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How can I customize dynamic generated static pages fast?

Does anyone know a program that will do this?



10:44 am on Dec 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hiya Guys,
For most of you this will sound dumb. (sorry)
For me It's a challange just to explain.
I have a site <in profile>
and I use ilink for my directory, from what I understand, it dynamically generates static pages from .txt file that I can alter.
My problem is I've changed the look of my site about 3 times without even finnishing the last..
I want to be able to have each pages content unique (ie. meta keywords, descriptions, text content, banner scripts for each page, etc.) but the way it is now if I want to make the tables, background etc different I have to make the change to each page (about 180 pages) I was hoping there might be something that can make this easier AND keep the .html extension..(no shtml,ssi?)
I was hoping I could say, make 1 template page, use a program to duplicate this template only with the differant file names, then execute a program that will insert all my pre-defined content into the correct areas on the correct pages???
This way when I get sick of looking at the same page and get the urge to change its looks (like I again now)I'll only have to change 1 template file and execute this wonder program and continue building my site where I let off ;-)
If I was smart enough I could probably make a .bat file of some sort and generate all the pages on my local computer but there would be no chance I'd be able to come up with a program to insert the pre-defined stuff into the pages..without using.shtml extensions. I think It might have been here I read about .html being better than .shtml for search engines.
I've been looking for days and days to find something to do this and had no luck..
Any help with this would give me the urge to smile uncontrolably and maybe break my back in an attempt to do a backflip!
Thanks in advance for any help with this
Kindest Regards

[EDIT] Ooooops, I forgot to mention, I would prefer it to be freeware as I have no income from the site, and may not get income when it's done. I'm building this site out of the love for fishing and the curiosity of building a webpage..
Thanks again

(edited by: Marcia at 11:02 am (gmt) on Dec. 19, 2001)


11:01 am on Dec 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>something that can make this easier AND keep the .html extension..(no shtml,ssi?)

Steve, to have ssi work with .html file extension, try this in .htaccess:

AddType text/html .html
AddHandler server-parsed .html

>make 1 template page, use a program to duplicate this template only with the differant file names, then execute a program that will insert all my pre-defined content into the correct areas on the correct pages???

I'd love to find the same thing (especially a freebie).


1:13 pm on Dec 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Marcia,
I'll keep my fingers crossed in the hope of a miracle ;-).
I'd even be happy if there was a dos based program that could edit my .txt files on my local computer with some sort of tag in the template file where I want the content and I could then upload them to my server and generate the .html files with my directory script as normal.
I just seen a falling star out the front yard while I was having a snoke.....
Guess what I wished for ;-)
Thanks again


9:42 pm on Dec 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I put a Server Side Include (SSI) into the <head> section of each file. This allows me to change everything about the site very easily. I can add new <meta> tags, add a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) line, or whatever to every page on the site by changing that one file. Yes, it will be grunt work to add that to begin with, but after it is done you have full control over the site.


1:28 pm on Dec 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

Heya Xoc,
Thanks for your reply mate, although I'm not really sure on ssi tags as I'm new to webbuilding but it sounds interesting. may I ask if using these ssi tags, can I easily make each page unique such as the meta tags, content etc?
The reason I ask is because I have been talking to a computer guy from work since my last post and he seems to think I could make something up with visual basic. This has got me thinking and wondering if it would be worth while to learn visual basic just for this purpose only? If I did I would be looking at a program for all to use, this would save me doing it again if I started another site (I could just use the same program).
If this ssi tag thing is flexable I don't need to worry about it :-)


2:06 pm on Dec 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The SSI is for *nix and the pages just look like normal web pages. If you go to VBasic, you'll be getting into ASP with long dynamic URLs with question marks in them, right? You might then have to deal with that to get pages indexed. Your guy is likely an MS guy it sounds like.


5:44 pm on Dec 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I wrote a custom script for ilink.cgi that automatically generates individual title tags and description tags for each page. (Example url in profile) It basically generates the title and keywords from the URL. The script should work with any type of web page though.

It does requires SSI. If you're interested in a free download sticky mail me.


3:45 am on Dec 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks again for the reply guys this is top stuff!!
Marcia, I was thinking more along the lines of Visual Basic for windows (making an .exe file, rather than VB Script. That way it can be run from the local computer to generate all the unique pages with any extension (ie. index.html, main.html, etc) and then upload the produced pages to the site.. Might seem to be a pain uploading them but all the image files should already be on the server, it will save the long urls and should work on any server seen it's done on the local machine and you'll of course have a backup of the files on your local machine. It sounds good to me in theory but as I've said I'd need to learn VB along the way.. hehe FUN!!
I'm more than interested in in your script :-) can it be used to input unique stuff into the main page also ? I use ilink also and I am looking for a way to customise each page including the head and body using tags to call the info..
If you guys can talk me out of this it would save me a lot of wasted time, but if you think it's worth the effort I'll give you guys a free copy when it's done.. Ahhh I'll give you a freebie when it's done anyways to see what you think ;-)

*why cant my message board rock like this, sigh*

Thanks again for all your thoughts and comments guys, this is really a big help.


