Thursday, February 16, 2006

Microsoft FrontPage - Dead!

Microsoft just announced some of the new packaging for Office 2007. One of the things they mentioned is the fact that they now have two web design tools [maybe even three :-(]: Expression Web Designer [EWD] and SharePoint Designer 2007. Since they believe that these tools do a better job at web design they have announced that FrontPage will be discontinued. I'm not sure if this is good news or not. Let me explain. First I believe that FrontPage is very important in some circles. I was never a big fan myself [after trying early versions it would just kill the formatting in your HTML] however some liked it. I always felt there where better options (eg: HomeSite, HTMLPad and Visual Studio.Net [VS.NET]). The problem is why discontinue the product? Why not do the right thing and let someone else continue it's development? The obvious answer is it would instantly create a large competitor. We don't want that! But it's certainly the morally right thing for Microsoft to do. I also don't believe Microsoft should have three pieces of software that have such an overlap. This was the problem with their development tools a few years ago where they had a different IDE for anything you wanted to do (remember InterDev!). I understand that these three tools are aimed at different audiences but I'm really hard pressed to imagine that SharePoint designers [really developers] would not already be using VS.NET and/or thinking about using EWD when it ships. Could neither of these products be extended to handle SharePoint specific features? I would think so.