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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Microsoft FrontPage and Microsoft Expression Web

News

See also

Best Frontpage Books

Recommended Links Frontpage as a poor man personal knowledge management system

FrontPage Regular Expressions

Frontpage Stored Queries

Search and Replace
Customization Using FrontPage reports to better manage your site Usage of the Folder list Code Snippets in FrontPage 2003 Microsoft Frontpage support of stylesheets Document Object Model FrontPage Macro Programming Downloads and Addons
VTI Folders List of Special Files and Directories  Templates
/Themes
Layers  Working with HTML DOCTYPE Declarations in FrontPage CSS HTML Pretty Printing and Beatifying Perl HTML Processors and Converters
Preventing Frontpage crashes Frontpage The server "" timed out error Imitation of automatic files backup using programmable keyboard Reformatting as a way to "restore sanity" in code view Copy-save sequence as poor man backup   SSI Free HTML Editors

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FrontPage 2003 Cheatsheet SharePoint Designer 2007 Cheap Web hosting with SSH access History FrontPage Tips Humor Etc

Introduction

Microsoft FrontPage 2003 was and still is an excellent, but underrated HTML editor, a real masterpiece of Microsoft software engineering. If very powerful, very flexible (for example it can be used without FrontPage extensions) and amazingly user-friendly.  I definitely prefer it to Dreamweaver.  Like Windows XP and Office 2003 it belong to classic Microsoft products, products create before Microsoft lost leadership and direction and started to imitate Apple.

The quality of FrontPage 2003 interface is close to the quality to Excel interface and that means that it is superior to other Microsoft products and is far above most competitors. Tremendous amount of insight went into designing of this interface and it shows, although unfortunately some features you discover only after several years of use (documentation is not that good and does not emphasize innovative features present as well as optimal ways of using them).

Many people view FrontPage as a tool for beginners. That's a completely incorrect view. While FrontPage is definitely  "beginner friendly" it is a very powerful professional tool. As such it is suitable for developing/maintaining complex and/or large (like this one) sites.  It has very rich functionality and after almost twenty years (since 1996) of usage I still discover new possibilities and shortcuts almost each month.

Microsoft FrontPage has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1995. Each version up to and including Frontpage 2003 was a significant step forward. Version 2003 (seventh version) is a mature product that contain probably the best HTML editor on the market (again I do not see much differences in HTML editor functionality between Microsoft Expression Web. and FrontPage 2003 and currently I do not plan to switch).  And because its derivative Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 is free, this is also the best free HTML editor.

Because its derivative Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 is free this is also the best free HTML editor.

As a really powerful and flexible HTML editor, FrontPage has little or no competition. Dreamweaver is definitely weaker in many (but not all) areas and less user friendly; it is also more expensive.  For example I never got used to the crippled way Dreamweaver supports bookmarks. FrontPage support is more logical and more transparent.

Like several other top Microsoft products it is now abandonware.  Looks like in any aging tech company Microsoft brass degenerated quicker then middle level managers and programmers, which create products ;-). That's why such decisions are made.

It can be installed on Windows 7 without problems. Or, more correctly, with minor problems -- selection of a group of files in Folder List does not work as well as in XP. But it can be still done in folder View.

Frontpage and  Microsoft Expression Web also can be used on Microsoft Windows 8 or 10 tablets such as Microsoft Surface Pro (by modern standards this is very small and fast application).

Brief history

FrontPage was initially created by the Cambridge, Massachusetts company Vermeer Technologies Incorporated, evidence of which can be easily spotted in filenames and directories prefixed _vti_ in web sites created using FrontPage. It was founded in 1994 by Charles H. Ferguson ( see his book High Stakes, No Prisoners A Winner's Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars) and Randy Forgaard. Vermeer was acquired by Microsoft in January 1996 and most of the development that led to creation of FrontPage 2003 was done under Microsoft umbrella. The difference with early versions is so great that we can legitimately call FrontPage a genuine Microsoft product.  Andrew Schulert was the brilliant technical mind and architect of all version of FrontPage up to and including FrontPage 2003. He managed significantly enhance and polish the product during rather brief seven years period of FrontPage development in Microsoft. See FrontPage history

Original Frontpage

The most important versions of original line of software products were Frontpage 1998, Frontpage 2000, Frontpage 2002 and Frontpage 2003.

Frontpage 2003 was the last release of the original line of this sotware. There is no FrontPage 2007 -- in a misguided attempt to catch up with Dreamweaver Microsoft replaced it with  Microsoft Expression Web (as of Dec 20, 2013 also abandonware) adding people from Dreamweaver team which move the development in a new direction, the direction that I don't appreciate.  Actually the statement that there is no FrontPage 2007 is not completely true as Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007  can generally be viewed as (semi-debugged) Frontpage 2007.  See FrontPage history

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007

There is a free version of some derivative of FrontPage 2003 called Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007.  This is the best free HTML editor available for Windows. Actually for any OS in existence. It's somewhat buggy, even with SP3 applied, but still it is the best free HTML editor by a wide margin. No other free editor even comes close. See Free HTML Editors. Here is some info from Wikipedia:

Microsoft SharePoint Designer (formerly known as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer) is a specialized HTML editor and web design freeware for creating or modifying Microsoft SharePoint sites and web pages. It is a part of Microsoft SharePoint family of products.[2] It was formerly a part of Microsoft Office 2007 families of products, but was not included in any of the Microsoft Office suites.

SharePoint Designer and its sister product, Microsoft Expression Web are successors of Microsoft FrontPage. While Expression Web serves as the full-featured successor to FrontPage, SharePoint Designer features focuses on designing and customizing Microsoft SharePoint websites. For instance, it only includes SharePoint-specific site templates. It retains more FrontPage features than Expression Web, such as web components, database, marquee, hit counter, navigation bars, map insert, etc. Although SharePoint Designer 2007 (this first version of this product) could be used as a generic HTML editor, SharePoint Designer 2010 (the subsequent version) may no longer operate in absence of Microsoft SharePoint Server or Microsoft SharePoint Foundation.[3]

All-in-all SharePoint Designer 2007 is a weaker version of incredible Microsoft HTML editor FrontPage 2003. I used it for a week and found mass of errors even with SharePoint Designer Service Pack 3 applied.  The whole product a little bit smells with outsourcing :-(. Some annoying for me (I am a longtime FrontPage 2003 user, your mileage might vary):

  1. Replacements in code view produces some strange side effects sometimes doubling the first letter of the sentence in which replacement was performed. I am not kidding.
  2. Replacements of html tags are performed incorrectly. For example when I tried to replace <strong> with <i> in the code view, the resulting code in several places contained closing bracket that was converted to /strong> which invalidates the HTML.
  3. Interpretation of  I and B buttons via styles with insertion of inline CSS stylesheet is questionable. The same is true about conversion of changing color for a fragment into span with style. It should be an option.  There might an option to turn this behaviour off. 
  4. Attempt to shift code right does not insert <blockquote> tag like in "old" FrontPage, but generates a style definition for inline CSS stylesheet and adds a style to the paragraph.  It's plausible, but very questionable solution. If they want to be that clever they should give the Web page designer a choice as it deviates from "old FrontPage" behavior.   <blockquote> tag is not a deprecated tag so it's legitimate for indented parts (which are typically quotes). IMHO the blockquote tag has not changed from HTML 4 to HTML 5 and can be used with cite tag, like in <blockquote cite="http://www.hermanmelville.com">
  5. There is no application of custom CSS stylesheet to code view.
  6. SharePoint Designer 2007 changes modification dates of many files that were not edited making tracing you changes based on modification date of the files virtually impossible. That's a really stupid bug .  

You can probably write a "demonoronizer" script to deal with all this idiosyncrasies but for personally that does not look an attractive alternative to commercial version (Frontpage 2003).

NOTE: But if want go this road and is a good programmer but want to limit yourself to WISIVIG interface, you can write similar script for Ms Word 2013 which might as also not so bad idea, although it essentially deprives you of many thing that Frontpage provides.  You can also enjoy much better spellchecker.

Expression Web 4.0

Another alternative is now free Expression Web 4.0 . Expression Web was a product that replaced Frontpage 2003  and which was developed (without much success) from 2003 till 2013 (ten years, longer then Frontpage development). 

Expression Web development lasted till end of 2012 (the last released version was version 4) and now it also became abandonware. The design direction taken was questionable and it is not free from problems. I used it only occasionally so in no way I am expert in this product. The most serious issue is that there is no feel that the same talent that produced previous versions of FrontPage up to 2003 and that Expression Web developers were substantially weaker in architectural thinking then the previous team. They also did not have a clear vision of what product should be and it shows. For example, despite four versions released there was no noticeable improvements of  the HTML editor. Those suckers were even unable to change definitely broken regex engine ;-).

