Web Design Software: Front Page vs. other HTML Editors

started by Dzblack on Feb 24, 2004 — RSS Feed

Dzblack Dzblack
Posts: 33

Well...we were shocked yesterday at work (I teach at a local college). We were told to start teaching Front Page.

The reason given to all teachers was this: Front Page is cheap and more people have it than any other HTML editor. Front Page sells for $15 at our college, DreamweaverMX sells for $199 (academic pricing). It seems that more people are requesting classes with Front Page and they also request simple web page design, i.e., tables and more tables. No CSS or DIV's or anything complicated. Just plain web pages with Front Page.

This does not bode well for those of us who teach and hope to raise the "bar" with XML-CSS-CSSP or other promising standards. You all may agree.

So...stand by for even more junk web pages on the internet as a result. Whoo...boy!

p.s. Am I wrong to think like this?

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

No. Front page is complete junk, and I have yet to see a web page created in it that wasn't complete junk.

I would tell them, you can use Frontpage to get started, but if you want to create decent pages, there's plenty of better options, and some of them are free options. I've been meaning to try this one: http://www.nvu.com/

The good news is, Frontpage means job security for those of us who know code and are willing to clean that trash out. Tell a client you can cut their bandwidth requirements in half (or better) and their ears perk up.

Charise Charise
Posts: 4

Hello all...

First I'd like to say, I really like this forum and the entire site.. it's fantastic.. my compliments to the admin

I'm curious about this front page business.. actually any web page assistants really.

I'm completely self taught (seriously thinking on college though) and currently only really know html code and I do all of it in notepad.. save the file as .html and ftp it on over to my websites... is this old fashioned?? Should I be using some sort of program out there like 'Front Page'?  To be honest I love my note pad *laughs*  and am not sure I could convert so easily.. but if it was necessary.. what software do you recommend?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

Hi Charise,

Don't go near FrontPage

FrontPage is for office workers who don't want to do anything but the occasional, 'low expectation' web site. It produces bloated, invalid code and there's not much you can do to get round it.

If you like to code in Notepad, that is fine but you would be better off with a good, dedicated HTML text editor such as HomeSite. It will make your work a lot easier and quicker.

Flaxen Flaxen
Posts: 28

Charise - I'm also entirely self taught and whilst I no longer use Notepad I still hand code everything,  using HTML-Kit, I use none of its short cuts, auto completes, etc. I simply use it to write the code, the advantage it has over Notepad is purely that it displays tags, scripting etc in a different colour than content, which makes it quicker and easier to spot errors.

If this is old fashioned too, well, at least there are two of us out there!

I do not want to use any of the WYSIWYG editors, I have the feeling they would spoil my fun.

I guess the problem with this is that we are in the minority and therefore it is harder for us to get help with problems, as I, for one, do not understand when people refer to solutions etc  that are tried and tested on these platforms.

Charise Charise
Posts: 4

Yup..I have to agree with you.. it is fun isn't it!  I love getting in there and determining my own table and border percentages and trying out different codes to see how they may work.  

I'll admit I do cheat a little... if I come across a page layout that I really love ... I'll view the source, copy and paste it into my notepad and then open it up and start messing with the codes to fit my graphic images, bg colors etc. (hmm... come to think of it... that's probably easier to do then using some webpage software)

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

Charise, stick to Notepad, or possibly another good text editor (if you feel ambitious, write your own).  If you are comfortable with dealing with HTML "in the raw", you will be better off in the long run than if you are attached to using a wysiwyg tool.

There is nothing "old fashioned" about coding by hand, and anyone doing anything complex will eventually find themselves doing things that way; especially if you get more into the programming end of things (try getting a wysiwyg editor to deal with ASP/PHP/ETC, you will encounter severe limitations).

Stan Stan
Posts: 44

I started doing web work by hammering out HTML with BB Edit. I use Dreamweaver now. One of the things I like best about DW is the split screen. It shows the "WYSIWYG" part below and the HTML above. And it doesn't change the code you've written. A good tool like DW can save you a lot of time. I can't imagine how I would get much done if I didn't know HTML.

