How can I prevent FrontPage from adding random (invalid) code snippets to my valid HTML templates?
March 10, 2004 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I have to use Frontpage to run an intranet - so that others can edit the content. How can I best prevent my valid HTML templates from being mangled? Frontpage seems to add random snippets of code.
posted by laukf to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Store your "good" markup in header and footer files, and only give the users permission to edit content files. That's what I'd do if I had no other choice than to use That Product.
posted by vraxoin at 1:28 PM on March 10, 2004

I'm in a very similar situation - I handle most of the scripting/database access pages and general layout of an intranet site, whilst my cow orker provides most of the content, via Frontpage. I've learned that Frontpage does have a tendency to mangle decent html code, and can even banjax your javascript. I've gone for a fix it as and when required policy, but I'd be interested if anyone has a better solution.
posted by BigCalm at 3:18 PM on March 10, 2004

I second or third the mangling-code problem; I ran up against this in a big way when I was supposed to maintain a company site with it - though in that case I got away with editing all the HTML in Notepad and just pretended I was using That Product until I got a better job and escaped. Absent that... I guess my only advice would be to grit your teeth for now, but start today on a campaign to persuade the company to buy a better web management tool. (I used HomeSite for a while and had no complaints.) Good luck.
posted by soyjoy at 8:26 PM on March 10, 2004

maybe I'm just stubborn, or a deep-seated masochist, but I've been using FrontPage for years, and I think it works pretty well. I mean, I can understand the whole "hate microsoft" mindset, but it's not like the program is unusable. And you embed code that it won't touch, although it makes it harder to do search-and-replace across the entire site, because what it won't touch, it also won't see.

Mind you, I'm not saying that FrontPage is the bestest program out there, but I really don't think it deserves to be maligned just because it's Gates related.
posted by crunchland at 9:57 PM on March 10, 2004

crunchland: I don't think that FrontPage is being maligned because it's a Microsoft product, but simply because it's awful. To be fair, Dreamweaver is, IMO, also pretty dreadful. They're both handy for absolute newbies or for people who just want to create web pages and aren't interested in learning HTML, but many people find, after a while, that they prefer to code directly.
posted by Nick Jordan at 1:36 AM on March 11, 2004

it's a Microsoft product, but simply because it's awful. To be fair, Dreamweaver is, IMO, also pretty dreadful.

Agreed. It's not the MS aspect. It's every time we build a site that someone is going to "maintain" in FrontPage it looks like hell a week after it goes live.

Word on the street is Dreamweaver has gotten much better about clean code.
posted by yerfatma at 5:51 AM on March 11, 2004

Dreamweaver is very good about producing clean code. And while FrontPage is notorious for producing some really horrifying html, the ads for the latest version claim that they've cleaned it all up. There's still some debate as to whether it produces valid XHTML, but at least it (supposedly) writes html that a human can understand.
posted by jpoulos at 6:36 AM on March 11, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all these comments. I suppose one solution maybe to use the include webbot so function like server side includes. However even this doesn't seem to include the whole html file only that between the body tags. Does anyone know how to change this?
posted by laukf at 10:52 AM on March 11, 2004

The big problem with Frontpage is that it's a WYSIWYG editor, and the whole point of HTML is that it's a hinting language. It's led to a generation of web-designers who believe that if you don't have a particular browser and particular screen resolution, you're not worthy to view their page.

Whereas, if you'd taken the same proto web-designer, taught them basic html (nothing fancy, just br,i,b,img,a,center,h1-h4) and then given them frontpage they'd have told you where to stick it after seeing the horrible html it produced that no-one except the author could view with any decent user experience. The product basically sucks.

As I said above however, I haven't really got too much choice when other people use it - they're creating the content and I have bigger fish to fry than parsing their frontpage html to see the errors. I'm happy about this - I don't have to create content for an intranet site in my (already) overstretched workload, I'd just like not to have to fix the problems(!). When my cow orker decides to create a new page, he designs it all in frontpage, pastes in the (carefully designed in Vi) navigational html, which then works fine. One of the big problems is our intranet tends to get used by mobile devices, which means you have to be very careful that the html it spits out is palatable to pda devices. Not fun when the stuff is being authored in Frontpage, but it sort of works. Sort of.
posted by BigCalm at 3:50 PM on March 11, 2004

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