FrontPage vs. Expression Web



Okay, I just started learning FrontPage but am now wondering if I should just
forget it and switch to Expression Web.

I want to create a pretty simple Web site.

I chose FrontPage because I already had it, am pretty familiar with Office,
and it seemed easy to learn. Got halfway through the Step by Step book in
just a couple of days. (The book is a bit easy for me but that's good because
I didn't know anything about Web design when I started.) FrontPage seems
REALLY easy.

Here are my concerns:
-FrontPage is on its way out, and I may end up with a host that discontinues
the server extensions.
-Some stuff in FrontPage works only in Internet Explorer, sigh. This it
totally unacceptable. The problem at the moment is that I don't know what
those things are or whether there will be an easy workaround.
-Don't know what other problems I may run into.
-However, I have heard that Expression Web is a bit difficult for beginners,
and I don't want to turn Web design into a "second career." I just want to
create a Web site of my artwork for people to look at (people keep asking me
for a link). I suppose it's possible that I might sell stuff through the site
in the future, but I wouldn't be doing that right away.

Dreamweaver is out (too expensive). I know people who work at MS and someone
has offered to get the Expression Suite for me at the company store, so it
would only cost me in the neighborhood of $60. I don't want to do it all from
scratch in HTML.

I welcome all opinions.




Just found yet another option: Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition,
which is in Beta now. I think it's meant more for novices, but I'm not sure.
Wouldn't want to try it until it's actually released, anyway. (Am I driving
myself too crazy thinking about this?)


Based on your previous post, avoid Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
Edition. This is primarily for coders, not designers, and you seem to
fit the designer category.

For simple websites Expression Web is just as easy as FrontPage, and
will not include any IE only objects.
A knowledge of HTML and CSS is always useful, even for FrontPage.

A 60 day trial for Expression Web is available from
IMPORTANT: Do not forget the product key obtainable from a link on that
The trial will work perfectly with FrontPage installed, so you can
easily compare the two.

As for FrontPage, FrontPage 2003 is the last version. It will continue
to be supported by Microsoft until January 2011, with full support until
Jan 2009.

FrontPage extensions are only supported (by Microsoft) on Windows 2003
servers- other server types (Unix, Windows 2000) have no support for
extensions other than that given by hosts. There is a version of FP
extensions available for IIS7, used by Windows Server 2008 and Vista.
Whether hosts will support the extensions or not is entirely up to the
hosts, and always has been.


Thank you. At least I can eliminate Visual Web Developer from the options.
And, I'm glad to hear that you think Expression Web is just as easy as FP for
simple sites. Also, thanks for letting me know that it's a 60-day trial.
(When I looked on the site, I couldn't find out how long the trial was for.)
So, it's down to FrontPage or Expression Web.

I may just have to look at the trial version, and possibly get a book as
well, to see about Expression Web. (When I just looked at FrontPage without a
book, I couldn't figure anything out intuitively.) Glad to hear that they'll
both work on the same computer. I actually do not have a way to reinstall

(I do know a tiny bit of HTML, and could probably figure out how to do
something with it if I had to. Don't know anything about CSS other than the
idea of having a style sheet.)

The server-side things in FrontPage that interest me at the moment are the
usage reports and the guestbook. I don't know that I want a hit counter on
the site itself (gets into a philosophical thing about turning art into a
popularity contest), but the usage reports would be interesting for my own

I also really like the guestbook idea. Art is partly about communication,
and the guestbook would provide a way for people to communicate about it.
Then, people's reactions wouldn't just exist in a vacuum.

Of course, I didn't realize that these were only server-side options when I
started. And now I have to worry about whether a host -- even one that has
the extensions -- will continue to have them. Does anybody know if there are
similar items in Expression Web? (And, does anybody know what the IE-only
objects in FP are? Or, is the IE-only stuff just woven all throughout the



See the tutorials at for a starter course on

The IE-only objects in FrontPage are mainly VML graphics (WordArt,
ShapeArt, Textboxes. If you never use the drawing toolbar, and never
use Word, Publisher or PowerPoint for pages in your website, you will be
safe from these.), background sound and margins on the body tag. Almost
everything else will work cross browser. Expression Web does not
support VML, and does everything else correctly.