After all those years as an HTML editor it is still not much better then FrontPage 2003 and contains mostly the same errors. I tried Expression Web twice (Initial Expression Web and Expression Web 3.0) and for me upgrade is not worth hassle.  I might be wrong, but key deficiencies that I have found in Frontpage2003 are still present in Microsoft Expression Web but macros are gone. 

Only one annoying problem with FrontPage 2003 was fixed in Expression Web -- the inability to apply styles from the attached stylesheets.

Microsoft changed the way Expression Web can be extended in version 4. Version 1 and 2 rely on old VBA modelo  of macro programming. It looks like this API is still available and can be used using Visual Studio with VB.Net, but details are fuzzy.

Version 4 relies for extension on .Net add-ons and that idea looks even worse that an old way in a sense that it make the number of developers capable of extending FrontPage even smaller.  

Frontpage macro facilities

Initial attempt to introduce macro facilities into Frontpage was a failure. What they implemented was difficult to use and barely better then nothing.  These macro facilities existed in almost unchanged form till Expression Web 4.1. They are not very well documented and very difficult to use. See Frontpage Macro Programming for more information

New macro facilities, introduced in Expression Web 4.1 can be called one step forward and two step back. Here is one a telling response in the thread And what I do with vba macros in Expression Web 4

ShqTth

New system has me playing around with too many files and too many settings. VB macros was easier.

I don't think the new system is that well integrated, example creating new addins is a pain in the ____. There should be a guided editor system for creating them. And screw the XML. xml sucks ____. Editors make xml, i shouldn't have to mess with xml and manifest files.

the VB macro editor was easier, everything was divided into subs/functions, and the screen spilts and groups stuff so you know what is what, and what is where.

The vb macro editor took me 5 mins to figure out and to write my first macro, but the new way has me hunting for solutions because the lack of integration.

Jim Cheshire

There is an add-in builder that was written by one of the guys on the product group for Web 4. It makes it really easy to create a manifest without looking at XML. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/xweb/archive/2010/06/07/easily-create-an-add-in-for-expression-web-4-with-the-add-in-builder.aspx.

As someone who has programmed macros and add-ins for FrontPage and Expression Web for almost 15 years, I can tell you that the new extensibility model is far easier than the old API. If you're truly interested in extending the product, I encourage you to seriously check out the new model. Based on your comments, I can't believe you've given it much of a look.

Jim

Jim Cheshire

I'm not at all a professional developer. I am a hobbyist developer, and I have to say, not a very good one at that! Programming is not my talent.

A Web developer absolutely must know JavaScript to design a modern site. That same developer must also know HTML and CSS. These are the exact same skills necessary to develop add-ins for Expression Web 4.

VBA and the VBA Editor in Expression Web were actually part of Office. When Expression Web 3 moved away from the Office code, macros were no longer available. However, if you're still interested in extending Expression Web using Visual Basic, you can certainly still do that using Visual Studio. That object model is still available to you.

Jim

The built-in macro language (VBA) is powerful, but extremely obscure (to the level of un-usability) Macro Programming capabilities.  They are very difficult to use and this probably the most grave design blunder which Frontpage developers committed. They also failed to include Macro Recorder,  but they do have value. Even simple macros can dramatically improve what you can do with Frontpage, especially if you know Perl.  For example a simple macro like

  1. Save file
  2. Run external program on the file
  3. Load file

gives you possibility of using external scripts (for example Perl scripts) to process your pages.  Not that it is easy to write :-), but you need to do it once.  This macro is available from Microsoft Examples and can be used immeduatly. See Frontpage Macro Programming

I would like to stress it again: I am using FrontPage from 1998 on daily basis and so far learned only tiny fraction of its capabilities.  And in no way I would be able to support such a huge website with other tools.

Support of regular expressions

Frontpage 2003 supports regular expressions in search (with buggy and idiosyncratic regex engine), has good, transparent support of CCS (although support of  external style sheets is inferior) and you can edit you we-site from multiple windows by selecting Window/New Window (separation of activities is your responsibility, as attempt to edit the same page can lead to loss of last changes). 

You then can open several projects and cut and paste folders and files between them. You can also drag and drop or copy and paste content from one page to another and from IE or Firefox to Frontpage (IT exports way too much markup and is annoying in this regard). Firefox has a good mechanism for export of small HTML fragments into your documents, but when exporting the link to the page from the navigation bar it does not substitute title.

In case you change the name of the file linked to other pages on your web site all references will be changed automatically. This is an excellent very attractive feature of Frontpage.

In case you change the name of the file linked to other pages on your web site all references will be changed automatically.

Unfortunately FrontPage does not support SSI: you can use them but if you move page, you need to correct path manually, unless you use absolute path. For external stylesheets and internal links and images FrontPage corrects links for you which is a big help.

Truth be told sometimes Frontpage tries to be a little bit too helpful: when you paste fragment of Web page from IE, FrontPage paste the stylesheet used automatically for your complete pleasure :-). In most cases this is an overkill and to delete this crap is an annoying repetitive task. At the end I stopped using IE with FrontPage.  

One serious problem with Frontpage 2003 as HTML editor is that it does not understand external CCS  (it render page according to them, but they are not preset in styles menu). At the same time it works really well with "inline" styles. So you can use internal styles while developing page and automatically replace them with the link to external style sheet when you deploy the page.

Although many professional Web builders dismiss FrontPage in favor Dreamweaver, and Dreamweaver is somewhat better for working with CCS FrontPage 2003 is pretty competitive and it remains one of the most popular solution for editing websites.

Also there is a widespread misunderstanding that if you use FrontPage you need to use FrontPage extensions on the server (I actually never used them).  What is funny is that Dreamweaver product manager (Wayne Smith,) came around  2003 and try to mold FrontPage in Dreamweaver fashion. He definitely succeeded in the area of CSS support which would be done by the team anyway, but the value of other changes and level of real progress is unclear: as of EW 4 I would say the product suffer from the lack of vision and lack of attention to HTML writers needs.    

To really get the most out of FrontPage, though, you have to know how to use some of its not-quite-intuitive features. Among them:

FrontPage Code Snippets

Type Ctrl-Enter while in the Code Pane to open the Code Snippet window. Select the first option for customizing the list. Click Add. Type a Keyword and Description to help you know what the code snippet is for, then type the code snippet into the bottom box.

Tip: You can use pipe symbol to mark the caret position after insertion

Here is short information about code snippets as this is a really powerful productivity tool few FrontPage users know about (code snippets menu is active only in code view, the key combination is CTRL+ENTER):

To create a code snippet

  1. In FrontPage, open the Tools menu and click on Page Options.
  2. Click on the Code Snippets tab.
  3. Click Add.
  4. In the Add Code Snippet dialog box, enter the following values:
    Keyword: css1
    Description: CSS reference
    Code: <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.redneck.com/resources/web.css">
  5. Click OK.

The new code snippet appears in the list of available snippets on the Code Snippets tab in the Page Options dialog box, and you can insert the code snippet into your files by using the keyword "css1".

To insert a code snippet

  1. Switch to Code view and position your insertion point where you want to insert the code. Press CTRL+ENTER. You see a drop-down list (similar to the IntelliSense drop-down list) with all the code snippets available on your computer.
  2. Type css1. As you type the keyword that you assigned, notice that the selected code snippet changes. In many cases, you do not even need to finish typing the keyword before FrontPage highlights the correct code snippet.
  3. Press Enter. FrontPage inserts the code into your page at the insertion point.

If you often work in Code view, you may want to turn on the Code View toolbar, which includes access to all code snippets. To display the toolbar, on the View menu, click Toolbars, and select Code View. To use the toolbar, position your insertion point where you want to insert the code, and then click the List Code Snippets icon on the Code View toolbar and double-click the code snippet that you want to insert.

Note   The Code View toolbar is available only in Code view or when the insertion point is in the code window in Split view. It is not available in Design view or when the insertion point is in the design window in Split view.

FrontPage distributed database

Frontpage uses a set of special file which constitute Frontpage database. Among them the most important are subdirectories prefixed _vti_ such as _vti_cnf which are automatically created (and recreated, if deleted) in each directory of the web site. See  List of Special Files and Directories Maintained by FrontPage. This directory contain Frontpage database with one file per file contained in web directory, for example for file

\Public_html\Algorithms\bit_tricks.shtml

there will be database record

\Public_html\Algorithms\_vti_cnf\bit_tricks.shtml 

Data base record contain all links of the current page to other pages on the web site. In other words _vti_cnf folders hold meta data regarding the files in particular directory such as  date last published, DWTs attached to which pages, include files included where, links to other pages etc.
These folders are NEVER published - they exist only on your local machine.  If extensions are installed on the remote website the meta data there will be updated during the publish process - again the files themselves are not transferred.

