Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Sep 2018 20:13 UTC
Microsoft

How about a throwback to 1997?

I've used and tinkered with every HTML Editor out there and I can say without qualification or pause that Microsoft FrontPage 98 is the easiest and most powerful suite of Web Design and Management tools available today -- and the fact that it's presently only in a beta state must make the competition shiver -- for the bar of excellence has not just gently risen with the debut of FrontPage 98.

That bar of excellence has been crushed through to the uppermost level by FrontPage 98 and few website HTML programs have the means or inspiration to meet that new watermark of exquisite elegance in creating websites.

Microsoft FrontPage 98 proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Web Creation and Site Manipulation can, finally and without excuse or caveat, be friendly while providing hardcore functionality in the same brilliant stroke.

Those were the days.

Order by: Score:
OMG
by Moochman on Wed 12th Sep 2018 20:22 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Wow! Those themes were hideous! And you gotta love the whole IE4/Windows Explorer "Channel" integration.

Reply Score: 5

No
by terra on Wed 12th Sep 2018 20:40 UTC
terra
Member since:
2012-11-01

Neither FrontPage nor Dreamweaver nor anything else was any good. They all produced clumsy dirty markups. It is horrible to work with.

Reply Score: 8

RE: No
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 12th Sep 2018 22:51 UTC in reply to "No"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah but dream weaver produced a lot cleaner code.

Reply Score: 4

RE: No
by CaptainN- on Wed 12th Sep 2018 22:52 UTC in reply to "No"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Dreamweaver wasn't terrible, and actually it did a pretty good job of leaving your code alone if you entered it manually. Older versions of Dreamweaver (when Macromedia was still around) did have some nice helper dialogs for CSS and especially tables back then. The integrated sites manager with FTP was pretty convenient, and it's site wide search and replace was a killer feature.

Frontpage was an unmitigated disaster though - I can't believe anyone actually remembers that thing fondly.

Edited 2018-09-12 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: No
by stormcrow on Wed 12th Sep 2018 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
stormcrow Member since:
2015-03-10

Only people with rose colored glasses remember FrontPage fondly. Server side it was even worse cuz you had to support so-called "Front Page extensions" or you would lose business.

I fear Google is heading down the same path and might actually succeed where Microsoft failed: AMP, Chrome specific quirks, various 'open' initiatives that are in practice only open to Google employees, Android OEM licenses requiring Google services preinstalled, Google continuously trying to redefine the Web and Internet in its image. Over half the websites I regularly visit use some form of Google services: API servers, CAPTCHA, analytics, ad servers. In many cases like CAPTCHA you can't just block the scripts and expect the website to work. You literally can't get away from Google and still browse the web freely.

Reply Score: 5

MY EYES
by tidux on Wed 12th Sep 2018 21:15 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

That was fractally terrible.

Reply Score: 2

But...
by Underphil on Wed 12th Sep 2018 22:48 UTC
Underphil
Member since:
2012-01-13

Jesus, I just remembered that period of time when you could get a regular web-server, or a 'frontpage enabled' web server. Bad times.

Reply Score: 2

RE: But...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 12th Sep 2018 22:52 UTC in reply to "But..."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

yeah I used to get calls from friends wondering why their webpages didn't look right. Most of the time it was because they used frontpage extensions, but didn't pay for them on the webhost.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: But...
by tidux on Wed 12th Sep 2018 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: But..."
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

It took until this past decade for the major hosting platforms (cPanel, etc.) to stop offering them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: But...
by Vanders on Thu 13th Sep 2018 17:04 UTC in reply to "But..."
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

To be fair, was it any worse than finding a web host with the correct version of PHP & extensions, if you used PHP?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: But...
by CaptainN- on Thu 13th Sep 2018 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: But..."
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

So much worse - PHP isn't my favorite, but it's not even remotely as terrible as Front Page extensions on IIS.

Reply Score: 2

Back in the day
by Vinegar Joe on Wed 12th Sep 2018 23:41 UTC
Vinegar Joe
Member since:
2006-08-16

My favorite was HotDog from Sausage Software in Australia.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Back in the day
by dekernel on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:56 UTC in reply to "Back in the day"
dekernel Member since:
2005-07-07

I'm with you on this one. It was darn easy to setup and use.

