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Four Expression Web Bugs RRS feed

  • Question

  • After years of working with FrontPage, I finally moved to EW 4. So far, EW 4 with SP2 has more bugs than I ever experienced with FrontPage. Four stand out:

    1. Whenever I use Search and Replace, Replace All, on a page, EW crashes. But if I replace one instance at a time, there's no problem.

    2. Undo randomly undoes a massive number of steps, not just my most-recent. (It seems that the problem is more likely to occur when the design pane is active in Split view, rather than the code pane.)

    3. When I use DWTs, most sections of editable content are grayed out, just as the non-editable content is grayed out. The grayed-out content still can be edited, however.

    4. Include-file content often is distorted in Design view. For example, I'm using an include file for a one-line menu bar. In design view, the bar is about 25 lines high, and the text isn't visible. When I hit F5, the problem sometimes goes away, but not usually. But the menu bar always displays correctly in a browser.

    I see that discussions about some of these issues have gone on for years, with no resolution. Can anyone offer any updates?

    Thanks.

    Charley


    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:11 PM

All replies

  • Charley,

    You're right, the problems have been seen by some users but by no means the majority, so fixes have been difficult to track down.

    As you've probably also seen EW is now a discontinued, unsupported product, so, whilst it still a very usable and useful product, there will be no more updates or bug fixes.



    Ian Haynes

    EW - V4 Add-Ins
    EW - Resources, hints and tips
    EW - Design for the Mobile Web
    expression(web.blog)

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:21 PM
  • No.

    1. I cannot replicate this. It doesn't happen on my system.

    2. Likewise. Now, on this one, it seems that some people do experience it, others don't. I don't, so I can't speak to it.

    3. This has reportedly been resolved in the final version of EW4, SP2a, which is the free version now available for download. Give that a try.

    4. Design view is not a browser, and does NOT provide an accurate view of the page as rendered in a browser. Fact of life, and something you'll have to get used to. You need to Preview In Browser regularly in the four or five major browsers anyway (which you should have installed locally for testing), to catch cross-browser issues while they are still easily resolved.

    We can offer no updates. We are volunteers, users of the program. Microsoft does not participate here, and they have already stated that EW is at end of life, so what you have is what you get.

    cheers,
    scott


    Please remember to "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue. It is common courtesy to recognize those who have helped you, and it also makes it easier for visitors to find the resolution later.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:24 PM
  • Charley,

    I've never had any of these issues with EW4.

    The only thing I can think to try is the complete .NET uninstall reinstall which is a real pita.


    Expression Web MVP

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:56 PM
  • Ian,

    Actually, I've been concentrating on Excel. So I didn't know that EW is discontinued and unsupported. Nuts!

    With *no* hope of these problems going away, I guess I'd better look for an alternative. What product are FP/EW users having the most success with?

    Thanks.

    Charley


    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 9:33 PM
  • I've written a new post asking questions about this issue.

    Charley


    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:24 PM
  • The now free download of EW4 contains some fixes not in SP2.  I've read that one is the display of editable regions.  You could try that.

    As for the 1 and 2 ...  I don't experience them.  Most don't.  Some do.  But there will be no further fixes for EW: no more versions.

    For 4: it might be something in your styling that EW can't display in Design View (very likely if you are using any z-indices), but there would be no way to guess without seeing it.

    Friday, January 4, 2013 12:16 AM
  • Just to be clear: the problems are almost assuredly not in EW itself. If they were, they would happen to everyone. But they don't; they are exceedingly rare. EW is most likely the victim of anoter problem on your computer.

    Like most, I have never seen these issues.

    I'd first upgrade to the newest version, which fixes one of your items. See if it doesn't fix others too.

    The variable in this scenario is your computer. It may have a corrupted dotNET Framework or WPF (or bad video or mouse driver even).

    If you do as Steve suggested, read the link in the Forum FAQ about it. It is critically important that you uninstall in the right order, run the cleanup utility (it's in the link), and install in the proper order. It's not difficult, but it takes some time.

    You didn't say what OS your computer uses, but if it's XP or Vista, I'd bet on a bad dotNET or WPF (possibly from a hard drive going south).

    So, I'd do it this way...

