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Zeta Producer Desktop 8

13 Jan 2009CPOL
This product showcase gives you an overview of the Zeta Producer Desktop 8 Content Management System (CMS), available both as a Freeware version and as a purchasable version.

This article is in the Product Showcase section for our sponsors at CodeProject. These articles are intended to provide you with information on products and services that we consider useful and of value to developers.

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This product showcase gives you an overview of the Zeta Producer Desktop 8 Content Management System (CMS), available both as a Freeware version and as a purchasable version.

(Directly download the English Freeware version from here, if you are in a hurry)


Image: Screenshot of the main windows of Zeta Producer Desktop 8



Even as a developer you sometimes need to publish information on the internet, right?

While this can be information regarding your job, it can just as well be information about your hobbies, your family or your last holiday trip to Paris.

Nowadays you have quite a lot of options when publishing information online. Some shared hosted sites include:

  • Publishing information on a community website like MySpace or Facebook
  • Publishing information on one of the many free weblog hosters like, Windows Live Blogs or Google's

You also can publish to your very own website:

  • Installing and administering your own weblog, community website or content management system (CMS)
  • Publishing with ease by using the Zeta Producer Desktop 8 CMS ;-)

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What is Zeta Producer Desktop?

Zeta Producer is a desktop content management system (CMS) based upon Microsoft Windows.

A CMS enables you to easily manage your website without the need to have any HTML knowledge at all. If you can write a letter in a word processing application, you can instantly publish your website on the internet within minutes!

So, in other words: if you want to publish information like text, images, videos or downloadable PDF files to the internet, no matter what kind of information with ease, you should take a look at Zeta Producer Desktop and continue reading this article.

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Who can use Zeta Producer Desktop?

In contrast to many other CMS which are web-based applications, Zeta Producer is a Windows application that is installed locally on your PC.

Zeta Producer Desktop 8 is designed to be as easy-to-use as your daily office applications like Microsoft Word or Excel. If you can write a letter with Word or send e-mail messages with Outlook, you will also be able to create, manage and publish your very own website with Zeta Producer Desktop.

Currently we are installed on around 50,000 computers worldwide belonging to a broad range of users with various website types. Zeta Producer is used, amongst other reasons, to manage small to medium sized company and product websites, help organizations use it to maintain their online representation and enable private users to create homepages about their hobbies, family or with pictures of their last holiday trip.

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Why should you use it?

Usually, even if you do have various programming and HTML skills, you just want to get your job done as quickly and comfortably as possible. This is where Zeta Producer Desktop comes in.

We have therefore tried to make Zeta Producer as easy to use and as possible while packing it with tons of professional and stunning features.

Since we believe in our systems, our public websites are of course created and maintained with Zeta Producer, too.

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Professional Design

Zeta Producer Desktop supplies you with a lot of professionally designed layouts. You can just use these layouts as they are and build your website by simply selecting one of them.

Or grab a predefined layout and use the powerful and easy-to-use built-in layout editor to adjust the layout to completely match your corporate identity.

You can adjust nearly every aspect of a layout, including colors, fonts, border, images; you name it, you can define it.


Image: Example layout, being edited in the Designer

So you need no knowledge of e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web etc. to bring your professionally designed website quickly online.

The following thumbnails give you an idea of the variety of available layout:

preview-image-06.png preview-image-07.pngpreview-image-08.pngpreview-image-09.pngpreview-image-10.png

Every two to three months, we will add new layouts. Meanwhile, we will keep listening to customer requests about layouts, and appreciate your suggestions!

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Simple Content Editing

You manage the content of your website independently from its design. Create pages with a single click and insert text, images or videos on your pages with just a few clicks.

A lot of modern features like interactively designable forms, guest books, RSS integration, a search function for your website, a sitemap, support for weblogs and many more are integrated in Zeta Producer Desktop 8.

Even better: you can change the design/layout of your website at any time during your website's life-cycle. So if you think it's time to change the design after your website after a year, a new website is only three clicks away.

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High-Quality Support

Maybe you have come across my other articles here at the Code Project. And so you might know about my passion for providing fast, friendly and high-quality support.

The same is true for Zeta Producer and all of our support staff.

We try to answer questions, issues and remarks within the shortest possible time span in a friendly and professional way. Just take a look in our support forum and see with your own eyes.

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Continuous Updates

The internet evolves fast, new technologies and trends are always being developed.

