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2 Questions on Expression's Capabilities

    Question

  • Hello -
    I work for a small business intelligence organization and I need a program that does two things:

    1. Creates good-looking websites that can be very secure and are asp/aspx compatible as I have two developers very skilled in C# who will need to access and build onto the site as well

    2.  I need a product that can create a weekly email page.  In the past I have used Publisher but have found the fonts to be unsatisfactory both in number and in resulting view they are very granular.  I need to be able to easily send the created document 'as a message in email' meaning NOT as an attachment but it does need to be html. 

    Please let me know your thoughts, I have recently acquired Web Expression2 but have had trouble learning it (well I just started yesterday).  Let me know if you think Web Expression2 will meet my requirements before I spend a lot of time learning it.  Thank you in advance for your time and your input,
    Kate
    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:07 PM

All replies

  • EW can handle anything you want.  It's just a tool.  The results will be proportional to the knowledge and experience of the person using it.
    --
    Chris Hanscom - Microsoft MVP
    Resource Center | Veign's Blog | Web Development Help
    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:14 PM
  • As Chris says, it's not EW that's the question: Yes, it can do what you want, but you need to know how to use it.  If you are starting cold, I strongly suggest making use of the many free EW tutorials on the web: you will end up saving time in the long run.

    As to the emails: That's again, up to you to know the limitations of what email programs will do with html, and how to work with that.  One resource for that is: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/code-html-email-newsletters/ .  Google "HTML Email" for others.
    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:29 PM
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that many users have html email disabled by default (i.e. they have "Read all messages in plain text" set) or by corporate policy. Always be sure to provide a plain text version for those users. Few things are more irritating than getting a message that says, "Your email client does not support... " I always think, "No, you witless twit, it supports it just fine, but I've got it turned off." Consider your recipients.

    cheers,
    scott
    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 4:45 PM
  • walkokd2,

    I am not a skilled coder but have found EW2 to be an excellent tool.  As to the production of a weekly email, not certain what you are doing there but if it is "project" oriented you may want to consider using Access 2007 to send the email.  Recipients receive the email then checkoff or update the Access fields and return it to you.  This gives you an opportunity to receive a response from your recipients that automatically updates your database.  You can use it as Gantt chart for project management.  Works well with Outlook and Gmail.

    ROC
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:01 AM
  • You can create a great html e-mail in EW, really nice. But it won't display properly in an e-mail program. Well, maybe it will. Or maybe it will in some, but not others.

    You absolutely cannot predict what it will look like, because e-mail programs do not display html equally, and they do not recognize many of the html tags. And the fonts they see depend completely on what is installed on their machine. It has nothing to do with what you think they should see or whether you use HTML. If you use anything other than the standards, you have no way of knowing what their computer will substitute.

    Scott is right about including a plain text version.

    But, you might also try one of the many e-mail services like Constant Contact. They have html templates that, through experimentation, they have found will display okay across a range of e-mail clients. And since they regulate very strictly how the e-mails can be sent, they are whitelisted in spam registries, so your e-mail will be less likely to be tripped up in a spam filter. If you're e-mailing to more than 50 people, you're better off using a service from a spam filter standpoint.

    Just keep in mind that except for font size and color, you have very little idea how somebody will see that e-mail displayed.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:22 AM
  • walkokd2 said:

    Hello -
    I work for a small business intelligence organization and I need a program that does two things:

    1. Creates good-looking websites that can be very secure and are asp/aspx compatible as I have two developers very skilled in C# who will need to access and build onto the site as well

    2.  I need a product that can create a weekly email page.  In the past I have used Publisher but have found the fonts to be unsatisfactory both in number and in resulting view they are very granular.  I need to be able to easily send the created document 'as a message in email' meaning NOT as an attachment but it does need to be html. 

    Please let me know your thoughts, I have recently acquired Web Expression2 but have had trouble learning it (well I just started yesterday).  Let me know if you think Web Expression2 will meet my requirements before I spend a lot of time learning it.  Thank you in advance for your time and your input,
    Kate


    I have no experience creating pages for email campaigns, however the handful of web developers I know who do a lot of email campaigns say they have to create "dumbed down" pages featuring table-based layouts, and HTML formatting (such as FONT tags) instead of using CSS. You could design table based layouts with Expression Web, but HTML formatting would need to be done by hand in Code view because all of the formatting that Expression Web generates for you is CSS-based. 

    I get a lot of HTML-based newsletters in email and they often have info in the footer noting that the email was sent via some email marketing generation tool, such as the Constant Contact service that Bill mentioned, so perhaps that's the best way to go until you're more comfortable with Expression Web and the requirements of email-based campaigns.

    Oh and in regards to your #1 requirements, Expression Web definitely fits the bill, but it all depends on your ability to design a good looking page in the end. You may want to check out the website templates available in the File > New dialog box, Website. They use dynamic web templates which help you maintain consistency throughout your website. Or search the web for "free css templates" to find all sorts of websites that offer page layouts you can start with, such as http://www.freecsstemplates.org/

    Anna

    http://blogs.msdn.com/anna
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:09 AM
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