soon.
I agree that the developer will need to add a fee above and beyond Adobes fee.
Try CushyCMS it seems to be very useful to clients at no cost to us. Cushy uses the same syntax as ICE. You could switch from one to the other with search and replace.
I so totally agree with you. (in reply to the original posting)
Clients come to me for inexpensive solutions that do not have additional charges, (other than my one time fee), since there are free solutions from just about every major web hosting service out there and free CMS solutions for complete enviroments like Joomla, Word Press and others, what would be a good reason to actually use ICE?
If ICE was offered free to registered DWCS4 developers (all others could pay by the month) - then yes I would consider using it. But as it is, with the numerious bugs, it is not worth the uncertanty, hassle and risk.
The reaction from my clients has not been favorable either, problems include;
1. not getting invitations
2. not able to publish content (as editors)
3. not clear on the cost per month (what a suprize)
4. Not able to upload images, easily.
So my feelings are;
I am the developer, not Adobe. I decide what charges and features there should be - Not adobe.
Adobe should provide the tools we need without strings, and should concentrate on what they do best - creating better products.
We have already paid for this lets get it working for free.
Otherwise I will use different tools.
Didn't get to do it... I finally got in front of my PC last night about 11 p.m. after doing some PC hardware work, after a 11 hour day at my regular job. And then at 11 I still had about an hour's worth of print design to get finished.
So, I can breathe now and I look forward to trying it tonight. I watched the demo video of it, and I am very excited about it.
I'll post my thoughts on it when I try it, and then I'll get my client to try it as well and get their feedback.
I finally got to play around with it, and I must say, I love it for it's ease of setup and how easy it is to edit. This will be a great asset to my development arsenal. Thanks for mentioning it!
Do you know anyone that uses a Pro account? Not that I am even looking in that direction at the moment, because this covers my needs since I have the CSS already in place on the site, but I am just curious.
I am using Cushy CMS and Surreal CMS. They are both good for what they are meant to do but I prefer Surreal CMS, it seems more professional and it allows the user to apply the CSS styles attached to the page. It is good with image upload as well. However, unlike Cushy, Surreal only allows 3 free sites, for unlimited sites you have to buy the Pro version ($25.00pm or $275 pa). I would say if you are going to pay for a Pro version so you can brand it as your own, Surreal is best, but of course Cushy is free for as many sites as you wish. I have got customers on both and have asked them for feedback so I will report back at a later date. Both much better products in my opinion than InContext if you want a CMS that is really simple both to implement and for the customer to use.
Ummm... I'm talking about one of the main features of InContext (accessible via DW menus, but presumably hand editable without DW). There are two types of regions: editable and repeating. Repeating regions are described on this page in the tutorial. I use repeating regions extensively so my client can add/remove headlines, table rows, etc., rather than being limited to a completely fixed layout.
Accoding to the adobe web site: "The consequence of this group creation is that you have enabled your editors to re-order the news blurbs within the group, as well as to add new blurbs or delete existing blurbs from the group."
This is not a repeat region in the classic sense, when using a database, you would write one loop of code and associated display code, and pull data out of a database for display, in a repeat region.
I am not sure of the benifites of ICE repeat regions, but I am sure it will confuse more people. Just as DWTemplates are confusing to some.
So unless I misunderstand the functionality here the answer is NO Cushy does not seem to support ICErepeat region grouping, as defined by Adobe.
However, Cushy will automaticly divide a page of content up so editors can edit specific sections, (they would need to order things within a section) and show what content your editing, in it's own heading according to your stylesheet headings or class discriptors.
All by adding one class div, to the entire content area.
I have not tried SurrealCMS - It claims to have page management, clone and delete functions, which would come in handy if page navigation was designed correctly ahead of time to dynamicly accomodate new pages.
Sorry Antlion, I had forgotten that DW call their ICE system for adding or deleting or reordering content repeating regions as well - 3 meanings for the same phrase!
As the intervening post hints, I think the same ends can be acheived by Cushy or Surreal but with different nomenclature. I am a bit busy at the moment but in a day or two intend to make a comparison between these three systems in that respect.
I would be very reluctant to implement or recommend ICE without knowing when the charges would start. Based on previous research and all of the comments in the forum, I'm more likely to implement CushyCMS to provide very basic editing to clients who really want and need it.
My two cents:
Good grief, people, do you want cookies with your milk, too?
Advantage of In Context Editing: your clients do not have to buy Contribute (or learn code), thus saving them the cost of that product ($199 last I looked) and upgrades ($99)... (your clients have to be pretty dedicated to their websites to buy a program to update their websites themselves).
Advantage: You do not have to learn Drupal or keep up with all its module updates. Or Joomla. Or anything else. You can use the dynamite program, Dreamweaver, that you already use.
Advantage: It will never need upgrading, as it does not sit on anyone's computer but Adobe's, and SHOULD always be current.
Advantage: if you have five clients, (at a $20/month fee...which I think is high) it only costs $48 a year for them...still cheaper than Contribute, any way you cut it. That $48 might only pay for an hour of the web designer/developer's time (in a cheap market).
Disadvantage: if you only have one client (at $20/month fee...which I still think is high) it costs $240 a year for them...way out of line. BUT it still comes in cheaper than hiring your architect to change the lightbulbs...that is, hiring your web designer to edit content on the site.
So, on balance, it needs to be a stated cost to your client. I recommend presenting it as an either/or.
