I'm doing it with 5 community sites ("community" as in towns). To get to this point I've done major, major surgery on Homefree. That script's functionality remains the same, but -after 8 or 9 months of actual field use- the interface is now about as close to the K.I.S.S. principle as I can get it. Part of the problem is that they (clients) don't remain absolute novices for long and soon want to know about tables, fonts, image tags, i.e., basic HTML stuff.
Basically, I'm saying that it can be done with what's out there but it's going to be costly (I think the script alone is around $300), both in terms of financial outlay and your time.
I've got one former client who now adds pages and has even made small changes to layout...all entirely using a text editor (usually notepad) and WS FTP (which I set up pointed at the space)
it took a couple of hour long sessions to get her totally confident in the basics and she hasn't made a mistake so far...she wouldn't, she's even more careful about the site than I was, it's her business at stake
another client updates his booklists the same way...he's a small scale publisher and adds a couple of books a month to the catalogue by hand...he's not going to be able to handle adding new pages though...I'm hoping that the current structure should last him well into next year though
it's just a matter of coding so that the text is easy to spot, and so that the site design isn't in any way dependent on the amount of text on the page
I chose to go the higher-cost, "admin controled" route to build a publisher or developer-owned multi-site manangement system. Scripts like Homefree offer password login to assigned accounts, file extension selection/restriction, space allocation, automatic headers and footers, built-in metas, etc. But reason #1 was that it also keeps clients loyal. Clients use my cgi to build and maintain pages on my server that are then fed through to their sites via 100% frames. Very easy for them, therefore very seductive... and they not taught enough HTML to become dangerous (stand on their own).
I haven't seen much likelihood of them standing on their own...they haven't got time for one thing...I can make major site changes quicker than they can...to the extent that they save money by paying me to do it
but it wasn't worth my while to do the updates myself...and neither were either client about to pay out for a dynamic solution
And you don't have to wonder what's happening when one of your clients has just put all the pieces together and 'seen the light,' i.e., had the epiphanic moment. This excerpt from an email today: Boy, am I gonna be dangerous now! I can go right in here and fix things like I want them....
You'd think there'd be a way to use an SSI for this somehow. Particularly if all they had to put on the page was text: like a job site.
You could teach the user how to put something in a text document and ftp it to the server and just include the document.
We do this all the time except one step further. Take a form with a text box and even a picture upload element. Have the script write this to a SSI. Really quite simple once you've done it once. (course then you have to train the client why a 1000 pixel wide bit map takes forever to download :) )
Has anyone tried Atomz Publish Express/Professional? They seem to have a system that is easy to use for their search, so maybe their content management system is similar...
You could use PHPNuke - its a nice open-source PHP-based automatic publishing system. you can get it at: [phpnuke.org...]
It's massively configurable and should be able to do everthing you need.