We would be remiss to at least overlook
the dramatic improvement in the FrontPage product from 97 to 98. However, we should
inform users and potential users of the potential pitfalls in using FP98.
1) FP98 has a very aggressive code parser. If you
are finicky about how your HTML needs to look, FP98 will cause much grief. Apparently,
FP98 has a particular format that it wants to keep the code (server-side
and client-side) and will feel free to "adjust" margins, tags, and other
components any time you save your file. The nasty part is that it changes right before the
save, so your work is now under the application's discretion.
2) FP98 has a few persistent bugs.
* If you do a lot of development in tables, empty cells will vanish. If
you place ' ' in your cells to keep them from deflating, the parser dutifully
removes them like the brooms dumping the water in Disney's "Fantasia."
* If you use absolute values in your code, they may unexpectedly turn
into relative figures... i.e. a 400 pixel-wide table may become 70% before your very
eyes... or at least by the next time you save your file.
3) The Personal Web Server is subject to creating migration problems.
Your page looks super when you view it on your machine... once you move the file onto the
actual server, links are gone, images are nowhere to be found... they are out there in
4) Some WebBots don't play fair with Netscape Navigator... your
scriptlets that FP98 wrote using ActiveX objects or certain VBScript simply don't
translate on anything but IE 4.0.
Overall, FP98 is a good product that takes a lot of drudgery out of
web design... there are not many better WYSIWYG web authors on the market, and those that
do give FP98 a run for their money don't blend as well with Office products.
FrontPage Explorer is a super tool that is way above the competition (with the rest of the
market well above the price range that FP98 is in.) Our Web Publishing Team uses FP
Editor to get the basic look for our pages, and we go in using HTML view to tweak where
needed. We don't really take advantage of the CSS capability of FP98, as we have a large
audience using AOL and 3.0 browsers. We don't use themes at all, and most of our graphics
are made using high-end software programs or stock art.