Migrating from FrontPage 2002

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Farallon5
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Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by Farallon5 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:31 pm

Hello out there,

I have created several websites over the years using FP, some of them rather large. I have since moved to Win7 and am looking for a new website program. So this is kind of a pre-sales question about TopSite.

I was wondering if there is anyway I could start maintaining my old sites using Topsite? What does topsite do when it encounters a local folder on my machine with one of my old FP webs in it? Can I open the web and start working with it?

Is TopSite my best choice for migrating from FP?

Thanks for your help!

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MikeGale
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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by MikeGale » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:08 am

I'll chip in with some thoughts.

More things to consider than a prescriptive answer.

I'm sure you're talking TopStyle in your question.

1) If you spend a lot of time developing the content, then the critical thing is to find a tool that fits your preferred working style best. Why spend a lot of time each week using a tool you dislike? To do that give your short list alternatives a serious workout with real work. Very few people have tested a lot of tools thoroughly and it's likely that even if they have their judgements are different from yours. So you need to do this yourself, to some extent.

2) If you are completely dependent on tools, to write your site, you miss out on a lot. Some tools much more so than others. A tool that takes over completely actually prevents you from learning what's really happening. Tools that take over completely also tend to lock out much of the capability of the web, in other words they limit you. (TopStyle is not like that.) If you have become trapped by such a tool, it's worth adopting something that encourages you to learn what it's all about (which is actually not hard to do).

I've not run the migration you talk about, but those that I have done have been good investments. I take a site that is tied to some limited proprietory form of the web and make it suitable for any competent editor to change. That frees the site from limitations and doesn't tie me down in future.

To get an answer that suits you well, I suggest giving TopStyle a try on some non-trivial job. (That will also help you organise a full migration later.)

I don't work for TopStyle, this is my personal view.

Farallon5
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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by Farallon5 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:41 am

Thanks for your comments Mike, points well taken.

I'm getting that it may be too much to ask of anyone on this forum to admit that they have actually used FrontPage before, but I would sure appreciate it if some courageous soul would and could give me some feedback on what it was like for them to go from that program to TopStyle. And how much of the old FP file structure is usable with TS.

Thanks.

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by recce101 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:48 pm

I used FrontPage 97 "way back when" to create and maintain a couple of websites. A question I would have for you is, where do you want to go with web development in the future? Do you want to continue using a WYSIWYG editor and not be concerned about the underlying code? Or do you want to rethink your methods and restructure your sites in a standards-compliant manner and gain such advantages as cleaner and faster-loading pages, better reliability/repeatability, and perhaps more respect from your web-development peers? Forgive me if my bias shows through, because really, one is not necessarily better than the other in the larger sense — it could be that you have many other responsibilities in your life and maintaining websites is just something you need to "get done." If so, I respect and applaud that, and suggest you find a WYSIWYG editor that you feel comfortable with.

If you're not sure, may I suggest you visit the SitePoint CSS forum...

http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=53

...and read several of the threads. If these sorts of discussions turn you off, then by all means stick with WYSIWYG. But if you find some intellectual stimulation there and want to learn more, maybe TopStyle is for you.

When I made my transition away from FrontPage I used HomeSite (first 4.5 and eventually 5.5, which was integrated with a "lite" version of TopStyle) and I only recently switched to TopStyle 4, which incorporates the features of HomeSite which I found most valuable. Here's what I did:

1. To maintain my sites I continued to use FrontPage for a time to make content changes, but deferred any structural or appearance modifications.

2. I learned as much as I could about CSS (via books and website tutorials) so I understood the nomenclature and general concept, but to avoid taking on more than I could handle at the time, avoided areas such as Javascript.

3. Using HomeSite/TopStyle, I created a sample site/template to experiment with the look and feel I was after.

4. I copied my FrontPage HTML files into a simple text editor (Notepad, as I recall), then went through and stripped out all of the HTML tags, leaving only the content.

