Microsoft unveils FrontPage 2000

Andy Schulert, the FrontPage General Manager at Microsoft, published an open letter to customers on Wednesday, spelling out the compelling new features in the upcoming FrontPage 2000. Now in the fifth version of the product, FrontPage has always been designed with four major goals in mind:

  1. Web site creation that is accessible to anyone. FrontPage 2000 is modeled after the popular Microsoft Office applications so that it is easy to use and consistent.

  2. Web site management. The Web's real power is not in individual pages, but in collections of pages that form Web sites.

  3. Multi-user authoring and team management features. Web sites are generally created by a team of people, not individuals.

  4. Advanced Web technologies without programming. Interactivity is possible right out of the box with just a few mouse clicks.
To this feature set, FrontPage 2000 adds:
  • HTML preservation. FrontPage 2000 won't mangle user-written HTML as previous versions did.

  • Support for the latest Web technologies. FrontPage 2000 supports cross-browser Dynamic HTML, CSS 2.0 positioning elements, browser targeting features, and Active Server Pages.

  • Custom Themes. FrontPage 2000 includes over 60 professional themes, but it also makes it easy for users to customize existing themes or create their own new themes.

  • Easy-to-use databases. Users can save the results of an HTML form to a database without knowing SQL code.

  • Site Reports. Fix problems with 14 new reports.

  • Web collaboration. New team management features such as check-in and check-out.

  • Automatic hyperlinks. The new Category Component allows documents to be automatically hyperlinked and updated.

  • Visual Basic for Applications 6.0 (VBA). Like the rest of Office, programmers can now extend the features in FrontPage with their own add-ins.

  • Works like Microsoft Office. Shared menus and toolbars make FrontPage 2000 work like the rest of Office. Shared tools such as Themes, Format Painter, background spelling checker, Answer Wizard and HTML Help are identical to the tools in Office.

  • Streamlined publishing. Office 2000 users can save their documents directly into a FrontPage 2000 Web site.

  • Integrated Editor and Explorer. The FrontPage Editor and Explorer have been integrated into a single window.

  • Disk-based Web site. FrontPage 2000 allows you to create Web sites without a personal Web server.
Schulert says that the features in FrontPage 2000 were developed in response to direct input from over one hundred customer site visits, a survey of more than 1,100 users, dozens of editorial product reviews, tens of thousands of newsgroup comments, and more than 4,000 wish line requests.

"We have put in a lot of hard work and long hours since the early days back in 1994, but the nearly two million FrontPage users make it all worthwhile," he writes. "With FrontPage 2000, we continue to deliver on our original dream of Web site creation and management that is easy enough for the average Microsoft Office user, but powerful enough to satisfy the demanding Web professional."

You can read Schulert's entire letter on the Microsoft Web site. FrontPage 2000 is expected to be released in February

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