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See y'all in the morning
I just spent two weeks solid fighting with Dreamweaver; I kept fixing the code by hand and it kept putting in table heights. It doesn't matter on some, but with these it was the biggest hassle I've ever been through. It was unusual because of the page setups, but it does happen. So I can sympathize.
Username, hand coding is better, but from a production standpoint the best thing is to lay it out, correct the code by hand, and use the pages as a template. If you can possibly go with eliminating font tags and use CSS you automatically get cleaner code.
I know nothing about Front Page, but there are people here who use it and love it - and their code validates and does fine. They have absolutely beautiful sites. It's a matter of knowing which features to stay away from and get around and it can do a beautiful job.
If you have the program you might as well learn to use it, staying away from proprietary features and using FTP instead of FP extensions. I don't know how, but I believe it can be done.
>See y'all in the morning
Someone will be along to get you off to a start. There are some people here who know FP backwards and forwards and they'll be glad to help out.
No WYSIWYG program will code exactly like a human, but they can produce clean validatable code if used wisely.
As Marcia says, as long as you stay away from most of the "Bells and Whistles" then you will have no problems. So don't use any of the Bots, Navigation, Menus, Themes or such similar as they will dirty the code somewhat.
The only "feature" I use, and others on these fora use it as well, is the Include Page function which is like a Server Side Include only it is done before you upload. Quite Nifty.
The main thing I like about FP is the site management tools which automaticall adjust links if you move/rename a page/image, check links, and so on. Great Time Savers!
So don't listen to the Nay-Sayers too much, just learn the program, understand what works and what doesn't, and go from there.
I'm one of those FP Groupies. I've been using it since 1996 and have managed to figure out where the bugs are and what not to use. I've been through all of the version upgrades and am now using FP2002. Marcia hit it dead on with build a template page and then work from there.
The very first thing you need to do is set your page preferences. You do this by going to...
Tools > Page Options > HTML Source
The HTML Source tab is where you can make or break your web. Years ago I got away from the typical tabbed or indented html layout. I now use a left justified layout and will use comments when necessary to separate content.
I have my Page Options set up like this...
· Tags names are lowercase (Checked)
· Attribute names are lowercase (Checked)
· Allow line breaks within tags (Unchecked)
· Indent: 0 spaces
· Right margin: 2000 characters (prevents wrapping)
You want to make sure that the allow line breaks within tags is unchecked. If checked, you will typically run into the hanging </p> or </td> (if using tables) tags which cause spacing problems within your copy. I also feel that unbroken tags provide a cleaner path for the search engine spiders, its just a theory!
Next is CSS2 and XHTML - eventually.
It all stems from their "new page" template that lacks a DTD, and has some FP head tag fluff in it.
You will probably find that frontpage makes the same bad code again and again. IMO, the most annoying one is allowing FP to create a table where it adds more than a simple <table> ........you may get something like
<table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="171" height="95" id="AutoNumber1">
Pretty sad from a hand coders point of view!
Another thing I have noticed is that sometimes FP missed your opening <p> tag or forgets to close one.
I may recall other "probs brought on by FP" but no more as of yet!
One thing I recomment with FP is the Format > Style option. Save yourself a blank page with the .css extension then open the page in FP. You can create your CSS here and worry less about tags in your Frontpage daily duties because they are all pre-defined and is a matter of you putting in <table> <p> <div> or whatever. This way FP doesnt get a say in which code to put in, because you have already force fed the "style code" through a style sheet.
In general, through my use of FP I have continually broken down the components of information on a web site (just like Woz mentions with the FP includes) where a "mistake" can be corrected once and not have to be worried about site-wide.
All in all, FP and validation are not exactly hand in hand.....which may be a good thing, because it more or less forces you to get your hands dirty with the code (which is the road I'm went/going down).
One thing you may want to do is create a blank validating page with all the mandatory HTML you usually use and save it as a Frontpage Template for your own future use.
Thats my problem, I am a purist (until very recently all of my stuff was done by hand) but now I have so many projects I need to increase my productivity.
I think that learning CSS and the template idea will get me far and I will also try all of those formatting ideas pageoneresults. I actually miss not getting my hands dirty so to speak with coding but alas I have run out of the time to be able to do it.
Thanks for the replys and think good thoughts.