What happened to Frontpage?

I attended the BETT education show last week in London. As usual it was a very busy and fun affair (although try telling that to my feet after working on the booth all day !).

One question that came up time and time again was what had happened to Frontpage.

Well Frontpage has been replaced. Yes, that’s right, Frontpage is gone, it has left the building and won’t be coming back.

But worry ye not…

…as in fact Frontpage has been replaced by two products. Personally I think this is a great move as the Frontpage 2003 release was really trying to address two completely different markets and this is something that always gets increasingly difficult to do.

The first market is the professional web design/pro-sumer market. People in this sector need a great visual design surface, tight code control and full standards support, and the product that supplies this in bucket loads is Expression Web.

The second market that is being targeted is the Sharepoint market, essentially people who want to redesign and customise Sharepoint sites, and for this market we have Office Sharepoint Designer 2007.

In the v1 releases of these products Sharepoint Designer is a superset of Expression Web with additional features that pointedly address the Sharepoint market. At first glance it might seem that Expression Web is the poor cousin of the family, however this is not the case. In the future features will be added to the products relvant for the markets they are targeting. Therefore Expression Web will build on it’s web standards and web technology support, while Sharepoint Designer will  focus more tightly on it’s integration into the design process for Sharepoint Server.

In fact for anyone wondering which version to purchase it is important to make the right choice because in future versions the products will move much further apart in terms of functionality and feature sets, they’re run by different product teams, with very different mindsets and have no crossgrade path from one to the other.

The easiest way to think of it is that if you are looking for a replacement for Frontpage and will be designing for Sharepoint, then Office Sharepoint Designer 2007 is the product for you.

Outside of that narrow remit Expression Web is the product you should be looking at.

Best of all… you can try Expression Web free for 60 days… http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/expression-web/free-trial.mspx


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