In my opinion, the FrontPage guestbook is one to avoid. It will
eventually become a spammers paradise.
Expression Web does not have any such components, but you can get lots
of help and examples in building your own version, including pre-written

As for books - check at your library or bookstore. Cheryl Wise (MVP
Expression Web) has a book aimed at starting with Expression Web -
Foundations of Expression Web: The Basics and Beyond , and Jim Cheshire
has Special Edition Using Microsoft Expression Web, which is a good
Ron Symonds - Microsoft MVP (FrontPage)
Reply only to group - emails will be deleted unread.


Thank you. This is so helpful.

You're right, I don't know why I didn't think about spammers and the
guestbook. (And I'm so careful with my e-mail addresses.) I'm going to forget
about it. In fact, I've been wondering how I'm going to avoid tons of spam
when I put a contact e-mail on the site. So far, the only idea I've come up
with is to type out the address (maybe with some extra spaces in between) and
make people type it into a message, which isn't the greatest for legitimate

Thanks for the IE-only list. Those sound easy to avoid. (Although, what are
"margins on the body tag?" I hope you don't mind me asking one last question.)

I know that I could learn HTML and CSS if I wanted to. Kind of trying to
avoid that by using Frontpage....and I definitely would browse through some
books at the bookstore if I decided to go to Expression Web.

I'm kind of inclined to stick with FrontPage for now. Actually, after your
previous response, I searched this forum and the Expression Web forum about
this issue (should have done that before), and it sounds like there might be
problems (not unusual with a Version 1.0 product), and there definitely seem
to be problems with the trial version. Plus, I'm almost at the end of the FP
book, and it sounds like anything I create SHOULD work indefinitely (because
it just gets turned into HTML, right?), except for the usage reports, which
are dependent on the extensions.

Actually, now I'm thinking about some type of "hidden" hit counter that only
I could see. Wouldn't be as detailed or interesting as the usage reports, but
wouldn't be dependent on the server extensions, either.




You can obfuscate email addresses. While using FrontPage take a look at
Spam Spoiler at (Jimco's addins
will not run on Expression Web, but the code produced can be brought
over without problems.)

The best plan for contact emails is to not use them. Use a form
instead. Avoid the FrontPage forms, which leave your email address in
the page source, but use asp,, php etc. to process the form
data. Again there are lots of prewritten scripts out there, and lots of
help with them in these newsgroups and forums.

IE margins on the body tag:

<body topmargin="10" leftmargin="10">

which will only work in IE, Firefox etc. will ignore them.

FrontPage forms will only work while the host provides the extensions.
While the form itself is HTML, the server processing may change. If the
extensions go, you will have to find another means to process the form.
Most hosts will provide basic scripts, but these may expose your email
address in the page.

For hit counter - your host may provide statistics which will always be
better than a hit counter. Or there is Google Analytics which have been
highly recommended.
Ron Symonds - Microsoft MVP (FrontPage)
Reply only to group - emails will be deleted unread.


Okay, this is great info. I'm going to keep all this in mind when I actually
start creating my site. (Just finishing up the FP book now, and then will
probably have to hold off for a few weeks due to a major work project).

I'm also finding some other things that work only in IE. Like the link bar.
(Funny, the link bar works in Firefox but the link labels don't display.)
Looks like maybe all the "webbots" will work only in IE, but that's easily
discoverable by previewing in the different browsers. Since my site is going
to be pretty simple, I can just lay out the individual components the way
that I want them.

Now, hopefully I will never need to reinstall FP! (No longer have access to
the server that I installed it from.)




Artemisia said:
-Some stuff in FrontPage works only in Internet Explorer, sigh. This it
totally unacceptable.

Expression Web is better in this regard and it also has a very usable
browser preview feature that previews pages in all browsers you have
installed on your system and in various resolutions.
-However, I have heard that Expression Web is a bit difficult for beginners,

No more so than FrontPage.
Dreamweaver is out (too expensive). I know people who work at MS and someone
has offered to get the Expression Suite for me at the company store, so it
would only cost me in the neighborhood of $60. I don't want to do it all from
scratch in HTML.

At $60 that is a bargain. Go for it!

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