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371 of 378 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2003
I have worked with FrontPage since version 97, which was, overall, a real stinker. I have also worked with Dreamweaver since its earliest versions. In times past, FrontPage has largely been the site management and application development leader of the two, while Dreamweaver was much better at templating and all of the eye candy, like mouseover images, that we have become so fond of using in our sites.
Having said that, FrontPage 2003 is a great step in the right direction. Here are my feelings, broken down:
Site Management
Site Management has improved in FrontPage 2003, although the most bang for the buck will be Enterprise users who have decided to use SharePoint Portal Server in their organization. Much of the new data functionality relies on SharePoint. What this means is FrontPage 2003 gives a lot more power for those in the Microsoft world. Note that it is still backwards compatible with frontPage 2002 extensions, for those without SharePoint.
Much of the work in this area is like Dreamweaver and it is a mixed bag. On the positive side, behaviors are more flexible in FrontPage; on the negative, there are still many missing from FrontPage. The major behaviors are there, however, so I would give FrontPage a plus here.
Intellisense and coding
Microsoft has always lead the charge in this area and FrontPage is no exception. The Intellisense in FrontPage 2003 extends into ASP and ASP.NET code. For developers interested in altering the code created, everything is accessible. The death of FrontPage extensions are the reason, so those with backward compatible sites will have to deprecate some features if they use webbots. The small price is well worth the gain.
FrontPage has much greater support for CSS than previous versions, and is especially useful for those who like to work with graphical tools or those who like to work with code. The tag explorer, in Dreamweaver, wins for those who sit in the middle, however.
HTML Editing
The ability to go back and forth from code to design and retain positioning is a real godsend. This feature exists in Dreamweaver, as well, so it is not as stellar as some of the other tools. One of the nicest tools is the tag explorer, that allows you to see the nesting of your currently selected tag and easily navigate up and down the tree. In addition, there is a code editor that lets you isolate on a specific tag and use Intellisense to code its attributes. There is also a tool that allows you to quickly find a closing tag, which is a godsend for any developer working with nested HTML tables.
Themes and templates
Themes are much more easily edited in FrontPage 2003, which allows designers to alter templated sites to make nice looking custom built sites very quickly. FrontPage also has the ability to create "master page" style templates which are, possibly a surprise, fully compatible with Dreamweaver MX.
That pretty much covers the major features. Overall, I like the FrontPage methodology of using a side pane that focuses on the task at hand over Dreamweavers sliding tool palette, although I know people that are more fond of the Dreamweaver IDE.
One of the biggest benefits I have seen of FrontPage 2003, in the FrontPage/Dreamweaver battle, is Dreamweaver's tendency to lock up the OS when working on files on a shoddy network connection. As this does not apply to as many users, it is not reason enough to shy away from Dreamweaver. As I use both, I do not want to shy away from either, but here is how I would stack it up.
FrontPage wins with its table designer, Intellisense, coding aids (esp. ASP.NET) and flexibility in behaviors. Dreamweaver still wins with the number of eye candy features, strength of its added CSS tools and its flexibility in coding models (nice for developers who work in more than one language - Java, ColdFusion, ASP and ASP.NET included).
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284 of 288 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2003
Microsoft Office FrontPage is Microsoft's website design package. FrontPage allows you to easily create websites using basic or advanced web technologies.
One of FrontPage's major advantages is that it is part of the Microsoft Office family. FrontPage's uses the same interface as other Microsoft Office products. If you are familiar with Office, navigating around FrontPage is no problem.
FrontPage 2003 creates fairly clean HTML code. It allows the user to easily use advanced technologies such as ASP.NET in their websites. Beginners are able to be more productive in FrontPage than most other website design packages.
If you use some of FrontPage's features, your hosting company will need to have FrontPage extensions installed on their server. If they do not have FrontPage extensions, features such as the counter will not work.
Another drawback is that FrontPage does not support PHP natively. PHP is frequently used to create more interactive websites. A plug-in was available for previous versions of FrontPage, but I am unaware of any plug-ins for this version.
Overall if you are looking for an easy to use package, and have access to the FrontPage extensions on your host, this is an excellent package for you. If you are looking for a more professional package supporting all of the major technologies, Macromedia DreamWeaver MX is a much better option.
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79 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2005
I've been tempted by each new version of FrontPage because it makes many tedious and complex Web site development tasks very easy to do. All that power to crank out high quality, high function Web sites has lured me to try again and again.

