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Chapter 33. Word 2002 > Office's Alternative HTML Editor

Office's Alternative HTML Editor

Starting with Office 2000, it began to be apparent that Microsoft was attempting to make its flagship word-processing program function as a tool for Web page authoring as well as its typical Word documents (.doc files). Word could load HTML code directly into a document window and let you work with that code directly. The Web Layout view gave you direct access to commands that let you work in an HTML authoring environment, considerably less capable than Word's normal environment (because HTML has nowhere near the formatting capabilities of Word) but highly useful for creating basic Web pages and even beyond. A few of Word's templates were oriented toward Web page development, and HTML features such as hyperlinks, tables, and frames were built into Word's word- processing capabilities. Those of us closely following the development of FrontPage wondered whether the next version of Word might go so far as to try to take over from FrontPage as Office's primary HTML authoring program.

With the release of Word 2002, it's safe to say that Word is now close. Most FrontPage authors will probably continue to work in FrontPage to produce their sites, but for the most part, that's only because they're intimately familiar with its interface and features. Spending even a short while in the new Word, however, will go far toward convincing them that Word, in some ways, has become not only as strong as FrontPage as far as many Web authoring features are concerned, but also a more comfortable environment in which to author. As an authoring tool only, FrontPage can be crowded, seeming to lack Word's clean, wide-open window. Of course, you can get rid of the Views Bar, Folder List, and Task pane from FrontPage and work solely in the main viewing pane of Page view. In that respect, the argument about being a bit crowded need not hold at all. But one of the main advantages of FrontPage is its highly convenient interface, with options accessible at all times. Therefore, getting rid of all the views and panes seems almost like sacrilege. Word, on the other hand, has always functioned primarily as a blank page to which you add your text, and as such it suits a more austere appearance.


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