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Chapter 3. FrontPage's Views > Front and Center: Views Matter

Front and Center: Views Matter

I've received email and heard a number of FrontPage users tell me proudly that they only work in a single view and don't make use of the others. They tell me they are more “comfortable” looking at their site one way over another. Some only work in Design view, whereas others prefer to stay with the Code view to keep “pure.”

This is as intelligent as only typing in caps because you aren't comfortable with the Caps Lock key. It is not a matter of preference; it is a matter of power.

FrontPage provides multiple views to your Web site project because you need to look at (and interact with) your site in different ways as you work through a project. Each view is used at different parts of the project to provide the best possible design toolset.

It should be of no surprise that most users will spend most of their time in Design view. The view is by far the easiest to use and the most comfortable to work in. Design view uses an interface most users are familiar with and empowers them with the ability to design the Web site they are looking to develop.

Spend more than a few weeks working on a Web site, and you will realize that there is no way around occasionally jumping in to Code view. There will be times when you will need to tweak your HTML—this isn't an issue of FrontPage; this is an issue of designing a Web site. When you work in Code view, remember that most of the buttons in the toolbar also work in this view. Need to build a table? Use the Insert Table button. Need to underline text or insert a picture? Do this from the interface as well.

After you've spent some time in Code view, you will realize the need to regularly examine how your HTML affects your Web content. Sure, you can jump to the Preview view or look at the site in a browser, but the Split view gives you an instant presentation of how your code will perform. Make use of it.

Obviously, you will need to examine your work in a browser on a regular basis. Despite the WYSIWYG element provided through Design view, there are still items that can confuse the process. Some preview issues require a browser: “Does this work on Netscape 3?” Some issues simply don't: “Does this table look right?” Most users preview a site in their browser when Preview view actually provides the information they need.

Web sites are just that, sites. True design isn't about any one single page; it is about the entirety of your site content and how it all fits together. Folders view lets you view your site as if it were your hard drive. Need to sort your files? Click on the header column. Need to move a batch of GIFs to the images directory? Drag and drop.

If you are working with a remote Web site, Remote Web Site view gives you the same power as Folder view.

Many FrontPage users like to develop their site navigation using a simple flowchart-like diagramming process. It should be of no surprise that the Navigation view uses that approach. Need to quickly redirect how everything connects to everything else or need to explain your site layout to someone who is “uncomfortable” with Internet programs? Use this view navigation and manipulate these sites issues.

The reports FrontPage provides the end user are incredibly valuable. Even if you aren't hosted on a server that provides the traffic reports, the look in to the health of your site provided through this view is significant. If you aren't examining Reports view on a regular basis, you are missing out.

This is the World Wide Web—every page in your site usually interacts with other pages internal and external to your project. The Hyperlinks view gives you the only way to really see how these hyperlinks interact with each other—there is no other way to visualize this status. It also provides the ability to view broken links and quickly fix them with a few clicks of the mouse.

Tasks view is obviously only of benefit if you are using the tasks management feature built in to FrontPage. If you are, you will find that the power of not having to work with an additional system joined with the ability to have a task automatically open the corresponding page is a solid combination.

Make use of the different views in FrontPage. Independently, they provide different needs for different situations. Combined, they provide an ability to understand and control your site that puts you in a considerable place of power.

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