The Retirement of Frontpage Highlights the Evolution of the Intranet - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News
Commentary
3/27/2006
09:44 AM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

The Retirement of Frontpage Highlights the Evolution of the Intranet

Last month Microsoft announced the retirement of Frontpage, the WYSIWYG web design tool that has been around since the Internet became popular in the mid-90's. Microsoft is releasing two new products to replace Frontpage. They are Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Microsoft Expression Web Designer.

Microsoft says Sharepoint Designer is "for building SharePoint applications and designing SharePoint sites" and that Expression Web Designer is "for designing dynamic, standard-based Web sites". I won't get caught up in the details about these products (I actually have not seen them nor read anything in detail about them) but the key point I want to make here is Microsoft's recognition that the needs of an intranet are different than the Internet. Sharepoint Designer is clearly intended for intranets (well, intranets based on Sharepoint) and Expression Web Designer is aimed at the professional web designer.

It may sound silly to say that an intranet is different than the public Internet but for how long now have many of us assumed that intranets are just a smaller form of the Internet? Although the technology may look similar their characteristics are totally different.

In my opinion intranets are about working together as a team, as an organization, as a company. IT should focus on websites or tools that help us work together more effectively. Although the Internet can be about working together (like in the case of working with other companies) most Internet websites are focused on attracting attention, selling a product, selling an image, being noticed. Intranets are about (or should be about) work, period. The Internet can facilitate working together but, more often than not, is about presentation and image.

Intranet websites should be functional, even utilitarian in nature. There is little need for sophisticated graphics or flashy intro screens. Intranets should also be about ease of use and sharing (not "publishing"). The job of a webmaster should be totally different on an intranet. Intranet webmasters should act more like coaches or coordinators, not a designer whose job is to publish web pages. Once an intranet website is up IT should not have to be involved. Actually, why do we need IT to create a website? Shouldn't that be easy too?

In other words, why were we using Frontpage for intranet web pages in the first place? Probably because we didn't know any better. I think we are starting to learn the true nature of the intranet and how it differs from its larger sibling, the public Internet. Maybe we should call it "Intranet 2.0". Quick startup, easy to navigate, simple to share and find information; all of these are characteristics found in a good intranet.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Commentary
CIOs Face Decisions on Remote Work for Post-Pandemic Future
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/19/2021
Slideshows
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
News
CRM Trends 2021: How the Pandemic Altered Customer Behavior Forever
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/18/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll