Wednesday, January 5, 2005

FrontPage Sucks

"FrontPage Sucks."

That is what I wanted my article to be – just that one statement – but no one here at Fight.Boredom would let me get off that easy (even though they all agreed with the aforementioned statement). They said I needed something called "content" – whatever that is. So I decided to do a little research and refresh my memory about that cruel little program, Microsoft Frontpage.

I was initially very surprised with what I found online about FrontPage; the reviews my searches turned up were generally complimentary. Very complimentary, even. I must say, I was a little shocked and surprised with this – my hatred for Frontpage runs deep and has festered for a long time. These reviewers were talking about how easy it was to use and how simply you could put a webpage together. They loved it!

Then it hit me – the trend connecting all of these supporters. They all had no idea what they were doing.

This is Frontpage's market (and the real reason this article was written). Frontpage has very successfully gone after the user with little to no experience and offered them an HTML editor at half the price of the competition. We are talking about people who never knew of or even saw HTML before Frontpage – and likely know nothing of it afterward. The Frontpage marketing team is calling up small businesses and offering them a chance at a website that they might not have gotten otherwise.

Now you say "What is wrong with that?" and imply that we might just be horrible web design snobs...

The only answer I can give is "Nothing. There is nothing at all wrong with FrontPage or its target market."

It is better for most businesses and organizations to have some web presence rather than none (though it would be much better if that web presence was well built and maintained, design aside). But virgin webmasters really should do a little research before making that Microsoft purchase. You would hopefully discover some of FrontPage's major deficiencies: for instance, the junk code that FrontPage inserts and how it leaves code in after the relevant content was deleted in the editor, a situation that renders disproportionately large webpages. Unless you know HTML, the only way to optimize FrontPage web pages is usually starting over from scratch.

In my own experience, I've found Frontpage sluggish and cumbersome, even ignoring the junk code issue. It is often easier to recreate a table or just change the HTML of a table then use the user-friendly editor. It came to the point where I was typing out the HTML more then using the editor! Then I was shown the glory of Macromedia Dreamweaver and I was blown away. It was clean, efficient to use... and $200 more... but it wrote no more junk code and even provided a tool to clean up the junk code that Frontpage had left in it.

It was then that I truly realized, Frontpage sucks. fb


Dale said...

You are absolutely correct. I have been trying to believe that Microsoft finally wrote a useful product, but was let down again. Even the Frontpage MVP's (Most Valuable Professional) don't know what they are talking about. It seems that just about everything that Frontpage does is in error. The normal.htm template is supposed to place a doctype before the html tag, but it places it after the html tag rendering it virtually useless. The publishing function will not synchronize with the web server properly because it is unable to identify the time of the update. The body tags are constantly in error and have to be manually deleted with each update of a page. Should I go on????

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