05 Oct 2006

Important: Know a site built with Microsoft Frontpage?

Can you digg it?

Today I got an email from Gemstream Hosting with the subject line of "FrontPage End-of-Life". I’d think this was spam, except it was coming from a big hosting company.

Now I might hate to admit it, but I know a few websites out there that were built in Microsoft Fronpage.

You should read this if you too know of any sites on the web that we built in Microsoft Frontpage.

Dear Gemstream Hosting Customer,

Gemstream has always been proud to offer Microsoft FrontPage extensions on our Linux hosting servers, which allow our customers to use FrontPage to create and manage their websites. However, Microsoft is in the process of discontinuing FrontPage, and we want to keep you up-to-date on the timeframe of this process, as well as options that current FrontPage users have
for the future.

Already, Microsoft has discontinued support and future updates for their Linux/Unix-based FrontPage extensions. This occurred on June 30,2006. You can find more information here:

http://www.rtr.com/fpsupport/

Changing to a Windows-based hosting server is not an option, as Microsoft is also discontinuing support for Windows extensions as well.

We are continuing to support FrontPage extensions for the time being, but we expect to have to discontinue this support sometime after December 1st, 2006. Since FrontPage is a closed-source program and is no longer supported by it’s maker (Microsoft), continuing usage of this product poses a security risk to our servers, as there will be no way to apply security patches to the product as needed. However, there are a number of options for our Gemstream customers who currently use FrontPage.

Microsoft details their own in-house options at this page, called "The Future of FrontPage":

In this document, Microsoft gives two options for replacing FrontPage:
SharePoint Designer and Expression Web. As SharePoint is not available on Linux servers, the only Microsoft option for Gemstream customers is Expression Web. Currently, this product is in beta, and is available for free from Microsoft:

A review of Expression Web can be found here:

Another option for FrontPage users is to switch to Macromedia Dreamweaver by Adobe, which is a powerful web authoring program used by the top designers and developers. It is available here:

Here is a link to a FrontPage Migration Kit available from Adobe that allows you to easily convert from FrontPage to Dreamweaver:

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns in this regard.

Thank you for choosing Gemstream Hosting!

Dang! I guess I’ve got to tell a few people to start learning Dreamweaver. Yea, Microsoft is coming out with new things…but to discontinue a product before a new replacement is out???….I’d think that would loose tons of Frontpage customers.

After this I go this, I sent this this email:

Can I publish your newsletter in whole on my blog at www.jimboykin.com ? This seems like pretty big news?

Am I wrong to think that most hosts will do just you’ve done….does this mean that if people are using things like "shared borders" (frontpage includes) that thier sites will suddenly "break" when a host removes the extentions?

Would you (or someone there) make any additional comments that I can quote in my blog?

Thanks,
Jim Boykin
CEO, We Build Pages

And my response was:

Jim,
What we have found amazing is the amount of confusion out there in this regard among hosts. We have talked to other hosts who have not heard anything about this yet (even though the Linux FP extensions have ALREADY been discontinued), and others who claim they will never remove FP extensions – which in our minds is a serious security risk (what happens when the next
FP security hole occurs?). Believe it or not, we have also talked to hosts who insist that Microsoft is NOT discontinuing FP, even though parts of MS’s website is claiming that they are. It’s a mess, unfortunately. Microsoft isn’t helping matters either, as they are discontinuing one product (FrontPage) before it’s replacement (Expression Web) has been fully released!

We are trying to move is such a way that we can continue to support FrontPage uses as long as possible without introducing unacceptable security risks on our servers. We are also trying to give them as many alternatives going forward as possible.

It is fine with us if you reproduce this in your blog. In fact, we’d love to hear what others are saying – at this point, we haven’t made a final decision as to when we will discontinue the extensions, and we are still trying to gather all relevant information. But we wanted to inform our
customers of what is going on as early as possible.

Sincerely,
Eric
Gemstream Support

Thanks Eric!

But one of my questions didn’t get answered – "does this mean that if people are using things like "shared borders" (frontpage includes) that thier sites will suddenly "break" when a host removes the extentions?"

Anyone know? I wonder how many people are used to only FTPing only with frontpage. How many sites will never get updated… or simple break and die because of this (yes, the web might get prettier….but still)?

Can you digg it?