For example, FrontPage generates very attractive Web pages. It comes with a large set of esthetically pleasing style templates, artwork, and fonts. It also has an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor that allows you to precisely place text and graphic items on the Web page. If you change your mind, it is easy to switch templates and experiment. The FrontPage 2003 page editor is better than ever, and supports all kinds of drag-and-drop items that greatly simplify creating and using Web forms and updating databases.

But FrontPage is not focused on creating individual Web pages; its purpose is to help you build and run Web sites. For simple Web sites, that is good news. It means that someone without much training can quickly design, develop, and publish an attractive Web site. FrontPage 2003 provides many ready-made solutions; you just pick the one closest to your needs, customize it to look the way you want, and plant your flag on the Internet.

Although the template and wizard approach can get you up and running quickly, the FrontPage developers I've talked with say that the more complex a Web site is, the harder it is to use templates. Unfortunately, the templates are not customizable and do not scale well. My own experience is that templates make for a great demo, but are not usable for many Web applications.

So if you are going to have to get down and dirty to use FrontPage for non-trivial Web projects, just how good is FrontPage as a Web site programming tool? My conclusion: FrontPage does not want to be a tool; it wants to be the solution. That is the source of my continuing frustration with FrontPage, and it's why I've tried and quit using previous versions. To use FrontPage effectively, you must understand and agree to use the framework of the Web site it generates. If that framework is a good fit for the Web site you want to build, FrontPage is the right product for the job at hand. Just remember that FrontPage is not a tool, it is an architecture and a methodology.

In fairness, I must say that FrontPage 2003 is more flexible, adaptable, and powerful than any previous version. The Microsoft online support is better, and there are some very good free online tutorials. Provided that you have a high-speed Internet connection, you should be quite pleased with all the extra FrontPage documentation and goodies available from the support site.

I found one quirk in FrontPage 2003 that caught me by surprise. Microsoft classifies FrontPage as a member of the Office product family, so to download FrontPage security patches and program fixes, you have to go to the Web site and use the Office update wizard. The quirk is this: if there are any problems with the way Word or Excel are installed on your PC, it can block you from getting FrontPage patches.

On the PC where I was trying to get FrontPage updates, I had upgraded successively from Office 97 to Office 2000 to Office 2002. The Office update wizard kept prompting me to load the original CDs for the old versions. I found this very annoying, especially since I was not interested in getting updates for the other programs in the Office suite. In my opinion, there should be a way to get FrontPage updates without going through the Office update wizard.


* If you are going to use FrontPage 2003, buy this book: Microsoft FrontPage 2003 Inside Out by Jim Buyens, ISBN 0735615101, 1264 pages with a supplemental CD. It has excellent chapters on how FrontPage really works, best development practices, lots of good tips and techniques, and it will help you avoid common problems.


* FrontPage provides great leverage for rapid development of an attractive and robust Web site when the complexity of the Web application is low.

* If you want to develop a complex Web site, you have to spend time learning how FrontPage Web sites operate. You will probably need to get a book or two to help in your mastery of the subject.

* You may discover that the architecture of FrontPage-developed Web site is not a good fit for the site you want to build. I found this to be true for Web sites that do a lot of interaction with a database, especially when database changes may need to be rolled back and conditional screen logic was used.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2005
This program is pretty pricey for what you get. I wouldn't have felt too bad about the price, except I found out after buying it that it no longer comes with an instruction book. There are lots of good books on amazon on how to use Frontpage, as long as you don't mind forking over another $50.oo. At least this program isn't as expensive as Dreamweaver, but then again, Dreamweaver is not going to be used for the same reasons that Frontpage is used for.

It took me two weeks to get comfortable using Frontpage 2003. And I spent most of the time figuring out that allot of the options it offers to make things easier, just don't work, or only work when you are using certain servers or certain browsers. Before buying you should go to, and learn in 2 minutes what took me two weeks to learn the hard way.

Not only is using lots of fancy crap, such as java, flash, etc. annoying to most people, lots of browsers are not even set up to run all this unnecessary glut. So either you have to give your customers a plain HTML page to go to, or loose sales. Check out two of the most popular web sites on the internet, amazon and ebay. They keep it very simple and it is not because the cannot afford to hire anyone to add a bunch of fancy buttons and flash.

The reason I am saying this stuff is that you can get some really cheap or even free web page design software, if you are not going to be adding a bunch of fancy stuff.

If you do get this program and do learn to use it, it can make your life allot easier if used properly. Do a search on google for frontpage vs. dreamweaver to learn what lots of other people say.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2005
Here is a list of my favorite improvements in 2003...

1)Previous versions of Frontpage had a lot of annoying bugs. Some people did not even realize that their troubles with Frontpage was not their fault but were actually bugs in the software. This new version fixed the annoying bugs of previous versions.

