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FrontPage is discontinued by Microsoft. How does this affect me?
Posted by Chris Gebhardt on June 11 2007 08:49 PM
FrontPage has been discontinued by Microsoft. How long will VIRTBIZ support it?

The short answer is: "as long as possible!"

In early 2006, Microsoft announced that they would be discontinuing FrontPage and published a new product roadmap for FrontPage users.

That means that Microsoft won't create new versions of FrontPage for you to use on your own computer, and they won't create new versions of the "server extensions" for Web hosting companies.

Microsoft is replacing FrontPage with other programs, including "Microsoft Expression Web". That program can upload your Web site files to our servers via FTP for standard Web design tasks, although it doesn't offer the same support for certain FrontPage features such as counters; if you switch to that program, you may have to redesign some portions of your site.

So will VIRTBIZ still support FrontPage?

Yes and no. On servers that have been originally configured and installed before the time that Microsoft disallowed the distribution of their proprietary FrontPage Server Extensions, FrontPage support will continue, for the most part, unchanged.

On servers that are provisioned after such time as Microsoft has decreed it illegal to distribute their "server extensions", FrontPage support will not be available from VIRTBIZ (or any other hosting provider that provides legal service).

To fully support special FrontPage script features (including hit counters, guestbooks, feedback forms, and search boxes), web hosting companies use special "server extensions" software provided by Microsoft. Because Microsoft is no longer making new versions of the "server extensions", supporting these special features will become more and more difficult as time passes. In addition, new licenses to existing FrontPage extensions are no longer being granted - the software is not available anymore from Microsoft. This means that as new servers are brought online, or new services are added to existing services, it may be impossible to retain full FrontPage compatibility.

We're committed to continuing to support the special features of FrontPage for as long as possible, and we have no plans to change anything. However, due to Microsoft's termination of FrontPage it's likely that at some point in the future, either the old FrontPage "server extensions" software will be found to have unresolvable security issues, or it will be incompatible with upgrades we need to make to our Web servers. If that happens, we will be able to support only the basic non-script features of FrontPage. (The same is true for other Web hosting companies, of course.)

What if I only use basic features of FrontPage?

If you're only creating standard Web pages with FrontPage, this may not be a problem at all. The FrontPage program can be used to create sites without the server extensions. In particular, FrontPage 2003 should definitely continue to work for basic page design and publishing tasks (you may need to change the address you type to publish your site at some point in the future, but that's a simple change, and we'll tell you what to do if necessary).

Older versions of the FrontPage software should also work as long as your computer doesn't use a certain kind of firewall or "network address translation" connection that requires "passive FTP". If your connection requires passive FTP and you use FrontPage 2002 or earlier, you may eventually need to use a separate FTP program to publish changes to your site.

What if I use FrontPage advanced features like counters, guestbooks, or search boxes?

If you use the FrontPage counter or feedback form, you'll also be able to continue to use FrontPage 2003 (and earlier versions in many cases) by making some small changes to your Web site. You'll just need to change your pages to use the standard counter and feedback form scripts we provide. You might want to make this change now so that you're prepared for the possibility that the special FrontPage versions of these features stop working.

If you're using other special FrontPage extensions beyond the counter or feedback form, particularly the guestbook or search box extensions, you may unfortunately find that those features no longer work if we discontinue advanced FrontPage support in the future.

We don't recommend using the FrontPage guestbook feature at all, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem — if you use that feature, you should remove it as soon as possible anyway to prevent your site from being hijacked by spammers. For the search box, you may want to consider something like the Google search for your site, which doesn't require any special software on the server.
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