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- FrontPage advice for a novice webmaster?
Re: FrontPage advice for a novice webmaster?
Some data points with older browsers:
IE6 seems to work "as desired" (by the dezigner, if not the visitor).
There's an obnoxious, slow fade-in transition to the page, and the theme
does what that part of the theme that's been left is supposed to look like.
The bullet points have their images, and the texts to their right, and the
bullet items are closely spaced as if they belong together. There's a
permanent horizontal scroll bar.
In Opera 7.23 (!), the page appears complete, although the bulleted items
in the upper lists are more widely spaced than in IE6. Horizontal scroll
bar from around 936px (viewport) and smaller.
FF 188.8.131.52 shows effectively the same as Opera 7 above.
Win Safari 3.1.1 shows bullet points with images only; the texts are
completely invisible. In fact, *most* of the text is invisible, with the
exceptions of "WELCOME", the entire "COMING SOON!" paragraph, and linked
text items. Executive summary: completely unusable. ;-)
The easy thing to do is to say, "FrontPage makes crummy pages," which is of
course true, but I know it doesn't help you much. I was able to make good
pages with FrontPage, but to do so I had to
1. know the difference between good and bad
2. care about the difference
3. know how to get around FP's quirks (my last version was FP2002, which
was in most respects *much* better than FP98 or whatever I started with)
4. have the time and patience to tweak the code.
You're asking about #3, and #2 is implied, but a lack of #1 and #4 will
make my post kind of pointless. Besides which, your webmaster friend is
using a version of FP which is newer than any I used (even though it's also
no longer supported by MS), so I don't know which features it has, how they
work, or how well they work.
In FP2002, one place to start would be under Tools | Page Options, where a
number of defaults can be set (Support CSS 1.0, Support CSS 2.0, Preserve
existing HTML [very important to keep FP's GUI cleverness from stomping on
code you've laboriously tweaked by hand], which *browser versions* to
support, etc.) I am sorry that I am not making up any of these settings.
There's also a dialog under File | Properties with other settings you can
specify. I think the "Custom" tab allows the specification of a Doctype.
Hmm, no, I just tested it. It doesn't allow that at all, just the creation
of meta tags. Maybe you'd have to go in and change the theme's template.
Anyway, it has to be said that the page you've pointed to has relatively
few validation errors (where the validator has to guess and use HTML 4.01
Transitional). Microsoft's attempt at CSS includes a bunch of arbitrary
properties, resulting in 70 errors and 983 warnings. Oh, well.
The advice to ditch FrontPage isn't bad, except that
1. the person probably paid money for it, and
2. the person will probably be completely helpless without it.
I've heard that MS Expression Web is significantly better than FP ever was,
but I've never used it. I moved from FP to Dreamweaver some years back, but
I tend to work in the HTML code window much more than the GUI/WYSIWYG
window. I've never used the themes in Dreamweaver, having had such trouble
with them in FrontPage (and spending such a long time slowly removing their
non-standard tables from my site; I should have just rewritten the pages
and been done with it).
In the short term, I don't know why the text is missing in Safari, or what
all the other problems are (you didn't specify). It seems that some style
is setting most of the text to white, and it's all on a white background,
so nothing much is visible. Turn of CSS and things get better. I don't see
what rule is causing the problem, however. Those FP themes produce a lot
of, um, stuff.
Medium-term, the webmaster probably needs a pro at hir side, who can
fix/tweak/redo code to make it usable. This could include some instruction,
or maybe just somebody doing that work full time.
A long-term approach might be to learn HTML and CSS, and do the coding with
Notepad or Crimson Editor or even in FrontPage, but without any attempt to
use WYSIWYG features. This is the best approach, IMHO, but it won't suit
For what? An overly-long post with little help? You're welcome!
John (not the OP)
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