Records in _vti_cnf  folders allows Frontpage automatically correct internal links if you move the page into other directory or rename the page. You can even move folders from one subtree to another and all links will be automatically corrected.

The presence of those file on your local machine also allow Frontpage track the changes to your site, so it knows what files are new, changed and so on so it can determine which files actually need to be published. They are also useful so you can see (in design time) the features such as shared borders and include pages working on the spot, instead of having to publish the page to the web (like
you would if using standard Server Side Includes).

Frontpage data base is very scalable and can support web-site with 10K pages or more.

The other big part of special files is implementing Frontpage extensions. I advise you not to mess with them. They contain script, images for buttons and background, styles, etc which provides a uniform and eye pleasing web of you web site. But both scalability and reliability is a problem, especially when you web site grows beyond, say, 1000 pages.

Due to presence of Frontpage database there are some errors that are often manifest themselves with the message The server "" timed out. The current request did not complete successfully.

Here is a good descript of the problem:

The server "" timed out. The current request did not complete successfully.

Asked by: pgithens 

I've been working on the same website with FP 2003 for nearly a year with no problems. The website has grown but is not huge. Two days ago I went to open it and make a couple of changes and I suddenly get the dreaded server "" timed out message. I've searched the web and there appear to be a variety of different causes for this, none of which seem to apply. I'd made no change to the theme or anything else of significance in recent weeks. To be sure, I deleted the folder that had my last updates in it. That didn't solve anything. (I've since put it back.) At this point, I can't open the website folder or any of the files from Frontpage.

Bear in mind, this is just when I open Frontpage on my local computer . . . not when I try to publish the site. I've tried stopping the firewall in case it was trying to hit the website at startup for some reason but that fixed nothing either.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

To the best of my knowledge, the problem is that at some point, your computer stopped working while you were working on a web site. There is corruption in the _vti_pvt folder.

A couple of minor breakthroughs on this front.

Note this is a basic explanation based on my understanding of (some) of the Frontpage capabilities.

Please note that several _vti* directories are present of server side if you are using Frontpage extensions. They are required for Frontpage extensions to function properly. You do not need them if you do not use Frontpage extension on your web site. See

Using Frontpage  as a poor man personal wiki engine

At the beginning you usually don't need anything complex and powerful html editor (for example Frontpage or some free version of it) can serve as your wiki engine.  In no way you need Apache and MySQL to run you personal database, unless it became really, really big which will happen in 10 years or so ;-). As long as you have less that several thousand pages you do not a complex engine to run you wiki. Frontpage capabilities are more then enough and it can serve as both an editor and presentation engine. While I recommend (and use myself) a commercial product (FrontPage2003), two abandonware alternatives are available too. One is SharePoint Designer 2007. The second is Microsoft Expression Web

Categories and subcategories can be imitated using subfolders -- name of subfolder is the name of the category. For example

./Suse/Applications
./Suse/Applications/Apache
./Suse/Authentication
./Suse/Backup
./Suse/Bulletin
./Suse/Hardening
./Suse/Images
./Suse/Installation
./Suse/Installation/Downloads_and_burning
./Suse/Installation/Guidelines
./Suse/Installation/Novell_book
./Suse/Installation/Oracle
./Suse/Installation/PXE_boot
./Suse/Networking
./Suse/Performance_tuning
./Suse/Quotes
./Suse/Registration
./Suse/Security
./Suse/Security/Images
./Suse/Startup_and_shutdown
./Suse/Startup_and_shutdown/Images
./Suse/Troubleshooting
./Suse/Troubleshooting/Images
./Suse/Upgrades_and_patching
./Suse/Upgrades_and_patching/Packages
./Suse/Upgrades_and_patching/Whatsnew
./Suse/Yast

Frontpage can link html pages made from saved emails and helpdesk tickets which can be held in a separate websites.

On a regular 7200 RPM harddrive Frontpage scales to, say, hundred thousand HTML pages. Multiply this at least by factor of two in case you use SSD disks.  The main problem is slow search and slow creation of Frontpage reports (which are pretty useful tool, especially recently modified files report). Slow down in creation of reports is really noticeable after 10K pages but still manageable till one hundred thousand pages. Global operations speed is also affected. For example replacing some string globally (in all pages) can take several minutes.  Speed of loading pages for editing or reading does not depend on the number of files in your web.

Frontpage provide some capabilities of indexing of documents and capability to search them from the editor as well as several useful repot (recent change, etc).  Frontage search  and replace is very helpful. Replace can work with the set of pages (one or several folders) or even the whole website.

When page is moved Frontpage adjusts relative links automatically both on the page you move and in all pages that reference this page.  

Frontpage HTML editor is simply great. It's not as powerful and flexible as MS Word, but no other editor comes close because it provides view of raw html. You can even use it instead of MS Work for creation of small documents.  I do.  The only noticeable deficiency is that spell checker is much worse then in MS Word.

Frontpage  can and should be augmented with standard Unix utilities as all you pages are text (html) files and grep and find work with them perfectly well. Search and replace operation can be stored. See Frontpage Tips

Frontpage also provides adequate Web publishing capabilities with skin and other cosmetics and creation of index and menu for pages. Those capabilities called Frontpage extensions work both for  Unix and Windows. 

Just systematic browsing through your old records open a wealth of forgotten but extremely useful information for you. In a very deep way changing database format and reloading your knowledge database in a new format is a very constructive and useful activity. This is time well spend.

I think that for the first ten years or so you can easy use Frontpage only personal database (and publish some branches as public web site using Frontpage extensions, see below). 


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Nov 10, 2017] Get CrossOver and run Windows Software on Mac or Linux CodeWeavers

Codewaever for Linux ($59) is able to run Frontpage 2003
Nov 10, 2017 | www.codeweavers.com
Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Microsoft 2011-09-26 02:35
Microsoft FrontPage 2002 (XP) Microsoft 2011-09-26 02:35
Microsoft FrontPage 2003 Microsoft 2011-09-26 02:37
Microsoft FrontPage 2010 Microsoft 2011-09-26 02:40

[Dec 24, 2014] Using special mouse button as save button for Frontpage.

One of the major deficiencies of Frontpage is absence of auto save. That means that if Frontpage froze or your tower computer lost power you can lose all your work in opened but not saved pages. There are multiple ways to alleviate this problem. Here is the most recent tip which involves using mose that have more buttons than standard. In this case one button can be assigned to save.

This trick works well with

[Feb 08, 2014] Copying files from folder list of one instance of Frontpage to another Fronpage instance (from one web site to another website)

See Frontpage Tips for more details.

If you open two instances of Frontpage (same site or two different sites) you can copy files from folder list of one to another. That's great for reorg of your web site.

[Feb 08, 2014] TIP: Search of string with leading blanks

See also Frontpage Tips

Frontpage automatically deleted leading blanks if you select the search string in the text and press Ctrl-F. You need to reinsert them manually

The same is true for replace

[Dec 22, 2013] Expression Web is now available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center, and no new versions will be developed

Expression Web

The web is now about applications as well as traditional web sites, and this requires a new set of tools. Microsoft is committed to offering a unified approach to focus on web design and development features in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012.

As part of this consolidation, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 provides the leading web development tool, which enables you to design, develop, and maintain websites and web applications. Visual Studio 2012 makes it easy to build CSS-based websites from the ground up with new CSS layouts, HTML5 support and full featured capabilities for working with and debugging JavaScript. Learn more about Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web and WebMatrix 2.

Expression Web is now available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center, and no new versions will be developed. Customers who previously purchased Expression Web will receive support through the established support lifecycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

[Apr 29, 2013] Microsoft Expression Web now FREE

Expression Web went the way of FrontPage. Expression Design 4 and Expression Web 4 are now available for download at no charge. Technical support will not be available for these free versions.
December 20, 2012 | Microsoft

The proliferation of rich interactive web applications across the cloud and mobile devices continues to create new opportunities for creative design and development. As these technologies evolve, Microsoft is committed to providing best-in-class tools for building modern applications. In support of these industry trends Microsoft is consolidating our lead design and development offerings - Expression and Visual Studio - to offer all of our customers a unified solution that brings together the best of Web and modern development patterns.

