Murray Summers - Microsoft MVP - Visual Developer - Expression

Murray Summers.

Name: Murray R. Summers
Country: USA
Focus: Blurry


Expression Web Interview with Murray Summers

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

A. I do not. I am a freelance developer, and my company site is devoted to issues surrounding my development policies and skill. However, I spend a good amount of time helping people on the forums because it keeps me sharp to do so. In doing that, I often build ad-hoc demonstrations for particular concepts, and some of those have been permanently mounted on my company site ( ), although not directly linked.

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

A . Yes, definitely: get serious. The more you know about HTML and CSS, the easier your adventure will be. Don't fall for the line that you can create websites without knowing this. A website created by someone who doesn't know these core technologies will look exactly like a website created by someone who doesn't know these core technologies. There is absolutely no free lunch here (or anywhere else for that matter!).

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

A . Being a PHP user, that's where I'd like to see xWeb go, and I believe is will do that. But there are a few core features that MUST also be added, not the least of which is the simple ability to remember FTP login information. 

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

A. I'm guessing that there is more demand for multi-level horizontal/vertical menus than anything else in contemporary HTML authoring. That being the case, there are MANY of these 'systems' out there that should be shot at dawn without benefit of blindfold! I'd really like to see a standards compliant, light-JavaScript, CSS-based menu system that would be easy to use, search engine visible, and fully accessible.

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. h I have to say that it was Kevin Spencer who got me going with FrontPage more than a few years ago. His tutorials really taught me a lot, and showed me how to think about creating basic web pages with server scripting. The help I received on the FP forums, and others, was so seductive and so informative, that it just became a way of life for me. And it still is. Although I provide lots of help for people there, I receive lots of it still. And I'm still just as grateful for it as I was years ago....

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

A. Code to standards. I really can't emphasize this strongly enough. It's easy to say, but the implication of that is quite profound. It implies that you a) know the standards, and b) know how to code/use xWeb so that you have not applied methods that could result in non-standard markup. When you code to standards, and have layout problems, the first logical stop is a validator - and instead of finding hundreds of errors, you may find exactly the one that is the problem on the first validation.

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

A .  None at the moment....

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 respect and admire the advice given by all of the MVPs on the xWeb forums. They have all helped me, and the rest of the community, a tremendous amount!

In addition, there are others there who give advice and suggestions that are clear and well targeted.

I can only say that after even a few days of visits, it should be clear who these 'reliable sources of information' would be! 8)

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. See my answer to #2. If you want to create websites, you will need to become even partially comfortable with HTML and CSS. As for user friendliness, there are some very good resources out there for such things. In general, an accessible site is one that is also user friendly. To get a good scope on these issues, I usually start here -

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

A. There are none on the boards at present!


Interview by Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP - FrontPage  7th Oct 2007 Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved