Microsoft FrontPage is a WYSIWYG HTML editor and web site administration tool from Microsoft for the Windows operating system. It is part of Microsoft Office and included in some versions of the popular bundle.
FrontPage was initially created by the Cambridge, Massachusetts company Vermeer Technologies Incorporated, evidence of which can be easily spotted in filenames and directories prefixed _vti_ in web sites created using FrontPage. Vermeer was acquired by Microsoft in 1996 specifically so that Microsoft could add FrontPage to its product line-up.
FrontPage used to require proprietary plug-ins known as the FrontPage Server Extensions to be installed in the target web server for it to work. However newer versions of FrontPage also support the standard WebDAV protocol from W3C.
As a WYSIWYG editor, FrontPage is designed to hide the details of pages' HTML code from the user, making it possible for non-experts to easily create Web pages and sites. Some web developers criticize this approach as producing HTML pages that are much larger than they should be and cause Web browsers to perform poorly. In addition, some people criticize FrontPage specifically for producing code that often does not comply with W3C standards and sometimes does not display correctly in non-Microsoft web browsers. Some have even speculated that FrontPage's rather poor code generation was intentionally done to inhibit uptake of alternative browsers.
A version for Mac OS was released around 1998; however, it had fewer features than the Windows product and Microsoft never updated it.
FrontPage's primary competitor is Macromedia Dreamweaver, another web design product.
One of the more unique features of FrontPage is that it has built in support for automated and easy to use web templates. The main distinction between these templates and other universal html templates is that FrontPage templates include an automatic navigation system that creates animated buttons for pages that have been added by the user, and creates an advanced multi-level navigation system on the fly using the buttons and the structure of the web site. FrontPage templates also commonly include FrontPage themes in place of CSS styles.
The current version is Microsoft FrontPage 2003 (version 6). Other versions include:
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