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Web Design tools: Life after FrontPage

by John Carthy on February 9, 2007

After nine years of development, Microsoft recently announced that it will be discontinuing FrontPage. I’ll explain what discontinuing means in a second but I want to make it absolutely clear that will continue to support sites developed and maintained with this application as long as possible.

All Microsoft is doing is stopping any new development of FrontPage and has apparently used the code base to develop two new products: SharePoint Designer and Expressions Web.

Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is quite unique in that you can use this tool to design Office SharePoint version 3 sites as well as develop some pretty sophisticated work flows. While you could use FrontPage to connect to a SharePoint version 2 site, you can not connect to a SharePoint version 3 site using FrontPage. For this you must use the inline design capabilities or use SharePoint Designer.

Expression Web boasts some pretty decent features including the ability to develop sites for today’s standards including XHTML, CSS and XML (important for producing consistent results in various browsers as well being more compliant for indexing by some search engines). There’s also support for ASP.NET 2.0 and it is compatible with Visual Studio (good for a designer working in conjunction with developers).

For most website owners, who aren’t developers and don’t manage any SharePoint sites, there’s no need to upgrade. As it is, FrontPage is one of the only web design tools that requires server side extensions to power a bunch features like the web search component. While these extensions are supported on current Windows web servers (2003), they will not work with the next server release from Microsoft - the elusive Longhorn.

And while there is no official release date for Longhorn, when it is eventually released, plans to maintain our current servers for customers who require this functionality, and continue to support FrontPage customers as long as there is support from Microsoft for the core operating system.

That should be good for several more years but eventually you might want to consider a new tool for designing and maintaining your site. Expressions Web is one choice but there are some great, mature tools in the market that can be used on any platform. Try out Dreamweaver or GoLive by Adobe. But we recommend avoiding Flash if being found in the popular search engines is a major consideration for you.

Good or bad, current web design standards are being driven by search engine optimization (SEO) considerations and Flash just isn’t SEO friendly.

John Carthy
V.P. Sales and Marketing
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.

Related posts:

  1. Life after FrontPage, with
  2. SharePoint Designer 2007 now FREE for everyone
  3. Common Issues with FrontPage Server Extensions
  4. Using FrontPage with Windows 2008 Shared Hosting Servers
  5. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: More Than Just Document Sharing


Bill Smith February 12, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Thanks for explaining in real-world language the buzz we’ve heard about the FrontPage replacements. My web dev-ing is a low-tech product ancillary to my primary work as a writer. I am not an html jockey, and php, asp and xhtml sound to me like robots from Star Wars.

Okay, I’m not THAT ignorant, but isn’t the software market missing an opportunity to provide a product with the user-friendly ease of FrontPage, the SEO (and whatever else) sense of Dreamweaver, GoLive and the new Microsoft products, and yet with a price tag that mere design mortals can afford. One should not have to be a corporation to afford a an up-to-date web development tool.

Marissa Garcia February 21, 2007 at 4:25 PM

I appreciate the information, and ditto to the prior reply by Bill Smith.

Charley Jones February 21, 2007 at 4:46 PM

Sounds like the end of the another era. Front page has been a good friend for a very long time. I do agree though, Front Page does do some rather stupid things, especially where ASP.NET is concerned. Time to grow up, I guess. Just wish Front Page was coming along with us…

Mark Daul February 21, 2007 at 10:02 PM

Bill, I agree with every word you said. I love my Front Page and when I learned MS had other ideas I was upset. “User friendy” was a correct description. And in a price range where people like you and I feel this is all we need. I am not a geek but want what Front Page offers for guys like me. [and you] We are such a small voice aren’t we? I’m happy that John Mcarthy and SoftCom is going to support Front Page as long as possible.

P.S. I would like to give SoftCom a happy Birthday wish and thank them for being a number ONE host. They have always been friendly and always answered my sometimes dumb questions.


Del Gundlach February 22, 2007 at 1:44 AM

Thanks for your coverage of this issue.

The feature of FrontPage that has been most invaluable to me for my relatively small commercial web site is the ability for real-time updating of my site on your servers. I assume the FrontPage extensions play a role in allowing this. I also assume, whether accurately or not, that there are no other current applications that will do this.

There is no need to upload big blocks of data, I can simply log onto the site, make my large or small edits, save them right then and there, and I’m done. No mucking about with ftp, etc.

I can’t help but wonder if there are, or there will be, any other web design tools that will allow this sort of real-time website updating.

Filiberto Rosales February 22, 2007 at 3:55 AM

I’m not agree with your comment, in fact I think Dreamweaver is very cheaper. If your job is web desing you can earn the enough money to buy it.

And Dreamweaver is very easy to use it, I think is a complete powerfull tool, of course is not for beginers but once you start to use it everything is easy.

By the way I never used frontpage, not even when I was student or when I tried to design my first web page, I think Front page isn’t a powerfull tool, well that’s what I think because I never used it.

Stoddard December 9, 2010 at 2:36 PM

It’s great that you support sites as long as you can, even after a design tool is discontinued. This really gives people time to plan their next move.

WrigleyF February 4, 2011 at 9:19 AM

I agree that FrontPage was a good friend. I wish they’d updated it rather than end it.

Rusher August 9, 2011 at 8:58 AM

The good news is there’s always life after every program. It seems like whenever a program is discontinued, there’s something at least equally good ready to take its place.

OfftheWall August 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM

I love the product idea Bill Smith describes in the first comment. If anyone ever hears of such a program, please let us know!

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