Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003

Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 is a comprehensive application that you can use to develop Web sites. This sophisticated program includes everything you need to create Web sites ranging from a simple Web-based résumé to a complex Web-based retail store. In spite of its sophistication, FrontPage is easy to use.

As a member of The Microsoft Office System 2003 suite of applications, it works pretty much the same way the other Office applications do. If you’ve avoided trying to create Web sites because you didn’t want to learn how to program in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), FrontPage might well be the answer you’ve been waiting for.

With FrontPage, you can easily create good-looking, interesting Web sites that incorporate complex elements, without typing a single line of programming code. But if you have some HTML programming experience or want to feel more in control, FrontPage gives you easy access to the code that it creates behind the scenes.

You can view and edit the underlying HTML code at any time; but the great thing is that you don’t have to. No programming experience is necessary to become a successful FrontPage developer. This article introduces FrontPage and explains the concept of a FrontPage-based Web site.

You will learn how to open an existing Web site, how to navigate between Web pages, and how to view the pages in different ways. You will then look at various ways of working in FrontPage and learn how to locate and control the FrontPage features you are likely to want to use in your own Web sites.

In addition, you will learn how to view the underlying HTML code that makes all Web sites work. You will also get an overview of the different types of Web sites you can create with FrontPage and of the decision-making tools and resources that are necessary to create, manage, and maintain a personal or commercial Web site.

For those of you who don’t have much experience with the other applications in the Office 2003 suite, here is a summary of some of the basic techniques you will use to work with FrontPage. FrontPage 2003 commands are available from 11 menus. Office 2003 applications feature the same expanding, dynamic menus that were first made available in Office 2000.

The menu commands you use most often move to the top of each menu, making them easier to access. The menu commands you don’t use are tucked out of sight, but can be easily accessed by clicking the double chevron at the bottom of the menu. Menu commands that are followed by an arrowhead have submenus.

Menu commands that are followed by an ellipsis (...) open dialog boxes or task panes where you provide the information necessary to carry out the command. Most of the menu commands are also represented graphically on 15 toolbars, all of which are customizable.

The graphic on the toolbar buttons corresponds to the graphic next to the same command on the menu. Each of the buttons has a ScreenTip to tell you the name of the command. Menu and toolbar options are unavailable when the option can’t be applied either to the environment you’re working in or to the specific object that is selected.

Available menu commands are displayed in black; unavailable commands are dimmed, or displayed in a gray font. In this exercise, you will learn to start and exit FrontPage. You will also look at the commands that are available on the FrontPage 2003 menus and toolbars, experiment with different ways of displaying the toolbars, and close a file.

  1. At the left end of the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click the Start button. On the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Microsoft Office, and then click Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003.

Depending on your system resources, you might see a message box notifying you of additional system requirements for using certain Office 2003 features, such as Speech Recognition. If you see this message box, click OK to continue.

When FrontPage opens for the first time, you see a new file called new_page_1.htm in the Page view editing window.

The Getting Started task pane is open. This task pane is displayed when FrontPage starts with no Web site open. If you don’t want the task pane to be shown by default, click the Tools menu and then click Options. On the General tab of the Options dialog box, clear the Startup Task Pane check box, and then click OK.

  1. Click the File menu to open it, and then click the double chevron at the bottom of the menu to expand the complete menu.
  1. Study the commands available on the menu, and think about how you might use each one. The Close Site, Publish Site, and Export commands are dimmed because they are unavailable at this time—in this case, because they apply to Web sites rather than Web pages, and no Web site is open at the moment.

If you haven’t previously used FrontPage, the Recent Files command is also dimmed. Ellipses (…) follow the New, Open, Open Site, Save As, File Search, Publish Site, Import, Export, Page Setup, Print, Send, and Properties commands to indicate that each has an accompanying task pane or dialog box.

  1. Click the Properties command to open the Page Properties dialog box for the current file.
  1. Click each of the dialog box tabs to look at the available options. Then click Cancel to close the dialog box without effecting any changes.
  1. Click the File menu to open it again. Arrowheads follow the Preview in Browser, Recent Files, and Recent Sites commands to indicate that each has a submenu. Point to or click the Preview in Browser command to expand its submenu.

  1. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each of the remaining menus: Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Table, Data, Frames, Window, and Help. Study the available and unavailable options, look at the dialog box options, and expand the submenus.
  1. Right-click anywhere in the menu and toolbar area at the top of the window to open the toolbar shortcut menu. Check marks indicate that the Standard and Formatting toolbars and a task pane are currently displayed. FrontPage automatically displays these two toolbars because they include buttons for the most commonly used page and file commands.