Therefore, we continuously improve and extend Zeta Producer. We provide updates every two to three months with new function, improvements and new layouts. All updates within one version are free (e.g. updating from version 8.0 to version 8.1 is free of charge).

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How much does it cost?

From zero to just a few bucks:

  • Freeware - Completely free version without any costs. Suitable for small personal websites (Directly download it from here)
  • Desktop - Only $129, no recurring costs. Targeted for larger personal websites or small to medium websites for companies or non-profit-organizations.
  • Professional and Enterprise - Version suitable for larger company websites and intranets, comes with workflow, user management and extensible plug-in model. You will find pricing information on our website.

The following chapters focus on the Desktop and the Freeware versions.

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Step-by-Step Tutorial

In this chapter, I will show you just how easy it is to create a new website, to insert your content and to publish it.

Create a New Project

A "project" represents all the pages, images and content of a website (or parts of a website, if you e.g. upload it to a subfolder of an existing domain).

To create a new project select "File | Create new web project" from the main menu.


Enter the name of your new project and click the "OK" button. Your new project will be created with some default pages and content.


Image: Newly created project with a predefined layout selected

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Add More Pages

Next, we add more pages to the project. This is as easy as creating a new folder in Windows Explorer.

To add a new page, right-click the parent page of the new page to add in the page structure view (the left tree view) and select "Insert new page":


The "Edit page" window appears. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will simply fill the field "Name" and leave the other fields as they are.


Click the "OK" button when you finished. You will immediately see the new page (although with no content) in the design of the selected layout:


Image: Newly created page that automatically has the same design as all other pages of the website

Simple, isn't it? In the next step, we will add content to the page.

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Adding your First Article

To add an article to the page, first switch to the "Edit: Standard" tab in the main window. There you see all the articles for the page. This list is currently empty.

Next, right-click somewhere in the article list and select "Insert new article":


Since several article styles are available, select one in the appearing "Select article style" window.


Select "Standard" and click "OK" (or simply double-click "Standard"). Now, the "Edit article" form will be displayed, allowing you to enter your article text.

Image 21

Image: Editing an article with name and some example text with an inserted example image

Click the "OK" button and then click the "Preview" tab in the main window. You will see the page with your inserted article.


Image: Integrated preview displaying the newly created article

Again, I do hope you find these steps just as easy and intuitive as inserting a page.

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Active Objects

To give you an idea of how many more cool gadgets you could put on your pages, I have included a screenshot of the large number of available "Active Objects", as we call them.

These Active Objects are more "intelligent" articles that make your website even more attractive and dynamic.


Image: Active Objects to insert into a page

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Publish your website

Zeta Producer runs on your local computer. Therefore, to show your website to the public, you will need to carry out one further step.

First, configure your FTP settings. This only has to be done once. Open the web settings and click the "Edit" button of the FTP settings section. The "Configure FTP server" window will appear:


Enter the FTP connection data that you received from your ISP. You have the option of optionally specifying firewall/proxy server settings and instantly testing your connection from within the form.

If you are satisfied, close the form with the "OK" button.

To go ahead and publish the website, select "Generate and publish website" from the "Publish" main menu, or simply press the F6 key.

From now on everything else happens automatically. Zeta Producer detects the modified pages, creates them if they are out of date, and then publishes them to your web server.


When the publishing process is finished, your website is online and you will be notified.

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How to get Zeta Producer?

We provide an English and a German version of Zeta Producer Desktop 8 that runs on Windows XP and above.

There is no registration or whatsoever required getting the Freeware version. Simply download, install and run it.

In addition you can access the PDF manual of Zeta Producer Desktop 8 directly online, without needing to download it:

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Advanced topic

This chapter shows you how you can flexibly customize Zeta Producer to successfully perform even non-standard tasks.

Integrating Server-Side Scripts like ASP(X) or PHP

Zeta Producer generates static pages which are published to the web server with the integrated FTP client.

Since page generation is done locally on your computer, no active components are required on the web server.

This gives you a great opportunity if you want to use Zeta Producer in scenarios where server-side script like ASP, ASPX, PHP or e.g. JSP has to be included on your Zeta Producer generated pages.

The basic steps include:

  • Simply open the "Edit page" window and give your page another extension (e.g. ".aspx").
  • Insert an article with your desired server-side script code.
  • Zeta Producer will generate the page with the specified extension.

With this technique, we successfully developed several advanced customer-specific intranet and internet websites using Zeta Producer together with ASP.NET User Controls being included on several pages with the technique described here.

