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Today's post on the reduction in web publication capability in Publisher 2010 comes to us from Jeff Bell. Jeff was the Group Program Manager for Publisher and Text Services during the development and release of Publisher 2010.
For a number of versions, Publisher has filled a gap as an easy-to-use web site authoring tool sitting between the template-based web-hosted offerings and the designer-oriented desktop HTML editors. With Publisher 2010, we sharpened our focus to deliver great experiences and results for print, PDF and XPS, and email output. As part of this focus, we have removed the ability to author new web sites from the Publisher catalog.
Designing for paper and designing for the web are very different. When designing for paper, you know what size page your content will appear on, you know what fonts are available and where text will wrap and you can be relatively confident that colors will be consistent from one copy to the next. All of these things behave differently on the web. So an authoring tool that spans print and web has to do one or more of the following things:
Publisher 2007 does some of each of these with the general effect that the web authoring experience is not as rich as what a web-specific tool could deliver.
The browser landscape, the available site authoring tools, and user expectations of an online presence have all changed greatly in recent years. It was time for Publisher to change as well.
One of the ways that Publisher versions 2002 - 2007 gloss over the limitations of HTML is with a technology called VML. Introduced in mainstream browsers around Internet Explorer 5, it allows absolutely-positioned drawing elements (lines, shapes, textboxes, etc) to be placed on HTML pages. This technology maps very well to the authoring model for print in Publisher. However, this technology hasn't seen widespread adoption in browsers other than IE. For those other browsers, we have a couple of fallback options: write out large chunks of the page as images, or write a rough approximation of the layout in simpler HTML. The first sacrifices file size and text quality for predictability; the second does the opposite.
In planning Publisher 2010, it became clear to us that our web functionality needed a major renovation to keep up with changes to the web. However, even at Microsoft we have finite resources to invest in a product release. We determined that we could not invest enough to make Publisher the great web site authoring experience you deserve, since this would come at the expense of a great print publication experience. Staying true to Publisher's core, we decided to focus our resources in core capabilities for Publisher 2010, such as better photo editing, new alignment guides, new user interface to make everything more accessible and more.
You can still open the .pub master files for your web site in Publisher 2010. Opening an existing web publication is now the only way to get into Publisher 2010's web mode. In 2010's web mode, you should still have all of the web authoring functionality of Publisher 2007. However, you won't find new functionality in this area. You should also expect that web authoring functionality may go away entirely in a future release of Publisher.
While we no longer encourage the development of web sites in Publisher, it can still be a handy tool for the creation of pieces of online content. Save as HTML remains in the product and we see this being used to create individual pages of web sites or emails to be uploaded to tools that accept HTML. Save as Picture will also remain a popular way to share on the web chunks of content built in Publisher.
One of the simplest ways to get up and running with a web site is with an integrated hosting and authoring tool like can find on the Windows Web hosting Gallery. If you need more control over site design, the best option is likely to be a full-fledged HTML editor, such as Microsoft Expression Web. This is a big step up in terms of complexity from building web sites in Publisher, but it also opens up a lot more capabilities.
I know that this will be a disappointment for a number of loyal Publisher users, but this was a necessary decision that enables us to deliver even better on core features.
-- Jeff Bell
Well that stinks. I do realize that any development team has a budget to work with though. And what Pub 2010 does offer is quite excellent. How about bringing back Frontpage??? It worked pretty well. If the web has changed, why isn't there a MSOffice product now available to work with it? After all, there is clearly a market. Are there anymore templates like Web site (Tabs design) (pub 2007)?
Stephen - Given that the Web functionality was deprecated in Pub 2010, we don't have plans for any new Publisher Web templates. Regarding Web creation, have you checked out the Web Expressions link at the end of the article?
Thanks for writing.
Did not see this coming! I'm one of those unfortunates who has invested tons of time building/maintaining my web site with MS Publisher 2007 (which I'm still using). Can anyone tell me if MS Expression Web has an import tool so that I can still use my investment in Publisher and not have to re-invent this entire wheel? Thanks!
OK, I can edit my existing websites, but I don't see the output I used to get (after clicking "save as web page") that was plopped into a Publish folder that would then be uploaded to the ftp page where I uploaded by website information. Does that still happen? The old Publisher was a very easy way for non-HTML people to create nice looking websites for their non-profit organizations. Hope this can still achieved!
Let's face the facts: you just want to sell other products. Well you made my decision on not to upgrade to Office 10
I have used MSPub since its first release . . . astounded my colleagues with the web designs I created quickly with professional functionality and superior design.
I finally had my company by the latest version only to find that web authoring is no longer available. This function was over 50% of my reason for preferring MS Pub. I found other strange anomalies; the "drawing" capabilities seem to have been minimized. Several creative options are actually better in MS Word, which is ridiculous.
I will return MS Pub. Too bad. It was a great program that was never marketed well. So good that it could have been the only choice for a publishing tool . . . if more people had known.
Now, any publishing tool will do. Most have richer features anyway and are cheaper.
Let's be frank. The weak "story" about focusing on producing a better pub tool is a diversion. MS either wanted to reduce its cost and thereby increase profits on this product or the goal was to remove a viable web authoring tool to force users into buying an additional product.
Your mistake was to assume the loyal users would just accept this. You would have been far wiser to keep the users happy with the functions and raise the retail. Anyone using Pub to publish is not a andidate for purchasing a powerful web design and authoring and hosting tool.
Who makes these decisions?
I just bought 10 expecting to have an even better web site builder. What a bunch of HOOEY!! I will have to go buy a web builder, but it will not be a Microsoft product. I guess you didn't make enough money last year?!
It is quite a reasonable decision BUT how come you don't state this in the documentations people can see before buying the new version. You are cheating people to put it simply. No business ethics - is that the american way (sorry south america, i should say the Microsoft way).