I tried using FrontPage once. It was a frustrating experience. I found Composer easier to work with and it's cheaper than FrontPage (free!).

Jdenny Jdenny
Posts: 65

hand-code!  

coloured is good too, "syntax highlighting".

I also had an idea for an editor that actually lets you work on the HTML as a tree diagram, would anyone be interested in that?

Lauri Lauri
Posts: 6

I learned HTML by erasing the "gifts" from frontpage.
Now I use 1st page 2000. It's really good (and free) because it uses many shortcuts and saves time. And as you all know, time is money...

Brady Brady
Posts: 5

I gotta go with Joe on this Homesite is a good option for us handcoders.   There are some free ones out there that are similar that are good too. I think it was Ace HTML or something like that...google that and yuo should come upon their site. I a free download and a free registration code and that's it.

As far as Front Page goes...I hate it. I have a client (an extremely large corporation, whose man in charge should know better) that use FrontPage for all of their work. They have comissioned me to basically redo their entire web site. It is so messy, and time consuming.....the job doesn't seem to be worth the time that I have wasted on it. Its brutal.

That's my horror story.. >..that's still ongoing..It just bothers me that they don'y supply their employees with better software. We arren't talking about a small site...arrggghhh....i won't complain any more

Jdenny Jdenny
Posts: 65

AceHTML is ggod, that's what I use - nice and configurable syntax colouring, and it recognises code that is javascript and css and php and changes the syntax highlighting colours to suit the different syntax!

Plus the other good learning tool, is the Help section, - I frequently use it to look up JavaScript functions when I forget their names!

Dzblack Dzblack
Posts: 33

Ladies and Gentlemen, It's obvious that this thread is speading along two lines...(1) Hand Coders and...(2) WYSIWYG Designers. You all may agree.

If you're going to hand code, then its hard to beat BBEdit.

If you're going to WYSIWYG, then its hard to beat Deamweaver.

This is my humble opinion at this point in the thread.

Thanks

Jdenny Jdenny
Posts: 65

Maybe if I had a mac i'd agree  ;D

Vladimir Vladimir
Posts: 53

When I first started making webpages I used NotePad and FrontPage. About two years ago I switched to Dreamweaver and never used FrontPage ever since. The workspace arragements and features of Dreamweaver just beats FrontPage anyday.

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

JDenny's got a point.

I like BBE but since my profession is writing Windows software, it's hard for me to "switch".

Back when I was in school I had a mac at home and I really liked it.  I had this editor called "SaintEdit" which has been my favorite editor of all time.  I even started building a Windows-version clone about a year ago, but it got about 30% and then back-burnered for real work.

Do any of you remember SaintEdit?

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

I typically use BBedit on my Mac. I'm warming up to the newer versions of Dreamweaver, although I can still write far leaner code than it can, and the preview completely falls apart with most of my css-p layouts, forcing me to hand-code 'em anyway.

On windows, for text editors, I like editplus.

Neu12 Neu12
Posts: 1

When I started college (I now have a degree in e-commerce), they put us right into FrontPage. This was to show us the concept of web design and creation of a site. Then they put me through several classes of hand coding html 4.0 and JavaScript before they would even let me say the word "Dreamweaver or Fireworks". Boy was I thankful. Now I use DW, but hand code most of the site.

Vladimir Vladimir
Posts: 53

I downloaded TopStyle Pro 3 a week ago and I gotta say it's absolutely the best editor by far. The user interface is highly customizable. Many toolbars such as file manager, tag inspector, clip library, css selector and color listings are really helpful in the coding process. There are also buttons that instantly validate your code for W3 standards, accessbility, and more. Plus there is a split view and a preview panel that uses both IE and Gecko engines for rendering. There are many more features that I haven't listed here. Go check it out!

http://www.bradsoft.com/topstyle

Katekoala Katekoala
Posts: 1

Charise, people use planes because we can't fly like birds, and people like me use WYSIWYG editors because we can't hand code.

You've got wings - use them!


