Publisher 2003 – What’s new in web design for this version

applies to version 2003


Personally my favorite thing about this version is that the products Personal Info Dialog Box finally has an option to turn it off. Through each version I have never used the Personal Info feature and that pop up dialog on each new publication has always annoyed me. The dialog now has a check box so if you aren’t planning to use the Personal Info feature and you check that box you can launch your future new publications a little faster and with a few less mouse clicks.

I do have another favorite thing about this version and like that dialog this has been a Pet Peeve of mine through previous versions. A feature that’s been long over due and in fact has been present in Word for at least the prior two versions. That new feature being Pixels as a measurement unit option. Pixel measurement provides the accuracy to achieve a more professional look and feel in your layout and designs.

Of more significant importance this version corrects issues that were introduced with the 2002 version, such as variable page lengths, hyperlinks in filled text boxes, and custom page naming.

Version 2003 introduces new templates that make it very easy to create a professional looking web site and new wizards and visual cues that make web publications simpler and easier to understand.

This version introduces what MS has coined “Incremental Uploading”. What that means in English is that the whole site no longer has to be uploaded after modifying the web publication file. This feature when turned on keeps track of which pages are modified in the publication file and only uploads those files.

Publisher achieves this through the use of XML. Which is one of the factors behind the larger web file size in this version compared to previous versions.

The more code in a file the larger the file size. Here is a comparison:

Under v.2002 SP2, select Accent web template, Export as web page, result is :
index.htm (11 kb)
7 image files created equaling 26 kb total
total load size for home page is 37 kb (11 + 26)

Under v.2003, select Accent template, Publish to web, result is :
index.htm (41 kb)
12 image files created equaling a total of 40kb (extra files due to VML in 2003)
total load size for home page is 81 kb (41 + 40)

In testing Incremental Uploading I have been pleased with the results. It will definitely be a time saver for larger sites. Technically you don’t get the full benefits of it until after the third time the site is published.

An issue that was found during testing of this feature is that on some web servers the sites supporting folder (containing all pages after the home page) is hidden, not visible when logged on to the server and viewing the contents. MS identified this as being an issue with the web servers handling of xml files. The user can contact their web host about this permissions issue or they can elect to not use the supporting folder option.

I’ve already pointed out the subject of file size. File size is the only down side I see with this version. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned some other nice things are – a return to naming the home page to index.htm by default, more nav bar placement options, separation of nav bar titles and page titles, and lots of pre-made topic pages.

I’ve published a sample site at this address— http://www.davidbartosik.org/2003samples/network_easy_web/

This sample site generated 114 files with a total file size of 2.2 MB. The index file (home page) is 112 kb. The site is comprised of only 12 pages. You can CLICK HERE to view the file listing for the site. This listing also illustrates the new default file naming convention of this version (yes they changed it again).

Those users with free web space and/or limited web space will most likely find that 2 MB for a 12 page site is an obstacle. Business users implementing a site on a local intranet can be less concerned.

Whether you have an existing web site from Publisher or are considering creation of a web site with Publisher, you the user will need to determine for yourself whether the enhancements of this latest version out weigh the down side of the web page file size.

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