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Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007

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Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 is a free derivative of Microsoft FrontPage 2003. The latter was and still is an excellent, but underrated HTML editor.

Summary

 

This is the best free  HTML editor for Windows.  It's somewhat buggy, even with SP3 applied but it is free and powerful. No other free editor even comes close. 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 while product a little bit smells with outsourcing :-(. Some annoying for me (I am 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. 
  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 . 

History

Microsoft SharePoint Designer (formerly known as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer) is a  freeware version of FrontPage and is probably the most close derivative of FrontPage 2003. It is definitely the best free HTML editor in existence. essentially unreachable in functionality by other freeware/open source competitors. Unfortunately (but typical for complex freeware products) it is buggy. Also some design decisions are like conversion of certain action (bold, italic, shift) into styles are questionable. As such it is unattractive to professional FrontPage 2003 users. 

SPD 2007 was initially planned to be a part of Microsoft Office 2007 , but was sold separately and never  was included in any of the Microsoft Office versions. While it can be used for creation of SharePoint sites its main strength is being a powerful HTML editor

Note: Only SharePoint 2007 can be used a standalone generic HTML editor. The subsequent version (SharePoint Designer 2010, release Oct24, 2010) can longer operate in absence of Microsoft SharePoint Server or Microsoft SharePoint Foundation.

SharePoint Designer shares its codebase, UI and HTML rendering engine with commercially sold Expression Web. Microsoft implemented changes in Sharepoint Designer 2010 that prevent using this version as a standalone HTML editor.

The first version of this product, SharePoint Designer 2007, was a commercial software product. On March 31, 2009 however, SharePoint On April 21, 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010 was released Designer 2007 was made available as a freeware.  On October 24, 2011, Microsoft released SharePoint Designer 2007 Service Pack 3. As Microsoft stated:

“We will continue to serve the diverse needs of our existing FrontPage customers with the introduction of two brand-new application building and Web authoring tools using the latest technologies: Office SharePoint Designer 2007 for the enterprise information workers and Expression Web for the professional Web designer.”

 Changes

  1. Design (was "Normal" in FP)
  2. Open Site
  3. Create a New Page

Relocations

  1. Differences in the Insert Menu
    1. Horizontal line
  2. Reports - in Web Site

Task: Add a horizontal line to the page, and create a hyperlink. Give the page a name and save it. Then look at Reports to gain a sense of the information available there.

Renovations

  1. Viewing pages - FP's Preview is gone; now use File > Preview in Browser

  2. Inserting Hover Buttons and Banners - Java applets are blocked, so FP Banner Ad Manager no longer works. Use the Interactive Button instead:

Task: Insert an interactive button on the page, link it to http://cstl.semo.edu/institute/2008Winter/MLR/index.htm, and test the button

  1. Working With Forms - new drag & drop interface for all form controls placed in Insert > HTML   (Alternate: Formserver)

New Features

  1. The following are some new features of the spelling checker:

    The spelling checker has been made more consistent across the 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. Examples of this change include: Several spelling checker options are now global. If you change one of these options in one Office program, that option is also changed for all the other Office programs. For more information, see Change the way spelling and grammar checking work. In addition to sharing the same custom dictionaries, all programs can manage them using the same dialog box. For more information, see Use custom dictionaries to add words to the spelling checker.

    ... ... ...

     An exclusion dictionary is automatically created for a language the first time that language is used. Exclusion dictionaries let you force the spelling checker flag words you want to avoid using. They are handy for avoiding words that are obscene or that don't match your style guide. For more information, see Use exclusion dictionaries to specify a preferred spelling for a word.

     
  2. Website Backup (Personal Web Package)

Task: Produce a .fwp file of a part of your current Site, and explore how to retrieve the data

  1. Dynamic Web Templates

Task: Click to get info and an activity

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Changes in SharePoint Designer 2007
How to send form results to multiple e-mail addresses in FrontPage 2003 and in SharePoint Designer 2007
From FrontPage to Expression Web (not really SharePoint Designer, but close)
The Future of FrontPage According to Microsoft
CSTL's FrontPage FAQ

Recommended Books

Professional Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 (Wrox Programmer to Programmer) (9780470287613) Woodrow W. Windischman, Bryan Phillips, Asif Rehmani Books

Bjørn (Oslo, Namibia)

Surprisingly interesting, even for a programmer, June 8, 2009

I heard about Woody's book several months ago, and expected to see yet another 'create pretty pictures' book. I should probably mention that I am a hard-core developer and think anything that doesn't involve manually writing MSIL code is 'creating pretty pictures'.

However, Woody, Asif, and Bryan have done a marvelous job of making me regret those expectations. Not only have the managed to create an extremely good overview of many of the aspects of SharePoint Designer, but they have managed to do so in a way that is interesting and sparks a genuine desire to learn more.

I thoroughly enjoyed part III on creating applications without programming and especially the chapter on SharePoint Designer workflows. Even for someone who enjoys programming with a nail, two wires, and a battery, efficiency is still an issue. In addition and as mentioned, perhaps the biggest benefit I gain from the book is a desire to keep learning and exploring these topics.

And then I found the juicy stuff, the part that really made me fall in love with this book: Part V with three chapters full of real programming material. I especially enjoy that the chapter on web part development walks through all the steps of setting up and deploying the web part, without using any of the third-party tools available.

I'm no big fan of the masterpages and css material, but that's just me and I am certain that it is invaluable to those more interested in design than I am.

If I should point out one negative thing I would point out that the book tries to cover too much ground and isn't detailed enough. This may be a deliberate decision by the authors, and I can certainly understand that from a desire to appeal to as broad a user group as possible, but the sacrifice may be that of depth.

Overall, however, this is now officially one of my favorite books, and I will highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn both SharePoint and SharePoint Designer.

Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step

Austin D. Boyd "lightlocker"

I'm a designer with a heavy background in web layout and flash programming and design. By no means am I a developer.

I purchased this book hoping it would help me get aquainted with sharepoint. It turns out the book depends heavily on the sample files being set up in a server enviorment, which I've no idea how to do. The examples it walks you through all depend on these files, so if you can't set up the files you won't be able to gain hands on knowlege.

It will help you understand structure and navigation a bit, but so will playing with SP designer.

If you're a programmer, get this, if you're a deisgner, don't bother.

-Austin

Building Web Applications with Microsoft® Office Sharepoint Designer 2007

Beginning SharePoint 2007- Building Team Solutions



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