Having said that, I first cut my web design teeth on FrontPage - it's extremely easy to use for newbies as the setup is pretty much the same as Word, PowerPoint etc. Plus it was bundled with the version of Office we have at work so it was all I had.

Whenever I was having hassles and asked one of the IT gurus at work how to do something in FrontPage they gave the same reply: "Don't."

I moved over to Dreamweaver a year ago (on my home computer) and oh my goodness!

Needless to say I take all my web design work home now!

B17bmbr B17bmbr
Posts: 2

For a long time, wysiwyg editors were fine, and for alot of things they still are, but with much of design being css and php/asp, you'll need a good text editor.  if you want to do a nice graphical layout, slice it up, and play with the tables in DW, then great, but the days of large web sites with tons of static pages are over.  

most text editors use the standard CUA layout (ctrl-c, ctrl-x, ctrl-v for copy, cut, paste) but i seriously recommend that you get either vim or xemacs (which run on windows, os x, or linux) and spend some time and learn it.  why?

they do things that no other editor has the capability to do, and they are completely mouse-less, which saves tons of time.  for instance, (i'm using vim here, which is my favorite), let's say I have a page, and I need to change img1.jpg to img2.jpg for only lines 100 through 123.  here's all you do.

:100,123s/img1/img2/g

but, either way, don't become dependent on a wysiwyg tool.  DW is great, but today, you'll need to code as much as design.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

b17bmbr said:
they do things that no other editor has the capability to do, and they are completely mouse-less, which saves tons of time.  for instance, (i'm using vim here, which is my favorite), let's say I have a page, and I need to change img1.jpg to img2.jpg for only lines 100 through 123.  here's all you do.

:100,123s/img1/img2/g


You see, this is the kind of thing that really gets my heckles up. You only have to do ':100,123s/img1/img2/g' How many keystrokes is that to get wrong even you can remember the completely arbitary and unintuitive syntax?

In BBEdit, I would drag select lines 100 to 123, do select Find from the Search menu to open the find and replace dialog, type img1 into one field and img2 into another, click on Search Selection Only, and click 'replace all'. Four mouse clicks, eight key presses. That is intuitive, there is hardly anything to remember and less chance of typos.

How many keypresses would you need to do the replacement from half way along line 100 to 2/3 of the way along line 123? What if you wanted to ignore line 115? What if you wanted to do this on every page on a site? What confirmation would you get that the replacement had been done and how many times?

I have to say at this point that I can't type ten characters without making a mistake and having to go back and correct it. The connection between my brain and my typing fingers is not 100% even after all these years - in fact it is getting worse, not better.

Instead of having to rember all those non-intuitive commands, I can remember the names of famous cowboy's horses

The fact is that different people have different types of brains and require different tools.

http://www.wpdfd.com/editorial/wpd1103.htm#feature



Nobody Empty Nobody Empty
Posts: 7

front page is microsoft trash and will burn in hell.

End of discussion.

Homunich Homunich
Posts: 1

Just to go some years back: I think it was in 96 when I did some webdesign with PageMill, the predecessor of Golive. It was fun to play with the (for me) new advertising platform Internet. It worked pretty good. Nowadays sites are much more sophisticated and I do not program myself any more.

Zajnee Zajnee
Posts: 2

front page is microsoft trash and will burn in hell.

...that coming from an Archangel it must be true !  ;D

But, at the risk of being cursed along with FP, I think I will defend it a little.

In reply to the original post, I don't think FP is a bad choice considering the price (at 7,5 % of the price for DW) and that most of your students will probably not end up using it 'professionally'.

I used FP 2000 for about a year, back in the days, and with a bit of tweaking it was possible to use the good features and disable the annoying ones (they may have changed that since then)

With the right amount of information - basically telling them both the good points and the bad points about WYSIWYG editors - I don't think FP will mess them up too bad. Nothing a few sessions at the Internet Shrink wont handle.

