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Byebye Frontpage Express
What to do now?

 8:35 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sure this has been asked before (maybe a long time ago, tho).

I have a 500-page journalistic website, built entirely on Frontpage Express (yes, I know!).

Is there anything I can buy which will accept the pages I have and let me upgrade the whole thing to the 21st century, or will I have to start again from scratch?

Any thoughts would really help me.




 9:05 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe you could try to "Clean up your Web pages with HTML TIDY"

Introduction to TIDY

When editing HTML it's easy to make mistakes. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a simple way to fix these mistakes automatically and tidy up sloppy editing into nicely layed out markup? Well now there is! Dave Raggett's HTML TIDY is a free utility for doing just that. It also works great on the atrociously hard to read markup generated by specialized HTML editors and conversion tools, and can help you identify where you need to pay further attention on making your pages more accessible to people with disabilities.

Tidy is able to fix up a wide range of problems and to bring to your attention things that you need to work on yourself. Each item found is listed with the line number and column so that you can see where the problem lies in your markup. Tidy won't generate a cleaned up version when there are problems that it can't be sure of how to handle. These are logged as "errors" rather than "warnings".


Tidy can now perform wonders on HTML saved from Microsoft Word 2000! Word bulks out HTML files with stuff for round-tripping presentation between HTML and Word. If you are more concerned about using HTML on the Web, check out Tidy's "Word-2000" config option! Of course Tidy does a good job on Word'97 files as well!<snip/>


 10:37 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks lavazza, but it's not that there is anything wrong with my pages. I want to move on to something new without rebuilding the whole site, or having clashes of style.


 10:41 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Huh? In your first post you say you want to upgrade to the 21st century, then in your next post you say you don't want to rebuild the whole site. Which is it?

brotherhood of LAN

 10:46 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't be too harsh on frontpage, granted in WYSIWYG mode it can create code bloat but nothing too tragic.

What is it you need to update for your site, is there code bloat you need removed?


 11:36 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Whatever you do, do make sure that you investigate URL rewriting so that none of the URLs for your content have to change.

Just because you change the design of the site, or the technology that is used to serve it, that is no reason to start changing URLs.

That is, even if filenames change, the URLs do NOT have to change.


 1:51 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

You could try downloading the free trial of Expression Web (its the replacement for FP)- just google 'expression web free trial'.

If it understands your pages, you're good to go!


 2:02 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

FrontPage Express

As in the same FrontPage Express that shipped with IE4 in 1997? That FrontPage Express?

Truthfully, that little editor is perfect for the small website. Blended with some server technology, you can whip out validated content in a heartbeat.

But, you can't rely on that to do anything other than your basic functions. I used it judiciously for a couple of years and still have a copy active on me system.

I use FP2003 almost exclusively with a little dab of EWD due to .NET development. FP2003 doesn't like some of the .NET stuff so EWD is the better editor in that instance.


 5:26 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interesting replies. Thanks for these. I'll take a look at that Expressions freebie, and see what happens.

I guess what kind of nags is that I know I'm going to have to rebuild maybe a dozen key pages, if only because screen dimensions and resolutions are changing, and I wonder if I will get better results on some newer editor.

Code bloating doesn't seem to have done me much harm over the years, but obviously I don't get CSS or anything like that.


 8:46 am on Mar 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I guess what kind of nags is that I know I'm going to have to rebuild maybe a dozen key page...but obviously I don't get CSS or anything like that

EW handles CSS quite well, and has some built in page templates for you to use.

However, I prefer to make my own templates, a basic CSS layout is pretty easy to design (if you decide to ignore older browsers). There are plenty on the net and in the CSS forum here that you can try.

EW provides some excellent tools for learning CSS, but if it does occasionally display things wrongly! But if you install Firefox to preview pages you can make sure things are displayed as they should be.


 5:40 pm on Mar 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

FYI: There is software out there that converts html to css. I was going to get it when I stopped using FrontPage Express last year. I switched to Dreamweaver and used its Find and Replace feature to make many changes. There are still some changes I could do, however, using the special conversion software, but I haven't had time to do that yet.


