The first “beta” was a Community Technology Preview in May, but now Expression Web Designer (AKA Quartz) has arrived as a full fledged Beta 1 with a name change as Microsoft CVP S. “Soma” Somasegar recounts at his weblog yesterday:
Earlier today, the team signed off on Beta1 for Expression Web (formerly known as Expression Web Designer) which provides you with a rich set of tools to build high quality, standards-based web sites.
You can download this beta from Expression Web and send us any feedback that you have on this.
The beta requires the .NET 2.0 framework before you can play.
One, the WYSIWYG web design software no longer supports the creation of FrontPage files. And two, Microsoft is changing the name from the incredibly boring “Expression Web Designer” to the incredibly opaque “Expression Web.”
Regarding the removal of FrontPage support, product manager Wayne Smith said MS has “removed from the product is all the entry points that allow people to create new things with FrontPage tech. But the editing tools remain.”
You can still render FrontPage pages and edit them, but there are no mechanisms to create new FrontPage instances.
That may be OK, but as I mentioned previously, while FrontPage got no respect, it continues to be ubiquitous in both Windows and non-Windows Web hosting.
Joris Evers at CNET reports that ‘Critical’ megapatch sews up 10 holes in IE:
Microsoft on Tuesday released a “critical” Internet Explorer update that fixes 10 vulnerabilities in the Web browser, including a high-profile bug that is already being used in cyberattacks.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant sent out the IE megafix as part of its monthly Patch Tuesday cycle of bulletins. In addition, Microsoft delivered two bulletins for “critical” Windows flaws, one for an “important” vulnerability in Outlook Express and one for a “moderate” bug in a component of FrontPage and SharePoint.
“This patch release is a big one with lots of aftershocks,” said Jonathan Bitle, a product manager at security company Qualys. “Three of the five updates, the IE and Windows updates, are especially critical as they take advantage of inexperienced users…Although a worm epidemic is unlikely, users can be easily enticed to visit malicious Web pages.”
Eight of the 10 vulnerabilities repaired by the IE update could be abused to gain complete control over a Windows computer running vulnerable versions of the Web browser. In all instances, an attacker would have to create a malicious Web site and trick people into visiting that site to hook into a PC, Microsoft said in its Security Bulletin MS06-013.
The 8 drive-by exploits included the one reported last month where hacked everyday web sites were being used as the shadowy “malicious web sites” Microsoft seems to be so fond of warning against.
Also in the security update for IE is the nonsecurity change in the handling of ActiveX controls mandated by Microsoft’s patent infringement case with Eolas that had been previously released as a “voluntary patch.” It’s a little more complicated than that, because Microsoft is also providing a “compatibility patch” that disables the Eolas update until June for developers that are still working to finish modifying corporate applications. Not unexpectedly, Eolas said last month that it would have been simpler just to pay them. David Berlind observes that the extra user clicks that may be required for some ActiveX controls puts Firefox one up on Internet Explorer because Eolas is not pursuing the open source browser.
In line with Monday’s rumor, Microsoft has formally branded the upcoming release of Office that had been codenamed “Office 12″ as “Office 2007″. The press release is here along with Microsoft Word documents with details on the various packages (SKUs) to be offered, and the estimated retail pricing.
Some items of note:
FrontPage is replaced by Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Microsoft Expression Web Designer which are both said to be based on FrontPage technologies. SharePoint Designer is new and we have previously discussed the Expression products here. I won’t wax nostalgic about the history of FrontPage except to say that I always found it a useful web site file manager and WYSIWYG HTML editor despite its quirks and the disdain of geeks who like to program close to the metal. Even today, most non-Microsoft web hosting packages offer FrontPage support which reflects its popularity and how it managed to retain its cross platform heritage over the years. We’ll have to see how the new tools work out, but my prejudice is against SharePoint for anything except intranet use in an all Microsoft shop, so I expect that my general preference would be Web Designer.
Groove joins Office with the announcement of Microsoft Office Groove 2007, Microsoft Office Groove Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Groove Enterprise Services for hosted deployments. All are only available through volume licensing which seems interesting given that Groove’s original claim to fame was small group collaboration through P2P sharing. There’s also a new Office Live Groove subscription service for SMBs. That would spice up the rather mundane Office Live story.
New Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007. Details are sparse, but presumably these are respectively central servers for InfoPath clients and the project portfolio management technology acquired last year with UMT.
New Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access A web based version of Microsoft’s business IM client.
New Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 and an Enterprise CAL. These new versions have everything but the kitchen sink.
There’s lots to chew on here and I expect a wave of punditry over the next few days.
Update: Jay Greene at BusinessWeek online says that the release of Office 2007 has slipped six to eight weeks to the 4th quarter.
ICRA, the Internet Content Rating Association, has announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft Corporation enabling Microsoft to utilize the ICRA system in a range of products such as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Windows and Microsoft FrontPage.
Separately, Microsoft has made a financial contribution to ICRA in support of the ongoing work of the organization, including development of ICRA’s world-leading labeling system, a new vocabulary better able to meet the challenge of digital convergence, and continued outreach based on ICRA’s commercial value proposition.
Hemanshu Nigam, Microsoft’s Director for Child Safe Computing in Windows Client, stated:
“We are pleased to have completed this inbound licensing agreement with ICRA. Microsoft supports ICRA’s ongoing work as part of our own efforts to help provide children and their trusted guardians with a safer and more secure computing environment.”
ICRA encourages digital media providers to describe their content using machine-understandable labels that empower Internet and digital content users to customize their online experience through installation and use of a filter set to each user’s personal preferences. In addition to free web filters — such as ICRAplus — ICRA labels can also be read by other filtering tools, Internet browsers and search engines.
More details at http://www.icra.org/ but the net is that the ICRA provides a mechanism for RDF tagging web content for parental control purposes and Microsoft has licensed the right to incorporate/scan the tags in their browsers, Client OS, and their Office Web authoring tool, FrontPage. Presumably this would all take place in the IE7, Windows Vista, and Office 12 timeframes or later. No mention of Visual Studio, but undoubtedly it is included too.