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Introduction to Static-Page Servers

Static-page servers are named so because pages on these servers are pre-built by the pagemaster on his or her disk drive, and then uploaded to the server's disk drives, where they are immediately available when requested. They are not created by server software at the time they are requested.

All Front Door pages are seen by our audiences as coming from www.ohio.edu. In particular, this includes all pages published through the CommonSpot Content Management System and all pages published on the static-page server. As new Front Door services are brought online, using other servers, they, too, will be seen with the uniform name of www.ohio.edu.

The static-page server is "ww2.ohio.edu" -- you will use that name to upload your files to.

The staging server, wws2, is configured identically to the production server, ww2, except for the name and the fact that it requires Ohio ID authentication to browse the pages; it is used two ways:

  • When you are replacing an existing subsite with a new one on ww2; while your new pages are in production your browser will be redirected to wherever the page is published. That means that you cannot tell whether you have correctly uploaded the files. You must upload the files to wws2 so you will be able to inspect your pages. Once you have confirmed that your uploading method is working correctly your files can be transferred directly from wws2 to ww2. 

  • If you are creating a new subsite, pages uploaded to ww2 will be immediately visible at their www.ohio.edu address. If you work on wws2, then you can assemble the full subsite before uploading the files to ww2. You can also use the staging server for experimentation and review by collaborators before publication.

The two primary reasons for requiring authentication on the staging server are:

  • to prevent search engines from leading people to outdated pages

  • to warn people who do look at the pages that their content is likely out-of-date.

Note: Most browsers will object to a certificate mismatch when you first look at a page on the staging server, just tell the browser to accept the certificate.

 

Maintaining Your Files

 

As a static-page server, you prepare the files ahead of time on your personal computer's disk, and then upload them. There are three approaches you can use to maintaining your HTML files: 

 

  1. You can modify the HTML directly, using a general-purpose text editor. On Windows, you can use Wordpad or Notepad; on Macintosh, you can use TextEdit.

  2. You can use general-purpose word processing software (e.g., any recent version of Microsoft Word) that has been enhanced with the ability to "save as HTML."

  3. You can use dedicated HTML-editing software, which uses a graphical user interface and gives you a preview display of the page. In this category, DreamWeaver and Contribute are available, at a price, for both Windows and Macintosh.

The first method requires a greater investment in learning HTML tags and their attributes, but gives you more control over the resulting code. The second method permits you to do most of your work in an environment you are already comfortable with. The third method requires that you learn a new software package, but does not require that you learn HTML.

With all three approaches, you create your files on your personal computer, preview your work without making it public, and then upload the files to the server.