IdeaXchg Help

Creating a New IdeaXchg Web Site

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(These are developer notes, not intended for normal end-users.)

This page explains how to create a new web site by a series of copy and paste, renaming, and small editing procedures, using the IdeaXchg Template subweb (ix03).  All of these steps should be performed through FrontPage 2000.

An IdeaXchg "web site" is actually comprised of two physically separate, but seamlessly connected, subwebs.  The primary subweb contains the home page and all edited content.  The secondary subweb contains the threaded discussion area(s).  A single IdeaXchg web site can contain any number of logically separate "forums", where each forum has an edited content part residing in the primary subweb and a threaded discussion part residing in the secondary subweb.  This physical division into two subwebs is done purely as a practical measure, to simplify maintenance and administration through FrontPage.

The following outline illustrates how to create a separate web site under the main IdeaXchg root directory.  With some small adjustments, these procedures could easily be modified to use a different root directory on any web server that supports the FrontPage Server Extensions.  These changes should be made on your local host machine and then published to the live web server after all steps are completed and tested locally.

  1. create the primary edited content subweb for your new site
    1. choose a new, unique folder name for the edited content subweb
      For example, the VFPUtils web site uses ix07 for its home page and edited content, and ix08 for its discussion areas.  Let's suppose you chose the name ix91 for your new edited content subweb.  (See below about subweb naming conventions.)
    2. create a new subweb with the name you have chosen (e.g. ix91)
      The easiest way to do this is to create a folder under the desired root, and then use the FrontPage shortcut menu to convert the folder into a subweb.  
    3. open the new subweb (ix91) via FrontPage 2000
      Enable display of hidden directories via checkbox in Tools, Web Settings... dialog, Advanced page.
    4. open the IdeaXchg Template web (ix03) in a separate window
    5. clone the global include file directory into ix91/_global
      Copy the ix03/_global folder and its contents in to ix91/_global.  The template ix03/_global folder contains some pages that belong in the edited content subweb (ix91) and some pages that will go into the discussion subweb (e.g. ix92).  For the edited content subweb (ix91), you can delete all but the following pages from the _global subdirectory:
      • articlef.htm - footer include file for article (edited content) pages
      • hlpfootr.htm - footer include file for HTML Help file pages
      • pgfooter.htm - footer include file for system pages
      • tocfootf.htm - footer include file for framed TOC pages
      • tocfootu.htm - footer include file for unframed TOC pages
      • welcincl.htm - boilerplate include file for forum Welcome pages
    6. clone the author-specific article header file into ix91/bymda/_sys
      Create empty folder ix91/bymda/_sys, and into this copy the file ix03/bymda/_sys/articleh.htm.  Note the template assumption that the author has initials "mda".  You can substitute your own initials, but the template forum files also assume this prefix.
    7. clone the template home page and _sys folder into ix91
      Copy ix03/tmplhome.htm into ix91, and rename this as default.htm or index.htm (whichever one is the name used on your development web server).  Also copy the entire ix03/_sys folder into ix91.  The reference to "Template" will need to be adjusted to the proper web site name in the HTML titles for various framesets, including frmshome.htm.
    8. perform various edits to cloned pages, as directed by comments
      Each of the template pages copied in the preceding steps may contain comments about further editing steps for that page.  If there are no comments, no further editing is required.  Delete the comments after performing these edits.  Check for HTML page titles on framesets that should be adjusted (because there are no comments in the framesets).
    9. adjust _sys files for support of multi-forum monitoring
      Adjust the framesets, frmsalda.htm and frmsaldd.htm, and the include file allmsgs.htm in the _sys folder.  These should be maintained to include links to all of the discussion areas in the site.  The easiest way to update the framesets when you add a new forum is to start with frmsaldd.htm, and the copy this over frmsalda.htm to quickly pick up the adjusted layout.  Then edit frmsalda.htm and adjust all of the links to remove the descending order option (?N=D), which can be done fastest via a global replacement under HTML view.

      For simple 1-forum sites, you can dispense with the additional complexity of framesets, frmsalda.htm and frmsaldd.htm, and the include file allmsgs.htm.  Make adjusments to the home page include file, _sys/homeincl.htm, to eliminate the section that includes the table of links, allmsgs.htm.  Also adjust the framed and unframed home pages to let the All Messages links go directly to the single-forum versions of these pages, avoiding the need for framesets frmsalda.htm and frmsaldd.htm.

