website design

  eccomputers 19:53 02 Jan 2003
  eccomputers 19:53 02 Jan 2003

I have used frontpage for a couple of years now and am told it isnt very good compared to many products on the market. The other pain is if the hosting company doesnt support FP extensions.
Can someone please tell me an easy design package which can acheive professional results.

  €dstow 20:21 02 Jan 2003

There is nothing wrong with Frontpage and it is unfair on the program to be given the accolade of "am told it isn't very good" without any qualification of what that means. If you have been using it for two years and haven't been able to form your own opinions about it in that time shows a certain lack of commitment

Frontpage has been, and still is, used by many GOOD website designers who wouldn't even look at alternative software and it can produce GOOD websites.

There is a lot in Frontpage and it takes an awful lot of learning to use it to its full extent. It may be better for its detractors to find its real attributes and try and use it properly before dismissing it in a cursory way.

The point about Fontpage extensions is invalid. If the ISP doesn't support this then changing to another software package won't magically alter the ISP to do so.

There is an old adage that states "it's a bad workman that blames his tools". This may be an illustration of that.


  Zaxifone 20:31 02 Jan 2003

I can recommend Sierras Web Studio for simplicity of use and good results. I have come across a number of excellent web sites that have been created using this. I personally prefer Macromedia Dreamweaver, quite a steep learning curve, but good clean code...


  Gaz 25 21:09 02 Jan 2003

I use microsoft word and have professional results, but you do need to know some programing.

  eccomputers 21:16 02 Jan 2003

I wasnt asking for an opinion on frontpage, having used it for 2 years I've had enough of it. The best version I used was 98, the later ones are a nightmare. You spend forever typing text, formatting fonts/colours, adding images and java applets, then you do a preview and guess what, they are all out of alignment. Switch back to editing mode and they all move back again to your original positions.
I've had countless problems when publishing to a web site too, no real explanations, it just doesnt work. Ive had to redesign several forms because they go to the internet and refuse to email, again no reason for this as the second one was designed exactly the same. I think personally it's full of bugs. It costs extra money too to have frontends loaded on the host which is ridiculous. I wouldnt call myself a beginner, there are 300 web sites designed by myself and all bringing in lots of work for the companies.

  Taran 22:16 02 Jan 2003

FrontPage has very definitely got better and easier as time and versions have progressed.

Ignoring the current beta version, the latest XP release is superb and FrontPage 2000 was a great improvement over 98. If you use it to generate as many sites as you claim to have, migrating to Dreamweaver or another alternative product is going to set you back weeks when you have to sit and endure the culture shock that is involved in learning a new software package.

I recommend it over all other web design packages as the best value for money combined with more features than you can shake a stick at with a far gentler learning curve than its competitors.

If you want the very best I'd argue heavily in favour of Dreamweaver, possibly followed by Adobe GoLive but neither one holds your hand nearly as much as FrontPage and what you found easy to do with FP you will find an absolute nightmare with Dreamweaver. The penalty for using some of the best packages is the learning curve and comparative complexity of them.

At the end of the day, all you need to create a killer site is a simple text editor and the ability to write the necessary code. I like Arachnophilia 4 and Programmers File Editor in about that order.

For web sites I use Dreamweaver, FrontPage (XP and 2000) and GoLive in about that order coupled with Coldfusion, MySQL, Fireworks, Flash, Namo Web Editor (a recent addition to the arsenal) and I've been playing with CoffeeCup HTML Editor over this last couple of weeks.

There's a lot to what €dstow says. If you want a free alternative, crank up Notepad and produce your site with manual hard coding. Then anything that goes wrong can only be down to your code and not the editor you are using. I sometimes do this in front of students who no longer believe that anyone hard codes web pages these days.

Learning any web editor properly is better than changing from one you may not fully understand to one you have no experience with. I'd say any potential benefits would be badly outweighed by the pitfalls of the new products learning curve, but if you are set on changing any of the mentioned packages are worth looking at.



  Taran 22:24 02 Jan 2003

If you are spending as you say "forever typing text, formatting fonts/colours, adding images and Java applets" you should perhaps look at some of the themes and amend them to your own preferences. You can change all aspects of any theme (fonts, colours, backgrounds, hyperlinks etc) then save the theme with a significant name. Apply the theme site-wide and all pages get the same look.

Once you know FrontPage, you can build the nuts and bolts of a site in a very short time, from which point its the filling (body text and images) that is left to apply to your individual pages.

There's not much I can think of that FP can't do, although I will admit that there are others in this forum who are more adept in its use than I am (I went from hard code to Dreamweaver and stayed there for a long time, so I'm kind of re-learning FrontPage all over again to a certain extent).

If you must consider a move I'd suggest Dreamweaver as the most capable package overall.

Good luck


  Taran 22:26 02 Jan 2003

You can simply turn off the FrontPage extensions in the programs options to make certain that your pages are not constructed in a manner that requires their presence serverside.

  Forum Editor 23:37 02 Jan 2003

with everything Taran has said,and frankly I'm amazed that someone who has designed 300 websites in two years (that's roughly 3 a week) has the time to even post a thread here.

I've been designing websites for a lot longer than two years, and I still haven't reached the 300 mark. I use FrontPage quite often, and so do many professional designers - it has some distinct advantages over other applications - and the latest version is excellent. I haven't had any problems with the forums I've designed (one of which is running with 4000 regular industry users), and to say that there are hosting companies which don't 'support' FP extensions leaves me lost for words. I've never found one that doesn't, and if I did I certainly wouldn't dream of hosting s site with them.

Problems with things being 'out of alignment' are almost certainly due to a lack of understanding about how to use the software - it just doesn't happen if you know the software.

Dreamweaver is of course superb, but it does take a while to get to grips with some of its features. If you have only used FP before, you're in for a pretty steep learning curve, but then with those 300 sites under your belt I'm wondering why on earth you are even thinking of a change. Take my advice - upgrade to FP 2002 (sometime called FP XP) and spend some time getting to know it.

  Taran 00:28 03 Jan 2003

One more factor I forgot to mention is that the FrontPage server extensions are actually free (not to mention an absolute doddle to insatll) for an ISP or Host.

So to echo our Forum Editor if your host does not support them, find a host that does.

The reason most hosts support FrontPage extensions is that it's such a widely used program. If it wasn't, they wouldn't bother.



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