FrontPage was initially created by the Cambridge, Massachusetts company Vermeer Technologies, Incorporated, evidence of which can be easily spotted in file names and directories prefixed _vti_ in Web sites created using FrontPage. Vermeer was acquired by Microsoft in January 1996 specifically so that Microsoft could add FrontPage to its product line-up  allowing them to gain an advantage in the browser wars, as FrontPage was designed to create web pages for their own browser, Internet Explorer.
As a "WYSIWYG" (What You See Is What You Get) editor, FrontPage is designed to hide the details of pages' HTML code from the user, making it possible for novices to create web pages and web sites easily.
FrontPage's initial outing under the Microsoft name came in 1996 with the release of Windows NT 4.0 Server and its constituent Web server Internet Information Services 2.0. Bundled on CD with the NT 4.0 Server release, FrontPage 1.1 would run under NT 4.0 (Server or Workstation) or Windows 95. Up to FrontPage 98, the FrontPage Editor, which was used for designing pages, was a separate application from the FrontPage Explorer which was used to manage web site folders. With FrontPage 2000, both programs were merged into the Editor.
FrontPage used to require a set of server-side plugins originally known as IIS Extensions. The extension set was significantly enhanced for Microsoft inclusion of FrontPage into the Microsoft Office line-up with Office 97 and subsequently renamed FrontPage Server Extensions (FPSE). Both sets of extensions needed to be installed on the target web server for its content and publishing features to work. Microsoft offered both Windows and Unix-based versions of FPSE. FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions worked with earlier versions of FrontPage as well. FPSE 2002 was the last released version which also works with FrontPage 2003 and was later updated for IIS 6.0 as well. However, with FrontPage 2003, Microsoft began moving away from proprietary Server Extensions to standard protocols like FTP and WebDAV for remote web publishing and authoring. FrontPage 2003 can also be used with Windows SharePoint Services.
A version for the classic Mac OS was released in 1998; however, it had fewer features than the Windows product and Microsoft has never updated it.
In 2006, Microsoft announced that FrontPage would eventually be superseded by two products. Microsoft SharePoint Designer would allow business professionals to design SharePoint-based applications. Microsoft Expression Web is targeted at the web design professional for the creation of feature-rich web sites. Microsoft discontinued Microsoft FrontPage in December 2006.
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