Well, that’s the contention at the Inquirer, where they suggest that it is the real reason behind the scuttling of Frontpage as a webdesign tool.Â Frontpage will no longer be supported, and Microsoft instead will be pushing support behind two newer products, named Expression Web and Sharepoint Designer, more “professional tools”.
Now personally I’ve never used Frontpage, as it has always had the problem of inserting extraneous markup (and this is before the standards revolution), but part of my own journey into blogging was that I’ve always had an interest with web design and content management systems — and was astounded at how far blogging software has come in the past few years.
Robust, open source, a rich developer community, and now branching out to enterprise support (Typepad, Automattic), blogging software has come a long, long way (no matter what Andrew Binstock thinks).
But can it really replace “ordinary” web design software?Â Maybe that’s not the real question.
Perhaps the broader question is, has designing a basic brochure website become so banal and easy, thanks to shareware and online tools that come with many hosting packages, or complete online stores available at a click of the button (think Yahoo! stores), in addition to blogging software, that it has made products like Frontpage obsolete?
I think so.
Of course, one thing that the Inquirer hasn’t mentioned is that Microsoft itself is entering that very arena, and perhaps disintermediating itself, with its new Office Live.Â No, its not a web enabled “Office” (with Word, excel etc etc).Â But a small business package that will offer free domain hosting, free website hosting, tools to develop that site, and a marketing package that will enable you to track your stats and your PPC campagins.Â Did I mention that its free?
Frontpage has been decommisioned by Microsoft, I will contend, in large part to blogging software — but there are trends that are larger than blogging tools, I think, that have changed that entire arena of software.Â And although they’re late to the party (as always) Microsoft is playing no small part in that trend itself these days.