Download SharePoint Designer 2007

All-in-all SharePoint Designer 2007 in comparison with FrontPage 2003 is a semi-debugged junk. I used it for a week and found mass of errors even with SharePoint Designer Service Pack 3 applied. The while product smells "IBM" and outsourcing :-(. Among them:
  1. Replacements in code view produces some strange side effects sometimes doubling the first letter of the sentence in which replacement was performed. I am not kidding.
  2. Replacements of html tags are performed incorrectly. For example when I tried to replace <strong> with <i> in the code view, the resulting code in several places contained closing bracket that was converted to /strong> which invalidates the HTML.
  3. Interpretation of I and B buttons via styles with insertion of inline CSS stylesheet is questionable. The same is true about conversion of changing color for a fragment into span with style. It should be an option.
  4. Attempt to shift code right does not insert <blockquote> tag like in "old" FrontPage, but generates a style definition for inline CSS stylesheet and adds a style to the paragraph. It's plausible, but very questionable solution. If they want to be that clever they should give the Web page designer a choice as it deviates from "old FrontPage" behavior. <blockquote> tag is not a deprecated tag so it's legitimate for indented parts (which are typically quotes). IMHO the blockquote tag has not changed from HTML 4 to HTML 5 and can be with cite tag, like in <blockquote cite="http://www.hermanmelville.com">
  5. There is no application of custom CSS stylesheet to code view.
  6. SharePoint Designer 2007 changes modification dates of many files that were not edited making tracing you changes based on modification date of the files virtually impossible. That's a really stupid bug .
Microsoft Download Center

SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE! Be sure to watch the video (read more below) to learn more about details and future direction. Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides the powerful tools you need to deliver compelling and attractive SharePoint sites and quickly build workflow-enabled applications and reporting tools on the SharePoint platform, all in an IT-managed environment.

[Nov 16, 2011] To see end of paragraph mark, broken tags and comments in design view of Frentpage 2003

Show all (Ctrl-*) or click on the paragraph mark button in the standard toolbar

[Nov 16, 2011] Page options has setting for tag autocompletion.

In many cases this is unnecessary and could be unchecked.

[Apr 26, 2011] Windows Web App Gallery - Install an App

Looking for the latest everything? Look no further. This will get you Visual Web Developer Express 2010 Service Pack 1 and the RTM releases of ASP.NET MVC 3, IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0 with tooling, and Web Deploy 2.0. It's the value meal of Microsoft products. Tell your friends!

Note: This bundle includes the Visual Web Developer Express 2010 SP1 web installer, which will dynamically determine the appropriate service pack components to download and install. This is typically in the range of 200-500 MB and will take 30-60 minutes to install, depending on your machine configuration.

[Apr 25, 2011] How to process loaded page (or all opened pages) with the external program

kievite

Hi,

What is the best way to process the current page (or all opened pages) with the external program and how can I create a custom button for such operation ?

Let's assume that external program is a custom script in Perl, Python or other scripting language.

Something like :! in vi editor.

Pages are assumed to be in editing mode, so the most primitive way would be would be somehow save the file, close the view, invoke external program on the files, open file in editor again. May be you can pipe content in the external program and replace the bufeer which would be a better way. Does anybody have a similar macro already?

Preston B

I am unsure what you are asking. Are you referring to performing some kind of operation on pages open in a web browser, or performing an operation on pages opened for editing in EW?

Please clarify, and please be specific. We need more information so that we're not taking shots in the blind.

--P


Columbia, CA. USA The Gilded Moon-Sierra Nevada Photography
"If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

kievite

Bill,

Sorry about that. Here is the clarification:

The idea is to pipe content of xWeb editor buffer for the current page to the external program. In VI editor the command

:[address-range] ! external-command-name

allows you to process a range of lines in the buffer with an external program. This enables you to do much more effective editing. For example, the command:

:1,$!indent

will beatify the currently loaded editing buffer (active window) using standard Unix beautifier (indent). I want to implement something similar for editing my Web pages in xWeb and create a set of custom buttons for such operations (the latter is easy, the former is not :-).

Let's assume that I want to process the current page in editing mode with HTML Tidy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_Tidy) or get rid off all comments and for that external program exists.

So I want to create a button which would process the current page either by saving it into the file, closing it, running the external filer on the file, then reopening the file in FrontPage or using some better method if such exists. Detail of VB macros are fuzzy for me (I have Unix background) but something like:

Sub FilePipe()
Dim objWeb As Web
Dim objFile As WebFile
Set objWeb = Webs.Open("F:\Public_html") '-- open NFS 
		folder

Set objFile = ActiveWeb.RootFolder.Files("new_page_1.htm") 
		'-- how can I know the name of current file (file in the active 
		window) ???
objFile.Save '-- save the file to original location
objFile.Close '-- close the current window. Will objFile survive close ? Shell ("c:\perl\bin\perl tidy.pl" & objFile.Url) '-- We need corretly pass the location and the name of the file to the filter
objFile.Open '-- reopen previously closed file End Sub

I know the FrontPage/xWeb4 watches changes of the file on the disk so closing file might not be necessary if we can use some kind of automatic update mechanism ( suppressing the warning that file changed on the disk). That probably would be the first improvement that can be made to this scheme.

Also it might have API call to process the current buffer with the external program, which will be even better way.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

KathyW2

You seem to be mixing Frontpage and EW in your explanation. EW is not FrontPage under a new name. It's a different program.

However, are you just talking about removing comments and neatening up the formatting of HTML markup?

EW has those functions.

And, FYI, EW does not know about changes made to its open files by applications outside of EW.

Bill Pearson

You mention VB macros. I don't know where they come in the process or what you plan to have them do, but EW3 and 4 don't speak VB. Only EW1 and 2 did.

Starting with version 3, EW got a huge rewrite, stripping out all of its links to the old Office code, and VB with it.

But instead of doing all this, why not do as Kathy suggested...use the tools built into EW. Format HTML, Optimize HTML, Apply XML Formatting Rules, and EW's exceedingly versatile Search and Replace. And, as Kathy also mentioned, EW is clueless to external file changes made to open files; not sure where you got the impression is tracked that.


Deep down, I'm real shallow.

kievite

However, are you just talking about removing comments and neatening up the formatting of HTML markup?

Kathy,

I need custom functionality. Removing comments and neatening are just examples that people can more easily understand.

kievite

You mention VB macros. I don't know where they come in the process or what you plan to have them do, but EW3 and 4 don't speak VB. Only EW1 and 2 did.

Starting with version 3, EW got a huge rewrite, stripping out all of its links to the old Office code, and VB with it.

But instead of doing all this, why not do as Kathy suggested...use the tools built into EW. Format HTML, Optimize HTML, Apply XML Formatting Rules, and EW's exceedingly versatile Search and Replace. And, as Kathy also mentioned, EW is clueless to external file changes made to open files; not sure where you got the impression is tracked that.


Deep down, I'm real shallow.

Bill,

I don't care if this is FrontPage 2003, EW2 with VB as macro language, or EW4 with some other (possibly .Net based) extension mechanism I just need the functionality I described. I doubt that Microsoft simply removed this functionality in EW4 so as for EW4 the question is what replaced it?

And internal tools are not sufficient for my purposes.

KathyW2

If you want to modify the source with another tool, what's wrong with a simple "copy/paste" into that tool, and then paste it back into the page when you are done? That at least lets EW know you made changes.

I have no idea if you can do what you are asking about with a custom add-in, but if you want to try, Jim Cheshire's book 'Microsoft Expression Web 4 In Depth' has downloadable chapters on creating add-ins for EW4. That's probably the best place for you to look.

Bill Pearson

Try this: It's Anna Ulrich's description of the EW extensibility model; it's new, starting with EW4. Don't know if it will help, but it's how add-ins are built for EW. Don't know if you can start the process you have in mind inside EW or not, so this may also be a dead end.

I don't build add-ins, so I'm flying blind, but there are other people who post here who have written add-ins, so they may know.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/xweb/archive/2010/06/07/easily-create-an-add-in-for-expression-web-4-with-the-add-in-builder.aspx

kievite

Bill,

Thanks for your help. From the link and after some searching for the info it looks like new facilities are half-baked. Here is a pretty telling quote from another thread in this forum

http://social.expression.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/web/thread/2cb27ac6-1c55-4838-9875-cf9c2f2e648d

ShqTth

New system has me playing around with too many files and too many settings. VB macros was easier.

I don't think the new system is that well integrated, example creating new addins is a pain in the ____. There should be a guided editor system for creating them. And screw the XML. xml sucks ____. Editors make xml, i shouldn't have to mess with xml and manifest files.

the VB macro editor was easier, everything was divided into subs/functions, and the screen spilts and groups stuff so you know what is what, and what is where.

