Thursday, 29 January 2009

Why Front(page) when you can Dream(weaver)?

One of my recent freelance projects involved making some changes to a website such as turning all the pages into PHP, some content modification, and adding a few pages that would make use of the brand new database. As with such projects, I gleefully signed on since these projects are usually relatively easy, and it's always fun to mess with websites developed by other people. However, that was only before I found out that the whole website had previously been developed using the infamous (for the wrong reasons) Microsoft Frontpage.

Granted, Frontpage was actually a useful software a couple of years back (by which I mean not less than 8 years), but I would think people would realize that there are much better alternatives now, with the first being the equally infamous (for the good reasons) Adobe Dreamweaver. I have personally never used Frontpage before, but like most web developers, have heard about the many criticisms made towards Microsoft's flagship editor. From looking at the code and losing some of my precious hair at the vast amounts of garbage markup Frontpage resulted in, I can definitely say that these criticisms are perfectly valid. Obviously, given that these criticisms have been around since Microsoft Frontpage was released, there is no denying that these criticisms were bound to be true.

I am not saying that people should just whip up Notepad and start developing websites with just Notepad, a cup of coffee, and some snacks. However, considering there are so many alternatives available now and how easy it is to obtain a copy of these, it should not be that hard to abandon Frontpage and use another similar software. Obviously, the fact that Frontpage is included in Microsoft Office is a major reason behind its widespread use.

Thankfully, I was able to remove all the garbage code and optimize the pages according to W3C standards (something I never seem to have time to do at my real job), but I blame Frontpage for making things needlessly cumbersome.

Thank you, Frontpage!