SharePoint Designer 2007 Positioning

Jerome One of the questions often asked during our customer visits or during the trade shows or many conferences we participate in is the reason why we ended FrontPage 2003 and launched instead Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. One thing we must say right off the bat is that FrontPage 2003 was an excellent product and was widely praised and used by millions of customers around the world.

However our market research showed us that our audience was becoming more and more fragmented and the number of scenarios requested by the customers far outpaced what the product could deliver. The research as well told us we had three distinctive user groups:

  • Information Workers: This group is interested in developing data-intensive and process-focused scenarios in an enterprise intranet.
  • Designers: These users are all about designing great websites using the latest technologies.
  • Developers: This group is all about designing software and applications using sophisticated coding tools.

It became obvious that to be successful in the marketplace, we had to address these three classes of users with distinct offerings to better respond to their needs. Therefore we made the decision in late 2005 to launch two distinct products: Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Expression Web. They would complement a third product already in the marketplace: Visual Studio 2005.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is designed to integrate itsself in the Microsoft SharePoint products and services as the core customization and composite application tool and responds to the needs of Information Workers. Microsoft Expression Web is part of a family of products called Expression and is focused on designers. Visual Studio remains the preferred tool for developers.

As we are launching these products right now, we are finding out that those scenarios are playing well in the marketplace. Focusing on SharePoint Designer 2007, it is obvious that our core users are going to be enterprise IT and business unit IT folks but because of the finite amount of these resources, the power users are going to use our product more and more in a wide range of scenarios, building sophisticated composite SharePoint applications, designing workflows based on SharePoint lists and document libraries and leveraging the page layout capabilities of SharePoint Designer to extend the MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) Web Content Management features. We see it as a win-win situation in the sense that we are reaching to a wide audience of IT, BUIT and IW power users and at the same time, we are establishing credibility with the developers, which appreciate the ASP.Net features of SharePoint Designer and the Visual Studio Extensible Model.

I will come back in upcoming postings in more details about our core scenarios but I wanted to give our readers the big picture of the positioning of our product and how we view it in the marketplace.

Jerome Thiebaud

Comments (10)

  1. Hi all, I would like to share some information on Sharepoint Designer 2007 , an essential tool for professionals

  2. Karen Melville says:

    Well, how lovely for you .. however, you’ve left group 4 (thousands of non-techy people maintaining all those little web sites around the world) in a bit of a hole. FrontPage was just fine for us and now we have no natural successor to hand. So you’ve driven me to go back to my old computer and curse the day I bought Vista .. another triumph you can congratulate yourselves on. You turned a big Microsoft fan into a dissatisfied customer.

  3. spdblog says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m really curious about what features you want to use that we did not include in SharePoint Designer. We had hoped that we wouldn’t completely abandon people who were happy with FrontPage. But what we may have done is hidden some features you need and you can’t find them.

    I’d love to understand what we did to your productivity to make better decisions in the future.


  4. Sue says:

    Why or why does MS continually take a good product and REINVENT it to crap (ie: windows xp to vista). Instead of continuing to upgrade and add new themes, plug-ins, etc to FrontPage, you drag us down the ‘buy a new product’ road.

    I’m sick and tired of dishing out more and more money so Bill & Linda, and all the other ShareHolders at MS can get richer and richer. Can’t you all support US for a change?

  5. Sue,

    While SharePoint Designer is a non-perfect product, it is certainly not ‘reinvented’.  It’s a name change from FrontPage to Designer, for marketing purposes and to reflect new functionality related to sharepoint.   To explain in your terms, it’s actually the same old crap, with new features.  🙂

  6. Ramnik says:

    Being a designer, Ive just purchased Sharepoint Designer 2007 assuming I can design dynamic web site.  Reading this article tells me that the Sharepoint Designer is used to create "composite SharePoint applications!!!"    

    … I now find myself reading above that Microsoft Expression Web is for designers above and am left wondering Have I purchased the tool tool for the job.

    Please fill me in because at this moment in time I dont understand what Sharepoint Desginer is anymore and I cant understand when, how and where Sharepoint Expression came into all this.

    Confused Designer

  7. James C. Hess says:

    I have now spent more than six hours trying to use SharePoint 2007, and at this point I am NOT inclined to recommend it to anyone for any reason. First, I was not told that to utilize it I had to also have SharePoint Designer 2007. After I downloaded that I had to redo it because the installation instructions were WRONG.

    And now I came to the Designer 2007 problems: I followed the download instructions to use SharePoint Designer 2007 to the letter, only to find under "Instructions for use" the very last step – ‘Set as Default Master Page’ does NOT work.

    Thank you very much for nothing.

  8. Harry says:

    Hi, I am new to Sharepoint Designer 2007, i want to design a workflow (like a team calender where team members can put their events or vacations). In the HELP it is written that I have to go FILE/NEW/WORKFLOW to start it but I couldn’t find WORKFLOW option under FILE/NEW. Please help me ASAP as what the problem exactly is. Thanks

  9. Al Mundy says:

    I am a longtime frontpage user and have upgraded to SPD 2007.  I cannot now find any way to use  the themes that were in frontpage.  I click to change the background and it says I can’t because I’m using theme BUT, I can’t find those themes in designer 2007.   Obviously, I’m missing something here.  I develop my webpage on my own computer then publish it to a server.  Things dissapear when I do that now and I’m VERY frustrated with SPD2007.


  10. Eileen Coln says:

    Lots of confusions and disappointments..For some reason my FrontPage application disappeared from my computer…maybe the day I had to have someone come in and fix a viral any case I thought it was difficult to use and understand but after SPD came into the picture I found myself desperately scrambling to find a way to download FrontPage again realizing how easy it really was compared to Designer 2007. Needless to say for some reason it is impossible to retrieve FrontPage so now I'm desperately scrambling to find a video tutorial that I can understand to help me understand Designer 2007,but what I'm finding is that I need instructions to understand the instructions… talk about frustration!

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