Chris Leeds - Microsoft MVP - FrontPage
Expression Web Interview with Chris Leeds
Q 1. Do you own and maintain your own FrontPage/Expression Web resource(s)?
A. Yes, since I wrote Expression Web Step by Step for Microsoft Press I've got http://www.expressionwebstepbystep.com which I intend to use as a resource site for the readers of the book as well as the general user community.
Q 2. Do you have a special tip for Expression Web you can share with our readers?
A . I think the coolest thing that's not obvious is that you can take a heavy FrontPage web, set the publishing properties to optimize the code to strip all "web bots" and HTML comments out of the pages, publish it to a local folder then open the published web with EW and click site/ settings/ and clear the "use hidden files to...". at that point all HTML comments are already stripped out and you've just removed all the hidden _vti folders. It's not something that you would want to do in all scenarios but it's a fast way to make a FrontPage proprietary site very generic.
Q 3. What feature would you most like to see available within the next version of Expression Web and why?
A . I would like them to make it so the BOM would quit killing my PHP applications. And they should beef up the external XML feed capability.
Q 4. What Expression Web Add-on would you most like to see available and why?
A. I'd like to see both my ContentSeed application massaged into a good solid .net only application that'd be easy to use in EW and I'd like to finish up my form handler. I guess the form handler is more important since FrontPage had a 1/2 way decent form handler that could be used with FP Server Extensions and EW doesn't have a parallel facility.
Q 5. As a MVP you participate online and answer many questions on (FrontPage) Expression Web. What started you down this road and why?
A. I started using the newsgroups, although I don't use them much anymore (I will if I follow my new year's resolution though) because I had a lot of questions. The questions got answered quickly and I became addicted to the newsgroups. After a while I was able to answer other people's questions and it was very rewarding.
Q 6. What Expression Web or Web design good practices do you recommend our readers follow?
A. I recommend that people learn CSS but not become blinded by the popular conception that they must use CSS instead of tables. It's always disturbed me that there's this all or nothing attitude out there. As far as I'm concerned a practitioner should use the tools and techniques that suit them, and the job at hand, no matter what the popular consensus is. Other professions don't get mired down in this all or nothing attitude and it's the result that really matters.
Q 7. What five sites do you recommend should be in our readers web design arsenal?
a/ http://www.sitepoint.com (killer)
b/ http://www.coffeecup.com (great little apps and work great in EW)
c/ http://www.microsoft.com/expression (good information)
d/ news://microsoft.com (the EW news groups)
e/ http://.any-expression.com (a good and frequently updated site)
Q 8. Do you have any luminaries within Expression Web and the Web Design industry in general and who do you model your practices after?
A. Not really. I generally will read and adopt the advice of web professionals in general. I don't like to get bogged down with application specific stuff so a place like http://www.sitepoint.com is a good source of high-end generic information. I also like Jim's site at http://www.jimcosoftware.com
Q 9. What advice would you give to readers who are used to using the wizards and bots of FrontPage and want to move to Expression Web and a more user friendly site?
A. I recommend they learn how to use either dynamic web templates or .net master pages. That will take care of a good portion of the need for the FrontPage proprietary stuff. For the remainder of FrontPage proprietary bots and wizards a little CSS and some simple server side scripting would wrap it up just fine. Also, that tip on stripping out all the FrontPage proprietary stuff I mentioned earlier will save them a lot of time.
Q 10. Can you tell our readers of any upcoming Expression Web activities or just launched projects you have planned?
As I mentioned earlier a special build of ContentSeed will be coming out shortly but before that a really killer form handler. The form handler is almost done and it's so awesome that users can attach files to their form input and they will be received by the email addresses as an attachment. A user can even build a form with special form fields and the handler will build and attach a V-card to the email results. I'm really excited about the form handler because I don't think there's anything else like it out there.
Interview by Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP - FrontPage 6th January 2008
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