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August 8, 2005

Frontpage makes me want to die.

If there's one product that's a scourge on the Internet despite years of refinements and improvements, it's Microsoft FrontPage.

My parents are part owners in a business venture. The lot of the owners being non-technical folks, they were sold on a Microsoft solution including FrontPage for their IT needs. I'm not rabidly anti-Microsoft by any means; Windows Server 2003 is an excellent product and Exchange, while exorbitantly priced, is pretty much unmatched. Microsoft and the web don't get along very well as a rule, though. Internet Explorer and FrontPage are both horrible abominations.

The business' web site is a tacky default FrontPage theme, so it hardly stands out from the competition and it certainly isn't attractive. Worse, though, FrontPage is apparently still in the 2003 version spitting out invalid HTML that browsers and the W3C Validator choke on. The IIS web server is even contributing to the mess, reporting everything as UTF-8 encoded although the pages are actually Western European ISO encoded.

Internet Explorer, of course, displays the crap HTML correctly. Mozilla browsers, through their extensive quirks mode, do the best they can. Opera and Safari don't fare so well, with the text being rendered completely invisible thanks to Microsoft's noncompliance with web standards.

Many small businesses are hardly putting their best face forward on the web, and most of them probably aren't even aware of it because FrontPage purports to "make web pages," though what it's spitting out doesn't quack, doesn't waddle, and is hardly a duck.

On the one hand I want to say something about the site, on the other I really don't want to play "fight with FrontPage" or have anyone try to guilt me into doing pro bono work.

I'll never understand why small businesses are willing to spend a ton of money on a logo designer but then go and build a total crapfest for their web site.

Posted by Colin at August 8, 2005 4:16 PM

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I'm forced to use FrontPage at work, and while I'm able to hand-code my files in an external editor before pasting/saving in FP, I hate that I don't have an alternative. Yuck.

Posted by: Trinity [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2005 5:34 PM

I was thrilled when my dad called to ask if their computer already had FrontPage, and then again to tell me he'd need help installing it once the store got him a license for home use.

The idea behind FrontPage is great; it's just a shame the execution sucks harder than a Dyson.

Posted by: Colin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2005 5:41 PM

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