    1. Update to the latest update of the propgam.
    2. Update your video and mouse drivers--from the manufacturer, not MS OS install disks!--(EW makes high demands, particularly on video drivers, in a way that no other program on your computer does, because of WPF).
    3. Run a repair on dotNET Framework and WPF.
    If that doesn't solve it,
    4. Uninstall EW4
    5. Uninstall, cleanup, reinstall dotNET Framework
    6. Uninstall, reinstall WPF
    7. Reinstall the newest version of EW4.


    Like all pilots, Santa has to get certified periodically by the Federal Aviation Administration. The examiner checked his log book and the sleigh.
    Then they were ready for the checkride. Santa got in the sleigh and the examiner joined him. But he was carrying a rifle.
    "What's that for?" asked Santa.
    "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're gonna lose an engine on takeoff."


    Friday, January 4, 2013 12:19 AM
  • Bill,

    Here are some of the thoughts I'm juggling...

    ...During the past several months, I've spent hundreds of hours on an EW redesign of my FrontPage site. I'd hate to start over again. But on the other hand, I need to convert at least a thousand more pages, so I have thousands of hours left on the project.

    ...Following your list offers no guarantee of success. But it will take a shorter time than learning a new web program, and it certainly will cost less. 

    ...Assuming I eliminate the bugs, how much longer will I be able to use EW? Will a change in technology force me to switch to another product within a few years in any case? I'd hate to go through this pain all over again.

    ...If I decide to drop EW now, what do I use instead? Dreamweaver? Or another product I've never heard of? Based on what I've learned this afternoon about the Visual Studio web products, they're not a feasible alternative to EW. Do I reconsider WordPress, with an emphasis on Pages? 

    I'm not sure anyone can answer these questions for me, but if you have any thoughts, I'd like to hear them...

    Thanks,

    Charley


    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 1:27 AM
  • Your #1 apparently a bug that hits some people but not having experienced it I can't comment.

    #2. Another but that affects some but not everyone. The triggers that MS has identified were fixed with SP 2 for EW 4. Whether or not it will fix your issue I don't know. Whether more triggers were found and fixed in SP 2a I don't know.

    #3 I supposed to be fixed in SP 2a (aka the free version of EW 4).

    Re #4, make sure that the styles for your included page are in your external stylesheet. I've never heard of any issues that are different with include files for menus than those straight in the page or DWT as long as the appropriate styles are in the stylesheet not in the include page's head section.


    Free Expression Web Tutorials
    For an Expression Web forum with without the posting issues try expressionwebforum.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 1:46 AM
  • Here are some of the thoughts I'm juggling...

    ...During the past several months, I've spent hundreds of hours on an EW redesign of my FrontPage site. I'd hate to start over again. But on the other hand, I need to convert at least a thousand more pages, so I have thousands of hours left on the project.

    Since EW uses standards compliant code (something FP did not always do) any modern web editor can use the code with the exception of design time includes or any legacy FP webbots will transfer seamlessly to Dreamweaver if that is what you decide to do. Your time converting and cleaning up FP pages is not wasted since the standard HTML outputted will work in everything from notepad to Dreamweaver, UltraEdit to Visual Studio.

    I use both Dreamweaver and Expression Web on many of my projects moving back and forth between them without any serious issues. I'm in no hurry to eliminate EW from my workflow and don't expect to do so for at least a couple of years, possibly longer.


    Free Expression Web Tutorials
    For an Expression Web forum with without the posting issues try expressionwebforum.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 1:51 AM
  • Cheryl,

    Do you use DWTs? I understand that Dreamweaver also has them, but that they work somewhat differently from EW. (Since my Web host has an Apache server, I can't use ASP-based Master pages.) My concern is that I now have nearly 200 pages linked to DWTs. If Dreamweaver requires a major conversion effort, I won't be able to switch between the two products easily.

    I also use includes, primarily for menus. The same question applies to them.

    Thanks!