7:15 pm on Dec 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you can use XSSI you could use just about any simple cgi program to generate and edit text files (try hotscripts or cgi-resources), store the text files in a folder, and then create a main template that will display the contents of the text file(s).

Sometimes it's much easier to separate your content (text files, in this case) from your html and css simply because it's easier to create and edit a text file than duplicate a page 150 times (and later change 150 pages).

With xssi you can set your own variables such as title, content file locations, global variables, etc. (It's really easy, too - you don't need to be any kind of programmer to do this.)

If you do a search on google.com for xssi tutorials, or even go to webmonkey, there's some good information if you're interested.

I live by the stuff just because it's simple and it works.


12:02 am on Jan 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

every page has an id, right? then use that variable to customise your content. that is how we do it with our portal which is much much larger project that you descibe and provides html not dynamic pages. if i am not mistaken the software you run for your directory is in php. if yes then Isn't it possible to do something like this?

if ($pageid="1") {
else if ($pageid="2") {
some other colors for category 2 etc.

let me know.


12:29 pm on Jan 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

idiotgirl & enotalone:
Thanks heaps for your suggestions :-)
They sound like they could help heaps although I just need to get my mind around what it all means, I've had a quick look at some of those links you suggested (idiotgirl) and I think they might shine a little light on the subject for me. From what I can see enotalone, your info looks like it might be the same thing only a little more up my ally, but it's all jiberish to me at this point. As far as php goes all I can tell you is my directory script uses cgi (perl?) and I'm on an apache unix server, I've never seen any php extentions on any of the pages, sorry I'm haveing trouble understanding what's what. (and SHE thinks she's idiot girl, I'm starting to feel like the grandmaster of idiots).
What I can tell you is, when I edit any of my pages, I edit a text file in dreamweaver and upload it to the cgi-bin, then I have to use the script to build the pages and it places them where I told it to in the script with the .html extention.
All your suggestions have given me another 'path' to follow and it looks like it might just lead me to the wizard of Oz :-) or the solutions to my problem.. THANKS!!!!!!
If I understand it, I may be able to use these in various places on the text files I edit to write info from other text file (content text files) to give me unique <head> and <body> info on each page when it builds the .html pages????
I'll see if I can figure it out, it has to be easier than trying to learn a program like visual basic lol..
Thanks heaps guys, I'll start reading and playing :-)


4:29 pm on Jan 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

I tried
AddType text/html .html
AddHandler server-parsed .html

all I can say is, what the hell sort of host would disable their .htaccess!!!
they say it's because it was conflicting with their ssi....blah blah blah

Anyone got a spare 4 leaf clover?
I need 1!!!


6:52 pm on Jan 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I'm guessing your SSI is disabled, right? You could ask the techs to take a look at httpd.conf and see if it sets global permissions or allows .htaccess configs in subdirectories.

They should at least check for you and tell you what you need to do. All they need to do is change a couple lines, if that's the problem.


7:08 pm on Jan 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

This is the best explanation of page templates using SSI [ordersomewherechaos.com] I've ever seen.

I think what we'd need is a way to automate the content parts of the page that will change with each page, like in doing product catalogs.


11:49 am on Jan 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

my ssi will work with shtml extensions as I previously have my directory build these pages, I've since learnt (i think from this site) html extensions rank far better with the search engines than any other extension. Thats why they are all now .html extentions, I figure I need to make the most of anything I can use to get some traffic, and for this reason and the work involved in changing back again, I'm kinda fixed on getting this to work. I've asked live tech support while I've been waiting for a return email from them on the same matter and they told me they have disabled htaccess due to conflicts with their ssi software and the only way I'll be able to run ssi is with shtml extensions.. but get this I just got the email returned saying their htaccess is fine, nothing wrong at their end.. lol I'm going to keep trying to get them to sort it out their end for a while longer, just call me stuborn! lol

Wow that page has put some light on the subject for me, thanks mate. And you've hit the nail again I guess it is kind of a "catalog" type setup I'm after where I can have unique meta keywords, descriptions and content on each page for the search engines to spider AND have the ability to EASILY change the look and feel of the site when ever I get sick of looking at it, kinda like now ;-)
This brings me to a new thought..
are ssi tags search engine friendly?

Keymaster has also offer some help with a custom script he has for ilink, I 'think' with his it will generate the content etc from the .txt template to each .html page to produce 'static' content on a static page, but i'm not yet sure on how flexible or how userfriendly it is yet..

Thanks again for your continued help guys, I know this must all be basic boring stuff for you'll.

Kindest Regards


9:20 pm on Jan 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's not free, but for the novice developer Dreamweaver will easily let you link .html pages with templates and update the pages when you make changes. You can define editable areas that are unique for each page, ie for optimizing meta tags on each page.

Although if you continue and create more advanced sites, you will out-grow Dreamweaver, but the price may save you a lot of frustration in the short term.


11:24 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

ColdFusion (.cfm) allows you to query a database with all your dynamic information such as file name, title, meta tags, body, fotter, etc. After this is setup, you can schedule a task to create static pages from your dynamic queries.


2:34 pm on Jan 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Guys
I got my hands on an older version of dreamweaver3 and I'm checking it out now trying to figure out how it all works :-)
Kindest regards

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