Microsoft FrontPage Retrospective

This was sent in Issue #54 of Squirrel Notes on November 27, 2020.

Back in the mid-90s, I was one of the original beta testers of The Microsoft Network. I had the pleasure (?) of installing Microsoft FrontPage 1.1 from a stack of floppy disks.

FrontPage was a visual HTML editor and site management tool. It was a CMS before those moved to the server.

FrontPage: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly is a lovely look back at its history, and why the web is currently missing something similar.

[...] Microsoft FrontPage was for a brief period of time the ultimate content creation tool of the Internet, and why it later fell from grace.

The article has so many wonderful screencaps. If you’ve only ever heard stories (complaints?) about FrontPage, you can see what it looked like and how it worked.

FrontPage was a remarkable product for its time, and the author wants some tool like this back again.

...we need a FrontPage that lets the incredibly talented common folk retake the internet with creativity and originality. Because as nice as Facebook and Twitter are, let’s face it, we all kind of miss the old days of lovably terrible hand-crafted sites.

What would be the equivalent today? A static site generator with a visual interface?

Oh Citydesk, you knew the world would come knocking again one day.

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