The vb macro editor took me 5 mins to figure out and to write my first macro, but the new way has me hunting for solutions because the lack of integration.

Also it looks like old API is still available via Visual Studio (so only the editor was removed) even in EW4, but details are fuzzy. I own both FrontPage 2003 and EW1 in addition to EW4 so I have a choice. It probably would be easier for me, at least initially, to implement it via VBA as at least I have some idea how what to do and can refine this solution with the help from this forum.

Actually there was a guy here who claimed that new model is easier:

"As someone who has programmed macros and add-ins for FrontPage and Expression Web for almost 15 years, I can tell you that the new extensibility model is far easier than the old API"

and hopefully this is the chance for him to prove that this is not just Microsoft PR :-).

kievite

Kathy,

I do have an alternative. We are talking here about core functionality that I already have with other (Unix) tools but want to use in Windows with FrontPage or EW as a set of custom buttons because they are superior as HTML editors. Those are command line scripts so they do not have a window to paste (you need to save file, run the tool and then reload the file back), but in a way your idea is still useful as there are some third party macrorecoders in Windows like AutoHotKey that can help.

But again what I want is to extend FrontPage/EW and sadly it looks like Microsoft developers are so addicted to overcomplexity and creating useless APIs that they do not see value in simple transparent tools like built-in macro recorder and that absence of macro replay IMHO makes EW much less useful that it can be (this capability is present in both MS Word and Excel). Also personally I think that idea of using a single macro language for all Office components was a great idea that essentially allowed for Microsoft Office to become dominant despite shortcomings of VBA, so those games with "correcting Bill Gates" might be a sign of growing compartmentalization and development sclerosis, not the way to make extending EW more transparent for Web developers who know JavaScript.

Actually Jscript and VBA can be used interchangeably in some Microsoft products so this new idea of defining add-ins using XML declarations looks more like deterioration of architectural quality of the product, at least initially. EW, in essence, is a specialized editor and ignoring that (which absence of macro language and macro recorder means) is just throwing out baby with the dirty water. What is funny that for all those years since they bought FrontPage those eagles never managed to make spell checker as good as in MS Word :-)

Cheryl D Wise

Maybe its just me but I don't understand all this talk of Unix tools for an application that only runs on Windows. Personally I consider it hell to have to work in VI (as I've had to do a few times on my Mac to get configurations the way I want.)

Web design/development isn't the same as Office applications. Microsoft has been trying ot get rid of VB, VBA and VBscript for almost a decade now and have been pushing people to vb.net instead even in Office applicaitons. Expression Web is not part of Office it is part of the Expression Studio group. If you want the Office type web editor then you need to look to SharePoint Designer which is targetted to the controlled environment of a Microsoft eco system. Contrary to your assertion that Expression Web is a "specialized editor" it is a web standards editor that is designed to create web standards sites. It is not designed to be a content editor nor is it supposed to be Microsoft centric. That's why there is about as much support for php as there is for asp.net.

Can you really see it as a surprise that when Microsoft migrated Expression Web to the same xaml code base as the rest of the Expression Studio older technology compatibility was dropped?

Serious web development is done in Visual Studio, Eclipse or other development IDE that has all those sorts of tools. Expression Web is for designers & front-end web developers so if you want core level development functionality why not use the tools that are designed for that purpose instead of bemoaning that Expression Web doesn't have it?

As you can tell I don't agree with your viewpoint or your criticisms in the separation of web design applications from MS Office applications. The requirements I have for an Office suite and the requirments for cross browser/cross platform web site design are so different from each other it would make no sense for their applications to function the same. In my opinion that was the biggest flaw with FrontPage - it tried to create websites the same way Word & Publisher created paper based documents where there is absolute control over every aspect of the finished product from the inks used to how absorbant the paper and sheen of the finish. You simply don't have that luxury on the web and anything that makes you think you do stands in the way of actually creating good usable sites that work on a variety of devices, operating systems and browsers.

KathyW2

Just FYI, FrontPage was an Office component. EW is not, and the later versions don't share much of the Office code base. That was a deliberate decision on MS's part.

Regardless, if you have feature requests, by all means let MS know. [That doesn't happen by posting here, in the user forum.]

kievite

Maybe its just me but I don't understand all this talk of Unix tools for an application that only runs on Windows. Personally I consider it hell to have to work in VI (as I've had to do a few times on my Mac to get configurations the way I want.).

You misunderstood my point. I am not talking about VI or VIM or GVIM. It was that scripts were initially written and used in Unix environment. But they are portable as they perform various (complex) HTML transformations. And they do work in Windows.

Web design/development isn't the same as Office applications. Microsoft has been trying of get rid of VB, VBA and VBscript for almost a decade now and have been pushing people to vb.net instead even in Office applications. Expression Web is not part of Office it is part of the Expression Studio group. If you want the Office type web editor then you need to look to SharePoint Designer which is targeted to the controlled environment of a Microsoft eco system. Contrary to your assertion that Expression Web is a "specialized editor" it is a web standards editor that is designed to create web standards sites. It is not designed to be a content editor nor is it supposed to be Microsoft centric. That's why there is about as much support for PHP as there is for asp.net.

VB.NET is superior engine and nobody has problems with that. Nobody denies that .Net was a great idea. The problem is the way how VB.Net is integrated in Expression Web, not the upgrade of the engine. It is in this integration (and its quality and level of complexity) that I see as a problem, more like an architectural blunder committed by the current generation of Expression Web developers. And that's very sad as from FrontPage 1998 to FrontPage 2003 there was a steady, amazing for the company of this size with all the bureaucracy and infighting involved, progress from one version to another.

Serious web development is done in Visual Studio, Eclipse or other development IDE that has all those sorts of tools. Expression Web is for designers & front-end web developers so if you want core level development functionality why not use the tools that are designed for that purpose instead of bemoaning that Expression Web doesn't have it?

That's a serious misconception. I would not classify Web designers who use Frontpage as a second class citizens. And there nothing fancy in having good macro language and macro recorder. Having them is just a good common sense decision. Also your remark does not answer the question why useful functionality (presence of macro language, albeit in crippled implementation without build-in macro recorder) was removed? I see it as a competitive disadvantage that shrinks the potential user pool. The other question that is not answered is whether the new functionality provides the same flexibility. What I presented can be considered a test case. If a new solution is as flexible as the old one, please present your solution. Like people say "show me the code". If you can't you should withdraw your criticism of my remarks.

As you can tell I don't agree with your viewpoint or your criticisms in the separation of web design applications from MS Office applications. The requirements I have for an Office suite and the requirments for cross browser/cross platform web site design are so different from each other it would make no sense for their applications to function the same.

Many entry level Web designers come with good understanding and skills in Office including ability to write macros. I would say that on architectural level such view is definitly wrong.

In my opinion that was the biggest flaw with FrontPage - it tried to create websites the same way Word & Publisher created paper based documents where there is absolute control over every aspect of the finished product from the inks used to how absorbant the paper and sheen of the finish. You simply don't have that luxury on the web and anything that makes you think you do stands in the way of actually creating good usable sites that work on a variety of devices, operating systems and browsers.

That's too simplistic, patronizing view that has no links to the reality of FrontPage usage. FrontPage was very rich and very underestimated in comparison with Codeweaver tool. Different users created sites in different ways in FrontPage. For example some users like me never used FrontPage extensions and heavily used ability to have a split view and directly edit HTML. That's as far from MS Word approach as one can get.

Cheryl D Wise

So really what it comes down to is you are bemoaning that Expression Web isn't FrontPage? It isn't part of Office either.

If you want a web editor more like FrontPage then go get SharePoint Designer 2007 which is the replacement for FrontPage in the Office line of products. Expression Web is not intended for use by that market or audience. If you consider that to be a patronizing statement then so be it. We will have to agree to disagree since I've been creating web sites since 1993 and have rarely used a macro for anything in a web editor and even then it was mostly to clean up crap added by applications like Word to html code. Only a very small percentage of those who create sites for the web ever do. You've obviously got a specific workflow that suits you but isn't what I've seen or heard of in the classes I've taught, conferences I've spoken at or the folks who use my books & tutorials. I'm all in favor of folks using what works for them but please don't clutter up my professional level tool with Office stuff that belongs in the Office suites and related products like SharePoint that does in fact have macro support.

