I've been limited to using FrontPage's WYSIWYG. What should I do?
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I work for a major, very large, to-remain-nameless corporate entity, maintaining their internal corporate communications. Part of this means designing, building, and maintaining the company's internal websites.
Before coming into this job, my background was in convergent journalism-- I can write, shoot and produce video, code websites, design for web and print, etc., etc. I have a very solid knowledge of all your basic web programming languages and SSL's to boot. However, this job, historically, was very much a non-technical position. The person who did this job before me had little to no actual coding knowledge, and the company relied on Frontpage as their web maintenace and design tool. Because of Frontpage's severe limitations, I mostly ingore it and just do my own codeing in Notepad and validate the code through the W3C validation service. I do, of course, make sure that that I've taken all steps to properly record and document my code.
So here's the crux of the problem: the company has decided that, should I leave the position, having pages that can't be maintained using their current system (IE Frontpage) would be a liability. They'd be forced to hire someone with the technical skill to understand and maintain pages based off the coding alone-- a difficult task, but not an impossible one for a decent coder who has access to my documentation. The company has requested that I only design and maintain our website using Frontpage's WYSIWYG editor.
I have several problems with this. First and foremost, much of what I've already coded can't be maintained using Frontpage's WYSIWYG. It simply doesn't have the ability to understand DIV formats, and using any coding strategies developed after 2000 is pretty much a no-no. Secondly, I am often ask to come up with technical solutions to problems that I can easily solve, but require a coding solution. I hate to tell my company "I can do this, but because of the restrictions you've placed on me, it's not possible." I can't see any way around this, though.
So how would you handle this? Is it moral for me to continue to provide techinical solutions to problems, where the solution is within my ability, even if my company has told me not to do so? How should I go about addressing the issue with using Frontpage's WYSIWYG editor to code pages with complex DIV structures-- something that apparently just cannot be done? Has anyone else been in a similar scenario, and if so, how did you handle it? I'm at my wit's end here.
TL;DR - Company doesn't want the liability of having well-coded web pages, and has limited me to using Frontpage's WYSIWYG editor. I cannot do my job using only this tool. What should I do?
What version of Frontpage are you using? I'm guessing a pretty old one since it is called Expression Web in the newer versions. While I haven't used Expression Web I have heard it does better support current web design methodologies.
If you are using an old version of Frontpage, perhaps try out the newer version of Expression Web: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/ It is was just recently made freeware. However I don't know if Microsoft will be supporting the product going forward or not. But if you are still using Frontpage, your company probably doesn't care about that.
That way you are still using a WYSIWYG tool like the company wants and it will hopefully work with what you already have written.
I pity you :)
As background info, in case you don't happen to know, the last version of FrontPage was in 2003, and the product was discontinued by MS in 2006. So you can't get support from MS on the product (I suspect, but I don't actually know that), which is typically a big deal for large companies.
But yes, I do feel it would not be correct of you to continue to develop code in other ways, when they've told you their position. They're writing the paychecks, not you. But I would make it very clear to them that there is significant liability in this limitation, whether it's out-dated or potentially non-supported software (are you using the FP Server Extensions too?), lack of support for changing internet technologies (throw html5 at them...), lack of support for mobile devices (no media queries), etc.
I would think convincing them at least to migrate to Expression Web might be possible.
Thanks for the responses so far. For the record, we're using FrontPage 2003. I've pointed out to my manager that we're using nearly 10-year old software that hasn't had support in almost seven years, but that doesn't seem to phase them very much.
Oracleguy, thanks for the suggestion on Expression Web. I hadn't thought about that too much. I've been begging to try and get the Adobe CS, but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears, mostly due to funding concerns. Having a freeware version of what we're already using might be a solution they'd look into; however, they've balked at freeware in the past, so I guess I'll have to make that suggestion and see where it goes.
And Dave-- good lord, you've hit the nail on the head. A project I've been championing in my company since I started four years ago has been the need to move to a more modern system for our internal communications practices. They flat-out refuse to do so. Currently our internal sites, though hosted on a server with .net capabilities, don't allow for any server interactivity. Having no ability to use SSL's has severly limited our ability to do virtually anything online efficiently. We can't even create a simple web form or survey, let alone do anything more exciting like creating a message board. We have Server Extensions installed, but for the life of me I have no idea why.
I've tried, and tried, and tried to convince them of this, but I keep getting hung-up in the red tape of the behemoth of a company I work in. When you have to get approval from your manager, BIO, IT, IS, and two VP's to even get Photoshop Elements installed on your computer, you're know you're in a bad place.
The biggest problem with FrontPage is that the most recent browser that it supports is IE6 - now very close to being dead itself. Web pages created in FrontPage will not display correctly in IE7 and will be even more of a mess in IE8. Once you get to modern web browsers such as IE9, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari etc the pages will almost certainly be a jumbled mess - unless you use extremely basic HTML without trying to style it too much.
Microsoft's replacement for FrontPage is called Sharepoint Designer and is included with some of the top end versions of Office the way that FrontPage used to be. It isn't really intended for serious web designers though because Microsoft released Expression Web for that market at about the same time.
Our current "standard" web browser is IE7. Next month, we're upgrading to IE9.
Things should get interesting here soon.
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