The Frontpage 2000 Bug Collection
Microsoft Frontpage 2000 has a convenient web administration, a very nice user interface, some nifty components and extensions. It is so much better to handle than its predecessors with the slow and obscure server and the primitive editor. Frontpage 2000 could be an excellent software for web design - if only the very basic functions would work as intended. My pages are all supposed to be plain HTML, I don't use any plug-ins, let alone Frontpage server extensions, so proper HTML is of utmost importance. It wouldn't be quite as bad if it were only for the redundant and badly formatted HTML code, but the problem is actually worse. Frontpage creates arbitrary HTML code, HTML font styles which can't be edited in WYSIWYG mode any more, and changes the code, all of which remains unnoticeable until it's viewed in the browser.
The following is a small demonstration, with code as created by Frontpage.
Original code from here (in an iframe to override the CSS). Depending on your browser settings, you may not see all problems, especially if you have set the default font to Arial.
So why am I still using Frontpage? Well, in many respects Frontpage 2000 is way better than its precursors that needed the awful server that had to be started each time I wanted to edit my web. Sometimes my pages were not loaded completely from my local hard drive because of server timeouts! Frontpage 2000 web administration is much faster, and the new editor has several nice functions for convenient editing which I wouldn't want to miss, even if the final result often looks different than Frontpage made me believe.
There are smart people who keep telling me that "true" web designers don't use any administration tools and edit their pages in a simple text editor. Well, they are obviously talking about something like "My Homepage" with a few dozen links and images, or they have way too much time on their hands, or they don't need to care about research and content preparation, or they are not afraid of bad design and dead links. EAS is over 700 pages and 11000 files strong (as of 2004) and is almost daily updated, and there are almost no dead links - because of and in spite of Frontpage. Doing all this in a text editor would be absolutely impossible. What I need is an efficient web administration, plus a clean and reliable WYSIWYG editor. A possibility to save some settings and create templates for a web like it is possible in Winword would be nice too. What I don't need is all the overhead. No database connection, no redundant administration files, no script support, no auto-thumbnails with horrible moiré, no wizards for dummies. So if you have a bug-fix for Frontpage or a suited alternative...
Supplement I checked out Macromedia Dreamweaver as an alternative, and the HTML editing as well as the generated code was quite nice. Especially the menu that changes automatically with the selected object type is a very good click-saving idea. I don't know how the software would handle a large web, though. The worst editor I have come across is Net Objects Fusion. I already screamed in terror when I read the manual that told me how to edit and move everything pixel-wise. After I have installed it just for fun, I now know why so many amateur web pages have messy layouts with misaligned text and images that look different in every browser.