[thelist] SSI: tip & question

Mike DeHart mike at dehart.net
Wed Sep 5 04:55:32 CDT 2001

I turned to SSI a few years back when I had some 5,000 pages to manage for 
various clients & was getting buried in updates.

<tip> Use SSI to keep untrained fingers inside the content area & away from 
the design/navigation interface. Unlike ColdFusion or Dreamweaver's 
templates, SSI is application independent & will withstand the test of time 
for many small to mid-sized sites. Newbie Webmasters will be a little 
intimidated at first, but come to love the ease with which they can update 
shared elements without having to learn a high-end design app. A carefully 
crafted set of includes will allow you to redesign the site & alter the 
directory structure with only a handful of edits. The server load is a real 
issue & not to be ignored; I try to avoid parsing the homepage & wouldn't 
recommend it if the page weight is already heavily loaded with 

My question... I'd like to add an SSI call or use cgi in my 404 page. I 
believe some server implementations will support it. I'd like the 404 to 
resolve to a specified page in the current directory:

if ( exists [path_to_current_directory] [current_directory_name] / 
[current_directory_name] .html )
  { 404 redirect = [path_to_current_directory] [current_directory_name] / 
[current_directory_name] .html }
else { show standard 404 message }

Is this too much to achieve with SSI's var set & control structure?

Thanks..... m

At 03:44 PM 9/4/01, John Bedard wrote:
>Generally I like to use them for things like footer information and such, 
>but once I created an entire site using SSIs.
>It goes something like this (keep in mind that I know nothing of CMSes and 
>CF, and minuscule amounts of Perl and javascript, so a more dynamic 
>solution was not possible, and certainly wouldn't have been as cheap):
>There are three main subdirectories in the site, css, textonly and 
>content. All three have exactly the same files structure.
>Any file in the content directory contains strictly content (text, html 
>tags, etc.).
>Any file in the css directory contains three include statements:
>      "include the css header"
>      "include the content in the matching directory under /content"
>      "include the css footer"
>Any file in the textonly directory contains three include statements:
>      "include the textonly header"
>      "include the content in the matching directory under /content"
>      "include the textonly footer"
>A browser detect in the home directory sends users to the appropriate 
>version. The cutoff is Netscape or IE 4. This way the site content is 
>accessible to any browser, but there is only one source of content for 
>version control. Yes, it does take a lot of cpu resources since every page 
>is being constructed server-side, but the Client has a pretty beefy 
>server. Yes adding a page does require the creation of three files, and 
>its not for the total newbie, but I haven't run into any training problems 
>yet. And like I said, its cheap to set up.
>P.S. Here is the site (the client has been changing the site quite a bit 
>since the launch last November, but the underlying structure is still in 
>place) http://www.discoveringmontana.com
> >>> krr at ix.netcom.com 09/03/01 01:13PM >>>
>I was reading thru the threads on SSI and the one thing
>I haven't seen is a recommendation on when to use them.
>I am currently working thru Coldfusion, But this isn't for
>everyone because of the expense involved.
>So my question  is when should I use SSI for a website?
>Why would I choose it over other tools? Should I use
>SSI in some places in place of Coldfusion?
>I am try to put some type of perspective together on
>when I should use SSI.
>Any insight would be appreciated
>Thank You
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Mike DeHart
703 448 8120l
mike at dehart.net

When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It doesn't matter if he already 
has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, 
you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

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