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In a nutshell: FrontPage users are being offered four different migration paths. (I'd guess that many of us here will opt for Expression Web Designer, but the Microsoft announcements are so larded with marketing- and IT-speak that it's a bit early to know for sure.)
While both products are partially based on Microsoft Office FrontPage technologies, they are tailored to very different usage scenarios. We have built SharePoint Designer 2007 expressly for information workers in an enterprise who are creating and customizing Microsoft SharePoint Web sites and building workflow-enabled applications on SharePoint Products and Technologies. It provides these workers with versatile tools to produce more interactive Web pages that incorporate data from a wide variety of sources, as well as enable business processes and create powerful reporting tools on the SharePoint platform. SharePoint Designer 2007 also allows the IT department to closely manage all of these activities so that employees ultimately can more productively build and customize SharePoint sites and applications.
Expression Web Designer is focused on the needs of professional Web designers seeking to build high-quality, standards-based Web sites for companies. It provides exceptional support for integrating XML, CSS, ASP.NET 2.0, XHTML and other standard Web technologies into sites to make them more dynamic, interactive and accessible. Teams of designers using Expression Web Designer and developers using Microsoft Visual Studio will benefit from numerous integrated features that allow them to collaborate on the design and development of content and applications.
FrontPage will still be supported. There just won't be any further upgrades. Just like any other piece of software out there, it will live as long as the users are there.
MSFP smells death on the wind if it doesn't improve support for the masses for interactive website building. When once code-adverse folks like me start reading about PHP/MySQL - "how easy it is (or can be . . shudder .) - it's the clearest sign that MSFP is about to become irrelevant.
I looked for and found a bit of confirmation for my surmise in their press release:
With the product’s deep support for ASP.NET, which is Microsoft’s platform for building Web applications, site designers can create highly sophisticated and interactive sites that typically have required the server coding expertise of a Web developer. In addition, this ASP.NET support makes it much easier for developers and design professionals to work side by side on these types of projects, where the developer is working in Visual Studio and the designer is working in Expression Web Designer.
I really like FP 2003, think it's a great release. It let's me do exactly what I want to do, the way I want to work. But I'm also prepping for the changes over the next few years; have already downloaded and printed a copy of the php manual. Don't want to be caught short.
OTOH, IF MS ever used all that money in their coffers to build a tool that enabled ordinary folk to rapidly build database driven websites well (MSFP + ASP.NET + MSSQL + Various WinServers Made Easy) . . . I think it just might make a very large difference to their bottom line.
Ease of use has been both their strength and their weakness.
Dynamic database driven websites for the masses! Now what would be really nice: Jeff's home brewed classified ads. Jeff's home brewed job listings. Jeff's home brewed real estate listings. Jeff's home brewed forum, blog, CMS . . .
Whoa! Don't nobody wake me when I get to dreaming like that. Reality, by comparison, sucks. :0)
Plus develop at least one PHP-based site in the next couple of months just to get my feet wet.
Me too. I've gotten to the point where I can pick up coding skills fairly quickly and if I can work with ASP, I can surely work with PHP. Heck, I might even consider bringing in an Apache server. ;)