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FrontPage fulfils site-creation promise

FrontPage fulfils site-creation promise

FrontPage 2000 delivers on its pledge to give both end users and webmasters a simple way to create Web sites that house Office 2000 documents. At the same time, it requires minimal effort to deploy, is easily customisable, and is so simple to use that little will be required of IT support staff. Further, its features and usability are generally on par with products such as Macromedia's Dreamweaver 2.0, Adobe Systems' GoLive 4.0, and NetObjects' Fusion 4.0. Therefore, professional developers can confidently select FrontPage for many site development jobs.

Features that were incomplete in the Beta 1 release worked well when I tested this shipping version. For example, in the beta version, database functions were not available at all. In this version, FrontPage's database publishing feature automatically created a Microsoft Access database and then populated the table with information from a Web page form. Similarly, its site and content management tools eased authoring and page updates.

FrontPage 2000's integration with Office 2000 is quite smooth. To test integration, I dragged and dropped Word 2000, Access 2000, and Excel 2000 files to a FrontPage Web site. These files were accurately converted into HTML, and when I later revised the source documents, the FrontPage Web site was automatically updated. Further, I effortlessly inserted Excel spreadsheets and charts into pages using FrontPage's new Office Spreadsheet and Office PivotTable components.

As with the beta version, integrated editing and site management saved me a lot of effort because I did not have to switch between separate applications.

Professional designers will appreciate that FrontPage 2000 does not alter HTML code. Plus, I was able to edit Microsoft Active Server Pages and Extensible Markup Language from FrontPage 2000. The only elements missing are layout aids, such as grids, which competitors such as NetObjects Fusion do offer. Likewise, GoLive and Dreamweaver provide more Dynamic HTML effects and slightly more control over how layers move and react. Nevertheless, for building the vast majority of business Web sites and intranets, FrontPage 2000 gives you all you could want.

The Bottom Line

Microsoft FrontPage 2000

Business Case: Because FrontPage 2000 integrates well with Microsoft Office 2000, IT managers will save training time and effort when publishing Web content created by marketing and human resources professionals, as well as other businesspeople who use Microsoft desktop applications. Moreover, FrontPage's improved site management allows multiple individuals or workgroup teams to contribute to FrontPage-based Web pages at an aggressively low price.

Pros:

Pixel-precise positioning and layering

Preserves imported HTML

Easy database integration

Open and save Office 2000 documents to a FrontPage Web siteImproved publishing functionsNested sub-Webs let you manage varying levels of site accessSupports 16 languagesCons:

None significant

Platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0.

Cost: $199 for full product package.

Microsoft

Tel 13 2058

http://www.microsoft.com.au


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