May 2005

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


Microsoft FrontPage 2003: The Microsoft Office Web Site Creation and Management Solution

In August 2002, I reviewed Microsoft FrontPage 2002 and found it one great, and easy to use Web design program for beginners or seasoned Web designers. Now, I had a chance to review the new and improved Microsoft FrontPage 2003, offering more Web design flexibility and many more tools and features. You'll find all the features of FrontPage 2002, plus a slew of new and improved tools to help you make a more professional looking Web site. This is a full-featured professional Web publishing tool and manager designed to make it easy for anyone, beginner or professional, to publish on the Internet. And, if you're familiar with Microsoft Office products like Power Point, Word and Excel, then you already know most of what you need to use Microsoft FrontPage 2003.

Web page design can be difficult, especially for those who use HTML (hypertext mark up language) programming code exclusively. However, this isn't the case with Microsoft FrontPage because it uses the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface allowing more time to create an attractive and full-featured Web site, without the need to know the nuts and bolts of HTML programming. Unless you care to use HTML or, in some cases, are required to sneak a little code into your pages for special features, there's no need to learn it. The WYSIWYG format allows you cut and paste or type in your text and drop in your graphics without HTML programming knowledge. If you need to add some HTML code, there is an easy tool for that.

FrontPage also makes it easy to publish your complete site, with graphics and text, using HTTP or FTP (file transfer protocol). When you're ready to transfer your pages, you just click on "Publish Site" and it starts the process. If you're publishing with FTP, FrontPage will need to know your domain's user name and password before it can publish. You may also transfer your pages using the HTTP method, however, this requires your host's server to support Microsoft FrontPage Extensions or SharePoint Team Services, and it's best to activate that feature prior to publishing your page. This will allow your site several built-in functions not available without the extensions including search forms, form processing, site maps by category and hit counters. Also, it's easy to access the pages you're working on because they're listed by page name and number as a folder tab at the top.

After a quick installation from a single CD and activating your product, you'll be authoring Web pages in no time. The main menu of FrontPage looks like the Microsoft Word interface (standard menu bar, toolbar and formatting toolbar) with a few more features: the Views bar on the left and the New Page or Web task pain on the right side of the screen. Within the current page window, at the bottom of the screen, you'll see buttons allowing access to four different views: Design, Split, Code and Preview. Also, you can easily modify HTML code from the Code or Split window. If you need help, FrontPage has an excellent help system ready to answer questions and solve your problems while you're creating your documents. And dozens of professional looking Web site templates (Themes) are available to incorporate into your design, just a mouse click or two away.

Some of what's new you can do with FrontPage 2003:

Add advanced graphics and animation

Use dynamic Web templates to quickly edit entire sections

Achieve precise layouts

Meet industry guidelines with accessibility checker

Target different browsers and screen resolutions

Edit images and content with layer manipulation tools

Use cascading style sheets

Code your HTML faster

Easily edit and manipulate tags

Optimize and clean your HTML code

Use the speech recognition feature to dictate text

The Views Bar

The Views Bar has a column of icons controlling the kind of information that will appear in the main window. Click on the Page icon to edit a Web page; click on Folders to view your Web site's files and folders, click on Reports for your Web site statistics including page sizes and links, click on Navigation to show your site's structure, click on Hyperlinks for a graphics picture of your site's links and finally, click on Tasks for a list you've created of tasks to be completed.

The New Page

From this menu you can open an existing page or pages, create a new page from a blank or existing page, create a new page from pre-designed page template or one you've designed on your own and add a Web folder from other sites if required. Also available from this menu bar is access to Microsoft FrontPage Help.

FrontPage also supports advanced Internet Web programming tools and techniques including ActiveX Controls, Java Applets and Scripts, Server-Side Scripting, Script Languages, Java Applets and Web Browser Plug-Ins. You'll find several pre-designed layouts and templates or you can create your own with the tools provided. And if you're upgrading from FrontPage 2002 to 2003, you'll be able to open and edit your FrontPage 2002 version Web sites without any problems.

Microsoft FrontPage 2003 sells for $170.99 (upgrade from FrontPage 2002 to FrontPage 2003 for $87.99) and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 233 MHz or faster, 128 MB RAM with Windows 2000 or XP and a CD-ROM drive. For more information, or to order, visit

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Phone: 1-206-882-8080