WEB:Frontpage love/hate

From: John Calvin (mercurial@disinfo.net)
Date: Mon Jan 22 2001 - 23:15:36 MST

I have a love hate relationship with Frontpage.

I learned to write html by looking at source for web pages I liked and seeing how they worked, which is the same way I learned how to write JavaScript. I feel very comfortable coding by hand with full knowledge that when I do so I can create a wide variety of pages that work in the majority of browsers out there today. I also know that the pages I create can be moved from one server platform to another with ease.

FrontPage uses proprietary extensions to accomplish a great many tasks which can make its code very hard to read/alter/migrate. On the IIS server that we use at work,(I would prefer Apache on a Linux box)we had a problem with several of the features from FrontPage breaking on a regular basis for reasons that took us weeks to figure out and fix. Using FrontPage can add huge levels of complexity to the Administration of a web server and having had to deal with this I have learned to despise FrontPage.

However, many of my cutomers/co-workers/students are not at all familiar with the hand creation of web pages and wouldn't know html if it bit them. With FrontPage these same individuals can create amazing web sites, complete with chat rooms, message boards, guestbooks, and forms along with a great many other features. This simple fact has allowed our intranet to grow at a much faster rate since more people are able to place the information they are responsible for up on the Intranet server into professional web pages. Now, most of the Government specific information that I need for my job I am able to get right at my desk with little to no hassle. It is the very fact that FrontPage empowers even the HTML ignorant to create fantastic and useful web pages that I love.

While I would probably never use FrontPage for my own web work, I would definately recommend it for people in a Microsoft environment who have neither the time nor the inclination to learn HTML but do have a need to publish.

John Calvin

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