5. Finally, I merged (cut/paste) the fragments of content into my HomeSite/TopStyle template, and when that was completed and working properly (took a couple of weeks) I uploaded the new files and deleted the FrontPage files.

That sounds rather cumbersome, which it was, but what I learned in the process probably justified the effort.

Good luck!

Ned

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MikeGale
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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by MikeGale » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:20 pm

I got started writing HTML before there were any editors (that weren't a joke), so I started off working with the bedrock. (Rather than what I consider to be the quicksand that's often been layered on top of it.)

That's not to say I haven't used FrontPage or worked with the early Beta's of DreamWeaver. I have, like so many, fairly regularly faced so-called HTML produced by Word, which is a story in it's own right.

I've even bought copies of FrontPage over the years. My experience is that of all the things I've tried (there's been a lot of them) only a few give me control and are really productive. I can't think of a WYSIWYG tool that hasn't been unproductive. The WYSIWYG's waste a lot of time, for me. I have a licensed copy of Expression, but haven't used it for a while, last time I looked it locked me out of something fairly basic (I think it's a good product, in many ways, but not really for me, unfortunately).

I've never had to face explicit migration from one editing tool to another. If I have bad markup (CSE validator will quickly tell you) I convert it to something decent before I carry on. I can then use it with any of the small group of editors that I find acceptable. One message there is that with decent markup, you are not afflicted by editor lockin. You can use what you want and not be prisoner to somebody's, often warped, idea of what HTML should be. (Part of the process is identifying editors that mess things up, you need to remember these touch of death tools.)
On a side note: If you have a really big site to improve, you can do a lot with regular expressions. I remember occasions where I've carefully crafted regular expressions and run them across sites. I don't keep a tally, but certainly sites numbered in the hundreds of pages, and probably thousands. Done carefully that can turn months of work into days of work. With a modern diff tool you also have a way to revert mistakes should you make any!
Much of my work now is program driven, I use a variety of tools on markup and CSS. TopStyle, CSE, UltraEdit, some tools I built myself and Visual Studio come immediately to mind. Visual N++ (aka Notepad) is, I imagine, still a viable editor!!

Bottom line: If you migrate to good markup, then you have a wider range of editors available to you. Freedom of a sort.

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by Farallon5 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:55 pm

Thanks for your comments everyone!

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by davephx » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:14 pm

Wow, I am tearing what hair I have left trying to find a FP alternative under Win 7 64 bit. I can work around the major problem by renaming old files but its a pain.

I have used FP for websites for maybe 20 years, have about 15 sites and they all work fine with never any issues. I have absolutely no time nor interest to lean CSS or anything else. My html FP sites work just fine and some average about 5000 visitors a day (not hits visitors).

Have been going crazy not finding FP alternative. I have never used FTP, I go live to my sites and edit directly the html files with WYSIWYG. I have no time to learn coding, although like 20 years ago I did pre FP and learned from HTML for Dummies. I have no interest in going back to coding days.

I tried Kompozer but it locks up trying to access remotely on various sites and its no longer developed. Problem may be trying to use the www address when maybe need FTP. I will have to spend more time trying to figure out what FTP address I should be using. I have 15 sites on a reseller account for decade using hostforweb only costs about $25/month all accounts combined on reseller account with huge traffic allowance.

Sorry for frustration, just wish FP worked with Win 7-64 since I have no need to get into the modern age - since its pages work great for decades and is all I need other than a occasional update or new page to add.. Few folks have dial-up anymore and everything is fast so don't see why optimization, CSS etc is that big of a deal. I started webpage back in dial up days. I was active on pre web newsgroups when we had 300 baud packet readers and the big technological advancement was OS/2 which I loved until support ended and then went to Windows.

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by MikeGale » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:08 am

Hi davephx,

I'm in a completely different place to you when it comes to web site development, as you'll be able to tell from the above.

That being said, I know that Expression Web was intended to replace FrontPage. Did you try that?

If you did or you do now, your feedback to this topic, might prove useful to others.

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by davephx » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:11 am

I have held off trying Expression Web due to reading so many reviews that is far more complex with a big learning curve vs FP, all of which I am trying to avoid.