 7:19 pm on Mar 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi potentialgeek:

So was it fairly straightforward to switch to Dreamweaver? Could you just open up the same pages and go to work on them? I have a 500-page site of journalism, which performs exceptionally well in its keyword areas, but I need to do a site-wide upgrade of its look.


 10:41 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I guess what kind of nags is that I know I'm going to have to rebuild maybe a dozen key pages, if only because screen dimensions and resolutions are changing"

Just a dozen? I have FP 2003 and had to change about 1200 to get up to date with screen resolutions. Find and replace took care of about 800 to change the liquid layout to set page width, but the code is so screwed up the rest had to be done individually page by page. That may have much to do with the way I built the site six years ago and the tinkering i've done since. Expressions is over my head.

I feel your grief!


 9:40 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Expression Web, when first introduced a couple of years ago, came with a DVD tutorial which was EXCELLENT!

If you can find the original software on ebay or somewhere with the tutorial dvd, get it.

FYI, here is how Web Expression starts each new page:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">


 3:01 pm on Apr 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm using Frontpage 2003 and want to buy Expression Web2. I heard somewhere that if you already have Frontpage you can buy/upgrade to Expression Web for less than half the price of it's regular price. Does anyone else know about this? I have found some tutorials online that are specifically for transitioning from Frontpage to Expression Web.


 8:03 am on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sure, MS has an upgrade info page [microsoft.com]. Here's what you can upgrade from:

For qualifying owners of:
  • Licensed copy of an earlier version of Expression Web
  • Adobe Creative Suite - any version
  • Adobe/Macromedia Flash or Director - any version
  • Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver - any version
  • Adobe GoLive - any version
  • Microsoft Office - any version
  • Microsoft FrontPageŽ - any version
  • Quark QuarkXPress - any version

  • SteveWh

     10:54 am on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Brian, if you want to try importing your site to Expression Web or any other program, make a -->COPY<-- of your entire website and import the copy. Or use the copy as backup and import the original. But just make sure you always keep an absolutely complete version of the original site, untouched by any other program, so you can revert to it if necessary.

    EW can rewrite various aspects of your pages without telling you and without you telling it to. If you decide EW's methods aren't what you want, you could be left with a converted site with no way of going back.

    With that warning out of the way, if your pages are basically HTML, you might well discover that your site is already 21st century.

    Web pages are plain text documents. Different web design programs provide different features for editing the text in those documents. If you used a lot of FrontPage gimmicks (such as webbots), you might find you have some technical conversions to do. But if your pages are relatively plain, you might discover that they'll import cleanly into any editor you choose.

    [edited by: SteveWh at 11:09 am (utc) on April 22, 2009]


     9:05 pm on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Thank you Bill.
    Thanks for pointing that out, (making a COPY). I've never made a copy of my website except to have a separate file of all the images. Is there a trick to it? I'd probably copy it to a CD.

    Also, I stopped using the 'webbots' a while a go and have converted my site over to xhtml and css. As of today all my pages are validating but Frontpage keeps putting html code in where I don't want it.

    I haven't loaded my updated site to the host yet. I've some work to do still and don't know if I should load it to the host while still using Frontpage or wait till I get EW2.


     10:52 pm on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Load it to a password-protected development sub-domain or to a local copy of Apache/PHP running on your office PC.

    Ensure that no-one can access the content; be absolutely sure that search engines cannot access that development site.

    [edited by: g1smd at 10:54 pm (utc) on April 22, 2009]


     10:53 pm on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Artsyrat, your website is a folder on your HD. You can copy it in Windows Explorer by clicking and dragging just like you can copy any other file or folder.

    If FP is adding extra HTML code, it's probably because you have it configured that way. Look through your FP settings. It might take a while. Some of the options give FP "permission" to make code changes that you might not want it to make, but you can turn those features off.


     9:55 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Expression Web comes with a development engine built-in so that you can preview your xhtml pages on your local machine using IE, Firefox or whatever browsers that you have loaded.

    Get the upgrade and order the physical disk, not a download version - the upgrade Expression Web originally came with a free training disk from Total Training. The training disk is easily worth $50 bucks and will give you a great running start. Between the disk and online videos, you should soon want to convert all the old FrontPage sites over to xhtml using Expression Web.

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