The customer is happy, because he can use the simple and efficient tool Zeta Producer to manage the whole website. And the developer is happy, too, because he can use his accustomed ASP.NET development environment.

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Automatic Generating and Publishing through Scheduled Tasks

Since Zeta Producer runs on your local computer, you must actively tell it to publish your website (in fact, this is one single hit on the F6 key).

Because this may be a shortcoming for some users and scenarios, Zeta Producer can be adjusted by passing various command line parameters.

So if you want your website to be published automatically every night, simply create a Scheduled Task in Windows and specify the Zeta Producer together with the appropriate command line arguments (which are described in detail in the user manual).

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Technical Background

This chapter covers in brief some of the technologies being used to develop the application.

First of all, Zeta Producer Desktop 8 is a .NET 2.0 Windows Forms application. Zeta Producer 7 was not. I described some of the issues that I was faced with when porting the application. The source code is in C#.

The underlying database used to store the data is a Microsoft Jet database (known from Microsoft Office Access), with the ability to switch to a Microsoft SQL Server for larger websites (supported in the Professional and Enterprise versions of Zeta Producer).

Some of the external libraries we are using for this project:
  • DotNetFireball - A syntax coloring editor for showing and editing article sources. (But it seems that this one is the better choice for the next version).
  • IP*Works! from /n software - A network library that provides the proxy/firewall (SOCKS) capabilities and the FTP client.
  • HTML Tidy - A C utility to clean up HTML code and to make it (X)HTML conform. I wrote a Managed C++ wrapper to access it from C#.
  • Locus Effects from a Code Project article - Provides animated highlighting of search results.
  • log4net - An enterprise logging framework from the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Icon Experience icons - The best investment ever! Having loads of really nice looking icons makes the application so much better to use with a minimum of development effort.

In addition we have developed several libraries on our own, like a general purpose library for data access, or a color picker dialog/control. 

Our very own plug-in mechanism allows you to enhance Zeta Producer with more functionality. We used this in projects with the Professional and Enterprise version to allow Zeta Producer to have more functions for certain customers while keeping the core code base clean and general purpose.

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Source code?

If you would like to take a look at some of the code, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.

I could imagine, for example, writing a separate article about some of our self-developed libraries, as I did in the past.

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While this is of course a product showcase to increase the popularity and sales of Zeta Producer Desktop 8, I strongly hope that the application is of some real benefit for you.

If you like the application I would be pleased for you to use it, buy it and recommend it to your co-workers, family or friends. We do have an affiliate program to reward you for your recommendations.

Also, I am very happy to hear any feedback and suggestions, improvements or questions about Zeta Producer Desktop 8.

If you do not like the application, I would also like to hear from you; please tell me what you dislike and suggest to me how we can improve Zeta Producer!

To get in contact with me, simply use the discussion form at the end of this article or drop me an e-mail.

Thank you for reading!

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This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Uwe Keim
Chief Technology Officer Zeta Producer Desktop CMS
Germany Germany
Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.

In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. Recently he became a father of a cute boy.

Some cool, free software from us:

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Windows 10 Ereignisanzeige  
German Developer Community  
Free Test Management Software - Intuitive, competitive, Test Plans. Download now!  
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Send large Files online for free by Email

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRTL Pin
Member 148265312-Feb-10 5:39
memberMember 148265312-Feb-10 5:39 
GeneralLooks sh1t hot (thats very good by the way) Pin
Sacha Barber18-Mar-09 0:26
mvaSacha Barber18-Mar-09 0:26 
GeneralRe: Looks sh1t hot (thats very good by the way) Pin
Uwe Keim18-Mar-09 6:51
sitebuilderUwe Keim18-Mar-09 6:51 
QuestionDoes it support right-to-left languages? Pin
yojiq19-Jan-09 4:26
memberyojiq19-Jan-09 4:26 
AnswerRe: Does it support right-to-left languages? Pin
Uwe Keim19-Jan-09 4:37
sitebuilderUwe Keim19-Jan-09 4:37 
AnswerRe: Does it support right-to-left languages? Pin
Uwe Keim20-Jan-09 0:48
sitebuilderUwe Keim20-Jan-09 0:48 
GeneralRe: Does it support right-to-left languages? Pin
tarksiala24-Jan-09 3:00
membertarksiala24-Jan-09 3:00 
GeneralRe: Does it support right-to-left languages? Pin
Uwe Keim24-Jan-09 3:16
sitebuilderUwe Keim24-Jan-09 3:16 

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Posted 13 Jan 2009

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