Oh yeah, in my defence, I only use EditPlus and do all my work by hand these days - so don't flame me

--Zajnee

David David
Posts: 40

When I'm at home I use Bluefish but now I'm away from my PC and using a Windows machine instead, for which I can't find a binary.  I did a search for a free replacement and found 1st Page 2000 which has been suiting my needs adequately so far.  It does have a few irritating bugs though, the most annoying (and amusing, given the subject of this thread) being that the instant preview tab often fails to process the html and opens the source code in MS front page instead!  It does have the redeaming feature of providing info for whichever tag you're currently editing, though.

By the way, I found this during a google -> http://www.nonags.com/nonags/texted32.html

Checking out CPad now.

Stan Stan
Posts: 44

Take a look at the code committed by FrontPage in the page mentioned in this thread and you'll see why FrontPage is not a good idea.

David David
Posts: 40

I came across a really nice css text editor the other week called cssed. Windows users, as with most software originally developed for the Gnome desktop environment, you'll have to install the gimp toolkit (gtk) first (use this version, not 2.6), then install the application package. There's currently no Mac port available. The project is still young, but already feature rich and the above release is stable, despite its 0.x version numer.

I'm still searching for a half-way house between a Dreamweaver-like WYSIWYG IDE and a dedicated WYSIWYN (what you need) coder like cssed/bluefish. The ability to alter the size of a division, its position on the page, its background colour, etc. simply with the click of a mouse is very appealing over manually adjusting values in a text editor It would be the perfect compliment to a fast editor like CSSed/Bluefish. I did briefly consider buying the Dreamweaver package anyway, just so I could do this, but it didn't really seem worth it. Ultimately it wasn't designed for me as intended user. Besides, it's not available for Linux anyway.

The compromise I've come to so far is to use Inkscape for actual design, and then transfer the co-ords and values over to the relevant sylesheet manually. It's a bit clumsy but it does the job.

Ospose Ospose
Posts: 2

Sorry for answering so late. Why not use MS Office or Open Office, designing the page and then export it as HTML. Then take the HTML code and put it in your Text Editor like TextPad or Kate or KWrite.
I hate Dreamweaver, because it consumes so much calculation power. My notebook is getting to hot.
Today there are also WYSIWYG-Editors like NVU which can produce XHTML-code

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

Because the only thing more hideous than FP code is MS Office code... you'll spend 5 times as long just cleaning up the trash.

NVU has potential, but the last time I used it (some time ago) it wasn't ready for prime time.

Jodie Cardall Jodie Cardall
Posts: 1

I am currently writing a report on the advantages and disadvantages of FrontPage and HTMl Notepad any help ?

Mike Crone Mike Crone
Posts: 27

Jodie Cardall said:
I am currently writing a report on the advantages and disadvantages of FrontPage and HTMl Notepad any help ?


1. FrontPage is a discontinued product, replaced by Expression Web.
2. FrontPage does not write valid code.
3. FrontPage bloats the HTML code it does write.

Mike...

WPDFD Forum Moderator

Kevin Du Kevin Du
Posts: 1

Hello all sorry to use this thread to ask my question..

I read a lot of information in website, and i find it very intersting to learn nw thing such as Web Design. So can you guys tell me what do i need to learn to create my own website?

thank you..

Mike Crone Mike Crone
Posts: 27

Kevin Du said:
Hello all sorry to use this thread to ask my question..

I read a lot of information in website, and i find it very intersting to learn nw thing such as Web Design. So can you guys tell me what do i need to learn to create my own website?

thank you..


You need to learn HTML/XHTML and CSS
HTML for structure and CSS for presentation.

Mike...

WPDFD Forum Moderator

Jason Hyman Jason Hyman
Posts: 13

Kevin,
get yourself a WordPress blog and customize the theme.
they are SEO friendly and easy to grow.



St Louis Web Design | St Louis SEO

Fatouh Banhawy Fatouh Banhawy
Posts: 8

Apart from Frontpage and Dreamweaver, there is a program called Adobe GoLive. I think for professional web development, Dreamweaver is much more powerful and generates better source code.

Software Outsourcing Company
Tampa Web Design

Sabri Dino Sabri Dino
Posts: 45

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