Using an HTML Editor or Web Authoring Program to Edit the Template

If you have a web authoring program, your task will be relatively simple.  Open your copy of the template file in your web authoring software.  You should see the sample page on your screen.  Simply proceed through the screen changing the appropriate sections.

A quick runthrough:

  1. Change the title of the page and all occurrences of "YOURSHTETL" to the actual name of your shtetl.
  2. Create pages of photographs, text, lists, etc. that will be linked to your table of contents page.
  3. Create labels and links to your extra pages from the table of contents page.
  4. Put your own name and email address at the bottom of the page in the appropriate place.
  5. Change the date of last update.

You should be able to accomplish most of your editing in the WYSIWYG mode of your software. There are a few things in the template that you will probably have to edit using the HTML view of your software, though: the calls to cgi scripts. cgi is an acronym for "common gateway interface". It is a programming language that allows complex tasks to be performed, such as database searches. Some examples of tasks that require calling a cgi script:

When you call a cgi script, you usually need to pass certain information called "parameters" to the program to tell it what you want to do. These parameters need to be customized for your shtetl.

IMPORTANT! If you are using Adobe PageMill, you need to be extra careful with code that calls cgi scripts*. Page Mill only allows one "form" per page (filling out a form or clicking on something to send parameters to a cgi script). Each of the items below has a button which qualifies as a form. In order to keep Page Mill from editing the code and messing it up, you need to enclose the entire cgi call within comments that say "NO EDIT". This tells Page Mill not to touch that part of the code. The template files were created using Page Mill, so you should have no problem with them as written. But if you add any more cgi calls, be sure you start the cgi call with: <!--NOEDIT--> and end it with <!--/NOEDIT-->. Browsers will ignore these as comments, and they will only be meaningful to Page Mill. If anyone knows of equivalent issues with other web authoring packages, please let me know so I can update this page.

*cgi scripts: cgi is an abbreviation for "common gateway interface". It is software that allows web pages to communicate with programs running on the "host" or "server" computer. Programmers can write cgi scripts (or programs) that will perform operations such as performing searches of databases or collecting your email address and adding it to a mailing list, etc. By sending a certain command to the server you start the cgi script running to perform its tasks.

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Updated 3/19/99 RU