Microsoft plans to release FrontPage 2000 early next year and the company said it will be more integrated with its Office applications suite than any previous versions of the popular Web authoring tool.
Microsoft said FrontPage 2000 would look more like Office than FrontPage 98 and would share code with the program, allowing users to perform tasks such as customising menus and toolbars. FrontPage also will allow users to launch Office documents within FrontPage when editing, and launch Office documents directly to a FrontPage-created site. The program will combine the "editor" and "creator" modes, so users don't have to switch back and forth. It also will contain a feature called "nested subwebs" that will allow Web designers to designate certain levels of access when it comes to editing. For example, in a small business, some users will be able to edit only certain portions of the Web while others will be able to drill down and edit pages deep within a Web site. FrontPage 2000 also will contain support for Visual Basic, allowing users to create more complex Internet pages.
FrontPage 2000 also will be similar to Office 2000 in that it will have one worldwide executable file. As with Office 2000, users who want to create sites in different languages will have to add a language package. There are 12 languages total.
The company still hasn't decided whether it eventually will ship FrontPage with the upcoming Office 2000. "We're thinking about it," said FrontPage product manager Priscilla Mistele.
Mistele said the new version of FrontPage also would contain simpler, clearer commands. Some users of FrontPage 98 have accidentally deleted their hard drives while trying to create a disk-based Web site because warnings weren't strongly worded enough.