A New Era

As a first matter of business, I’ll make a quick apology for my absence from this blog. What can I say? Bad blogger. Bad blogger. I promise to do better going forward.

Next – lots of exciting news today about the Office 2007 line-up, not the least of which is the announcement about Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Microsoft Expression Web Designer.  Be sure to read the official PressPass with John Richards if you have not. Obviously this is big news and I'm excited about this announcement (and have been dying to blog about it since October).

If you read between the lines in my earlier posts about a higher bar and the SharePoint wave, you might have guessed this was coming. We're taking web design to a new level and we're creating two new products based on FrontPage technologies to address the needs of specific customers and markets.

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 which will focus on building applications and automating business processes on top of the SharePoint platform, and customizing SharePoint sites (for both Windows SharePoint Server and Office SharePoint Server).
  • Microsoft Expression Web Designer which will focus on building standards-based Web sites and providing the best tools for professional web designers building dynamic sites with ASP.NET.

These are both amazing products which share technologies such as a wholly revamped design surface which is optimized for rendering CSS and XHTML, and generating super clean standards-based code. The design surface has exceptional support for ASP.NET 2.0, for control rendering, control designer hosting, and property editing. It makes taking advantage of ASP.NET no-code data binding (for example) a snap.  We showed some of these capabilities at the PDC in September when Expression Web Designer was first announced, and you can preview video feature walk-throughs on the Expression web site.  There is a lot more to say about each of these products and now that they are both pubicly disclosed, I can attack that in future postings.

Of course, this leaves the obvious question - what's happening to FrontPage? (and what to call this blog?) The short answer is that once we ship SharePoint Designer and Expression Web Designer, we will eventually discontinue FrontPage. On the one hand this is sad to me; I've spent the last 11 (eleven!) years working on FrontPage and that mission is coming to an end. On the other hand, we're building two fantastic products which will meet the needs of customers better than we ever have. With SharePoint Designer and Expression Web Designer, a new era begins.