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TechRepublic Tutorial: Administer and customize FrontPage Server Extensions in IIS

Learn how to make FrontPage Server Extensions work on your server

FrontPage Server Extensions can make content deployment on Web servers much easier. Let's take a look at how to install, enable, and disable FrontPage Server Extensions in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Web servers. We'll also see how to use the GUI and command-line tools available for managing FrontPage Server Extensions and how to use the FrontPage Lightweight Server to customize your implementation.

Working with FrontPage Server Extensions
FrontPage Server Extensions are server-side programs that allow the Microsoft FrontPage client software to interact with the extensions for content updates and authoring. These can exist on a number of Web server platforms, including IIS, Netscape, and Apache.

Microsoft's FrontPage resources
Click here to download the current FrontPage Server Extensions, the Server Extensions Resource Kit, Microsoft FrontPage Lightweight Server configuration, and other materials.

Determining whether you have the Server Extensions enabled on your IIS Web server is a good starting point. Click Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Internet Services Manager. Expand the computer and then right-click on the Web site in question and select All Tasks. If you have the option Remove Server Extensions, you'll know that Server Extensions are installed on the server.

If you see the option Configure Server Extensions, this means that they are installed but not enabled. You can select that option to start the Server Extensions Configuration Wizard. If you don't see any reference to Server Extensions, you need to install them by opening Start | Settings | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs. Next, click Add/Remove Windows Components and then double-click Internet Information Services, select FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions, click OK, and then click Next. You should get a confirmation screen with a Finish button when the installation is complete. Now, FrontPage Server Extensions will be installed and enabled in IIS.

You can administer FrontPage Server Extensions via a FrontPage snap-in or using command-line tools. By default, the command-line tools Fpsrvadm.exe and Fpremadm.exe are located in:
\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\40\bin

Fpsrvadm is an interface to administer extensions, while Fpremadm allows you to administer from a remote Windows computer.

These tools provide administrative functionality for the server extensions, but the FrontPage Server Extensions snap-in, Fpmmc.msc, offers a clearer administrative interface. Fpmmc.msc is in the same folder as the other tools. It allows you to assign the rights for the virtual servers listed and introduces wizard functionality for the ones you add. Figure A shows a view of the FrontPage Server Extensions snap-in.

Figure A
FrontPage Server Extensions console


The command-line tools allow you to accomplish the same tasks that the snap-in does. While the snap-in is designed to replace the command-line tools, their functionality remains intact, so you can use them in batch files for large deployments. To see the documentation for these tools, pass them the "–h" parameter from the command line.

An example
Let’s look at a step-by-step example demonstrating how to use these tools. I will create a subweb called "rwv-web" under my default Web site. I'll do this using the Fpsrvadm.exe tool, although you could do it with the Internet Services Manager GUI by right-clicking on the Web site and selecting New | Server Extensions Web.

From the command line, I call Fpsrvadm and then select option 15 of the action to create a subweb. Next, I enter a name for the subweb and specify a TCP/IP port for it to use (Figure B).

Figure B
Use Fpsrvadm.exe to create a subweb.


A note on subweb creation: The administrative rights of the parent Web site are inherited down to the subwebs that are created. Though they can be changed later, the rights cannot be specified during creation.

I have found that the snap-in is an easier interface to work with on an ongoing basis once you get used to navigation and the available tasks. The command-line tools are handy when you need to perform batch operations that entail an intricate selection of security, complex TCP/IP porting, or even a mass uninstall of the FrontPage Server Extensions.

Disabling FrontPage Server Extensions
If you do not use the FrontPage Server Extensions on your IIS server, you may want to tighten things up by disabling them. A security vulnerability could manifest itself in the extensions and provide a dangerous avenue for hackers to tinker with your Web site. To disable Server Extensions, you can use the Fpsrvadm tool and select option 17, Full Uninstall Of All Frontpage Information. Or, within the snap-in, you can select Remove Server Extensions from the context menu of the Web site in question.

Customizing Server Extensions
You can also customize access control and path translation with Server Extensions through Microsoft FrontPage Lightweight Server (LWS). This can be beneficial if you administer a large FrontPage-enabled Web site that has unique security requirements or that's in the process of being redesigned or moved.

One feature I like about LWS is that if you have a complex rights situation, you can use the access control features to set up a single flat file that simply specifies <user>:<access> (where user is the nonanonymous username and access is admin, author, browse, or empty). In one situation, this was a lifesaver in a large export from another system. Keep in mind that FrontPage Server Extensions are available for many Web server platforms, so your cross-platform integration could also be eased with LWS.

Summary
FrontPage Server Extensions can ease administration for IIS Web sites. The command-line tools and MMC snap-in let you deliver specific configurations to the Web server, and you can use LWS to customize your environment to go beyond standard configs.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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