Tutorial: Using FrontPage with Radio Weblogs
Radio Weblogs - First Impressions
As my first week of using Radio comes to an end I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and first impressions of using this tool. When I started designing web sites, some 7 or 8 years ago, I did them all in Notepad or third party shareware HTML editors with very little features. Like many web designers I got into doing web sites because I had gotten Internet access, started browsing the web and thought, Hey, that's pretty cool. I wonder how they did that. So I started creating my own web site with the free personal space my ISP gave me.
As the demands to design bigger higher quality looking sites increased, I began to look for a tool that would make it easier to design web sites quickly but still give me the flexibility to hand code if I needed to. As you may have guessed, I settled on Microsoft FrontPage. Over the years I've used other design tools but I've never gotten over my love for FrontPage and it's ease of use. I guess that's why I began participating in the Microsoft newsgroups and answering questions from other users, which eventually earned me the Microsoft FrontPage MVP award 3 years ago.
A few weeks ago, my fellow MVP Robert Scoble made a "pitch" to me to try Radio and to use it to create a Microsoft FrontPage Support Weblog. When he first mentioned it I thought, Weblogs? What's that all about? I glanced over the Radio site briefly but wasn't really impressed. At first I thought it was just one of those web-based design tools that many of the free ISP sites offer their customers who don't know anything about coding or designing a web site. Why would I want something like this? I already have a support site and I'm more than capable of designing it myself without needing a web-based interface to handle all the backend stuff for me. What was he trying to do, insult my skills?
Oh well. He is a fellow MVP after all, and I always try to keep an open mind, so if this was something he was excited about then what was the harm in downloading the trial version and checking it out. At least he'd stop bugging me about it. So download it I did. It's a week later now, I have the registered version and I'm addicted.
Why do I like Radio? At first I didn't. What was it good for anyway? But, there was Robert again, responding to all my questions with Radio can do this.. Radio can do that... and so on. Ok already, let's see.
As I started using Radio and delving into its features I became more and more impressed with what it could offer me.
Every day I come across web sites that are stale, stagnant and offer no real reason for me to ever want to revisit them. Even my own site hasn't been updated in quite a while because I just don't have the time to maintain it. I think that part of the reason for this is the time it takes to open up your site, format a new page, add content to it and then publish it out to the web. It's not a quick process.
One of the features about Radio that grabbed me was that I could quickly add a new item to my Weblog and have it available on the web with very little effort on my part. There have been many times, when answering FrontPage support questions, that I've thought to myself how often a particular question has been asked and that maybe I should add it to my list of FAQs or Tips on my web site but I just never get around to it. There's always something more pressing going on and I don't have the time to open the site, make a new page, add the content and then add that page to my menu of topics.
With Radio, all I have to do is open my home page, type into the box and click post. Everything else is handled for me. This now gives me a greater flexibility to quickly push out information for visitors to my site while saving me the time that I need to spend somewhere else. And, when I do get the time, there are features that let me go into the "guts" of the beast and customize the look and feel of my Weblog.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up my copy of FrontPage just yet. Although Radio has some great features I still wouldn't want to use it to design a commercial web site for a client but with the introduction of more web-based tools, like Microsoft Sharepoint Team Services, Radio definitely has it's place in the market for people who want a web site but don't have the time to learn HTML or be bothered with the stuff "behind the scenes." And, I can still use FrontPage to customize my Radio Weblog as much as I want.
© Copyright 2003 David Berry.
Last update: 1/20/2003; 8:25:45 PM.
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