Thinking it out, this is a great plan, no hidden charges. Don't ever suggest that the service will be free. It may be easy, but it should never be free.
The difficulty, as probably stated already, is in the billing department. As a sole proprietor/web designer/web developer ad nauseum, I am also the billing department. How to do it? Monthly charge? Annual charge? Is the client a continuing client or a one-time deal? That would affect the decision more than anything, I think. What about all my non-profit clients? Do I absorb the costs for them and charge the others (legitimately, of course). To what extent can we get or give passes on the cost?
Okay, maybe it was four cents worth (I have to pay the piper).
Message was edited by: Zabeth69
I KNOW!!! In Context Editing should offer a billing module for its administration page. THAT should make it even more fun!
Message was edited by: Zabeth69
>> Good grief, people, do you want cookies with your milk, too?
The "original" complaints came from the point of view that Adobe never mentioned that they would charge for this service when they marketed CS4. A great source of frustration for developers and some clients is the fact that sites have been completed and with that, contracts with established pricing. Who is most likely to take the hit? Case and point, there are free services that many of us should have used when we were dealing with the smaller client. However, we didn't learn about Adobe's master plan until later. I, and many of others, understand the concept of cost for service. It's more a matter of feeling surreptitiously drawn into something that was more of a marketing plan than a true service. Once onboard, how many can truly afford the time to go back and re-write code -- without taking a loss.
Services aren't "typically" free. I can't be upset with Adobe for wanting to recapture operating costs of their service. Being open and upfront in the beginning could have spared them from a lot of developer backlash. The sour taste of betrayal lingers for a long time and many have tasted that with Adobe from many aspects. This was just one more feeling of David and Goliath to many end users.
Point taken. I only discovered InContext Editing recently, and I've been TEACHING Dreamweaver for a year!
Reminds me of when my computer typesetting business (back in the dark ages...1970s) beta tested equipment for a typesetting equipment manufacturer. The first product they had us test, we told them it was a dog and that their methodology was faulty. But, THEY HAD ALREADY RELEASED AND SOLD IT!!!
So being clear about the BETA status, etc., etc., would have been a good idea.
But still, if you have coded entire sites to use it, the sites will still work with that code in them; you don't HAVE to use ICE; you can turn off that capability in the Administration panel.
I'm not sure how you provide a comfort level to clients that had been using it up to that point. "It was a good service, but now I have to pay for it, so if you don't want to pay extra to use that functionality, you can pay me to do the content-editing for you."
And the cost breaks will still hold as I stated earlier.
My concern actually lies more with what I charge to my SIXTH customer, if only five sites or portions of sites are included in the fee to Adobe? And if I create a site that requires, say, three editors (for discrete parts of the site) and one publisher (for the whole website), that one website will actually count as FOUR sites. So where's the logic there?
I'd like to see a simpler fee structure. Not simpler than the one we have now, because it's vapor-ware, but simpler than the one that is being suggested by Adobe.
I recently discovered Incontext Editing as well, and am suprised at the suggested pricing model. My observations:
If it were up to me to set the cost, $50 a year ($4.16/month) would seem reasonable given what it does. It makes Contribute more attractive because of its superior feature-set/cost, but would make ICE more attractive because otherwise it would take four years to recoup Contribute costs if you really only needed to make light content changes.
I have enjoyed using Contribute with clients, but find an enormous lack of reference material on how to use it.
I spend most of my time in Dreamweaver, myself. So it's difficult, at least, to support clients' use of Contribute without my own knowledge of it.
Are you saying that $50 per client per year would suit for a charge for ICE? I still think that the whole pricing structure needs to be rethought. But then, maybe that's what they'll spend the next four months doing.
Contribute and Dreamweaver work extremely well together. I put together a Dreamweaver/Contribute site for a Medical managing over 600 static pages. Nested Templates and Template properties really keep things together as well as diverse page layouts. This was an excellent low-cost solution given the situation.
I would say in the above example, $50/year per 10 users would be a great addition to the product lineup. Really, if there are users who need to wordsmith content or add a page here and there, then ICE makes sense. ICE should be low cost since it is a service (everything can't be free), but it is not robust enough to replace Contribute nor robust enough to command premium rates (i.e. $10 to $20 a month).
@Zabeth69: Having Contribute as a developer would really sell you on its capabilities for the non web-savvy business-user as well as help you support your clients. Really, there is no learning curve (extremely slight) for developing for Contribute since it is based on the Templates and Template properties native to Dreamweaver. The documentation for that is in Dreamweaver.
Sure. Actually, I have (and have had) Contribute within my Web Design Premium studios. But I don't seem to be able to find documentation to point my clients to.
And the program itself seems to slip out of being installed from time to time. Sigh.
I'm glad there are new options like ICE to help round out the content management possibilities without going out of the Adobe constellation.
Can't find Contribute documentation? http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Contribute/5.0_Using/ I don't mean any insult by pointing this out, but Contribute has one of the more complete and accessible documenation I've seen for end users (specifically the sidebar panel inside the application).
If you could see how Contribute truely works, you would see the features offered in ICE is extremely minimal. It is difficult for me to justify turning over a site to a client to manage their site in ICE, let alone suggest them paying for (given the current pricing model).
ICE has its uses at this point--minimal content updates. Perhaps future releases will bring all the Contribute features to the web and ICE will then replace it and command a higher price.