Chapter 7 - MS FrontPage
Note: This is a sample page from our on-line account maintenance manual.
Poor FrontPage. Nobody loves you. "Real" web designers wouldn't be caught dead using FrontPage to do client's work. Trouble is, Bill Gates has done such a good job of making it easy for the average Joe to create a reasonably acceptable website, that FrontPage websites are everywhere. As a result, if a hosting company wants to make any money, they have to offer the STUPID FrontPage extensions on the host server so the FrontPage web site will work correctly. But secretly, they hate FrontPage, and sometimes for good reasons; to be honest, FrontPage extensions are a pain in the backside to most hosting administrators. They are unstable, it takes NO effort on the part of the site owner to corrupt them, and the vast majority of people who use FrontPage know very little about the extensions and how to make everything come together as it should. SO, we end up having to chase after every little mistake a site owner makes, and often have to get on the phone and show site owners how to use their own software!! And this doesn't work, because NO hosting company knows the software, and only knows the extensions enough to install and re-install them. Is this what they call "The Blind Leading The Blind"? <GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR>
WELL! We are no different; we hate chasing after corrupted extensions too. So, we're going to make you this offer: You are in the right place. We know FrontPage, because we started in our homes using FrontPage, and cut our teeth on FrontPage 98 and 2000. We learned a lot and graduated to Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, HotMetal Pro, and other more sophisticated web design programs. Trust me when I tell you, the author has had more experience with FrontPage than any other web hosting company owner or chief executive. The author has ranted and raved at hosting companies, screamed at his computer screen and spent more time with the FrontPage help desk at Microsoft than he's willing to admit. You know what? 99% of his problems were of his own making.
If you learn nothing else in this diatribe, you must realize that CERTAIN ACTIONS ARE NOT PERMITTED on a FrontPage website. NEVER, EVER FTP ANYTHING TO A FRONTPAGE WEBSITE running Unix, or Linux operating systems that have the extensions installed. That means US! We are a Linux/Apache shop, and you simply CANNOT FTP files into a site with FrontPage extensions installed. You CAN do it on an NT machine to a limited degree, but even then you must be careful. On a Unix or Linux machine it CANNOT BE TOLERATED! SO, we will be watching! If you FTP something to your site and it has FrontPage extensions installed, we will put it in your permanent file. If it happens repeatedly, we WILL ASK YOU TO MOVE TO ANOTHER HOSTING COMPANY or, if we like you we will charge you extra for our hassle. We are serious. You must be willing to accept responsibility for your actions, and either read this manual and learn how to administer your site correctly, or please consider another hosting company. This sounds harsh, but you will end up exceedingly unhappy that your site is not working correctly, and it will not be our fault in 99% of the cases. Neither of us will benefit from the relationship. BUT, in an effort to save you endless frustration we are willing to go you one further than ANY other FrontPage hosting company. Call us if you have trouble with your SOFTWARE! That's right! We know how to make the program work, how you should best manage you files, and make you happy. We know shortcuts, we know things that Microsoft probably does not know about it's personality, limitations, and other idiosyncracies. We have resources world-wide. BUT; if we tell you how to do something, you MUST observe what we tell you about managing your site and interacting with the server extensions.
Fair enough? GREAT! Keep readin'... and PAY ATTENTION!
First and foremost, if you are still using FP98, do yourself a favor and upgrade to 2000. It is a quantum leap improvement over FP98. If you are still using FP97, you are way out of touch. We can't help you with FP97.
FP on a Unix/Apache/Linux server
One recommendation we can
make is that when your site is loaded onto our servers, from that point
forward, do your best to do all editing live from the server, and not
on your local machine and then subsequently uploading your work. One
of the great things about FrontPage is the site management processes.
It is so simple to open the site live on the server and do all maintenance.
It's slower, but in the long run it is easier and MUCH less hassle.
All you do to save your work on the server is hit "Ctrl-S"
Plus, you eliminate the threat of your local machine crashing and losing
all your work. And, you also eliminate the hassle of getting the PWS
(Personal Web Server) to work. There are just times when PWS does not
want to open, and there's very little you can do about it. I have had
times that I tried to open PWS and no one could tell me why it would
not open. Just eliminate the problem and work directly off the server.
The most common asked question users ask when using FrontPage is:
The default page still shows up even after I have uploaded my index page.
SOLUTION: You MUST DELETE the default page before your index page will show up.
Ah, if only life were that easy. However, with tempramental FrontPage, there is every possibility that you web will not transfer in it's entirety. If you get cut off, or if you try to upload your site several times and it stops in midstream (it doesn't matter what the error message says) more than likely your extensions were corrupted. This is not your fault! It's just the Microsoft way. Simply e-mail me to do an extension reset; I'll delete your extensions and then re-install them properly. I know this sounds round-a-bout, but if you try to re-install your extensions over corrupted extensions without first deleting the installation, you will only retain your corruption and it will not work. Don't forget; anytime you are re-installing your FrontPage extensions, follow the uninstall directions first! Un-install the extensions first!
If this doesn't work, your last resort will be to do the following:
1) Have me delete
the extensions, and be sure and let me know you're doing an FTP/FrontPage
Uploading your site will go a lot more smoothly if done from a DSL or cable modem connection.
Unfortunately, you will have some trouble uploading your site from one live server to another live server. I have done it, but it fails more times than it is successful. It will work a lot better if you do it from a DSL or cable connection. Try it first and if it works, great, but otherwise you will have to backup your live site onto your local hard drive and then upload the site from your local hard drive to the new server (us).
Microsoft Frontpage help desk
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