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Is it possible to work on a FP site without using the program?

 1:24 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm running into a serious problem because the inclusion of the FP borders is seriously interfering with being able to do what's needed for search engines, as well as other things that are needed for a site I work on.

The homepage is modified weekly, and needs to be re-worked each and every time so that the site won't lose its rankings and end up buried at not only Google, but at other search engines as well.

I have to take the page, rearrange and re-write everything, reduce file sizes and rename images as well as change alt text. Every time, every week, hoping I can catch it before spiders do. I do not have or use Front Page and don't have the inclination or time to buy it and learn it from scratch.

I have to re-do the page, upload it with FTP with another file name (dangerous), and whammo - it's got the top heading graphic and top navbar not only where it's supposed to be, but it's repeating within the main text section to the right of the left menu navbar and throwing everything to the right - in effect, destroying the whole page so it's unusable.

Is there any way around this, or is it just impossible for a non-FP user to work on a Front Page site?



 1:35 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I used to work on a few FP sites, and I have had a little success in creating/modifying some pages outside FP. Playing with FP's own pages, though, is riskier. Just about every FP user I've seen has multple directories on their hard drive - mysite, mysite1, mysite2, etc. Each of these represents an incident in which the site became corrupted (from FP's viewpoint) and it was necessary to republish the site from the remote server to the local PC. FTPing outside FP is a frequent reason for this "corruption".

The whole shared border and site publishing concept works fine for very small sites, but becomes incredibly unwieldy as a site grows. Opening any page opens the shared borders - if you happen to change anything in the border, saving the file you are working on precipitates an update of the entire site. Publishing is very tedious, too, as you no doubt know...

One of the major flaws in FP that has particular relevance for SEOs is its poor collaboration support. If you are working on a site normally maintained by the owner, you either need to do it from the owner's location or manage a complex ballet of publishing up, publishing down, etc. Nothing like Dreamweaver's synchronization and check-in/check-out controls...


 3:42 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I ditched FP as soon as I could...you MUST lose the borders if you are going to touch the site with anything else...they will corrupt and make an awful mess...far better to teach the client to use something that works reliably


 3:57 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Is there any way around this, or is it just impossible for a non-FP user to work on a Front Page site?

Hello Marcia, "that's a fine mess you got us into Ollie!" ;)

Because that site uses FP proprietary features, you will need to edit using FP, there is no way around it. Without the FP interface, you lose the functionality of the server extensions which make everything right during publishing.

One way around it would be to revamp the site and eliminate all Shared Borders. Replace them with the FP includes as these are more manageable and function exactly the same way an SSI does.

I've been using the program for over 6 years and its a great tool once you figure everything out. Its amazing how the FP bashers come out of the woodwork when these topics come up! ;)

> but it's repeating within the main text section to the right of the left menu navbar and throwing everything to the right.

There is currently a bug in the FP2002 server extensions and there is a patch available. I'm not sure if this same bug relates to the dup content you are seeing, but we had the same problems with Includes repeating themselves. The patch fixed it.

There may be some useful information for you here...

Creating FrontPage Sites without Extensions [outfront.net]

P.S. Its definitely going to be easier to purchase FP and go through the minimal learning curve, you are leaps and bounds ahead of many others who would be just starting out. If you've ever used a WYSIWYG editor, you can use FP.


 4:05 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's the client's web designer Eric, and I think that's all she's used, for all her sites. There's a great team relationship, and we're trying to find a workable solution.

It's perilous to do anything that could cause a problem. There are under 20 static pages, but an enormous Miva shopping cart section that I don't even go near; I've got that excluded with robots.txt But when I tried to have html parsed for SSI in htaccess it closed the site down. I'm sure it was the host who saw what was up and configured it so SSI works.

>Publishing is very tedious, too, as you no doubt know...

I actually don't, I've never gone near FP. But I'm wondering if those shared borders could be replaced by using SSI without wrecking the whole thing. I understand there's also an issue with Miva/FP compatibility. And a lot of what's being carried onto the shopping cart pages through the borders is slowing down page loading time tremendously.


 4:09 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

> But I'm wondering if those shared borders could be replaced by using SSI without wrecking the whole thing.

Yes they can. You'll have some planning to do, but the process can be fairly painless if done correctly. I've never done the SSI thing because I use the FP Includes. But, I've been involved in many discussions at various FrontPage Forums where people have successfully made the switch.

The FP Shared Borders and Navigation features are what makes FrontPage a demon! Everyone who knocks the program has probably seen the mess that these features produce, hence the bad name. The code that the msnavigation produces is extremely bloated. The same thing can be achieved with 80% less code using SSI or FP Includes.


 4:12 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Publishing is very tedious, too, as you no doubt know...

Never used the Publishing feature as I do all of my work live through IE. When done, I'll FTP a backup copy to my local system when applicable. I guess if you are really anal about using all of the features available through Publishing, than that option is a given. There are many things you can do through the Publishing command when you have multiple users making edits. You can lock others out while you are editing therefore minimizing any problems with overwrites, etc.


 4:22 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Using an SSI-type approach is a whole lot more desirable for many reasons. Beyond getting away from the @#$%^& Shared Borders, it will make site updates MUCH faster due to avoiding having to redo every page each time the navigation is adjusted.

Marcia, if you have avoided FP publishing so far, don't go out of your way to have that experience. ;)


 12:38 am on Aug 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Marcia

With nearly 3000 posts I think you must be a bit cluey, so a quick play with FP would be a breeze for you.

Have a play, what harm can it do.
It is only frustrating you the way you are doing it now.

You can use FP to go in live to the site and then through your FILE>PUBLISH buttons just backload it to your PC and play with it, tear it apart, get rid of the Ugghh "shared borders" and put in what you want, test it on your PC.

And then if it is still not coming together you have not wrecked anything "live".
All my navs are & headers are "include" pages and a breeze to modify

You have nothing to lose except a bit of precious time.

Cheers from the Outback

Robert Charlton

 7:03 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)


I just sent you a Sticky, reminding you of a thread I started way back about optimizing a site written in FrontPage.


As I mentioned in the Sticky, I eventually gave up on the project. Looking further through the thread, I came across a response from Laisha, which is very relevant here....

When you try to use a non-FP method to make changes, FP tried to resolve the "html" back to what it uses. You can imagine the mess that results after repeated attempts to modify using non-FP....

The solution that worked for me? I fixed all 4000+ instances of this mess in FP98 and then re-imported it in a newer version. Then I bought a Dummies book about Front Page and never, ever tried to change their site outside of that environment.

brotherhood of LAN

 10:00 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't know what all the fuss is about :)

IMHO the biggest problem with the shared borders is the fact you are going to have to redesign the site- because you wont get the borders "shoved on to the page as normal". Shared borders are like frames to Frontpage, but are read as includes. Horrible for design basically.

Marcia, to use includes on .htm pages without changing the file extension...this is the code for FP includes

<!--webbot bot="Include" U-Include="yourfile.htm" TAG="BODY" -->

Just change the path each time you need to use it.

The above FP include is the same as any other "regular" include.

They will only appear on the page when the includes have <html> and <body> tags....which must tell the extensions that at least its HTML and to fire it on to the page.

But- in the end I think you'll just have to overhaul the site- because the "framed" borders will no doubt be exiting the site v.soon

you can even preview these sort of includes in your browser :)

/side note
they're actually not a bad way to plan a site- and if you think FP HTML is bad- if a site uses 10 includes it won't take long to sort that out and validate them anyway.

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