2)Another huge improvement is the tabbed interface. The tabs are similar to the FireFox browser. They make it easy to go from one file to another quickly.

3)The split screen option. You can view the html and graphical web page at the same time. This is nice if you like to edit the html by hand once in a while.

4)Web page file/folder navigation. You can easily navigate through all of your files and make quick edits in 2003.

I could not give this program 5 stars because there are still a few minor bugs/issues/defects whatever you want to call them. They are so minor though that most Frontpage users will not notice them. Overall though this is a great program for a newbie to a guru.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
The new edition of FrontPage has the same ease of use as previous editions, with improvements in advanced features and more standard HTML code than previous versions, which would often create some strange items when you used the WYSIWYG editor. It's so easy to use, I have a tough time weaning myself off of FrontPage and getting into Macromedia, which has some advantages for the webdesigner. Thing is, I am an amateur web designer, so I don't have time to get totally educated in the more advanced features. FrontPage is just too darned easy to use.
But why is that a problem with FrontPage? It handles CSS well, and the editor is darned easy to use, far easier than Macromedia Studio MX. But if your ISP server doesn't employ Frontpage Extensions (and many of them don't) then uploading pages created in Frontpage can be difficult if not impossible. However, for the average user, I have to say that FrontPage is the web designer of choice. It's far easier to get running than Macromedia, which really is not intuitive. FrontPage is intuitive, and most people will have excellent success right out of the box. Just watch out for the extension support when you choose a web space provider.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2003
I have been used FrontPage since version 1. Every version gets better and better. If you are a Do It Yourselfer, you should REALLY checkout this new version. Though it is not perfect and there are some thinks that are needed, you will be hard pressed to notice the short comings. Over all a great job and you will soon be hearing more about this must have product for web developers.
One of the best features is the split pane view for CODE and DESIGN veiws, this way you can type code and see your results as you type. I am not the best tyist or th ebest coder, so FP 2003 really makes my life simple by letting me just type what I want and putting this there.
The new FTP to servers with FtontPage Extentions has gotten a much need overhaul. Well I can go on and on.
If you want to design / develope Internet or Intranet webs, you NEED FrontPage 2003!
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2003
Frontpage 2003 is such a major/huge step forward from any Frontpage of the past as to be almost incomparable. Used in concert with ASP or PHP or whatever scripting language, or simply in conjunction with MS Access, FP2003 is more than capable of any size site, huge-commercial, or tiny-personal. FP2003 fixes some of the weird glitchy type stuff from previous versions and includes a broader range of features. The interaction between the actual design view and the HTML code view has become instantly much better. The code that FP produces, notorious for being bloated and crappy, is now very clean & pristine. Included also is a much more complete and adept publishing schema, including full FTP support as well as the usual Frontpage [...] publishing.
Along with FP2003, I strongly recommend Jim Buyens Inside Out book. It is so very complete and is written for the slightly-beyond-beginner to advanced. Amazon link: [...]
Along with this excellent book, head over to Jimco Addins at [...] for some truly wonderful and useful plug-ins to make much more of the FP experience.
Overall, a truly great piece of progress in the Frontpage chronology.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2006
I bought MS FrontPage 2003 about a month ago, to create a website for a friend starting his own company. I have never used any kind of software to create a website before. When I got FrontPage, it was easy to install onto the computer, and was pretty easy to use. It has a help section where you can ask any kind of question, if you're stuck about a particular feature, or how to insert something onto a web page.

FrontPage automatically configures files and optional page set-ups if you want to use them, and also gives you the option to put hyperlinks in to connect your buttons to the pages.

When I first started creating the website I needed to make, I knew NOTHING about it. I was able to create a 13-page website, with banners, interactive buttons, text, hyperlinks, a contact us form, and many other features, all within 3 weeks' time. I did not even KNOW what a hyperlink was until I started working with this software.

FrontPage has some of the same features as MS Word, so it might be somewhat familiar to you if you want to create a website on your own. If I can go from knowing nothing about website creation to being able to create a professional looking website in about 3 weeks, you can too!
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2005
I bought this pile of garbage and am as mad as hell about it. I bought it to build a web site to publish my photographs in a gallery. I went to all the expense of buying it, spent days and days building the site (which is not as intuitive as you might hope) to finally get a site which looked pretty good from my PC. I published it on the web and then discovered IT DOESN'T DAMN WELL WORK WITH ANY BROWSER OTHER THAN INTERNET EXPLORER. Exchanged phone calls and emails with Microsoft guys in India and the final word - yep, the gallery function doesn't work with other browsers and there is nothing you can do.

I really feel ripped off.
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