[Oct 04, 2010] Download details SharePoint Designer 2007

Read more SharePoint Designer 2007 Licensing Changes - FrontPage and Expression Web Blog

SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE! Be sure to watch the video (read more below) to learn more about details and future direction. Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides the powerful tools you need to deliver compelling and attractive SharePoint sites and quickly build workflow-enabled applications and reporting tools on the SharePoint platform, all in an IT-managed environment.

[Aug 09, 2010] Special Paste

FrontPage provides several modes of pasting other then Ctrl-V. They are under Paste Special in Edit menu.

One of the useful is formatted -- for code snippets

The other useful is normal paragraphs which paste text with paragraphs delimited with <p>

[Apr 05, 2010] Customizing Code Snippets in FrontPage 2003

Have you ever found yourself typing the same code over and over again? If you're like me, you have a text file that contains snippets of code that you frequently use, such as DOCTYPE declarations and scripts, that you can easily copy and paste into your Web pages. Well, we designed the code snippet feature in Microsoft® Office FrontPage® 2003 especially for you.

A code snippet is a fragment of code or text that you can store and reuse many times. In addition to being able to use a selection of pre-defined code snippets, FrontPage allows you to create new snippets, delete unused snippets, and modify existing snippets. In addition, you can create and distribute custom code snippet files.

For example, perhaps you have an external Cascading Style Sheet that you typically reference in each of your Web pages. You could create a code snippet that allows you to insert quickly and easily the necessary code into new pages that you create with very little, if any, typing. You can even create custom code snippet files and distribute them to others, for example to other Web developers within your organization or to customers and clients.

This article briefly explains how to create and insert custom code snippets in FrontPage, and then describes in detail the XML schema that FrontPage uses when working with code snippets.

Note XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. Similar to HTML, XML is a markup language designed for the Internet. However, unlike HTML, which was designed to define formatting of Web pages, XML was designed to describe data. You can use XML to develop custom schemas. As with HTML, the World Wide Web Consortium defined the specifications for XML. For more information on XML and the XML specification, see Extensible Markup Language on the World Wide Web Consortium Web site.

[DOC] Microsoft FrontPage to Expression Web

After ten years of being an award-winning Web authoring tool, FrontPage has been discontinued. FrontPage has been among the most popular what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web site creation tools since Microsoft released FrontPage 97 in late 1996. With its innovative use of server-side script and familiar user interface, FrontPage enabled users to create Web sites quickly and easily.

As the Internet industry has grown, so has the level of sophistication of the average Web site, and so have the expectations of Web designers and developers regarding the tools at their disposal. More and more, the industry is moving toward standards-based Web design as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). FrontPage served a significant need during its product lifetime. However, as the Web has evolved, so have the needs and expectations of Web designers and developers regarding tools such as FrontPage.

FrontPage is being replaced with two great new tools for application building and Web authoring. For FrontPage users who work with sites built on the Microsoft SharePoint® platform, there is Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. (For more information about SharePoint Designer, see the SharePoint Designer home page on Office Online.) For FrontPage users who develop non-SharePoint sites, there is Microsoft Expression Web, a professional Web authoring tool with features that help you design, develop, and maintain exceptional standards-based Web sites.

With Expression Web and FrontPage installed on the same computer, you can continue to manage your FrontPage Web site and use the new tools and features included in Expression Web to take your FrontPage to the next level by transitioning to standards-based practices.

Expression Web isn't simply FrontPage in a fancy new package with a new name. Built with Web standards in mind, there are significant differences in how Expression Web works, all of which relate to building sites that are up-to-date with today's standards and technologies.

To help you make the leap not only to Expression Web but also into the world of Web standards, this document:

· Outlines the differences between FrontPage 2003 and Expression Web.

· Introduces the Expression Web workspace.

· Discusses Web standards.

· Provides information on how to work with your existing site, including FrontPage Web components, themes, and shared borders, in Expression Web.

· Introduces ASP.NET support and data integration available in Expression Web.

In an effort to provide you with practical, useful information, we've included links to third-party sites and solutions. Please note: Microsoft provides this third-party information to help you find the technical information that you need. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. Third-party Web addresses (URLs) are subject to change without notice.

[May 24, 2006] Office 2007 FrontPage is out, blogging is in - News - Office Software By David Flynn \

Dreamweaver guy came to destroy FrontPage from within: "Wayne Smith, who left his role as a product manager on Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Flash to lead the Expressions Web Designer team."

Don't go looking for FrontPage in the just-released Beta 2 edition of Office 2007.

In a move which reflects the changing face of the Web, with advanced users scaling up to Dreamweaver and blogs becoming the new home page, Microsoft has closed the book on its 10-year-old Web site authoring software.

In its place are two new programs aimed at developers and designers, while Word 2007 now doubles as a blogging client.

Express yourself

Expression Web Designer steps up to the plate as Microsoft's new program of choice for building Web sites and is expected to ship before year's end. Unlike FrontPage, it doesn't belong to the Office family and isn't found in any of the Office 2007 bundles. The fresh-baked program is part of the new Expressions line, which also includes Expressions Graphic Designer and Expressions Interactive Designer. Demo versions of all three programs can be downloaded here.

Its sibling, SharePoint Designer 2007, is aimed at code-cutters needin to create and customize SharePoint intranet sites and build SharePoint-based applications and document workflows.

Both programs have been built around supporting modern Web standards such as cascading style sheets (CSS), XML and XHTML support plus drag-and-drop ASP.NET 2.0 controls, as well as being browser-agnostic.

"FrontPage was very good in its time, four or five years ago when the Web was a very different place" says Wayne Smith, who left his role as a product manager on Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Flash to lead the Expressions Web Designer team. "Times have moved on, the Web has moved on immeasurably in the last four years and it's time to have a tool that deals with these new standards.

It's not just about browsing but also things like creating XHTML-based sites that get far better coverage in search Engines."

Smith says that Expression Web Designer is "aimed very clearly at the professional Web developer, especially the developer who likes to do the design part of the site as well. The entire Expressions brand is aimed fairly and squarely at the professional designer market. This includes designers who are far more technical than they were four years ago, people we call design-developers".

Wayne Smith on WinFX by Matt Nicholson

Feb 2006

Wayne: Following our announcement at last year's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, we have now released a public preview of Expression Interactive Designer, which is the final name for the product originally codenamed 'Sparkle'. At the same time we have released a new CTP of Expression Graphic Designer (formerly known as 'Acrylic') with a raft of bug-fixes and improvements. In particular the XAML exporter is quite a lot more fully featured and links in with Interactive Designer as a mechanism for getting graphics into the user-interface environment.

Matt: Is that achieved through XAML?

Wayne: Yes. Graphic Designer has a XAML exporter that will do the best job it can (depending on the content) of converting your graphics into XAML. The XAML can then be directly added to your project in Interactive Designer.

Matt: Is XAML the native format for these two products?

Wayne: It's certainly the native language for Interactive Designer. That is the whole point of Interactive Designer: it is a tool for creating XAML. Graphic Designer has its own native file format but will export to a range of standard graphic formats such as PNG, GIF and JPEG. It also has a XAML exporter which you would use if you are specifically targeting WinFX. It's the best mechanism for getting graphics into the XAML format that you need to work with WinFX.

Matt: What happens if you want to export something from Graphics Designer that you want to use in a WinFX application but that can't be expressed in XAML?

Wayne: The exporter offers a range of options for how you want that handled –whether you want it to have a go at rendering the graphic in vector form, or have it exported as a bit-map PNG file, for example. There's no reason why you can't use PNG files in the WinFX environment, although of course to get the best quality and the best rendering we do suggest that you keep it in a vector format. However if it's a photograph, for example, then obviously it has to be in a bit-map format and PNG is the one that most people tend to use.

Matt: But if it is possible to express it in a vector format then it can be expressed as XAML.

Wayne: Yes, absolutely. Graphic Designer has features like the Live Effects that add effects like blurring and fringing. Some of these can be expressed as vectors by doing conversions and calculations, but others can't. Initially for a lot of people it's going to involve trial and error to see what works and what doesn't.

Defining WinFX
Matt: Taking a step back, how would you define WinFX?

Wayne: WinFX is a brand-new set of managed APIs for creating the next generation of Windows applications. You can also create Web-hosted applications, but the main point of WinFX is to create Windows applications. It will be released at the same time as Windows Vista (the next version of the Windows client operating system), although the components that you need to run WinFX applications will be available for Windows XP and Server 2003. So it is backwardly compatible one generation, but WinFX is all about strengthening the Vista platform for the future.

Matt: What are the components that you need to run WinFX applications?

