Macromedia has put together a software suite for designing, building, managing and editing Web sites that is aimed at small to medium sized businesses, the company is due to announce today.

The suite, called Macromedia Web Publishing System, includes tools for non-technical business users, for Web developers and designers and for IT staff.

For business users, the suite comes with Contribute 3, for publishing Web content. Meanwhile, for Web developers and designers, the suite has Macromedia Studio MX 2004, which includes the Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks and FreeHand Web development products.

Finally, Web Publishing System features Contribute Publishing Services, a server-based tracking and administration tool for IT staffers to establish which Web documents can be modified by which users. Contribute 3 also includes FlashPaper 2 for converting documents to Flash or PDF.

The Macromedia suite has been priced aggressively and designed to be easy to use in order to offer an alternative to more expensive and complicated products from companies such as Vignette and Interwoven.

"This offering is significant because Macromedia, which has long been known for providing very high-quality software to small to medium-size businesses with applications like Flash and Dreamweaver, is really stepping up into the content management space", said Eric Peterson, a Jupiter Research analyst.

"They're making a fairly robust content management system available to any small organization ... looking for a system that won't break the bank", said Peterson. "This is really an entry-level content management and publishing system that is absolutely needed by parts of the market that are traditionally ignored."

Pricing is based on the number of business users that will get access to the suite. A pack with seats for one developer and 10 business users will sell for $2,499 (around £1,375) in the US, while a pack for 10 developers and 100 business users will cost $24,990 (£13,750). UK pricing hasn’t been announced yet.

The Web Publishing System is available in a preview version at http://www.macromedia.com/go/wps. It is expected to ship for Windows and Mac OS X in English worldwide in August. Components of the Web Publishing System available as standalone products include Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Contribute 3 and FlashPaper 2.