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August 30, 2005

FrontPage 2003: The Missing Manual: Create Customized, Cool Web Pages

Sebastopol, CA--FrontPage 2003 is an amazing program when you want the instant gratification of your web site online right now. But for many people, once the first flush of pride at having built a web page subsides, a growing sense of dissatisfaction follows. Your web site, after all, doesn't do as much as you'd like it to, and it looks like thousands of other FrontPage-created web pages. Maybe you want a drop-down menu, or a search box, but you don't want to have to master a new programming language to get it. The good news is: you don't have to. You can trick out your webpage with all kinds of cool features using FrontPage--it's now far more flexible and also includes support for Flash and XML. The bad news is, for those things, FrontPage isn't so intuitive. The one feature you'll find yourself wishing FrontPage had is a printed manual.

"If you have specific ideas about what should go on your web site and how everything should look, FrontPage's cookie-cutter solutions probably aren't flexible enough for you," says Jessica Mantaro, author of the newest in David Pogue's Missing Manual Series, FrontPage 2003: The Missing Manual (O'Reilly, $29.95). "The program's reputation for automating everything may even disturb you. Don't worry. You can bypass the canned options and create a completely custom site. If you're a web purist, FrontPage is now better than ever at getting out of your way."

It hadn't gone unnoticed at Microsoft that FrontPage users had to put up with howls of contempt from their geek friends, or that the program has a reputation for spitting out look-alike web pages with messy, overloaded HTML code that took forever to load. In fact, Microsoft pumped up FrontPage 2003 with some pretty advanced features, including an HTML cleanup tool that helps alleviate bloated code, and new support for Macromedia Flash and XML. Now, savvy web veterans can control as much of the process as they want, and even collaborate on a site with developers who use Dreamweaver, GoLive or other web authoring tools. Yet, unlike those other tools, FrontPage 2003 still has automated features for beginners who don't know where to start.

"There's no shortage of existing books on FrontPage 2003," Mantaro acknowledges. "But while there's a lot out there about this program, it's easy for FrontPage web authors to get confused about what they'll need to get their FrontPage web site online and which FrontPage features to use when. This book cuts through the fog and lays out options and requirements clearly."

The Missing Manual series boasts that they put the program's features in context, with clear and thorough chapters that provide valuable shortcuts, workarounds, and just plain common sense, no matter where you weigh in on the technical scale.

FrontPage 2003: The Missing Manual lives up to that promise. With it, you can learn to build simple web pages, or sophisticated ones with tables and cascading style sheets, and find out how to manage and publish a web site. You can also create forms, work with databases, and integrate FrontPage with Microsoft Office.

If you haven't worked with web pages before, each chapter provides "Up to Speed" sidebars with useful background information. If you do have experience, the "Power Users' Clinic" sidebars offer advanced tips and insights.

If you want to go beyond the obvious FrontPage features painlessly, you need FrontPage 2003: The Missing Manual. If you're a geek that could never admit to FrontPage usage, it's the perfect book to give to your Mom when she asks you to create yet another family reunion web page--or the guy down the street who wants your help posting the neighborhood soccer scores online.

Additional Resources:

FrontPage 2003: The Missing Manual
Jessica Mantaro
ISBN: 0-596-00950-X, 434 pages, $29.95 US, $41.95 CA
order@oreilly.com 1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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