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FrontPage FAQ

Right now, the questions are in no particular order altough that is on my To Do list. Please contact me with additional questions or comments and to point out errors.

  1. What does it mean to manage multiauthor Web sites in FrontPage?
  2. Are there different ways to manage a Web site with multiple authors?
  3. What's the first thing I should do?
  4. I want to revamp or redesign the web site for my school. What should I do?
  5. I have decided to use subwebs to manage my site. Shouldn't I just create a subweb for each person or each main topic and let it go at that?
  6. If you were to buy a good source text for FrontPage what would you buy?
  7. Are there any recommended resource books to help with the on going Uh-Oh's we are likely to encounter?
  8. Are there any significant security issues when allowing multiple users? (e.g. is monitoring permissions important to prevent mass delete or unknown changes or is it easily manageable) If one person alters or copies data of another, is it logged?
  9. When you publish are all the files replaced or just the changed files?
  10. What’s with all of these “include pages”?
  11. How do you maintain shared borders and how does the include page command help?
  12. How do I back up my web site?
  13. What is a Web Folder? .
  14. My technology support person says that FrontPage extensions have bad security problems so he won't install them.
  15. What is shared hosting?
  16. I've added users to a subweb, but when they try to open it, they get an error message about being unable to open "Frontpg.lck" or "Service.lck".

What does it mean to manage multiauthor Web sites in FrontPage?

A multiauthor Web site is, as its name implies, any Web site which has two or more people creating content in the Web site simultaneously. Obviously, most commercial sites are multiauthor but they also use sophisticated (and very expensive) software and procedures to help manage the process. That's the last we will mention of these folks because they have big staffs and big budgets, concepts which are foreign to schools.

Here, we are concerned with people who use FrontPage for their Web sites and don't have the time or budget to use the sophisticated management techniques of companies. This includes the Webmaster for a school, or a teacher who wants to use FrontPage with a class to create Web sites. However, there are techniques that can make life a little simpler.

Are there different ways to manage a Web site with multiple authors?

Yes. It depends on whether the content is heavily interrelated, such as when a group of students work together to create a web site on a topic, or only mildly interrelated, such as when a school web has links to the class pages of teachers.

The first case is more complex, and most of the techniques will be applicable to that scenario. The second case is more easily handled by using subwebs, but it still requires planning on the part of the person in charge. See the next question.

What's the first thing I should do?

Figure out who is in charge and create a plan. If only four or five people are working together in a site and it is a one-time effort, they can determine how to manage the project, but they still need a plan. If you expect your entire class to work in a site, you will need to have one person who has the authority to make final decisions that may affect all of the authors.

Plan the site. Before you start creating any pages, you should have an idea of what will go on each page that will be authored by two or more people. See the next question.

I want to revamp or redesign the web site for my school. What should I do?

The first step of the plan is to determine your target audience and how you want to address the. Is your site for students, parents, non-school members, or all of the above. Then, create the structure. Think of everything a school does: administration, academics, cocurriculars, sports, social activities, counseling, communication with parents, communication with prospective students, etc. Brainstorm with other teachers the activities that the school does, then logically group them. Try not to have more than ten or fifteen top-level groups. Some of the possible groups you may end up with are administration, academics, cocurriculars, about the school, social life, transportation, archives, community projects, etc. These groups become your top-level directories. Continue to break down the structure into more detail until you get to areas that can be assigned to individual people.

Your structure must allow you to grow, yet still be maintainable. As an example, see the file structure for a middle school.

I have decided to use subwebs to manage my site. Shouldn't I just create a subweb for each person or each main topic and let it go at that?

It depends. (Darn! Everything depends!) If you are creating a site that will never change after you post it, that approach is fine. An example might be a class project or a site that showcases one of the school plays.

However, if you are creating a site, such as your school web site, you need to have a detailed plan that will carry you through five or ten years. That's not as hard as it looks if you do it logically and plan it up front. But if you don’t, managing the web will go fine for a year, then it will grow increasingly difficult until by the second year, you will have no idea where anything goes. By the third year, when you quit in frustration and your replacement has to take it over, nothing will be updated

If you were to buy a good source text for FrontPage what would you buy?

This is always a difficult question as a book that is perfect for one user is totally wrong for another. I tend to prefer texts as references and am not an effective user of tutorial-style books. I'll defer the question to  Amazon. It is a good place to start looking for books as the customer reviews are very helpful in deciding which book is worthwhile and meet your needs. For your search, enter “FrontPage” into the search form on the Amazon page. 

