FrontPage Migrators

by cdwise 14. February 2009 06:54

I have to wonder why it is that there seems to be a number of people who have used FrontPage that can't seem to understand that Expression Web is not FrontPage 2006 or 2008. They come into the Expression Web forum and complain that it is "missing" FrontPage bots. Then protest that MVPs and "Expression fan boys" don't react well to being harangued about how Expression Web doesn't have the click, click tools of FrontPage that allows someone to use it without learning how websites work.

Fortunately, the majority of people who are moving from FrontPage to Expression Web are embracing freedom and cross browser direction of Expression Web. For those who are complaining let me outline a few things that may help you in deciding where to go with FrontPage.

Microsoft Options for FrontPage Users

Microsoft discontinued FrontPage and has three options for those who used it and want to move to a newer program. They are:

  • Expression Web - intended for the serious hobbyist or professional who understands the importance of cross browser and cross platform website. This requires a willingness to learn about how to structure html, css - how it works and differences in browser implementation. Using a certain amount of "real" code whether it is a javascript library like jQuery or server side code using ASP.NET or PHP.
  • SharePoint Designer - remember that FrontPage was part of Office and the primary user Microsoft had in mind would be an "information worker" using FrontPage in a Microsoft centric environment. There you don't need to worry about someone on a Mac using Firefox or Linux using Opera to visit your site. As a result SharePoint continues the FrontPage tradition of bots and wizards that create code that works well in Internet Explorer but probably won't work too well in say Google Chrome.
  • Publisher 2007 - this is what Microsoft has recommended for the "home user" since it has navigation tools and relies on the FPSE in much the same way as FrontPage. As someone who is concerned about web standards and cross platform/browser I don't recommend this option but if someone is a dedicated bot user and the site is personal then it is an option.

Coming into a forum or other venue for Expression Web and complaining about what is missing and how "Microsoft" got it wrong. Maybe those who complain are picking the wrong migration path?

Other Options for FrontPage Users

If they don't like the options that I listed above there are others.

Stick with FrontPage 2003 - FrontPage will continue to be supported by Microsoft until 2013 under the Microsoft Life Cycle Support policy. See: (FP is part of Office which is a business application, it was never intended as a home user web editor though many of course used it for such.)

Use your hosting company's site tool, most web hosts offer some sort of tool to create a website in your hosting plan. If they don't, you may find that they offer a one click install of a blogging application (Wordpress is common), content management system (Joomla, Drupal or some ASP or ASP.NET system).

Use a service like Windows Live which even offers free hosting or Geocities which have their own web site creating interface.

Using Dreamweaver

I must admit that I find it particularly amusing when someone comes in complaining about the learning curve with Expression Web and threatening that they will drop Microsoft web editors in favor of Dreamweaver.  Anyone who thinks that the learning curve for Expression Web is "too hard" will completely freak out over Dreamweaver.

Don't get me wrong I love Dreamweaver and really appreciate the new features in CS 4 like Live View, Code Navigator, the ability to freeze a state during the execution of JavaScript but it has a much steeper learning curve than Expression Web.

The majority of those who threaten to migrate don't seem to realize that those who answer the most questions on the Expression forum are frequently heavy users of Dreamweaver as well. Heck, I am both a Microsoft MVP for Expression Web and an Adobe Community Expert for Dreamweaver. I use both and am active in online communities for each program because I use each program for what it does best, frequently on the same website.

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Expression Web

Comments (1) -

2/16/2009 8:22:06 AM #


I totally agree with your comments about FP users ranting, whining, and bemoaning the “loss” of functionality in EW. It’s a total waste of bandwidth and significantly diminishes the ever decreasing number of working brain cells I have left. Reading every one of those tirades suggests that a part of the issue has to do with how the pricing structure is presented. By being listed as an “upgrade” with qualifying products being any previous version of FP, they assume that it is the “long awaited” upgrade to FP under a different name. MS really needs to put a disclaimer on the EW site that FP has been discontinued and that EW represents a totally different line of web development software targeted at a different segment of the development community. Until they do that the forum will continue to attract individuals that are frustrated, p@#$ed, and angry that they can’t use all their favorite FP bots and can’t create web sites with a click of the mouse. That class of users doesn’t, can’t, or won’t come to terms with the concept that as the web evolves, things are becoming more complex and demand a greater level of knowledge.

Keep up the good fight..
"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
- Frank Zappa

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