  2. create the discussion subweb for your new site
    1. choose a new, unique folder name for the discussion subweb
      Let's suppose you chose the name ix92 for your new edited content subweb.  (See below about subweb naming conventions.)
    2. create a new subweb with the name you have chosen (e.g. ix92)
    3. open the new subweb (ix92) via FrontPage 2000
      Enable display of hidden directories via checkbox in Tools, Web Settings... dialog, Advanced page.
    4. clone the global include file directory into ix92/_global
      Copy the ix03/_global folder and its contents in to ix92/_global.  For the discussion subweb (ix92), you can delete all but the following pages from the _global subdirectory:
      • confinc1.htm - 1st include file for posting Confirmation forms
      • confinc2.htm - 2nd include file for posting Confirmation forms
      • mspgfoot.htm - footer include file for discussion messages
      • pgfooter.htm - footer include file for system pages
      • placehld.htm - placeholder message include file
      • thrdfmsg.htm - generic Threads page footer msg include file
      • tocfootf.htm - footer include file for framed TOC pages
      • tocfootu.htm - footer include file for unframed TOC pages
    5. perform various edits to cloned pages, as directed by comments
      The template pages copied in the preceding steps may contain comments about further editing steps for that page.  If there are no comments, no further editing is required.  Note that instructions for some _global include files depend on which subweb you are copying them into.  Delete the comments after performing these edits.

  3. add one or more forums into your new web site
    Following the directions in IdeaXchg Help - Creating a New IdeaXchg Forum, create any number of forums that you want to put under the web site (i.e. the pair of subwebs) that you just created.  If you are adding multiple forums, perform the changes as directed for one new forum at a time.

  4. adjust the main IdeaXchg home page to include links to your site
    All sites that follow the standard IdeaXchg architecture share a common set of help pages, which reside in the main IdeaXchg web site.  These general help pages also contain links to into the main IdeaXchg discussion area.  It's helpful to provide links on the IdeaXchg home page leading back to your web site, for the benefit of users who visit the IdeaXchg help pages and related discussion.  These links should be added the top and bottom navigation bars in both the framed and unframed "shell" pages for the home page.  It may also be helpful to include a link to your unframed home page in the IdeaXchg home page include file, to give framed mode users an easy way to load your home page into the lower frame.

  5. publish (upload) subwebs from your local host to the live web server
    After confirming that the new site looks OK on your local development system (e.g. running Microsoft's Personal Web Server), publish all of your changes to the live IdeaXchg web server, one subweb at a time.  Note that you should only upload to the discussion subweb, ix92, when it is initially created.  Once it goes live, you need to take precautions not to damage the discussion subweb.

  6. review and adjust permission settings for your live subwebs
    If you are creating a password-protected (private) web site, you can assign new userids and passwords directly through FrontPage's Tools, Security, Permissions... dialog.  This capability, however, requires that you are running on a properly set up Unix (not NT) server, and that you have been granted FrontPage administrator access, which also allows you to set permissions on individual userids.  FrontPage's built-in security features operate at the subweb level, with 3 flavors of permissions: Browse, Author, and Administer.  Be sure to assign the same userids and permissions on both the edited content (ix91) and the discussion (ix92) subwebs.

IdeaXchg subweb naming conventions

I've been using the convention that IdeaXchg subwebs have names of the form ix<nn>, where <nn> is a sequence number, which is odd for edited content subwebs, and even for discussion subwebs.  You don't have to follow my compact odd/even sequential naming convention for subwebs, but I had these considerations in mind:

URL stability
By this, I mean the property that the URL to a given page should remain valid for as long as possible.  Using unique codes provides a content-independent way of addressing pages.  This reduces the chance of later finding it necessary to alter URLs as revisions are made to the content and its logical organization.

URL conciseness
A concise subweb name will suffice; there's no need to burden people with a long folder name sandwiched into every URL.

avoiding accidental reverse-publishing errors
I use the odd/even numbering convention as a reminder of the direction in which I would normally Publish each subweb through FrontPage.  Edited content subwebs (odd #s) are normally uploaded from my local web server to the live host on the www.  Discussion subwebs (even #s) are normally downloaded only.

Once a discussion subweb goes "live", you can download it to your local web server, but you should not upload it again from your local host to the live web server, or you are likely to corrupt the fragile FrontPage discussion facility.  You can "safely" edit the live discussion area on the web directly via FrontPage, however.

reducing server administration hassles
If your web hosting service makes it inconvenient to routinely create new subwebs, it may save time to have them pre-allocate a bunch of sequentially numbered subwebs reserved for future use.  I had to resort to this strategy (under a previous web host) in order to avoid being held up by lengthy delays in getting customer support services.

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