    Charley



    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 3:07 AM
  • DWT originally stood for Dreamweaver Web Templates. EW uses the original DWT syntax which all versions of Dreamweaver understand. You can use DWTs created in Expression Web immediately in Dreamweaver. Macromedia changed the syntax for their DWTs with MX 2004 which offers more advanced features such as conditional editable regions and editable attributes as well as nested DWTs (which can be troublesome so most recommend not using nested DWTs) but for backwards compatibility reasons even the newest version of Dreamweaver (CS 6) understand and update DWTs with the older syntax. So it is very easy to go from Expression Web to Dreamweaver. It requires a syntax change to go from Dreamweaver MX 2004-CS 6 DWTs to Expression Web ones. See http://expressionwebforum.com/index.php/topic,14.msg18.html#msg18 for the syntax differences.

    Free Expression Web Tutorials
    For an Expression Web forum with without the posting issues try expressionwebforum.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 3:38 AM
  • People are still using Word 97 to do their work and there are even people who still use WordPerfect 5.1 (for DOS). So there is absolutely no reason not to consider using EW for a very long time. Think about it--your entire site could be written in Notepad; a web page is just a big text file with code that browsers understand. And EW is, at it's heart, a souped up text editor. So don't worry about EW; it's just a tool.

    What I would worry about, if I were you, is that you are doing the site wrong. 1200 pages is far, far beyond the scope that anyone would suggest for an HTML-based site, no matter what you use to build it. With a DWT-based site, any time you make any change to the DWT (menu, footer, contact info, etc.), the program (DW or EW) has to apply it to every page; then--ugh!--you have to upload every single page to the server. For every change to a DWT.

    A site that large needs to be database driven. That means ASP.NET and master pages (change the master page and just upload it to the server--1 file). Or--and this is probably best and easiest--make it a WordPress site (or other CMS-type site like Joomla or Drupal--but WordPress is easiest). Piece of cake to build and to maintain.

    Don't be confined by your current hosting plan. They could move that to a Windows server with no problem at all; it's just a matter of copying the existing files from the Apache server to the Windows server, nothing else changes.

    I would stop right now, though and reevaluate the new build of the site. Plain HTML sites are never made that large.


    Like all pilots, Santa has to get certified periodically by the Federal Aviation Administration. The examiner checked his log book and the sleigh.
    Then they were ready for the checkride. Santa got in the sleigh and the examiner joined him. But he was carrying a rifle.
    "What's that for?" asked Santa.
    "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're gonna lose an engine on takeoff."

    Friday, January 4, 2013 4:47 AM
  • Cheryl,

    So this seems like a feasible approach...

    ...In the short term, I can stick with EW. If Bill's reinstall suggestions solve my problem, the short-term could turn into the mid-term.

    ...If and when EW's lack of development or bug-fixing becomes an issue, I can switch to Dreamweaver, which will allow me to convert my EW pages. (Of course, Dreamweaver could always stop support for EW's DWTs, but they would be idiots to do so, given the EW situation.)

    Thanks to you, Bill, and everyone else for your help!

    Charley


    Founder, ExcelUser.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 4:57 AM
  • I'd be inclined towards using server side includes for menus and other bits layout by CSS but I'm not sure whether or not a database is the best solution since that would require a CMS. Even if that is the way you decide to go you will still need to clean up the FP pages before loading them in a CMS to ensure consistency.

    FYI, Dreamweaver does not support ASP.net so master pages would be out if you were using it.


    Free Expression Web Tutorials
    For an Expression Web forum with without the posting issues try expressionwebforum.com


    Friday, January 4, 2013 6:43 AM
  • As you've probably also seen EW is now a discontinued, unsupported product

    Quick clarification. Expression Web 4 retail version purchased by customers is still supported until August of 2015. It's only the free version that is unsupported.


    Jim Cheshire | Microsoft

    Friday, January 4, 2013 1:50 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, Cheryl. Yes, I left the server side includes out of the options. I haven't had call to use them in a long time, so they're usually off my radar. Good point, and a simple solution. They would be easy to implement while staying on the same server, and much better than DWTs.

    Like all pilots, Santa has to get certified periodically by the Federal Aviation Administration. The examiner checked his log book and the sleigh.
    Then they were ready for the checkride. Santa got in the sleigh and the examiner joined him. But he was carrying a rifle.
    "What's that for?" asked Santa.
    "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're gonna lose an engine on takeoff."

    Friday, January 4, 2013 2:51 PM