FrontPage

FrontPage for Mac

Category: Internet
Version: 1.0d
Download Size: 17.9 MB
License: Free to try
Release Date: November 1, 1997
Last Updated: November 3, 2019
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.0 / 10.5

Microsoft’s long-awaited Web authoring suite is a colossal disappointment. Despite admirable site-management tools and strong support for the latest Web technologies, FrontPage 1.0 is bloated, cumbersome, and poorly integrated with other programs.

It’s too bad FrontPage’s editing tools aren’t more streamlined, because its site-based approach to Web authoring is otherwise outstanding. Unlike simpler Web authoring programs such as Adobe Page Mill, FrontPage treats your site as a single entity. FrontPage Explorer–one of the program’s two main components–gives you an overview of your site, displaying pages and the links between them hierarchically. Explorer lets you search and replace across your site and maintain a list of pages to be completed, then publish your site via FTP.

FrontPage Mac

The suite’s other main component, FrontPage Editor, is a WYSIWYG page-editing environment that borrows heavily from Microsoft Word’s overblown interface–and it’s here that FrontPage falls down on the job. Although Microsoft touts FrontPage as closely integrated with Microsoft Office, Editor’s integration with those programs is appalling. For example, FrontPage doesn’t recognize Word documents when you use the Open command; you have to change the file type in the dialog box to All Files, then step through another confusing dialog box. In contrast, PageMill opens Word files cleanly, no questions asked.

The program’s drag-and-drop support is also weak. You can’t drag images or text into or out of FrontPage, nor can you drop file icons onto a page to create links to other documents as you can in Page Mill. And setting up frames in FrontPage is needlessly complex, despite a wizard that steps you through the process.

FrontPage Editor’s basic formatting tools, on the other hand, are simple and word processor-like, as are its table-formatting controls. When you enter a string of text that FrontPage recognizes as a URL or e-mail address, the pro-gram automatically turns it into an active link. It converts images to GIFs and JPEGs automatically and includes simple tools for creating image maps. Tool bars make it easy to add sounds, movies, ActiveX controls, JavaScript, and Java. Other buttons give you access to FrontPage’s Web Bots–dynamic objects that add tables of contents, sitewide text searching, forms handling, and other features to your site (though the more powerful Web Bots require a Windows NT or Unix Web server running FrontPage extensions).

FrontPage lets you view and edit the HTML code behind your pages, but the tools for doing so are minimal. You can’t drag and drop text in the HTML window, for example, and you have no control over the fonts and colors used to display the code. You can’t even copy selected text within the window.

Requiring 30MB of hard-disk space and at least 13MB of free RAM, FrontPage is huge and sluggish. For acceptable performance, you need a Power Mac running at 100MHz or higher.

PROS: Good site-management and formatting tools; automatically activates embedded URLs.
CONS: Slow, bloated interface; poor integration with other programs; weak drag-and-drop support; unintuitive frames setup.
LIST PRICE: DEMO / $149.

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