Are there any recommended resource books to help with the on going Uh-Oh's we are likely to encounter?

I have not been able to find any as most troubleshooting references deal with technical problems and are usually arcane. Most of the Uh-Ohs that we run into have to do with the human factor, so the goal is to prevent them when possible and have a good plan to recover from backups or solve the problem if not possible. However, planning and maintaining a Web is no different than planning a project, although this is often overlooked.

I’m converting my outline for the TIES workshop to this document and will continue to add to it. If you have a question about FrontPage or your web, please send me an email or use the contact form.

Are there any significant security issues when allowing multiple users? (e.g. is monitoring permissions important to prevent mass delete or unknown changes or is it easily manageable) If one person alters or copies data of another, is it logged?

If your users are in separate subwebs, security is not an issue if you use unique permissions for each subweb. In my case, all users in subwebs have full administrative rights in their subwebs, but they are unable to open higher webs. Do create an web administrator group that you add to each subweb, which will allow others to help you as your web grows. However, you do lose many of the benefits of having people work in the same web.

If multiple users work in the same web, the username of the last change to a file is available in the properties of the file (right click on the file and select properties). If you enable document checkin and checkout (Tools ==> Web Settings==>General Tab), authors are unable to delete or change a file that has been checked out. But if they change the name of a file that the checked-out page is linked to or do something else that might cause FrontPage to update the page, the page will not change which may lead to an error in the site. Note that checking out a file doesn't keep the old copy on the server; it just prevents anybody but the person who checked it out from making further changes. The latest saved version of the file will always be published.

If you wish to log authoring actions, you need access to the server so that you can set the server to keep logs and retrieve them. Details on security are available available from Windows Web Solutions in their 10 Steps to Secure FrontPage Server Extensions article. Note that the FrontPage 2002 extensions use a browser interface for management and you must use Internet Explorer since the extensions require Windows Authentication.

>When you publish are all the files replaced or just the changed files?

The default is to just publish changed files only, but you have that choice when you start publishing by selecting File==>Publish Web, then selecting Options… and choosing All pages, overwriting those already on the destination. Your selection is sticky, which means that the same action happens the next time you select publish.

If you select publish all files, files are just overwritten and none are deleted. So, if you delete “badfile.htm” from your web, then publish using all pages, “badfile.htm” will not be deleted on your server. Usually this is not a problem, but if you have a search engine in your site, “badfile.htm” will still show up in it.

What’s with all of these “include pages”?

How many times have you changed a file, then realized there was some really useful information in the version you overwrote? Using included content allows you to manage these revisions to avoid that problem, make changes to your web without having to change your links, and add information collected from forms while keeping your form results in a folder that cannot be accessed. . In FrontPage 2002, including a page is done by using Insert==>Web Component, then selecting Included Content in the left pane and Page in the right pane. FrontPage will then include the content of the page you select on the page where you inserted it. FrontPage automatically adjusts links, removes shared borders if they are present, and removes unnecessary html tags. The entire head element is removed and as are <body>, </body>, <html> and </html> tags.

For example, this page is "fpfaq.asp", but these words are actually in "_private/fpfaq_reva.htm".  When I add more content to the page, or change it beyond minor cosmetic tweaks, I will save this page as "fpfaq_revb.htm" and use a comment (Insert==>Comment) in the page to make a note of the changes. The comment appears in purple in FrontPage but does not appear in the browser, although it is in the HTML code. I will then change the include component in "fpfaq.asp" to use the new page. (By the time you look at this, I may be beyond Revision B; check the bottom of the page to see.)

With multiple authors, it's possible to have each author work on a separate page and have all of the pages included on one page that shows the work of each. An example might be a recent news page for a school. A different author might be assigned a page for each grade but each page is included on one page that will have all of the recent news. We have also used this in Language Arts where students entered their reflections on their own page, but all of the reflections on a topic where combined on one page.

How do you maintain shared borders and how does the include page command help?

One of the most useful features of the include page command is in shared borders. If you have used shared borders, you may have noticed that it is very easy to accidentally make a change in a shared border and wipe out the content. Also, when you change a shared border, FrontPage pauses while it updates every page in the web with the shared border.