  1. Press Esc key to close the toolbar shortcut menu.
  1. Point to each of the buttons on the Standard and Formatting toolbars to read their command names. Each available button is highlighted as you point to it.
  1. Drag the Formatting toolbar by its move handle to the center of the screen.

  1. Drag the Formatting toolbar by its title bar to the left edge of the screen until it changes from horizontal to vertical orientation. Moving a toolbar to one edge of the window is called docking the toolbar. You can dock the FrontPage toolbars at the top, left, bottom, or right edge of the window.

The toolbar’s orientation changes as it is moved. Toolbars docked on the left or right are vertically oriented; toolbars docked on the top or bottom and undocked toolbars are horizontally oriented.

  1. Right-click the Formatting toolbar to open the toolbar shortcut menu. On the toolbar shortcut menu, click Drawing. The Drawing toolbar opens in its default location at the bottom of the screen.

  1. Click the down arrow at the right end of the Drawing toolbar to display the Add or Remove Buttons command. Point to Add or Remove Buttons, and then point to Drawing to open the list of the commands that are available from the Drawing toolbar. Check marks indicate the currently displayed commands.

A similar list is available for each of the toolbars.

  1. In the list, click the AutoShapes, Line, and Arrow buttons to remove them from the Drawing toolbar. Notice that each button disappears from the toolbar as you click it.
  1. Click Reset Toolbar to return the toolbar to its original state. The list closes when you reset the toolbar.
  1. On the title bar, click the Close button to exit FrontPage.
  1. Reopen FrontPage by clicking Start, pointing to All Programs, pointing to Microsoft Office, and then clicking Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003. When FrontPage reopens, notice that the changes you made are still in effect; the Formatting toolbar is still docked at the left side of the window, and the Drawing toolbar is still open at the bottom.
  1. Drag the Formatting toolbar by its move handle back to its original location below the Standard toolbar at the top of the window.
  1. Right-click the Standard toolbar, and on the toolbar shortcut menu, click Drawing to close the Drawing toolbar.
  1. On the File menu, click Close to close the new_page_1.htm file.

Exploring an Existing Web Site

When you work with other Office 2003 applications, you create self-contained documents that can be individually opened from within the application or from Microsoft Windows Explorer. When you work with FrontPage, you create a group of interconnected files that collectively make up a FrontPage-based Web site.

As a result, Web sites must be opened from within FrontPage; clicking a single file name in Windows Explorer might open that file, but it won’t open the Web site that the file belongs to. After you open a Web site in FrontPage, you can look at the structure of the site in two views:

  • In Folders view, you can see and modify the file structure of a Web site. You can organize the files and folders that make up your Web site by using techniques similar to those you use to organize files and folders in Windows Explorer. You can add new folders, delete or move existing folders, and view the contents of folders.
  • In Navigation view, you can see or modify the navigational structure and hierarchical arrangement of the various pages on your Web site. In this view, you can click a page and drag it to another location in the Web site.

At the bottom of the working area, FrontPage 2003 provides six buttons for switching among different views of a Web site:

  • Folders view displays the visible files and folders that are part of the open Web site. For each file, this view shows the file name, page title, file size, file type, the date the file was last modified and by whom, and any comments that have been added to the file information.
  • Remote Web Site view displays information about the published version of your Web site, so you can see the local and remote file structures simultaneously, similar to the view displayed by traditional File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programs. You can manipulate local and remote files and folders from this view.
  • Reports view displays any of the 31 available basic reports about the open Web site. Reports view defaults to the last opened report. If no report has been open during the current FrontPage session, the default is a Site Summary report that collates the results of the other reports.

To view one of the reports that make up the Site Summary, click the hyperlinked report name. The various reports can be chosen from the View menu or from the Reporting toolbar.

  • Navigation view graphically displays a hierarchical view of all the files that have been added to the navigation structure of the open Web site. To add an existing file to the navigation structure, you simply drag the file into the Navigation view window, and drop it in the appropriate location.

You can also create new files directly within Navigation view. To fit the site content into the window, you can switch between Portrait mode (vertical layout) and Landscape mode (horizontal layout) or zoom in or out using the buttons on the Navigation toolbar.

  • Hyperlinks view displays the hyperlinks to and from any selected page in the open Web site. Internal hyperlinks are shown as well as external hyperlinks and e-mail hyperlinks. You select a file in the Folder List to see the hyperlinks to and from that file, and then select the plus sign next to any file name to further expand the view.
  • Tasks view displays a list of tasks to be completed in the open Web site. FrontPage creates these tasks when you use a wizard to create a Web site, or you can create your own tasks. For each task, you see the status, name, and description.

You can also see to whom the task is assigned; whether the task has been categorized as High, Medium, or Low priority; and when the task was last modified. Tasks are a useful way of tracking the readiness of a site.

You can switch between views by clicking the desired view on the View menu or by clicking the button for the view you want at the bottom of the working area.

A Web site consists of one or more individual Web pages. When you develop a Web site, you work with the individual pages and the overall site structure. When you want to edit a Web page that is part of a FrontPage-based Web site, you first open the site in FrontPage, and then open the individual page.

This avoids the possibility that you might make changes to a page and then disconnect it from the rest of the site. It also ensures that changes made on an individual page are reflected across the entire site, as appropriate.

If FrontPage is your default HTML editor, you can open individual Web pages from outside FrontPage by double-clicking the page file in Windows Explorer. However, if FrontPage is not your default editor, accessing and changing files individually from outside FrontPage could result in damage to the Web site. To set FrontPage as your default HTML editor while starting FrontPage, click Yes when prompted to do so.

Page creation and editing tasks are done in Page view, which displays the open page or pages in the Page view editing window. At the top of the editing window is a tab for the current Web site and tabs for any open pages. You can open an existing page by double-clicking it on the Web Site tab.

The tab at the top of each page shows the page’s file name. If multiple pages are open, you can switch to another page by clicking its tab or by clicking its file name on the Window menu.

To see information about an entire site and access the Folders view, Remote Web Site view, Reports view, Navigation view, and Hyperlinks view options, click the Web Site tab at the top of the Page view editing window.

Page view provides four different ways to view your Web page:

  • The Design pane displays the Web page as it will appear in a Web browser, except that additional design guides, such as shared border indicators and table and cell outlines, are also visible. You work primarily in this pane when creating Web pages.
  • The Code pane displays the HTML code behind the Web page. Elements are color-coded to make it easier for you to discern text and content from the surrounding code. Each line of code is numbered. Error messages often refer to line numbers within the HTML code so you can quickly locate problems.
  • The Split pane simultaneously displays the design view and HTML code. Selecting a page element in the design view simultaneously selects the element in the code so you don’t have to scroll through the code to find what you’re looking for.
  • The Preview pane displays the Web page as it will actually appear in a Web browser. Hyperlinks and most page elements are active in the Preview pane.

Most FrontPage users will do almost all page design work in the Design pane, which offers the simplest interface. In this exercise, you will open an individual Web page in Page view and look at the page in the different Page view panes.

FrontPage Web Site Concepts

This section discusses the types of sites that can be developed with FrontPage and the system requirements that are necessary to take full advantage of the FrontPage 2003 development environment. There are two kinds of Web sites: disk-based Web sites and server-based Web sites.

A disk-based Web site can be run on any kind of computer, or even from a floppy disk or CD-ROM. Disk-based Web sites support only basic HTML functionality. Many of the more interesting Web components that FrontPage supplies won’t work on a diskbased site.

Server-based Web sites run on a Web server—a computer that is specifically configured to host Web sites. On a small scale, a Web server might be a local computer such as your own, or it might be an intranet server within your company. On a larger scale, Web servers that host corporate Internet sites are usually located at professional server farms run by an Internet service provider (ISP) or Web hosting company.

Most Web sites are initially developed as disk-based sites; that is, you develop them on your local computer. You then publish them to a Web server, either within your organization or at your hosted Web location.

  • Some FrontPage Web components—ready-made elements that provide capabilities such as link bars and tables of contents—work only when they are placed on a page that is part of a FrontPage-based Web site.
  • Some components require that the Web page or site be located on a Web server running Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services.
  • Other common Web components work only in a server-based Web site located on a Web server running FrontPage Server Extensions.
  • Some components pull their content directly from other Web sites, so they require an Internet connection to be visible.
  • Server administration features are available only for server-based Web sites stored on Web servers running Windows SharePoint Services or FrontPage Server Extensions.
  • To display database information, your site must be hosted on a Web server that supports Active Server Pages (ASP) and ActiveX Data Objects (ADO).

FrontPage-based Web sites can run on any kind of Web server, but the full functionality of your Web site might not be available unless your site is hosted on a server with FrontPage Server Extensions installed. If you maintain your own Web server, installing the server extensions is a simple exercise; they are available on The Microsoft Office System 2003 installation CD-ROM.

If you are looking for a company to host your Web site, or if you already have an ISP but you have never asked it to host a FrontPage–based Web site before, be sure to ask whether its servers have FrontPage Server Extensions installed.