Adobe’s recent announcement to discontinue their free InContext Editing service has surprised and outraged many web designers. However, the service isn’t really being discontinued. Instead, it is getting integrated with Adobe’s Business Catalyst service. As a result, come 2011, designers who wish to continue using InContext Editing’s functionality for their clients will have to do so with a paid subscription to Business Catalyst (BC).
Alright, we all know that you can’t get something for nothing. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. It seems as though Adobe wants more than just your money. They want your web hosting, too. The following post comes directly from the InContext Editing forum:
The hosting was one of the top problems in using ICE and the shear number of FTP servers and different implementations and settings made difficult to support everything. Even for a web professional, FTP can raise problems and cause support incidents.
The integration of InContext Editing in Business Catalyst should help us solve this problem, as we’ll have a single FTP server which is in our back yard. This why I think you will not have to solve server problems and have time to focus on what’s important: creating great websites for your customers.
Adobe’s excuse for not allowing you to host your own websites in BC is that they can’t support multiple FTP servers? Ouch. But wait, it gets better:
On the BC system hosting, you cannot run PHP, ColdFusion or ASP code.
Yes, you read that correctly. You cannot run any type of server-side scripting on your Business Catalyst-hosted websites. Instead, Adobe believes that they can “cover most of your needs” with “predefined modules”:
The system comes with a large number of predefined modules that you can use directly. [...] Although we’re not using or supporting PHP, I am pretty sure that we can cover most of your needs with the current system.
In essence, InContext Editing has gone from a flexible, FTP-in-and-start-editing system to a restrictive, out-of-the-box application. Why? Probably because it’s easier and less expensive for Adobe to support. Unfortunately for designers, this simply isn’t acceptable for clients who are used to the flexibility of what server-side languages have to offer. In my personal experience, 99% of the time clients want something just a little different than what “the box” has to offer.
Considering an Alternative
My suggestion to anyone using Adobe InContext Editing is to consider looking into alternative content management solutions. Our company, A Beautiful Site, LLC., offers one of the leading simple CMS services on the web. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you get with Surreal CMS that you will allegedly not get with the future version of InContext Editing:
- The ability to host your own websites
- The flexibility to use any type of server-side language you choose
- Access from your own domain/subdomain
- The ability to theme and brand the CMS as your own solution
- One-on-one email support
- Competitive features that are continuously being enhanced and improved
- Google Analytics integration