Helpful Tips & Techniques

Web Site Management in WebExpress

What is a Web Site?
Why Use a Web Site?
Web Site Wizard
File Management
The Web Site Manager
Web Site Publishing

Web Sites in WebExpress tie all the files that make up your site together. Take a few minutes to understand what they can offer, and your enjoyment and productivity will be greatly enhanced.


What is a WebExpress Web Site?

A web site is simply a collection of files including web pages (HTML documents) and graphic images. Your site may also include files that users can download such as product brochures, artwork, financial reports, computer programs or any other kind of interesting electronic document.

When you develop your site, you store this collection of files on your home or business computer. In WebExpress, we refer to this as your local web site. Using WebExpress, you create, edit, and refine the files in your local site until it is exactly the way you want it.

Once the files are ready, you publish them to the world wide web. The publishing process involves copying the files that make up your site from your local computer to your web host computer.

A WebExpress Web Site is a file that stores, organizes and manages all the information about your web site. It is an invaluable tool to help you stay on top of all the files that comprise your site, how they are connected, and how and when they are published to your web host. The Web Site file is named with an extension of .WBS.


Why Use a WebExpress Web Site?

We strongly encourage you to create and use WebExpress Web Sites because they provide you with so much more power and functionality than simply using independent web pages. They are easy to set up, and once established, they practically maintain themselves.

Some of the benefits include:

  • track all links within your web site

  • graphically view your site’s hierarchy
  • validate all local links
  • make global changes across your site
  • maintain a consistent look and feel among pages
  • publish your pages to your web host

Whether you are starting from scratch or are looking for a better way to maintain an existing site, WebExpress Web Sites are easy to create and fun to use.


Web Site Wizard

The New Web Site Wizard (found on the File menu) walks you through the process of setting up a web site. If you don’t know all the answers to the questions the first time through, don’t worry. You can simply accept the default values for most fields and then fill in the details later once you’ve had a chance to collect the information.

You have three choices for starting a new web site in WebExpress:

  • Use the Web Site Themes to set up the basic structure of the overall site. If you’re new to web design, this is the option we recommend because it simplifies the tasks of layout and structure considerably, and provides you with colorful images and accents to choose from.

  • Create your own web site from scratch.

  • Create the web site from existing pages.

Whichever method you choose, the end result will be a web site ready to manage and oversee your efforts as they grow.


File Management

You’ll want to organize your files in your web site on your local PC in the same way they will be organized on your web host computer. To begin, first create a main folder, or Base Directory, on your local PC. This folder will become the mirror image of the Base Directory on the host computer for your web site.

You can then store all your files within the Base Directory or you can organize them by purpose. Under the Base Directory, you can create any number of sub-directories. Use one sub-directory for web pages, one for images, etc. Just remember that on your web host all files must be in folders beneath the Base Directory, so your mirror image on your local PC should do the same.

The Web Site file itself (.WBS) does not have to be saved in the same folder as your other files. In fact, we recommend that you set aside one folder whose sole purpose is to store Web Site files. This way you can quickly locate your web sites regardless where the actual files are stored on your computer.

The following examples illustrate typical recommended organization:

A folder with the files that make up a web site

A folder holding only Web Site (.wbs) files

Note the actual web sites are located beneath the web sites folder in the second illustration. This further helps maintain ideal disk organization.


The Web Site Manager

Web Sites are displayed in their own window within WebExpress, distinct from web pages. We call this window the Web Site Manager, since you use it for managing your web site as opposed to designing web pages. Only one Web Site Manger window can be opened at a time.

The Manager automatically keeps track of file locations, URLs, case sensitivity, and many other aspects of your web site. You’ll refer to the Web Site Manager frequently, so it’s one tool you need to understand fairly thoroughly right away.

When you click back and forth between the Web Site Manager window and the new web page window, note that the menus and toolbars change at the top of the screen. This gives you a visual clue telling you which window is active.

Here are some of the most important functions of the Web Site Manager:

Visual validation of links

One of the Web Site Manager’s most important functions is identifying broken links in your web site. A web page with a valid link will appear as a solid page symbol in the Web Site Manager. A broken link will appear as a broken page symbol and drawn in red.

Managing file name case sensitivity

Windows and Unix web servers treat upper and lowercase characters differently in file and directory names. To resolve this inconsistency, WebExpress has URL Case controls to always make your filenames are lowercase or to always use the same case as the URL.

If you change the case specification in the web site properties midway through developing your web site, make sure that you select Update Web Pages from the Edit menu to correct any previously defined URLs and file names.

Rename Links and Files

When a link or an image changes within your site, you can change it once with the Web Site Manager Rename command. You can then optionally have it change all such references within your entire web site, and even change the name of a file if appropriate. Very powerful.

Web Site Templates

You can create unique sets of web page templates for each web site you maintain. This allows you to quickly create new web pages using the existing look and feel of the rest of your web site.

Web Site Colors

Each web site also maintains a unique color table which is used by all the web pages in the site. This allows you to make color adjustments in one location, and have the results reflected in every page throughout your site.


Web Site Publishing

One of the most convenient features of using The Web Site Manager is to publish your files to your web host computer. WebExpress uses standard FTP technology to publish, so it works with virtually any host. Note: Web Site Publishing is not available to users of Windows 3.x.

Since the Web Site Manager tracks all the files that comprise your web site, you can be confident that all files required will be transferred. This saves a lot of time and confusion, especially for larger sites.

After the files have been transferred the first time, only those files that changed since the last publishing will be transferred.

To publish your site you must be using the Web Site Manager. Then switch to the web site window, and choose Publish Web Pages from the File Menu. You can also look for a little globe with an arrow on any toolbar for quick publishing access.


This web site was created with WebExpress version 3.0 on February 19, 1998. Please send your comments or questions to MicroVision Technical Support: [email protected]
© 1998 MicroVision Development, Inc. All rights reserved.