Wayne: WinFX is a set of managed APIs that has four 'pillars'. The first is the existing .NET Framework 2.0; that's part of WinFX. Then there are three new pillars: the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly codenamed 'Avalon'), the Windows Communication Foundation (formerly codenamed 'Indigo') and the Windows Workflow Foundation. Our Expression Interactive Designer tool specifically targets Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) through the XAML language.

So WinFX is the next level for people who have been developing managed code using the .NET Framework. It's a superset of the .NET Framework.

Matt: Is it extensions for .NET Framework 2.0, or is it .NET Framework 3.0?

Wayne: It's new capabilities that work alongside .NET Framework 2.0 – new classes, new namespaces.

Matt: I have heard it described as the managed version of the Win32 API.

Wayne: Technically that's not correct, but I think the spirit of that statement is true. For instance, you can't work in 3D using the current set of .NET Framework APIs, but with WinFX you can. Today you have to write native code to work with Direct3D, but with WinFX you've got access to the power of Direct3D through a set of managed APIs. That's just one example as WPF also supports video and multimedia. And then of course the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) gives you access to a huge set of APIs for dealing with Web Service and such like as well.
The idea is really that, however a complex UI you choose to create, or however a complex line-of-business application, you should now be able to do it using the WinFX APIs.

Matt: But presumably, under the hood, WinFX is talking to Win32?

Wayne: WinFX is talking to a whole heap of things. There's a mechanism within WinFX mechanism which manages interaction with device drivers and such things. For example, say you want to put controls on a 3D surface. There's a composition engine within the framework that manages all that for you, so you just write XAML and the composition engine does all the clever stuff of talking to the accelerated hardware under the hood so that you don't have to think about it. You can write C# or Visual Basic as well, but XAML is easiest. Beforehand you'd be deep in Direct3D, but now you can achieve the same thing with fairly straightforward mark-up and let WinFX take care of how it actually happens.

Matt: What is the current status of WinFX? What is available now for actually creating and running a WinFX application?

Wayne: People are good to go with what we've released to date. We recently released the February CTP of WinFX which is now pretty much feature-complete, so anything that people do with it shouldn't break between now and final release. That said, there may of course be one or two little things that do break because of bug-fixes, but we have announced Go-Live licences for the Windows Communication Foundation and the Workflow Foundation, so we are getting to the finished state with those.

Matt: What does a Go-Live licence give you?

Wayne: A Go-Live licence is basically a permission to deploy content in a real live environment, although you do need to read the full details of the Go-Live licence before you do that (which you will find at the WinFX Web site). It's at your own risk, of course.

So we're pretty much into the end game now in terms of the underlying infrastructure. We're into the optimisation and bug-fix stages. Furthermore, with the recent release of a version of Visual Studio codenamed 'Cider', people now have access to all of the tools that Microsoft is going to release for working with WinFX, in pre-release form. We are aware of dozens of ISVs who are busy working on WinFX right now, although we're not in a position to make any announcements because people like to keep that kind of thing under the hood until they're ready. But there's plenty of people out there doing it.
And then of course Expression Interactive Designer is itself a WinFX application.

Matt: The Graphic Designer isn't, is it?

Wayne: No – that's based on the Creature House product that we purchased. The initial version of Expression Web Designer won't be either. However lots of teams within Microsoft are looking at how they can use WinFX technology for their applications.

Designing for the Web
Matt: I understand that Expression Web Designer is a tool for producing ASP.NET 2.0, so presumably it doesn't produce XAML?

Wayne Smith, senior product manager for the Microsoft Expression range in the EMEA region.Wayne: Correct – Expression Web Designer is a traditional Web design tool. We're trying to provide a range of designer tools for both traditional standard Web sites, and for this new flavour of application development. We're trying to flesh out the product line to give people as many capabilities as possible.

Matt: How does the announcement of Expression Web Developer affect the long-term future of Microsoft FrontPage? At the moment they do seem to be fulfilling the same roles.

Wayne: As you know, FrontPage is part of the Office suite of products which is an entirely separate division within Microsoft. I believe they have made some announcements on this [Click here for further details].

Matt: Presumably you could use Graphic Designer to produce graphics for a Web site by exporting as GIFs or JPEGs?

Wayne: Absolutely!

Matt: Would Interactive Designer be any use in an ASP.NET application?

Wayne: No, although there's no reason why you couldn't have a Web site host an XBAP [XAML Browser Application] which is the Web version of a WinFX application, within the confines of an ASP.NET page.
Interactive Designer supports two deployment mechanisms. You can create a standard WinFX executable file, or you can create a version that runs within the browser environment. An XBAP only has what we call 'partial trust', whereas the complete installed application has full trust with full access to the file system.

Matt: If an XPAB is hosted in the browser then presumably there needs to be a runtime?

Wayne: They would need the WinFX runtime components installed on the client machine.

Matt: If you're developing WinFX applications, what are your target platforms beyond Windows Vista itself?

Wayne: WinFX will run on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and we know people are writing things ranging from kiosk-based marketing materials right through to line-of-business applications. If you're creating an application using WinFX, and you want that application available for local install across intranets or whatever, or you're selling it on a physical medium such as a CD, then you can distribute the WinFX components that you need to make it run.

WPF Everywhere
Matt: What is the status of WPF/E, or WPF 'Everywhere'?

Wayne: That's a little way in the future. WPF/E will make a subset of the WPF available to other platforms and to a range of devices which have yet to be decided, although I think we have announced that it will be available for the Apple Macintosh. Build work is proceeding but at the moment it's very much at the stage of being defined and specified. There aren't any dates attached to it yet, but I can say that it certainly won't be a reality in the immediate Vista timeframe, so for instance it's not something that Expression Interactive Designer will initially target. It'll be a future version of Interactive Designer that will work with WPF/E.

Matt: How would you compare the concept of WPF/E with Macromedia's Flash Player?

Wayne: I wouldn't say it's a big overlap. WPF/E is really intended to provide additional reach for existing WinFX applications – to extend the reach of a sales application to mobile devices for example.

Matt: The similarity is that Flash is a development platform that is richer than straight HTML, and it's available on a fairly wide range of platforms.

Wayne: It is, but it's a player technology. WinFX is part of the Windows platform, going forward from Windows Vista. Ours is more of a platform story than a player technology. Yes, the WPF/E will also be in effect a player, but it is designed to extend the reach of WPF, rather than being a separate entity in itself.

Matt: But if you're making WPF/E available on a Macintosh, for example, that's not a Windows environment.

Wayne: If you had salesmen at home who wanted to access a company's applications from a Macintosh, that would be a perfect example of how a WPF client for the Macintosh would used.

Matt: So in the Vista timeframe, developers will have the option of building two types of application: they can build a WPF application, which gives them a very rich environment on a Windows platform; but if they want to build something that can be used from the Macintosh, or from Linux or whatever, then they will be using ASP.NET and perhaps AJAX, as that is your technology for building Web-based applications. So in the near future developers can look at building a XAML/WPF application, or an ASP.NET/'Atlas' application which enables them to target a much wider range of platforms.

Wayne: Yes, and of course with a WinFX executable that has full trust, they will have access to the full capabilities of the operating system. All the things you can currently do in a Win32 application today, you will be able to do in this new environment, but the development process for it will be much nicer.
Don't forget that a big part of this story is that we're bringing designers into the game. These applications will have the full functionality that they have today, but with designers involved in the creation of the application from the start because they will be able to use our Expression tools. As a result the applications will look better and function better, and bring a higher return on investment.
What we need to do is help the community establish what new working practices will be needed, because today designers do not take a full role in most application development environments. The tools are here and they're starting to be used, but what doesn't exist at the moment are the guidelines – the working practices and so forth. All that's going to have to be worked out in the months and years ahead.

Matt: There is an analogy between the Expression range and Macromedia's range of products. It's easy to draw a parallel between the Graphic Designer and Fireworks, and there's an obvious parallel between the Web Designer and Dreamweaver.

Wayne: Absolutely, but where we're different is that we're not trying to be technology-agnostic. We are very clearly in the ASP.NET camp with Web Designer, and we drill down very heavily into it. You've got full access to all the ASP.NET controls, for example.

The future for Windows Forms
Matt: What about the current Windows Forms technology? What future is there for Windows Forms applications?

Wayne: We've certainly made no announcements about discontinuing the technology at all, and a lot of people will choose to develop that way. Of course we're hoping that people are going to see this brave new world and want to move to it. There are ways that you can integrate Win32 applications with the new world, so it's not like they're being shut out.
We don't currently plan on producing any conversion tools that will allow you to take a Win32 application and press a button that turns it into a WinFX application. That said, I'm sure some clever third-party people will produce such tools. Our hope is that people will choose WinFX for their next application.

