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Server side includes

SSI or Server Side Includes are HTML comments that direct the server to dynamically generate data for a Web page.

SSI can be used to ensure that common components such as a copyright notice, contact info or even navigation stay the same on all pages throughout your site. The use of SSI can also save time when making site-wide changes to those components, since changes only need to be made in one place instead of to each page.

Support of SSI varies from one server to another, however, #include and #exec are common commands. SSI pages often end with an .shtml extension instead of .html or .htm. This enables the Web server to recognize pages that need to be processed before being sent to the browser.

note Does Your Server Support SSI?
Most hosting companies support SSI - but some do not. You will need to contact your host and ask them about SSI or follow these steps to test your server on your own:

1. Create a new HTML page, and type the following in between the opening <body> and the closing </body> tags of the page:
<!--#echo var="DATE_LOCAL" -->

2. Save and name the page, test.shtm

3. Upload the page to the remote server and view it using your browser.

4. If you can see the current date displayed, your Web host supports SSI. If can't see the date, your host probably does not support SSI. Check with your host to see if they will enable SSI on your site.

note Exercise 1: Copyright Include

1. Create a file called copyright.html in FrontPage or Dreamweaver. In it, put your copyright notice like this:
©2007 The Template Store. All rights reserved.

2.Your code should appear like this in HTML mode/view:
&copy;2007<a href="https://www.thetemplatestore.com"> The Template Store</a>. All rights reserved.

In a web browser it should look like this:
©2007 The Template Store. All rights reserved.

3. Remove the <html>, <head> and <body> tags in the html code.

4. Now, place the file in the root directory of your web site.

5.Open the pages in which the footer is to appear and click the cursor on the page where you wish to insert the footer. Switch to HTML view/mode and insert the following HTML comment:
<!--#include virtual="/copyright.html" -->

6. Upload the files to your server. If the copyright notice appears on the pages with the include statement, that's it! It worked!

note Exercise 2: Simple Navigation

1.Open a new HTML file.

2.Let's add a simple nav bar such as this:
Home | Contact Us | Gallery | Orders

3.After typing the desired text, create the links using using the proper Dreamweaver or FrontPage commands.

4.Switch to HTML view/mode. The source code for the example above should look similar to this:
<html>
<head>
<title>Untitled Document</title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
</head>

<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF">

<p align="center"><font face="Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><a href="home.htm">Home</a>
| <a href="mailto:myemail@address.com">Contact Us</a> | <a href="gallery.htm">Gallery</a>
| <a href="orders.htm">Orders</a></font></p>

</body>
</html>

5.Highlight all the text displayed in blue and delete it so that only the text in orange appears on the page.

6.Save the file as navigation.shtml or navigation.shtm.

7.Next, open the pages in which the navigation is to appear and click the cursor on the page where you wish to insert it.

8.Switch to HTML view/mode and insert the following HTML comment:
<!--#include virtual="/navigation.shtml" -->

9.Upload the files to your server. View the pages in your browser to ensure the navigation appears as it should.

These are merely simple exercises in SSI and you can create more complicated files to include on your pages when you are comfortable. To update your pages, simply open the SSI page such as navigation.shtml above and make your changes. Save your file and upload to your server. All pages with the corresponding include statement will be updated.

SSI is relatively easy to implement and can prove to be a great time-saver when making global changes to your site. TRY IT!

 
 

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