Reply Score: 2

Crazy times
by Bit_Rapist on Thu 13th Sep 2018 02:51 UTC
Bit_Rapist
Member since:
2005-11-13

I remember this program, was great for n00bs and drove the rest of us crazy with frontage extensions that were required to make this dumpster fire function.

Reply Score: 6

Loved FrontPage at the time
by laffer1 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 03:25 UTC
laffer1
Member since:
2007-11-09

I worked at a small ISP in the late 90s and we offered FrontPage hosting on Linux and Windows NT. I was the web designer, NT sys admin and tier 2 tech support. Microsoft did a call and signed up for an account to see what we would do as part of the preferred front page program my boss signed up for.

They happened to get me and I spoke so highly of the product that Microsoft sent me a FrontPage 2000 pencil holder and some chocolates. I still hate the pencil holder on my desk.

The only thing Microsoft didn't like was that I pushed the customer toward Linux hosting.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Loved FrontPage at the time
by stormcrow on Thu 13th Sep 2018 04:40 UTC in reply to "Loved FrontPage at the time"
stormcrow Member since:
2015-03-10

Back in those days Microsoft's server offerings were abysmal and outside of small office backend/middleware stuff no one in their right mind suggested Microsoft anything in the server room. Windows Server couldn't handle most server loads, heavy network traffic, nor extended uptimes. The server rooms were all Unix based or IBM mainframes.

Redmond knew this as well as anyone else. They just wouldn't admit it till years later after they bloodied their foreheads repeatedly on the Hotmail transition and found out just how truly awful Windows Server really was back then.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Loved FrontPage at the time
by Alfman on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Loved FrontPage at the time"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

stormcrow,

Back in those days Microsoft's server offerings were abysmal and outside of small office backend/middleware stuff no one in their right mind suggested Microsoft anything in the server room. Windows Server couldn't handle most server loads, heavy network traffic, nor extended uptimes. The server rooms were all Unix based or IBM mainframes.

Redmond knew this as well as anyone else. They just wouldn't admit it till years later after they bloodied their foreheads repeatedly on the Hotmail transition and found out just how truly awful Windows Server really was back then.



I agree microsoft's server offerings were bad for web development. IIS+ASP was flat out atrocious and it was insulting for a leading company to put out such a garbage product. Not that that mattered though, they were the defacto standard for just about all my early jobs and being proficient at developing on microsoft platforms was a prerequisite for employment.

Nowadays, the landscape is transformed and linux has taken the lead. I do wonder if the rise in linux adaption was driven more by technical demand or simply that microsoft's failure to combat the linux business model (or lack thereof). Contrast this to sun microsystems, which offered tons of innovation back in the day, yet MS squashed them easily.

Reply Score: 2

Oh no
by Soulbender on Thu 13th Sep 2018 03:55 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

It's objectively true that FrontPage was absolute garbage.

Reply Score: 9

Oh, old nighmares...
by lc_lol on Thu 13th Sep 2018 05:42 UTC
lc_lol
Member since:
2017-09-16

FP98 was used to make and design moste of the intranet from my organization when I got my first job. A typical MS tool from these years : the easiest GUI and beyond that, the biggest (hidden) garbage.

Those sites were a knighmare to maintain, you couldn't toch anything in the HTML code without risking breaking something, and the alternative browsers compatibility was knowingly broken, to force IE adoption.

"but the other tools were so complicated for the person who was in charge, and was used to frontpage !!!"

Took me two years to make the switch to dreamweaver. Not ideal but at least I knew we would be able to get a decent lifetime to our sites.

So glad this horror disappeared. I would have been among the first ones to put the nails on the coffin.

Reply Score: 3

Still there is a mystery.
by ThomasFuhringer on Thu 13th Sep 2018 06:11 UTC
ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

Somehow it strikes me that to this date nobody came up with a usable WYSIWYG editor for HTML.
Maybe that says something about HTML.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still there is a mystery.
by lc_lol on Thu 13th Sep 2018 06:39 UTC in reply to "Still there is a mystery."
lc_lol Member since:
2017-09-16

Maybe because HTML coding needs a basic level in learning and understanding code, and when you get this level, you measure how powerful and useful WYSIWYM is, compared to WYSISYG.

And there a quite a lot of HTML WYSISYM solutions... ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Still there is a mystery.
by avgalen on Thu 13th Sep 2018 08:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Still there is a mystery."
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

WYSIWYM vs WYSIWIG and the < strong > vs < b > discussions....You will not be missed!

