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Macromedia Taps Into Blog Craze

Macromedia is flavoring its next-generation Web publishing platform with a heavy dose of blog-friendly software.

The San Francisco-based Web graphics software maker said the latest update to its Web Publishing System includes Really Simple Syndication (RSS) activity feeds and management tools. The enhancements are designed to let larger numbers of non-technical staff post information to a company's intranet, extranet, wiki tool or public Web site.

"We took a look at the direction that Web publishing was going and we decided this release would be focused on large organizations," Craig Barberich, a senior product manager with Macromedia, told internetnews.com. "In the enterprise space, creating an architecture and infrastructure of publishing rights can be complex when everyone is looking to publish to the Web at the same time. This release helps simplify the process."

Barberich said the platform could be configured to serve either a centralized administrator or provide the ability to distribute through individual departments. Managers can assign certain tasks to employees while maintaining control. The publishing tool then alerts administrators to any Web site changes courtesy of an e-mail or RSS reader.

Building on last year's release, the revised version includes Macromedia Contribute, now in version 3.1, Macromedia Contribute Publishing Services release 1.1, and FlashPaper 2.

Other new features include an enhanced LDAP connectivity interface, expanded Web services and service oriented architecture (SOA) functions, better embedded linking with Macromedia Breeze objects, staging-to-live deployment, and streamlined document publishing. The Macromedia publishing platform also coordinates with Microsoft Office applications, Barberich said.

Currently, Macromedia boasts more than 360,000 users and 250 companies using the publishing tool. The customer beta test list for the updated platform includes the Mayo Clinic, Visa International Latin America and Caribbean Region, and the University of Montana.

Macromedia said the Mayo Clinic uses the Web publishing tool and Contribute 3.1 to help support more than 450 authors and manage upwards of 300 sites on their corporate intranet with only one server administrator who spends less than 5 percent of the time supporting their system.

Pricing for new users is still the same at $229 for a single seat. A 10-pack of seats runs for $2,990 but includes an additional year of maintenance.

Current users of the Web publisher can download the free update in English. Volume discounts and government and education licensing are also available.