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SSI vs. Dreamweaver Templates and Library Files

moving from FP includes to DW



5:16 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I run a 2,500 page website (9,500 pages counting the pages generated from a database) that I created six years ago in FrontPage (FP). Over the years I use less and less of FP and more CSS, but I still use FP navigation to generate my navigation columns. I am changing that now to use include files instead of the FP navigation because I want to move the site to DreamWeaver (DW) and it does not automatically generate your navigation column.

The FrontPage webbots that do the include files act like server side includes (SSI) even though my files are all .htm .

So my problem is, when I switch to DW, if I want my include files to be SSI, I have to rename all my pages to .asp (we use ASP and already have many .asp files - but most are .htm). But this means that pages that are indexed by Google as .htm will now be .asp and it might affect things with Google.

I run on a windows shared server (CrystalTech) and cannot set the server to parse all .htm files - the files need to be .shtm or .asp.

Does anyone have advice for me? I could use DW templates and library files instead of SSI, but this will be a lot more work during the conversion. The benefit would be that the file names stay the same. Would it be worth the work to do this instead?

If I have SSI on every page (header, footer, breadcrumbs, navigation column), does that slow down the page on the server?



1:37 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, SlowTrav.

Ugh. What a predicament. The DW template solution is only going to put you right back in the same spot you are now if you change technology again in the future. Are you sure your host won't work with you on this? Maybe a phone call and explanation will give you some special attention?


3:43 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi Slow trav - you don't have to change your pages to asp to use SSI. You can use .htaccess to change the file extension for you (more [webmasterworld.com].

Dreamweaver library includes are great if you are working on small sites - but the site wide changes are not made server side so you'd have to upload all the files every time you edited the .lbi file.

Not an ideal scenario for a site with 2,500 pages.

DW is a powerful tool but when it comes to multiple page generation over a large sites it simply has to be used in tandem with SSI.

Another approach would be to switch to .asp/.php and then add 301 redirects for the pages of your site that are indexed... laborious but worthwhile.


6:27 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the replies. I have been doing more research and thinking about this some more. I can't change the .htaccess because I am on a Windows shared server. If I move to a dedicated server, I can set it to parse all .htm files.

I have decided that I do not want to use DW templates and libraries for the exact reason you mention - I am used to using SSI and I work on the site with two other people. It would be too much uploading and downloading for any small change to a template or library file (and I tend to change that stuff a lot).

So my options are to either rename all .htm to .asp (I have 1700 .htm pages and about 800 .asp pages now) and keep on the shared server. Or move to a dedicated server and not do the file renames.

I am not ready to do the move from FP yet (am redoing all my navigation), but should be in a month. I am leaning towards just renaming all the files and keeping on a shared server. Somehow that solution feels cleaner to me (probably for no reason) and we save the work of moving to the dedicated server (which we will probably have to do next year).

But I am still thinking about this and would appreciate any other comments.

This must happen to large sites frequently, for example if they change from ASP to .NET - all the file extensions change.


12:23 pm on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Depends on whether the server-side technology is changing or not. Yet another good reason to use extensionless URIs ;)

Cool URIs don't change [w3.org]
Content Negotiation: why it is useful, and how to make it work [w3.org]


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