Introducing WebBot Components

FrontPage Express WebBot components are dynamic objects that you insert on your pages. They provide complex functionality to a web site with the FrontPage Server Extensions that would otherwise require you to write scripts and install them on the Web server.

WebBot components REQUIRE FrontPage Server Extensions to be installed on the web server in order to function.

Most WebBot components do some processing and then generate HTML. The HTML that a WebBot component generates depends on conditions in your FrontPage web at the time the WebBot component is activated. For example, a WebBot Search component is associated with a search form that FrontPage Express creates. When a user enters a word to search for and submits the form, the WebBot Search component searches the FrontPage web and generates an HTML list of hyperlinks to all the pages in the FrontPage web that contain the word. The WebBot Search component supplies this HTML list to the Web browser that automatically displays it to the user.

Some WebBot components are only activated when a user visits the page in a Web browser. For example, a WebBot Confirmation Field component is activated when a user submits a form. Other WebBot components are only activated when an author is using FrontPage. For example, a WebBot Table of Contents component generates an HTML table of contents when an author saves a page containing one.

You can insert some WebBot components on a page and you can associate others with a form. This topic primarily describes WebBot components that you can insert on pages.

Creating and Editing WebBot Components

You insert WebBot components on a page in FrontPage Express using the WebBot Component command on the Insert menu. This command opens the Insert WebBot Component dialog box, which lists the available WebBot components. After selecting a WebBot component and clicking OK, you can configure the WebBot component by editing its dialog box. After you configure the WebBot component and close its dialog box, FrontPage Express inserts the WebBot component on the page.

When you insert a WebBot component on a page, FrontPage Express displays a placeholder representing it. You can cut, copy, and paste this placeholder, but you cannot click inside it to edit text. When you drag the pointer over a WebBot component on a page, the pointer becomes the WebBot pointer.

You can edit a WebBot component by changing any setting in its properties dialog box. To open a WebBot component’s properties dialog box, double-click the WebBot component on the page or point to the WebBot component and open its properties dialog box from the right mouse menu.

Can I add my own WebBot components to FrontPage? Yes. Using the FrontPage Software Developer’s Kit, you can create your own FrontPage WebBot components and add them to FrontPage Express. The FrontPage Software Developer’s Kit is available at

WebBot Components and the FrontPage Server Extensions

The following WebBot components are only activated when a user visits the page in a Web browser:

WebBot Save Results component
WebBot Registration component
WebBot Discussion component
WebBot Confirmation Field component
WebBot Search component

These WebBot components all require that the FrontPage Server Extensions be installed on the Web server in which the FrontPage web is published (you can get these extensions from the Microsoft Web site).

The FrontPage Server Extensions are a set of programs and scripts that support FrontPage and extend the functionality of the Web server. They are available for the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and other popular Windows and UNIX web servers. For computers running Windows, you install the FrontPage Server Extensions using the FrontPage Setup program on the computer containing the Web server.

How do I get the FrontPage Server Extensions? If you are not sure if the FrontPage Server Extensions are available for your Web server, visit This Web site also has information about how to get and install the FrontPage Server Extensions.

WebBot Search Components

The WebBot Search component creates a form to use to search your FrontPage Server Extension equipped web. When a user enters one or more words and submits the form, the WebBot Search component searches your entire web and returns a list of hyperlinks to each page containing the words.

Note: All of the following assume that someone will use the WebBots against a server running FrontPage Server Extensions. It is referred to as the "FrontPage Web". In the case of Microsoft Personal Web Server, the extensions are not automatically installed and it is necessary to get them from the Microsoft Web site.

When you create a WebBot Search component you can specify:

The appearance of the search form. You can specify the labels for the buttons that submit and clear the form and the label and width of the text entry field.
The pages in the web to search. To configure the WebBot Search component to search all the pages in the web that are not stored in hidden directories — directories preceded by the underscore character — enter All. Alternatively, if the FrontPage web has a discussion group, you can specify to search only the entries in a single discussion group by supplying the name of the discussion group directory. (A discussion group directory is also preceded by an underscore character and is hidden from users.)
Additional information to display. You can configure the WebBot Search component to display a score value, indicating the quality of the match, along with the size of the page containing the match and the date the page was last edited.

The text search engine used by the WebBot Search component accepts queries formed using the words and, or, not, the asterisk character, and parentheses. For example:

A search for "FrontPage Express" finds pages in the FrontPage web containing FrontPage or Express.
A search for "FrontPage or Express" also finds pages in the FrontPage web containing FrontPage or Express.
A search for "FrontPage and Express" finds pages in the FrontPage web containing both FrontPage and Express.
A search for "FrontPage not Express" finds pages in the FrontPage web containing FrontPage and not containing Express.
A search for "FrontPage and (Express or Explorer)" finds pages in the FrontPage web containing FrontPage and either Express or Explorer.
A search for "Front*" finds pages in the FrontPage web containing words starting with Front.

You can also create a search form for your FrontPage web by creating a new page in FrontPage Express and selecting the Search Page template. This creates a page that contains a WebBot Search component along with some details on how to use the search form.

WebBot Include Components

The WebBot Include component  is replaced by a page or file in your FrontPage web. The WebBot Include component is always active.

You use WebBot Include component to give the pages in your FrontPage web a unified appearance and to simplify maintenance of your FrontPage web. For example, you can include an attractive navigation bar (an image map with hyperlinks to your home page and other important pages) on every page in your FrontPage web. If you want to change the navigation bar, you only need to edit the page containing it, and it is automatically updated on each page in your FrontPage web that includes it.

When you create a WebBot Include component, you specify the relative URL of the page to include.

WebBot Timestamp Components

The WebBot Timestamp component inserts a date and timestamp that either corresponds to the last time the page was edited and saved to the server or the last time the page was automatically updated. A page is automatically updated to recalculate its hyperlinks or WebBot components. For example, a WebBot Include component must be recalculated when the page to include has been modified.

When you create a WebBot Timestamp component, you can specify:

When to timestamp the page.
The format in which to display the date and time. You can choose from a list of standard formats.