First, the "_border" folder containing the shared borders is usually hidden. To see it, select Tools ==> Web Settings==>Advanced Tab and check Show hidden files and folders. You will then see the "_borders" folder. When you first apply shared borders, the ones you selected will appear in this folder. In order to add content to those borders, you may do it from the web page the border is on, but this is also a good way to accidentally overwrite a shared border. I prefer creating the pages elsewhere, then using the include component to include them in the border. In this web, I created a folder in the top level "_private" folder called "borders" and created my files for the borders in there. See the picture on the left. The last four letters in the file name indicated the revision level of the file, with "_reva" referring to revision A. My left border contains navigation, so it changes more than the bottom or top border, which is why it has so many revisions. (Standard practice skips revision I and O so they aren't mistaken for 1 or 0.) Of course, numbers or dates could also be used for the revision.

After you use the include component to include the correct file in the correct border in the "_borders" folder, select and copy those files. Then, select the "_borders" folder again and paste the files into it. You should see something similar to the picture on the right.

Now, if one of your author gets overzealous and overwrites or changes one of your borders, you can get it back easily by copying the code from the copy.

To update the borders, I copy the contents to a new revision, make my changes, then open the appropriate border and change the file name in the include component.

How do I back up my web site?

Get in the habit of routinely publishing your web site to your hard drive, personal web server, or main server in a special backup folder. For example, when I back up a web or sub web, usually maintain four copies. If my web is called "myweb", I'll create a folder somewhere on our web server also called "myweb" and then create a folder under it called "1" and convert that to a subweb when I publish. The second time, I'll put it in a folder called "2", then "3", then "4". After doing the fourth one, I'll start back with "1".

In both cases, I select include subwebs and All pages when I publish since I will not get prompted about overwriting or deleting files. You can also just publish to a folder on your hard drive, However, if you use active FrontPage components, such as forms, you will get asked for each web and subweb whether you want to publish.

What is a subweb?

A subweb is a FrontPage term and is just another Web within the main, or root, web. In particular, the FrontPage search component won't search outside of a FrontPage web or into subweb, shared borders only work within the subweb, the navigation structure only works within the subweb, and changes to a page only affect the current web. This means that if you are linked to a page in a subweb and change the name of the page in the subweb, the link will be broken.

The last is the main reason that I don't recommend that you link to a page in somebody else's subweb. You will soon find that Bill calls his file "billhome.htm", Sue calls hers "WelcomeToMyClass.htm", and Masahiro wants his to be called "yokoso.htm". Then once you get the links correct, Bill, Sue, and Masahiro will each rename their pages, then expect you to fix your page. Link only to their subweb without a file name and they become responsible for making sure their webs work.

What is a Web Folder?

A subweb can be accessed as a web folder as explained in the Web Folders page.

My technology support person says that FrontPage extensions have bad security problems so he won't install them.

This viewpoint is usually the result of having heard horror stories about FrontPage security. Like any product, if it is not installed or managed correctly, there are security problems. This is common to all web servers and extensions to web servers but FrontPage had more than its share in early versions.  Yes, occasional security problems are discovered, but this happens with all products, Linux and UNIX included. Further explanation of the security issues is available from Windows Web Solutions in their 10 Steps to Secure FrontPage Server Extensions article.

In this case, you might want to get a shared hosting Web site hosted by a Web Presence Provider (WPP) who specializes in FrontPage extensions. This web is hosted by Infoquest (http://www.infoquest.com) and has been very reliable although they currently require that you go through them to add new users.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting simply means that your Web Presence Provider hosts numerous web servers on one machine. From your point of view, though, you aren't aware of the other servers on the machine. You also don't have to worry about any of the maintenance of the machine itself.

Shared hosting is inexpensive, (from $5.00 a month on up.) However, the cheapest packages typically don't give you the flexibility, control, or customer service you need. I currently pay $19.95 a month for this site, which I've been very pleased with. I'll attach a short listing of hosting providers later.

In particular, you need to be sure that you can create users and manage permissions in your FrontPage web without doing anything unusual.

I've added users to a subweb, but when they try to open it, they get an error message about being unable to open "Frontpg.lck" or "Service.lck".

These errors are a result of permissions problems. In order to open a subweb, the author must have at least browser privileges on all higher level webs. If you have a browser group, make sure you’ve added your users to it. The second error results from your webmaster trying to manage permissions manually and not setting them correctly on higher level webs.

Revision B

Last maintained 09/06/2003

 

 

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