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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Microsoft FrontPage



Updated 2009-11-24
Well there are so many FREE choices with the capability of FrontPage it is a waste of time. Many free online hosting sites have advanced online site development utilities that include advanced modules like search, rating, breadcrumbs, themes, etc. available with just a few clicks. Even shopping carts & e-Commerce are simple drop-ins. Compelling web sites can now be created without any coding knowledge. Why would you pay for any basic web site development tool.

Update 2000-09-02

FrontPage 2000 has been out for a while now… not sure if I like it or hate it. I know that several other products have stepped ahead. Particularly when it comes to positioning and database connectivity. FrontPage 2000 seems to be trying to be middle of the road. They improved sections where there were problems(like options when publishing site) and you can open more than one web at the same time but the redesigned sucks. Opening more than 1 document at a time means you better know about Ctrl+Tab or read it somewhere in the manuals(someone actually reads those?).
In a nutshell it has some good features, it is not as good as NetObjects(or others), and it has some noticeable drawbacks if you are accustom to 98. If you have 98 don’t waste your money. If you are looking at buying one… There are now a lot of competing products. Some free ones are as good as FrontPage. See sites like CNet/ZDnet for their reviews on these products.
I currently use FrontPage2000 simply because it doesn’t reformat my code like ‘98(big problem). In addition I only use these products to draw the page. I then go to code to make things happen. The less code they produce the better for me.

Published 1998-10-17

Well it has my best recommendation……I use it! Of course I also use other tools as well. FrontPage98 is not my first choice for database driven systems.

FrontPage98 Benefits

There are so many. First off I have virtually removed all requirements to work with CGI. I know CGI is a powerful tool but it is not that easy to work with. Site administration has become a breeze. There are so many prebuilt options that used to take me days that now take me minutes(like discussion groups, forms, search, guestbook, etc.). Shared borders and navigation are what every developer wants. There are many more reasons I just haven’t listed them. With all these options it still lets me do more complex things that it does not support. Alas, nothing is perfect……see below…..

FrontPage98 Disadvantages

It doesn’t work well with complex CGI sites(like my old site). These will have to be converted. You have to work within Navigators limited design if you want to use all functions. Navigator functions do not always do what you would logically think. Shared borders do not support script in headings. Using variables in Explorer are limited to text only values. Numerous quirky problems, especially when working with Unix servers. But I think I have most of them figured out(they all have work arounds). Database functionality is very limited. I wish vendors would stop using us developers to work out their buggy software.

FrontPage98 Summary

Buy it! It is simple enough an eight year old can build a very nice site yet capable enough to handle much more complex web site requirements. It supports a limited team work environment on it’s own but works even better with integrated tools like SourceSafe, VB6.0, Visual InterDev, and IIS 4.0. There are other contenders. If you want a lot of database design then NetObjects Fusion may be a better choice right now.

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