In looking at many reviews the Coffee program not trial but full seems to be easy and do what I want - but so far including again today I manipulated FP to work. I had to replace some maps and if name file same as an existing file and over right the old it works. That seems to be the only thing "broken" in FP under Win 7-64 it will not allow new files if I recall correctly.

If I have time or too frustrated Coffee will probably be tried and if that doesn't solve might dig into Expression Web... or I may be able to just live with FP. I have "new.html" in most of my directories and I can use those files and rewrite etc. IF I recall correctly I can even copy them many times to add new files, its just new from scratch files you can't create.

It has been a few months since I researched all the issues with FP and as I recall its only with Win7 64 bit, which of course I now have

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by Albert Wiersch » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:44 am

davephx wrote:It has been a few months since I researched all the issues with FP and as I recall its only with Win7 64 bit, which of course I now have
If you need to run an older program like FrontPage (which I wouldn't recommend) that has issues on Windows 7, then you could always change OS's or try Windows XP mode in Windows 7 (in pro, ultimate, and enterprise editions).
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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by jpbrown » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:59 am

Expression Web has a design pane that approximates wysiwyg but EW4 is a professional level web building program and should not be considered as a wysiwyg program. If you want to stay with wysiwyg, you can try the free trial of Xara Web Designer. ( http://www.xara.com/us/products/webdesigner/)
It is visually oriented and produces xhtml compliant code.

J. P. Brown

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by george-elliott » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:52 am

Thank you all for your informative comments. Myself, I started with html 3.2, then 4.01. So I can code HTML; but an editor is faster. So I switched to FP and stayed with it til now (now = FP 2003, aka version 6). For me, the time has come to move away from FP because the hosting services might not always support FPSE, and FP security patches are no longer issued.

As to W7 - 64 bit, I have used FP 2003 on it with no problems for more than a year. So it was news to me that some people had any problems using FP 6 on W7- 64 bit. However that might be, FP produced and produces deprecated HTML, such as font and /font. Not only that, you ought to see how Opera handles tables, NOT.

What attracts me to TopStyle is the claim that it can replace deprecated HTML with style statements in the head section. If it could, that would suit me fine because Expression claims that it can move style statements from the head section into an external style sheet. Considering that two of my commercial sites are each in excess of 1,000 pages, it would not be a trivial amount of work to replace the deprecated HTML by hand. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble with the TopStyle program; but that's another topic.

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Re: Migrating from FrontPage 2002

Post by pauls » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:07 pm

Wow, FP is old... This probably means your site is bloated with old coding practices resulting in poor load performance and possibly breaking in modern browsers that are not Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is quickly becoming a minority browser (I give it 2 years, max) so that might be an important issue.

If you are serious about not wanting to learn to code, follow the advice of some of the other posts.
But I would seriously consider moving away from the old FP codebase by doing one of the following:

a. hire a freelance designer/front-end developer to do the work for you. It might be less expensive than you think, doing the work and catching up on 10 years of technical knowledge yourself. If that is out of the question then:

b. swallow hard and switch to Wordpress. That's a publishing platform, not an editor. But you can try it out for free for a simple site at http://wordpress.com/. The hard part will be to migrate all your content by hand but it will be worth it. In return you'll get a modern site running on good code without you having to learn any of that stuff. It will often be updated at no cost to you so you can be sure it will work in all modern and future browsers. It will load faster what your visitors will love and it will greatly extend your options. There are 1000s free plugins available to extend Wordpress for better search engine optimization, adding photo galleries, forms, you name it. There are also many themes available for free to change the look to your liking and some freelance designers are specialized in creating custom themes for a low price should you want that. You'll also benefit from a large community of other users for support and help. It will also allow you to concentrate on what you probably find most important: the content of your site.
Seriously, I think that most people who used to be (potential) FrontPage customers migrated to services like Wordpress.

And no, I do not work for Wordpress but I have used it for a short while and was impressed by it.

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