Frontpage 98 was also my big step into webprogramming, both clientside and serverside. My then-time girlfriend and her parents had a couple of shoestores with Unix-terminals in them that could dial into the Unix-server at their house. We wanted to start an online shoestore but the Unix-software makers were calling us crazy. Of course we were young and did it anyway.

* Generating a print/dump of the stock to a floppy
* Importing that data into an MS-Access database
* Running a VB-Program that generated HTML-pages on a per-model-basis


* Version 2 had us uploading the MS-Access database to the website and used classic ASP to generate those pages on the fly
* We actually had a VB6 program that people could download so they could shop offline

* And eventually we got a Sony Mavica camera to take pictures of all the hundreds of shoes
* And put these shoes on an improvised rotating platform that gave us exactly 6 pictures during 1 revolution which I auto-hotkeyed into....animated gifs

* We didn't have any fancy payment system or online ordering. The order form just became an email and twice per day we checked email and you were always so happy when there was an order in it!

* We grew the online sales from a few per week into a few per day into a dozen per day before the software-maker wanted to have a chat with us which we simply ignored. We built a system that worked for us and weren't going to share our work with anyone else

All of the HTML-knowledge I needed in the beginning came from Frontpage 98. Built everything in the GUI part and check everything in the HTML-part to learn actual HTML. As long as you didn't copy/paste anything from other programs into Frontpage and stayed away from the extensions this worked quite well. Learning about framesets this way was awesome.

I also made a strange decision to make everything relative, so "this picture is positioned 5% from the left and top and occupies 17% of the frame in width and 45% in height". This resulted in strange, sometimes ugly, layout, but it worked well on 640x480 and 1280x1024 resolutions and anything in between. You might even call it.....responsive design ;)


We stayed away from Frontpage Extensions except for some form/posts and statistics, but also from Java Applets and Flash and mostly even from JavaScript because those things just worked differently in every browser and required plugins that made everything horribly slow.

Thanks Frontpage 98, Visual Basic 5/6 and MS Access 97. Without them my career would have looked very different!

(more flashes from the past...Windows 98 Second Edition with Internet Connection Sharing so all our computers could use the internet instead of just the pc attached to the modem/ISDN)

Edited 2018-09-13 08:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still there is a mystery.
by zima on Sat 15th Sep 2018 15:16 UTC in reply to "Still there is a mystery."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The first web browser, WordlWideWeb/Nexus, was also a quite usable (for its time) editor; but somehow the following browsers dropped that functionality.

Reply Score: 3

I miss the good old days of Geocities...
by haakin on Thu 13th Sep 2018 09:00 UTC
haakin
Member since:
2008-12-18

I really miss the web in the end of the 90s. Yes, it was amateurish and many times ugly. But, everything was new, everybody was willing to take risks trying to express their own ideas using a visual language in its infancy. Of course, there were many mistakes, many failures. At least, every website tried to be different and unique. Now it seems that just one big committee has designed every single website using the same rulebook.

Maybe (most probably), I'm just getting old...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by piratepuppy
by piratepuppy on Thu 13th Sep 2018 13:35 UTC
piratepuppy
Member since:
2018-07-10

No love for Netscape Composer?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape_Composer

The late 990's and early 00's were exciting times. The web was very young and fun until the unwashed masses clogged it up with memes, social media and cat pictures.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by piratepuppy
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by piratepuppy"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No love for it or Lindows. One of the crazy things they did other than promise full windows compatibility, was try to turn Netscape composer into a dreamweaver competitor.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by piratepuppy
by zima on Sat 15th Sep 2018 15:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by piratepuppy"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Mhm, cat pictures...

Reply Score: 3

Frontpage 98 for Mac!
by ikev85 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:13 UTC
ikev85
Member since:
2012-12-27

I remember editing my highschool website on FrontPage 98 for Mac! It was slow slow slow on MacOS 8.6

Reply Score: 1

Claris HomePage
by cranfordio on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:36 UTC
cranfordio
Member since:
2005-11-10

I used both Claris HomePage and Front Page back then and I much preferred Claris HomePage. I still miss that program to this day.

Reply Score: 2

Yeah I Made A Career Out Of FrontPage!
by mjhi11 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 14:56 UTC
mjhi11
Member since:
2009-08-15

Many people don't know that FrontPage started out as a Mac application, Microsoft bought it and discontinued it as a Mac application. Yet, the legacy of FrontPage still lives on as SharePoint Designer which allows you to easily modify SharePoint websites.

