Out With FrontPage, In With Expression Web

Microsoft's FrontPage replacement is a significant departure from its predecessor, while still sharing some of its look and feel. Existing users should be able to transition without too much pain.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

October 30, 2006

2 Min Read

Why is Microsoft discontinuing FrontPage 2003? Why doesn't it simply call its new program something like FrontPage 2007?

Expression Web's senior program manager, Wayne Smith, explained that his team's new HTML tool was "rewritten from the ground up" and is not merely a refresh of the old FrontPage 2003 code.

Microsoft Expression Web Gives Dreamweaver A Run For Its Money

Microsoft Expression Web      Gives Dreamweaver A Run      For Its MoneyImage Gallery

In my testing of Beta 1, however, I found that Expression Web does, in fact, share much of the FP03 look and feel. Some of the dialog boxes in Expression Web, for example, are indistinguishable from those that perform the same functions in Microsoft's older HTML editor.

In my discussions with Microsoft officials, it became clear that Expression Web is being positioned as a tool for serious, professional Web developers, especially those who are already versed in the ways of ASP.NET 2.0. These developers will find task panes that facilitate ASP.NET usage and excellent round-trip compatibility for code that is edited in Microsoft's Visual Studio by programmers and in Expression Web by graphic designers.

What about small businesses and less-sophisticated Web developers who don't wish to learn ASP.NET or even use today's CSS (cascading style sheets)? Are they shut out of Expression Web?

Not at all. Anyone who turns off the handful of "task panes" that appear by default in Expression Web will be left with a coding environment that's very similar to FrontPage 2003. Expression Web has more accurate rendering of HTML elements in its Design view than is the case with FrontPage 2003. But the process of coding in one window and seeing the results in another window is almost unchanged from the older application to the newer one.

Both novice HTML developers and high-level professional coders can use Expression Web -- each user will simply ignore those features that don't apply to his or her preferred way of working.

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