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Extra, Extra: FrontPage Is Dead

As Microsoft works on delivering new tools for creating and maintaining Web sites, it also plans to quietly kill off FrontPage at the end of the year.

"After nine years of being an award-winning Web authoring tool, FrontPage will be discontinued in late 2006," says a statement posted on Microsoft’s Web site. The announcement comes at the end of a short Q&A promoting the new tools. The impending end of FrontPage was first reported by the ActiveWin news site.

In its place, Microsoft is coming out with three Web design tools oriented towards three separate markets. These are the Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, meant for enterprise information workers using the SharePoint platform; Microsoft Expression Web Designer for professional Web designers; and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 for Web developers.

Microsoft acquired FrontPage in early 1996 when it bought Cambridge, Mass.-based Vermeer Technologies. Later that year, it rolled out Microsoft FrontPage 1.1., with the aim of transforming the then-extremely complex work of manually encoding Web sites and pages in HTML into a simpler and more intuitive drag-and-drop, or WYSIWYG, process for less technically minded Web authors.

Now, Microsoft is in the process of developing and rolling out a set of next-generation design products to fill that lower-end niche all the way out to high-end graphic design products targeted at the market for design professionals.

"Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Microsoft Expression Web Designer are partially based on FrontPage technologies and will be launched in the second half of 2006," the statement says. Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition were released last year.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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