Kevin Spencer, Microsoft MVP - Visual Developer - Expression

Kevin Spencer - Visual Developer - Expression

Name: Kevin Spencer
Country: USA
WebSite: http://www.takempis.com , http://unclechutney.blogspot.com
Focus: .Net development

 

Expression Web Interview with Kevin Spencer

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

A. I have, but I'm thinking about switching to contributing to the Expression Web Sites of others, who have more time to maintain them.

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

A .  Learn everything you can about CSS. It is a very powerful styling mechanism, and can save you lots of time down the road if you use it correctly. In particular, the inheritance factor, combined with Cascading and external style sheets can be used to style an entire web site from just a few style sheets. You can change the entire appearance of a well-designed web site with 1 or more external style sheets. Check out http://www.csszengarden.com  for some examples of what can be done.

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

A . As a .Net developer, I would like to see better support for ASP.Net,
IntelliSense, the ability to work interactively with web.config files and
XML sitemap files, and more support for coding in ASP.Net. There were a good many tools in FrontPage for doing ASP.Net and previously ASP, and I would like to see some of the FrontPage WebBot functionality converted to ASP.Net Controls and/or Wizards in Expression Web.

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

A. I don't really know the answer to that question, as I've never used any of the available ones. If I were to think of one myself, I'd like to see an Add-On that makes optimizing and editing pictures available to users of the product, nothing fancy, but something easy to use. This has always been a problem for both users of FrontPage and Expression Web.

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. That was a long time ago. I first started using FrontPage at version 1.1, the first Microsoft version (about 10 years ago). I had questions, and found the newsgroups to be a good place to find answers. Afterwards, I was both grateful, and felt a sense of obligation, that I should give back what I'd made use of. I found a great pleasure in helping others, and contributing to the community. In the process, I made a lot of friends.

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

A. First, plan ahead. A good design will save a lot of work in the long run. This applies both to the structure of the web site and to the style sheets you use. In fact, it applies to all sorts of things. The more time you spend up front, researching, planning, and designing, the less time you will spend in the long run, making changes. A web site never stops changing, so always keep extensibility in mind during the design process. Think ahead. Design for usability. Remember that a web site is a User Interface. The more user-friendly you make it, the more people will use it. Don't get caught up in all the features of the software that enable you to do lots of things. Design the web site with only its purpose in mind. Like software, a web site is a response to a set of requirements. If you design with only the requirements in mind, the rest will follow.

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

A .
a/ http://www.csszengarden.com
b/ http://www.w3schools.com/
c/ http://www.quirksmode.org/
d/ http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
e/ http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/

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. I couldn't really point out anyone in particular. I've spent a lot of years studying a lot of people, and I would recommend the same to anyone. Web Design can take a lot of different styles/paths, and I have found that the style you end up with depends on the client. So, you need to know as much about all of them as you can.

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. Web technology has been growing at an exponential rate since the first browsers appeared only about 14 years ago. You basically have 2 choices: You can grow with it, or you can do something else for a living. I like productivity tools a lot, but I rue the day when I become dependent upon them, or can't do my job without them. Expression Web will continue to evolve, and better tools will become available within Expression Web. But there are plenty of good tools in there already. So, my advice is, remove the word "can't" from your personal dictionary and you will go far.

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

A.   I just wrote an article for http://by-expression.com/ , and I hope to contribute more to some of the excellent Expression Web sites that are out there. As for projects, I use Expression Web chiefly for ASP.Net web application work. I have done several projects with it, but I'm not sure that this is what this question means!

Interview by Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP - FrontPage  8th Aug 2007
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