Website Publishing

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Website publishing has not changed much since I created my first webpage in 1995. I’m pretty sure I used Microsoft Frontpage with Frontpage Server Extensions. I don’t do any kind of web development now so I haven’t kept pace with all the changes but I was surprised to find out that Frontpage Server Extensions are going away (thank God)! I knew Frontpage was end of life because I worked exclusively with SharePoint when I was at USfalcon, Inc managing several portals for the military customer.

For a lot of the customizations that we needed, I *had* to use SharePoint Designer. I had been working more with Macromedia (now Adobe) Dreamweaver so I was used to that. I had really bad experiences with Frontpage, especially when I opened my web pages in notepad and found a few thousand extra lines of language that didn’t need to be there; Dreamweaver was much cleaner and designed with standards in mind. Frontpage seemingly ignored standards but thankfully, the new Microsoft web authoring tools do not ignore standards.

I was asked by a customer if they should use Frontpage Server Extensions or FTP for their web publishing needs. At the time, I wasn’t too opinionated one way or the other. My stance was that it depends on what was easier for the developers. I think either choice could be setup pretty easily and be secured as well.

However, after doing some research today, I’m leaning towards either FTP or HTTP web publishing (with SSL). I definitely don’t want to advocate Frontpage Server Extensions since its being shelved and the technologies are outdated. Does anyone even miss those cute little webbots? I’m inclined to suggest either Microsoft SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Expressions Web. I haven’t used Expressions Web at all but it looks pretty simple and from what I’ve read, the publishing works the same as in SharePoint Designer. Hopefully there is enough documentation out there showing how best to secure it.

I don’t think that web publishing has come very far at all. I understand technical limitations but there really should be more choices out there. Like how about versioning? Perhaps versions based on browsers or based on country (like Google Search). Or how about a server-side pull? Where an editor or manager can pull the version of the site you’re working on and can provide feedback before you’re finished. Wouldn’t that be useful? I don’t know, i’m just trying to think outside the box. Maybe such tools do exist, they certainly don’t seem mainstream though.

Since I mentioned the portals I managed earlier in this post, here is a link to one of the public sites: CSTC-A ECA
There isn’t much on there but you can see the VCR Pics, which will give you an idea of life in Afghanistan now. Its different from the same 100 sq. ft. images shown on news media.

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