Webmastering the Worldcon, Part 4

Chaz Boston Baden, smofsweb@bostonbaden.com
Rev. 05-Apr-1997

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Naming Conventions

In the last sectiom, I mentioned the relationship between files such as http://lacon3.worldcon.org/www/Programming/filking.html and http://lacon3.worldcon.org/filk.music Things I Would Do Differently: I'd make the filenames match. If the web page is 'filking.html', name the plain text file 'filking'.

I made all the web page filenames different - I didn't use /www/Programming/index.html and /www/Masquerade/index.html, instead I used /www/Programming/info-prog.html and /www/Masquerade/info-masq.html.

I didn't keep "hidden" files in the same directory as "public" files, so it wouldn't have been an issue, but just the same I took advantage of a Unix feature called a 'symbolic link' - and I created a filename 'index.html' as an alias to the main page, such as 'info-prog.html', in each directory. So if you go to http://lacon3.worldcon.org/www/Programming/, you should get the same results as http://lacon3.worldcon.org/www/Programming/info-prog.html.

If I had to do all this on a site that didn't allow symlinks, I'd probably set up some kind of automatic clean-up script or batch file to run when I'd finished editing the files that would copy the main entry page's contents to "index.html", and I might even make the relationship between a directory's name and its main entry page even closer. (Such as Programming and Programming.html, to choose an extreme example.)

Or, I'd see if I could get the sysadmin to disable that feature on the httpd. I've seen sites where you can't browse the directories by leaving out the filename.

I tend to use capitalization to indicate directory names. Unix is case-sensitive, and by doing so the directories sort separately from the filenames when I do a directory listing. There are, of course, other ways to handle this, including not worrying about these details.

I also tried to use web page filenames that were unique in the first 8 characters, because it let me download the files to my MS-DOS PC... and with the filenames all being unique, if I had a file in the wrong directory I could figure out where it belonged.

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