Matt: But do you see a time when Windows Forms applications have problems running on future platforms?

Wayne: I'm confident they won't have trouble running. I think it's more likely that their competitors will have produced really nice-looking WinFX applications which will start them thinking that they should refresh the user experience of their application by moving to WinFX. There's no question that Win32 applications will continue to run successfully under Vista. There's too many of them out there for it not to be a priority for us.

Open standards
Matt: Do you see any likelihood of XAML, WPF or WPF/E becoming open standards, in the sense that you've done with .NET?

Wayne: XAML is just a text-based XML language – it's as open as it possibly can be.

Matt: So's HTML, but that's governed by a standards body.

Wayne: I'd be second-guessing the people in Redmond as to their attitude towards that, but I've not seen any announcements. As a company it's our declared intention to be as open as we can, but we don't have any announcements today.

Matt: If that was the case then you could see somebody using Interactive Designer to produce a very rich user interface and generating the XAML which they then put into a third-party engine that allows it to run on a Linux platform, for example.

Wayne: I don't see any reason why that couldn't and shouldn't happen. One of the great things about XAML is that it's incredibly easy for tools to support, which is why we've already seen so many XAML exporters announced for third-party tools. Just about every 3D tool publisher has announced they're producing a XAML exporter. The main example that exists at the moment is from Electric Rain which has a tool called Swift 3D. Electric Rain has built a version called ZAM 3D that's optimised around XAML and produces XAML code. It's a perfect way of getting 3D objects into a WinFX project.
Furthermore they had the first version working in about six weeks. They came to a conference in Redmond in early 2005 and demonstrated it to us. Our engineers were stunned that they'd taken what wasn't very well documented at that time and produced a complete working XAML exporter. Jaws were dropping!
So it's very easy to work with and we are making it as easy as we can for people to produce exporters. Although we have produced the Expression tools for WinFX, they're not going to be the only ones. There's hopefully going to be a whole raft of tools that target XAML out there, and that's exactly the kind of ecosystem we want to build up around WinFX.


Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007

15 Feb 2006 – Microsoft has announced that its FrontPage 2003 product is to be "gradually discontinued" with full support maintained until June 2008. It is also to launch SharePoint Designer 2007 as part of the 2007 Microsoft Office System (formerly codenamed Office '12') in the second half of this year. Current FrontPage customers will be offered special upgrade terms.
Partially based on FrontPage technology (as is Expression Web Designer), SharePoint Designer 2007 is for designing sites that run on SharePoint Services or SharePoint Server 2007. With it users will be able to design SharePoint workflows and applications either by writing ASP.NET 2.0 code; or using built-in tools that allow you to construct conditional views and forms with validation, and to read and write data from a variety of data sources including XML files, Web Services and SQL databases, without having to write any code at all. Administrators will also be able to decide what capabilities are available to which users. A beta 2 version of SharePoint Designer 2007 is expected before July this year.

[May 16, 2006] Re MS FrontPage 2007 - TechNet Forums

FrontPage will be gradually phased out after release of SharePoint Designer 2007 and Expression Web Designer. In the meantime, Microsoft will continue to provide current FrontPage customers with full product support through June 2008, as well as clear guidance on how they can smoothly migrate to SharePoint Designer 2007 or Expression Web Designer, depending on their roles and needs. Read more...

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To me, SharePoint designer is just FrontPage 2007 with some new features (for example, Workflow stuff for SharePoint 2007).

You will feel better if you think it in this way...

======

You might want to try Visual Web Developer 2005 which is free of charge:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vwd/

It can do the same thing that you can do with FrontPage and provide more functionality.

[Apr 17, 2006] Reviews Nvu for Linux: FrontPage Who

This review is nonsense as those two applications belong to two different categories: heavy-weight and lightweight.

FrontPage 2003 is amazingly capable heavy-weight HTML editor. For example it has macro language build-in. Also the price is ~$70 on EBay is a price of shareware.

It can save you a lot of time if you learn it. For example it corrects all the links if you move page from one place to another.

For simple tasks and basic HTML user VNU might be OK if it was not so buggy. For very simple single line correction it might be even better then FrontPage as it loads instantly. It is free but it is outdated page oriented editor. As complexity of WEB site grows limitations start surface. Amount of bugs generally kills its applicability for anything but a small one line edits and not critical pages like personal notes and such.

Creating and Editing a Webpage Has Never Been This Easy. With immense complexity of the application, Nvu allows anyone to easily create an entire website in a matter of minutes. Nvu can adjust to almost any skill level, as it allows you to work with the source code as well as a well rounded GUI that lets you drag-and-drop items from a template.

In addition, Nvu comes with the following features that make development a breeze:

Mozilla Inside - In an effort to bring you the best speed and functionality possible, Nvu is running off of Mozilla's Gecko engine. This helps to give the developer the speed they need to get the job done right.

FTP Ability with One-Click Simplicity - Frankly, we believe that all HTML editors really out to be offering this feature by default. Nvu not only offers this, they make setting it up a snap as well.

Color Palette - Don't laugh, but having access to a decent color palette is a real life saver when you have no idea what the exact color value is that you are looking for. Seriously!

At any rate, you get the idea. There are a number of other helpful features that Nvu offers, but the list is way to large to try and go over in one review.

Office Developer Center Working with HTML Using the FrontPage 2003 Object Model

Whether you create complex add-ins to sell to users of Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 or write simple macros to automate your own tasks, you likely have needed to programmatically access the HTML in your Web pages. This article provides detailed information about using the FrontPage Visual Basic for Applications object model to insert, change, and remove HTML in your Web pages. To help you get started, you need a general understanding of the FrontPage object model. The following section helps you to navigate the FrontPage object model. In addition, you may find the following resources helpful as you create macros and add-ins that extend the FrontPage application.

[Dec 7, 2004] Creating Custom Behaviors in FrontPage 2003

Learn how Behaviors feature in Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 allows you to add DHTML scripts quickly and easily to Web pages. FrontPage provides an extensible framework that you can use to create your own custom behaviors. This article explains how you can extend behaviors in FrontPage. (28 printed pages) Dynamic HTML (DHTML) has changed the face of the Internet. Almost every Web page you look at today contains dynamic elements from images that change when you move your mouse over them to pages that can recognize which browser you are using. The Behaviors feature in Microsoft® Office FrontPage® 2003 allows you to insert scripts quickly and easily into your Web pages to help you build dynamic Web pages. You do not need any programming experience, and you do not need to look at a bit of code.

In addition, if you insert scripts into Web pages by using the Behaviors feature, FrontPage manages these scripts. This means that if you delete a script event that isn't referenced elsewhere in a Web page, FrontPage removes the script from the page. On the other hand, if you accidentally remove a script that is referenced in an event somewhere in the page, FrontPage reinserts the script to eliminate script errors. All of this assists non-developers to create dynamic Web pages.

When you install FrontPage, you get approximately 20 predefined Behavior scripts. These scripts include drop-down menus, mouse-over effects, and a client browser check. However, you can do more with the Behaviors feature than simply insert predefined scripts into your Web pages. You can also create your own behaviors, and you can distribute your custom behaviors to others. For example, you may have a script that opens a hyperlink in a pre-sized window; behaviors provides an easy way to make the script available to everyone in your organization. Alternatively, you might want an effective way of distributing scripts to your customers that allows them to insert scripts into their Web pages without working with HTML code, or manage scripts in their Web pages to prevent them from accidentally deleting a script.

Understanding Behavior Components

Extending FrontPage Behaviors is as simple as creating an HTML form component and a script component. The form component contains the user interface for your script. This allows users to insert custom data. You may also use the form page to inform your users of what your script does and allow them to cancel without doing anything. FrontPage displays this page as a Microsoft Windows® dialog box.

The script component contains the scripts that FrontPage inserts into the user's Web page as well as the Behaviors API. The Behaviors API, explained in detail later in this article, is a set of functions that FrontPage uses to process the script. The API contains instructions on which scripts that FrontPage is to insert and provides any additional cleanup tasks that your behavior may need to perform when you delete the script. This file may also contain scripts that the form page needs to function, such as scripts for validating and canceling the form.

While you can put all the code for these two components into a single HTML document, for simplicity, this article discusses these two components as separate files: an HTML form page and a script file. This article walks you through the process of creating these two files to create a custom behavior. The behavior script that you create disables right-click functionality on images in a Web page. Learn the basics of creating the necessary form for the behavior as well as how to work with the Behavior API.

How to put your web site on a CD

Themes for FrontPage 2000 and 2002



Etc

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