FrontPage Support

A few years ago Microsoft announced that FrontPage 2003 will be the last version of FrontPage to be released. The product has reached its "End of Life" with Microsoft. Microsoft also announced that the Unix FrontPage server extensions have also reached their EOL date. The official EOL date for Unix extensions was on June 30th 2006.

Many features used in FrontPage websites are based on FrontPage Server Extensions released by Microsoft. Things like form processing, themes, hit counters and even website publishing. These features are collectively known as the FrontPage web-bots, and they are all coming to an end on our Unix systems.

We’ve continued to run the unsupported Unix FrontPage extensions on our servers to try to provide as much support for customers as possible, however, we are officially announcing the end, effective December 31st 2009.

Having the server extensions support dropped by Microsoft leaves us in a bad position and we must remove these extensions from the servers to avoid leaving the servers open to a possible attack. After this date, any site using the FrontPage server extensions on Unix at the end of this year will no longer work properly.

Microsoft now sells products that replace FrontPage:

These lines are SharePoint Designer, aimed at businesses and teams of developers working on a single site. Expression Web Designer is the other line, targeted towards your average business web designer or home user. Both of these products are based on more standardized code and features than Front Page. Neither of these new products will require or use the features in the FrontPage server extension package.

This puts you in an unfortunate but unavoidable position. There is no upgrade path or any one clear direction for each of our users. Each webmaster will have to determine the best possible path for them to take.

We are strongly urging all users who use the FrontPage server extensions, Unix or Windows, to standardize their web practices and STOP USING the Front Page extensions at the earliest possible date.

There are several different paths that can be taken for the users of the FrontPage server extensions, and we'll outline some of them below so you can make an educated decision.

1) Purchase Microsoft Expression Web Design
Users purchase Expression Web Designer released by Microsoft and then convert their existing sites to the new formats and technologies. There will likely not be any built in functionality as there is in FrontPage with its web-bots. We do not know if there will be a built in FrontPage converting tool.

2) Continue Using FrontPage on UNIX, but WITHOUT using the server extensions:
This is always a valid option for any of our users. FrontPage is a decent web design program that will continue to work without the use of the FrontPage extensions. Users can build their websites in FrontPage locally on their computers and FTP them to the server using a FTP client or the built in FrontPage FTP client. Other features like form processing and hit counters will need to be replaced using scripts. There are many places on the Internet to find free scripts for form processing and hit counters that are built using PHP or ASP.

4) Use a web design program other than Microsoft FrontPage:
This is pretty much the same option as #2. There are many other design programs on the market such as Adobe Dreamweaver, or Coffeecup Designer. Many of these programs use standardized web processing and all of them would still require replacements for the FrontPage web-bots.

Each one of these options may or may not be right for you, and there are others too, including blogs and content management systems (CMS).

Please evaluate each option above, and decide what is best for you and your website before your site stops working. Please understand that we do not endorse or support any third party products.