And yeah, I made a career out of creating websites using FrontPage. Look, many of us don't want to be programmers, WYSIWYG was a godsend to those of us who valued productivity over "perfect code", but you know what? I still had to learn HTML and CSS anyway because I don't care the tool you used, FrontPage, DreamWeaver, etc. there was and always will be the need to "tweak the underlying code" (remember WordPerfect's [Alt] + [F3] reveal codes view?).

Certainly I've graduated beyond FrontPage with content management systems being the foundation for any new websites I build these days (Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal) but I'll always fondly remember FrontPage as an essential tool in what has now been a 20+ year career in information technology, networking and web design.

My family's company's website from the Wayback Machine 2003. Not too bad if I do say so myself.

https://web.archive.org/web/20031228012000/http://mlc-cad.com:80/

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

(Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal)


To be fair, these are probably worse than FrontPage.

Reply Score: 3

No love?
by JLF65 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 15:19 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

My WYSIWYG HTML editor of choice for that era was PageMill.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_PageMill

Reply Score: 3

Expression
by mjhi11 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 15:58 UTC
mjhi11
Member since:
2009-08-15

On a related note, Microsoft has made "free" its successor to FrontPage, Expression Web. Those of us who used FrontPage will immediately notice the similarity in look and feel.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36179

As an aside, Microsoft also released as free what they had hoped would be a competitor to Adobe's suite of media creation tools, Expression Studio.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5915

Though they say Trial, they include a free perpetual license but note there's no support for either but they may be useful apps for someone.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Expression
by subsider34 on Thu 13th Sep 2018 17:07 UTC in reply to "Expression "
subsider34 Member since:
2010-11-08

Expression Studio was awesome and actually produced standards compliant code in addition to doing everything from file conversion to vector image editing to mock-up. It's free because they discontinued the product line, but I fondly remember discovering just how much better it was than FrontPage back in college during the Expression Studio 3 era.

While the web design portion isn't that up to date anymore, there are some elements that are still relevant. For example, Expression Encoder 4 is one of the few media converters capable of decoding/encoding WMA Pro files without stripping out the increased fidelity over WMA.

I still use it to convert music to WMA Pro for consumption on my Zune HD. Sounds better than AAC and doesn't require a paid license to use.

Edited 2018-09-13 17:08 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Expression
by zima on Sat 15th Sep 2018 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Expression "
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I still use it to convert music to WMA Pro for consumption on my Zune HD. Sounds better than AAC and doesn't require a paid license to use.

Ehh, did you do blind ABX testing?... (it's unlikely you'd notice a difference from the CD at common bitrates, NVM differentiate the formats) Also, one of better AAC encoders can be had for free with iTunes...

Reply Score: 3

Extensions
by andywoe on Thu 13th Sep 2018 17:21 UTC
andywoe
Member since:
2018-05-18

The real "gem" was FrontPage Extensions, an IIS plugin, that caused us a loss of 5 million dollars, a substantial amount in mid-1999. That thing was a hacker's dream.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Extensions
by zima on Sat 15th Sep 2018 15:20 UTC in reply to "Extensions"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

5 million dollars, a substantial amount in mid-1999.

Are you suggesting it's not substantial now? I must've not get the memo... ;)

Reply Score: 2

o_O
by DeadFishMan on Fri 14th Sep 2018 13:43 UTC
DeadFishMan
Member since:
2006-01-09

Color me surprised to hear that someone actually looks back fondly to the train wreck that was FrontPage!

I worked at a corporate ISP that also sold shared hosting services at the time and the dreaded FrontPage Extensions were the bane of my existence! There were multiple calls a day of people complaining that their website was broken, sometimes from the same customer, because the damn thing would stop working for whatever reason and we had to reinstall it from the ground up.

It was so bad that I frequently would offer, free of cost, to replace the damn visit counters, stupid mail forms and other FP stupidities with whatever was the CGI script du jour that offered that same functionality.

Reply Score: 1

FrontPage on intranets
by Orisai on Sat 15th Sep 2018 07:26 UTC
Orisai
Member since:
2012-06-18

FrontPage was so good back in business intranets, that it's still used as of today in some companies

Reply Score: 2