So finally we have our answer from Adobe Technical Support with regards to how Adobe Contribute is breaking every website we use it with.
Apparently, it’s the users fault. Specifically, my client.
Excellent .. and there was me thinking Adobe had been utterly unprofessional.
For anyone who’s used the very much broken Adobe Contribute, you’ll know how simple it is to use.
You navigate to the web page of choice, click the Edit button, do your thing, and then click the Publish button.
But that’s when things start to go hideously wrong, because Adobe Contribute is so fundamentally broken, it either doesn’t let you do this, or it ruins the web pages you’re trying to edit.
Words such as professionalism, prompt, honest .. forget about them, ‘coz they never entered into the dialogue I had with Adobe with regards to their utterly broken Adobe Contribute web CMS (Content Management System.)
I recently went live with a website for the client who have been experiencing problems with Adobe Contribute, and the understanding was, they’d be using Adobe Contribute to manage the website.
Fast forward a week or so and I’m busy working on some amends for their other website that I manage for them. Quite by accident, I log into the wrong FTP account, and as I look at the directory listing for the new website, I see lots of files that I just don’t recognize.
There were two new folders and four new files in the directory, two of which were some kind of Microsoft ActiveX component files. Which is strange, because there’s nothing on the website that uses ActiveX.
So I pay a visit to the website via Firefox and look at the code for one of the web pages. To my utter horror, Adobe Contribute had added in loads of totally spurious and pointless characters and styling options for no reason whatsoever.
Rather than making use of the carefully-crafted styles that I’d created for the website, Adobe Contribute was butchering everything by adding in new styles, overwriting existing styles and basically making a nonsense of all of the web standards compliant coding I’d applied.
Such was the mess that Adobe Contribute had made of the web pages, it’s going to take some effort to re-work them.
Now, imagine if you will just how amazingly annoyed my client is by all of this? After all, who the hell is going to pay for this debacle? A debacle caused entirely by Adobe Contribute, no less.
Well, what we now know is that after the issue had be escalated to Adobe’s research people – who for some reason believe they are beyond reproach – feel that they have nothing else to add to the matter.
As far as Adobe’s research department are concerned, this is user error, which I find puzzling.
The thing is, there’s so little latitude for doing something wrong in Adobe Contribute, what might my client actually be doing that is wrong?
Further to this, if we dignify for a second or two the completely idiotic conclusion of Adobe’s technical support people, even if this really is user error, then why is it that Adobe aren’t asking me what it is that my client is allegedly doing wrong?
After all, if you want to create the best software possible, you’d think they’d be a little curious?
So if the user is making a mistake, then the only reason that’s possible is because Adobe Contribute is so broken that it allows for such things.
Problem is for Adobe, I have conclusive and irrefutable proof that Adobe Contribute is fundamentally broken.
The exact same things are happening on both Microsoft Windows IIS and on Apache running on Linux.
The thing is, I took over from a previous design agency, and my first impression of the first website they’d produced for my client was that someone had started the website – someone who knew what they were doing – but then someone else took over and was making a complete mess of things.
The website is in different languages (English, German, Spanish, French et cetera,) all of which need accented characters, which need special characters embedded in the text of the web pages.
Some of the web pages had these characters, but a lot didn’t. Some just had the literal accented characters in the code, which was a result of the erroneous endeavors of Adobe Contribute.
As an emergency precaution, I’ve had to change the encoding and language options for some web pages so that they remain usable.
All of which means that when the client makes a text change to a foreign web page, when someone views the changed web pages, where any new words contain accented characters, they don’t render properly.
So when I saw what had happened to the new website, I knew straight away what I was looking at – the chaos of garbled HTML code left by Adobe Contribute.
The question I put to Adobe has never changed, and it’s a question they’ve so far totally avoided answering: if I can do the self same thing that Adobe Contribute purports to do with Transmit (an excellent FTP client for the Mac) and BBEdit (a bafflingly large text editor for the Mac) why can’t Adobe Contribute?
Based on the joint experiences of my client and I, Adobe Contribute is fundamentally a very broken application and I would strongly urge you never to use it, under no circumstances.
If you value the custom of your clients the same way I do, then get yourself a web developer and have them supply you with either a custom, bought-in or free Content Management System like Joomla! or Drupal .. anything but Adobe Contribute!