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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog » Blog Entry           prev Prev   Next next

Sunday, February 11, 2007 - Sun, 11 Feb 2007

What is the worst computer program you have ever worked with? I just had my final encounter with what I call the worst. I’ve struggled with it for several years, and after this last experience, I’ll never use it again.

The program that wins my smelly sock award is Microsoft FrontPage 2000. This piece of garbage is slightly less smelly than Microsoft FrontPage 1997. The 2002 version did not improve much, and 2003 was bearable … barely. But the one I have, or should I say had before I shredded it, was the 2000 version.

I maintain my own website with HomeSite, a text-based webpage editor. I know the HTML syntax and how to manually program it. But the site I maintain for my Heritage Centre I set up several years ago with FrontPage - partly to learn how FrontPage worked, partly with the idea that it should (not true) be easier for others to use, and partly because the WYSIWYG interface allowed easier entry of fancier fonts and some usability benefits.

All I wanted to do was change the copyright year from 2006 to 2007 on all the footers. Should have taken 10 seconds. But when I saved it, the footers were gone. I tried everything to get them back for two hours, but only succeeded in getting the site more and more screwed up as I went.

So I sat back and thought about the junky HTML code it produces, the lengthy upload times, the crazy directory structure it creates, the impossible task of trying to delete cells or tables or change their arrangement without going to the code. Some really badly implemented and non-intuitive functionality - even Find is horrid as it puts its results into a Todo list which is basically unusable. No integration with the other Office products. The way it decided for no reason at all to lock me out and prevent me from publishing a copy to my own machine - not accepting my own passwords!

That was it! It took me one hour to convert the site with HomeSite and remove all the FrontPage extensions. It took me 3 more hours to make a dent in improving the horrendous HTML FrontPage produced. This is a program that Microsoft itself has announced that it will no longer be supporting. Obviously, FP is so deeply in trouble that even Microsoft is giving up on it and hope people will soon forget about it. Yuck!

There is nothing worse than a program you are using that is causing you more trouble than its worth. If you have any of those, my advice is to chuck them - sooner rather than later.

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