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Re: Vermeer's FrontPage (was: Google Promote Firefox)

__/ [ Larry Qualig ] on Sunday 30 April 2006 00:46 \__

> ws wrote:
>> Larry Qualig wrote:
>> > The Ghost In The Machine wrote:
>> >
>> >> Unless one uses Microsoft FrontPage, which makes it hard for the
>> >> standard browsers. :-/
>> >>
>> >
>> > So what do you have against Front Page ghost?
>> >
>> > - LQ
>> >
>> > PS - I wrote FrontPage. (Not alone of course) It was really good at one
>> > time and one of the first (if not the first) WYSIWYG HTML editors. It
>> > was very OS/Browser neutral when we wrote it. If anything we tested
>> > more with Navigator since that was the dominant browser at the time.

It is nice to hear that you were writing FrontPage as I was using it briefly
as a teenager, perhaps when I was 16. For some reason, I never stuck with it
(no offence intended). Licensing was possibly a factor. All in all, it was
nice work (_at the time_).

>> > What Microsoft did with Front Page after they bought it from us is
>> > outside of my control. But damn-it Ghost... it was a decent product at
>> > one time.

There were other competing products floating about. They simplified Web
design at a time (back when HTML was not yet common knowledge/CS skill).
Almost everyone nowadays is aware the many flaws of this WYSIWYG paradigm.
It is often most suitable for people who are too lazy to study markup. The
ultimate outcome are pages that are poorly coded and are unpredictable. Some
Open Source WYSIWYG packages such as TinyMCE at least adhere to Web

>> Well, your own example just highlights what's the issue here with
>> standards and MS, doesn't it?
>> The three "E"s.
>> 1. How many people now think FP was MS baby?
> I don't know but it's probably most. Most of what's in FP now was added
> in by MS. When they bought Vermeer the product was a fraction of what
> it is today. All-in-all, it is their baby. They bought it and they own
> it. I don't have a problem with that and I'm sure that there's still
> code (and bugs) that I wrote in the product today.
>> 2. How W3C compliant is FP output?
> Back when I worked on it the output was pretty generic and fairly
> compliant. We targeted Navigator as the primary browser but also made
> sure that it worked with IE. Back in the day we didn't do anything
> terribly fancy with the output so it wasn't all that difficult to obide
> by the rules.

Why just test with Navigator? There were specifications.

>> 3. How's Vermeer doing? (*who* the heck is that?)
> The company ceased to exist when MS bought us out.  We had about 28 or
> so employees at the time and a few weeks back we had our 10-year
> reunion party. It was ten years ago that MS bought us. The company was
> basically the employees and the original crew is doing well. I don't
> know of a single employee that has any regrets or complaints that MS
> bought us. I sure don't. To answer the question... there no longer is a
> company named Vermeer. But the employees that made up the company don't
> mind that one bit. It was fun, it was exciting, it was rewarding and
> the product is being used by more people than we ever could have
> imagined. What's there to complain about?

I wouldn't complain, Larry. It was a good product at the time. It failed to
choose a sensible strategy (predicting or honouring the prevalence of other
(X)HTML renderers) and was probably neglected, development-wise. It is
probably Microsoft that let it rot. 

>> MS would love to do the same with Linux, but it doesn't work the same way.
> If Linux were a company I have no doubt that MS would have bought them
> long ago. It's a more difficult problem than what they are accustomed
> to dealing with.

They can usually take over the enemy before it grows, which leads to concern
over the legality of this. A few days ago I heard an opinion/speculation
about an Apple-Adobe(not includes Macromedia) takeover.

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz      |    "Software sucks. Open Source sucks less."
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     ¦     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
  5:15am  up 2 days 12:20,  12 users,  load average: 0.37, 0.47, 0.63
      http://iuron.com - help build a non-profit search engine

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