FrontPage can still be evil, but does have its place

Todd Bleeker made a comment in the Mindsharp Yahoo group (I think) about how FrontPage is still a viable tool for code editing for SharePoint. His comment stuck with me because so many of us (including me) get wrapped up with the anti-FrontPage parade.

Just because opening a SharePoint site in FrontPage causes unghosting issues, it doesn’t mean it should be banned forever. It is still a perfectly acceptable tool for editing files as long as you open them from the server, and not the site. I think us pro ghosted pages only people tend to tell others (especially SharePoint newbies) never use FrontPage EVER! Forgetting that it may be the only tool that user has. Maybe we should amend our rally cry to be, use FrontPage responsibly. (I know, it lacks the zing).

Using FrontPage to navigate to and open files on the server is fine, using it to open sites and using it via IE to open sites and pages, is what will give you grief.

I have updated my Resources page with FrontPage and Ghosting resources:

» FrontPage
» Ghosted and Unghosted Pages

5 thoughts on “FrontPage can still be evil, but does have its place”

  1. Totally agree with you Heather. While Microsoft is generally evil in many ways and FrontPage is the horrible offspring of the evil giant, it really does have a place in the SharePoint space.

    It’s fabulous for editing DataView Web Parts and the current incantation of it (2003) has some pretty smart features when you’re building custom solutions for the web. Sure, it can totally fuck up your site like there’s no tommorow and render even an admin helpless but then so can any tool.

    With great tools come great responsibility.

    ’nuff said.

  2. I advise my clients to use FrontPage only in non-critical ‘sandbox’ environments. In each implementation, I have them set up a portal or wss site strictly for FP authoring (mostly creation of data view web parts). They then export/import web parts into their unghosted pages. This allows non-development personnel to be productive without needless damage to their implementation.

  3. Please, please, please… let’s the facts right, first. Then complain all you want… 🙂

    **Opening** a web part page in FP2003 will NOT unghost a page. Saving the page WILL unghost the page.

    Big difference.

    By telling users that opening a page via FP will muck things up and therefore to not use FP, you automatically lose the capability to do a lot of other things.

    Here’s a couple more reference links..
    "Don’t kill the messenger …"
    http://www.bluedoglimited.com/SharePointThoughts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=74

    "Web part page + DVWP != always unghosted"
    http://www.bluedoglimited.com/SharePointThoughts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=75

  4. Actually… (and forgive me for not remembering all the details) I mucked with this some at TechEd with Todd and by opening the site in FrontPage WITHOUT SAVING anything, it still effected the site’s navigation (Todd would kill me for my lack of memory on this one). I need to play with this again and post about it.

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