Getting Started with CityDesk

By Joel Spolsky

Thursday, May 01, 2003

CityDesk is a powerful web content management system that you run on your own desktop. Using CityDesk, you can create a sophisticated web site that is easy to maintain and manage.

This is a single article. CityDesk provides a powerful, built-in word processor, with WYSIWYG formatting, a spell checker, search and replace, and more. Use the "Properties" and "Extras" tabs (above) to edit the other aspects of this article, like the author and headline.

In the main window, use the "New Article" icon to create more articles. Use the "Preview on This Computer" icon to see what your site will look like when it is published. Use the "Variables" icon to change the name and tagline of your site.

You can change anything you want about the appearance of your site. Edit the index article in the main window to change the front page. Use the Templates icon to modify the template that is used to format articles, or add your own templates. You'll see little bits of CityDesk scripting language code, a very simple language that defines how pages are assembled when you publish the site.

You can drop pictures, HTML files, or any other kind of file into the main window - they will be published as-is. You can even create directories and subdirectories, which will be copied to the web server.

Once the site appears the way you like it, use the "Publish Locations" icon to add a new location where you want your site to be published. This can be either a directory or an FTP server. This will create a new toolbar icon which you can use to publish to that location.

You've only scratched the surface of CityDesk's incredible power. You can also:

The tutorial (in the main window, choose Help >> Tutorial from the menu) will get you up and running in ten minutes.

Fog Creek Software takes your feedback seriously. Please email with suggestions for improvements and features you'd like to see. Also check out, our site for news and tips about CityDesk.

Joel Spolsky is the founder of Fog Creek Software and the creator of CityDesk. He is the author of the popular book User Interface Design For Programmers.