Ian Haynes - Microsoft MVP - FrontPage

Ian Haynes.

Name: Ian Haynes
Country: UK
WebSite: http://www.ew-resource.co.uk/
Focus: Mainly using ASP.Net in Expression Web but other hints and tips as well.

 

Expression Web Interview with Ian Haynes

Q 1. Do you own and maintain your own FrontPage/Expression Web resource(s)?

A. Yes I have one each at the moment: http://www.ew-resource.co.uk  and http://www.fp-resource.co.uk/  I'm working on some more ASP.Net tutorials for the EW-Resource site and have lots of others I'd like to do when time permits.

Q 2. Do you have a special tip for Expression Web you can share with our readers?

A . Well something I've found very useful recently is the ease with which you can bring in content from older sites and quickly update it to be 'standards compliant' XHTML.

Copy the content from your old page into your new page. You can do this in either Design or Code view. If you now look at code view and scroll down the page you'll see the IntelliSense has highlighted any errors (Maybe a few maybe not ....). Now save the page.

To get a concise breakdown of the errors use 'Tools - Compatibility Reports' select the 'Current Page' option, make sure the HTML/XHTML and CSS selections are the same as the site/page and then click 'Check'. You'll get a full list of the errors.

Next go into Code View and then use 'Edit - Select All' (from the top menu bar). Now right click the selected code and towards the bottom of the list of options you'll see 'Apply XML Formatting Rules' Click this.

Now recheck with 'Tools - Compatibility Reports'. The errors may all have gone or you may have some left.

Reselect 'All' in code view, right click and now select 'Reformat HTML'. Now check how many errors you have. They may all be gone but if not you can click the error in the list and jump straight to it in the code.

I've found I can bring even complex pages and forms up to 'Standards
Compliance' (they'll validate fully) with very little work using this
method.

Q 3. What feature would you most like to see available within the next version of Expression Web and why?

A . Several: I'd like to see storage of FTP usernames and passwords fixed and the whole FTP client sorted out. The way ASP.Net Masterpages are handled needs some improvement. I'd also like the ability to have the code and design windows split vertically as well as horizontally. (This is possible in VS2008 which uses EW for web design).

Q 4. What Expression Web Add-on would you most like to see available and why?

A.  A tool to create JavaScript validation script for forms. The validation
'bot' in FP did a good job of this and it's the only FP component I really
miss. Maybe bring it back into EW!

I guess a Form handler of some type would be useful for lots of EW users migrating from FrontPage.

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. A. I found the FP list at Yahoo when I started working with FP98 and got a lot of help from the list early on. After a while I found I could answer some of the questions myself and have continued to do this ever since. I learnt a huge amount his way and am keen to help others wherever I can. The only stupid question is the one you never ask!

Q 6. What Expression Web or Web design good practices do you recommend our readers follow?

A. Spend some time learning how the CSS features in EW work and
experimenting with them. They're very powerful and time spent understanding  them is well repaid.

Use the IE and Firefox Web Developer Toolbars. They can help you diagnose problems, help you validate your pages and let you easily look at how other sites are created.

Finally, test, test and test again. Down load all the main browsers, IE,
Firefox, Opera and Safari. Test in them all at different resolutions. You
may not be able to fix every difference you see but you'll get very close.

Q 7. What five sites do you recommend should be in our readers web design arsenal?

A .
a/ http://www.sitepoint.com/ An excellent resource and always up to date
b/ http://www.alistapart.com/  Keeps on the leading edge
c/ http://www.code-magazine.com/  If you work in ASP.Net
d/ http://www.csszengarden.com/  shows you what's possible with CSS. Be inspired!
e/ http://www.opensourcetemplates.org/  For those times when your inspiration runs out

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. The guys behind Sitepoint and for ASP.Net, Scott Guthrie.

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. Well first of all, if you have an existing site in FP you can edit it in
EW and EW will recognise and let you work with the existing FrontPage bots and components. BUT, it won't let you add any new ones.

So, design new sites in EW and start looking at DWT's and ASP.Net master pages in place of the navigation bot and includes. Probably the main issue you'll have is with forms and you may need to look at ASP.Net or php in place of the FrontPage form 'bot'. There are already some downloadable
components to help here and lots of help on the web.

Q 10. Can you tell our readers of any upcoming Expression Web activities or just launched projects you have planned?

A. I have some more tutorials in the pipeline and a variety of other ideas when I get the time. Customers work gets in the way!

Interview by Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP - FrontPage  22nd Sept 2007 Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved