How many of you out there are still using FrontPage Server Extensions? A few hands. Most have moved off FrontPage, but there are still a few whose websites are totally dependent on FrontPage. For whatever reason, they haven't revamped their code to get away from FrontPage. Microsoft officially killed off FrontPage Server Extensions with the release of Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7. But despite everything that Microsoft has done, FrontPage continues to cling to life by its fingernails. It's been a while, but just recently I ran into someone still using FrontPage. A customer whose old server died and had to be rebuilt was facing the sudden and unplanned upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008. And all of his web applications depended heavily on FrontPage Server Extensions. As one who has helped out customers migrating to new servers, I've had to advise them about the current state of FrontPage and their options.
Official Status of FrontPage Server Extensions – The View from Redmond
Windows Server 2003 (and R2) was the last version to include support for FrontPage Server Extensions. Microsoft FrontPage 2002 (the web designer application) was last version to be included with Microsoft Office, in the higher-end editions of Office XP. FrontPage 2003 was released as a standalone product and was not included in any edition of Office 2003. And with that, Microsoft hoped to move people along to ASP.NET, Expression Web (the web designer replacement for FrontPage), and SharePoint. Realizing that people might still need to work with their FrontPage web applications for a while, Expression Web was able to open and edit, but not create, FrontPage web pages. The FrontPage Server Extensions that were released for Apache running on Unix/Linux were withdrawn by Microsoft in 2006, and though they can still be used on the servers where they were installed, it's technically illegal to install them on a new server. But I seriously doubt many in the Linux community shed any tears over this. Windows Server 2008 was released without any support for FrontPage Server Extensions from Microsoft. Legacy ASP code was fully supported, but FrontPage was officially dead. (But what Microsoft wasn't telling anybody was that FrontPage Server Extensions were still being used to publish ClickOnce applications as late as Visual Studio 2008.)
Ready-to-Run Software to the Rescue
While Microsoft declared FrontPage dead, there were enough people out there still dependent on FrontPage Server Extensions that Ready-to-Run Software created a package that could be installed on Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7 to support FrontPage web applications. This is a free-to-use download from the IIS community site. I personally have not used this package, so you are on your own. For those running Windows Server 2008 R2 and IIS 7.5, Ready-To-Run has also released a FrontPage Server Extensions package for that platform as well. But this time, you have to buy a license to use it. I guess they figure that anyone still using FrontPage web applications are desperate enough to pony up some cash to put off the inevitable for one more version of Windows Server.
The Sun Sets on FrontPage
Despite the work by Ready-To-Run Software, this has only bought those you still using FrontPage Server Extensions a short lease on life (for your web applications, that is). Windows Server 2012 is unlikely to have any support for FrontPage Server Extensions, so a revamp of your web applications is unavoidable.