An Engineer watched a toaster being used. As the toast pops up toasted medium
brown, he notes, “That’s strange. It worked! It must not have enough features.”
Sorry. Unfortunately, the description of your experience is not foreign to me. I deal with clients on a regular basis that are simply unhappy with the current situation they find themselves in, in a relationship with their technology.
It reminds me of the time very recently were people used to have to pay for a professional photographer. Need a shot of a product? That would be a few hundred dollars. Then DSLR came in to style and everyone could take thousands of decent pictures for the cost of a camera.
The truth is… this ‘web stuff’ is really under developed. It would be like NASA engineering a rocket where it’s acceptable to crash every time it rains. It’s frustrating. On the other hand, developers of software have their hands full too. It’s really hard to develop software where everywhere they turn there are sooo many limitations, and restraints… and changes to technology they rely on.
Adobe develops contribute. They aren’t known for their flawless execution. All of these software packages are trying to make it easy for you to develop a site. But behind all the software is the code it is trying to write. Ironically, sometimes software like contribute is more complex to use than the html code it writes. There are other options, but they are all in a contestant state of development and change. This industry and it’s associated technology is very new.
A better solution that is currently really popular is web-based CMS. Prices are not horrible, and projects aren’t hard to develop for the basics. Depending on the developer prices tend to start at $500, and go up from there. Once the site is developed, and user has a little training, the idea is the user can basically maintain the site, making constant changes to the content (not the layout).
bottom line, I can understand your frustration. I can offer you other solutions, but they all have their complexities, and shortcomings. Most of them will be better than Contribute.