There are encouraging signs that Microsoft might be addressing one of the biggest problems with its FrontPage software – that being the dire quality of the markup that it generates. In a CNet news article entitled Microsoft aims higher with Web software, Melisa Samuelson, a Microsoft product manager is quoted as saying:
“We’ve heard in the past that customers felt our code wasn’t transparent enough, that we generated messy code … We’ve really focused on generating clean, industry-standard HTML code.”
One of the Web Standards Project’s stated aims is to encourage software vendors to write tools that generate compliant markup, not the tag soup or proprietary markup that many have been guilty of in the past (and none more so than FrontPage). WaSP has been successful in engaging some sectors of the industry, but FrontPage has been a difficult one to crack to date. Given the number of governmental and public offices that use FrontPage as the default web authoring tool (on the basis that it’s ‘free’ when bundled with the MS Office suite), it’s especially important that the tool generates markup that complies with W3C standards (that Microsoft itself helped to define). Add to this the fact that US government agencies – many of whom will be using FrontPage – are required to make web pages comply with Section 508 accessibility guidelines, and you have even more reason to expect that the markup produced is clean and compliant.
We sincerely hope that Melisa Samuelson’s comments are based on fact, and were not simply for the purposes of providing an enticing quote for this news story. If it was the latter, it certainly caught our attention – and we’ll be watching to see if this holds true.
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