MS FrontPage vs Netscape Composer

Mar 5 15:42 2005 Loring Windblad Print This Article

There are two major WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors available for beginners. These are: Microsoft FrontPage and Netscape Composer. So the question is which one is better?

They both have similar features and ease of operation. They can be used easily by beginners with only the “in program help” features and you can design exquisite websites. The limit is your imagination.

In my mind,Guest Posting having used both of these programs, the major difference between them is cost. Yes, Microsoft “charges you big bucks” for FrontPage while Composer comes as a part of the Netscape program and it’s FREE. Just go to, find and download their browser and install it and you have their Internet Browser, Netscape E-mail and a website Composer.

To check out the some of the simple work you can do with this FREE program (I get nothing for this, btw), check out my efforts at: (an 7-year ongoing "work in progress") (still being re-constructed and soon relocated) (added to every year) (pretty complete unless I add another chapter or two?)

My idea is that MS FrontPage and Netscape Composer are ideal for beginners as they provide so much help. Then you should move to Maccromedia Dreamweaver or Adobe GoLive when you feel yourself more comfortable with the html code and finally, if you are serious about web design, you should reach the hand coding level as it is still the best way to code pages.

In the final analysis, regardless of the “program” you may use to help you design and build your website – or if you program it from HTML code – it is ultimately only as good as your imagination and your check-back validation of the base code and overall site. Writing your own HTML code gives you the freedom of using tags and styles as you want them to be used.

Do not forget, however, that ultimately invaluable final step: to validate your code, whether generated by hand coding or by one of the WISYWIG programs. You would be surprised at the number of errors actually created and overlooked during the creative process. These can range from simple misspellings and run in the code from broken links to invalid tag attributes.

As a final note, there are other free web page design programs out there which will work just fine. One of them is the AOL web composer, which I haven’t used for about 6-7 years. You can easily search a site such as TuCows or Download dot Com for free web page building programs.

Update, Feb 2005:Since I wrote the above article a year ago I have not changed my mind on the basic comparison between Frontpage and Composer: they are both viable web page composing programs “for the amateur” with the major difference that Composer is completely free while Frontpage must be purchased….there are no “legal” free copies of Frontpage. Composer versions 7+ are every bit as easy to use and as advanced in features as Frontpage 2003 or XP.

However, if you are a “professional” web designer or you are seriously designing a Web Site for Professional or Business purposes you cannot use anything less than Frontpage, In Design (from Adobe) or Dreamweaver from Maccromedia. Composer simply creates too many problems in the basic html language to do anything more than make a nice “personal” web site with. Some of the changes created by Composer, which make it unsatisfactory for commercial web site development, are initial tagging as “composer created” prior to the Head and “meta tags” portion; and in fact changes to the meta tags. Both of these features make Composer unacceptable for all commercial applications; i.e., web sites designed to be listed in the search engines.

Because of the above, all of the web sites listed earlier in this article have been re-designed with Frontpage and I am embarking on a program as I write to compare both Dreamweaver MX and In Design and then switch from Frontpage to whichever of those programs proves to be the best for my needs. Things change with time so stay tuned to this article for updates on that story.

I’ll write a completely new article – leaving this one intact – once I complete my test drives of In Design and Dreamweaver. And I need to make that move because as much better as Frontpage is for “professional” web site development over Composer, so Dreamweaver and In Design over Frontpage! Frontpage is, after all, a Microsoft creation with all the proprietary MS B.S. that that involves. Try viewing a Composer-designed web site in IE. Likewise, try viewing a Frontpage-designed web site in Netscape, Opera or Firefox? Same story – proprietary stuff from MS actually contaminates Frontpage designs just as much as Composer messes up designs when viewed in IE! It all goes back to Bill Gates “version” of both HTML and Java script languages versus the “standard” versions.

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Loring Windblad
Loring Windblad

Loring Windblad has operated his own HBBs for nearly 40 years, is a published author and freelance writer. Loring has written grants, business plans and resumes that got the job done right. His latest HBB endeavor is

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