Web Design Tips

Use JavaScript to Dynamically Update Your Website

by Shelley Lowery

If you've been on the Internet for a while, you've probably seen numerous examples of JavaScript use. JavaScript is a powerful scripting language used to create special effects on your website, but did you know it can also be used as a very powerful web design tool?

Have you ever joined a new affiliate program or created a new publication that you wanted to add to your existing navigational set up, but dreaded having to manually add the links to every page on your site?

You can use JavaScript to enable you to dynamically update every page on your website with just one file. This technique is the same technology used by numerous syndication services on the Internet. It enables them to deliver dynamically updated content to every website in their program.

Before we begin, if you'd like to see an example of a navigational system that is dynamically displayed, visit www.web-source.net. This website has over one thousand pages and each and every one of them displays its navigational system using JavaScript. If I want to add an additional link, I simply update one file and every page on the site is automatically updated.

The first step in setting up your JavaScript feed is to create the file that will contain your content. To do this, open a text editor such as NotePad and simply copy and paste your existing navigational setup into a new page. There is no need to begin the page with <HTML><HEAD>, etc. as you are only creating the feed for one section of your existing web page which already has those tags.

Once you've created your new page containing your navigational HTML, you'll now need to add some additional JavaScript coding to each line of your HTML.

The first line of your new file will look like this: <!--

The next line will begin with: document.writeIn(' and end with: ');

Your first line of HTML will be placed between the beginning and ending coding. For every line of your original coding, you'll need to add the above-mentioned codes before and after.

Note: Make sure you don't add any extra spaces, including at the end of each line, as JavaScript is very sensitive.

Your new file will end with //--> on the last line.

Here's how your code might look:

<!-- document.writeln('<TABLE BORDER="0" ALIGN="Center">');
document.writeln('<TR>');
document.writeln('<TD>');
document.writeln('Your table content');
document.writeln('</TD>');
document.writeln('</TR>');
document.writeln('</TABLE>');
//-->

Each backslash (\) should be preceded with another backslash.

Example: \\

Each apostrophe (') should be preceded with a backslash.

Example: \'

You can include most HTML and JavaScript coding however, you cannot include JavaScript that must access another file to run.

After you've created your content and added the special JavaScript coding, you'll need to save your new file. Try to select a name that reflects your file such as navigate.js and make sure your filename is no longer than eight letters.

Next, you'll need to create a new directory on your server where you store your HTML files. Name this directory "content" (without the quotes) and upload your new .js file in ASCII.

Here's where the magic occurs... Place the following code in your HTML pages where you would like your navigate.js content to be displayed. Make sure you change the URL and direct it to your new .js file. The following code must be displayed exactly as it appears. Make sure there are no spaces after the first line of code.

<SCRIPT language="JavaScript" src="http://www.yourdomain.com/content/yourfile.js"> </SCRIPT>

If you've followed the above steps correctly, your navigational system should now be displaying on your web page. If you are receiving a script error message, most of the time, it's due to an extra space at the end of a line or an extra or missing character. Make sure you go over your code very carefully. Once you've created your content feed and it is displaying your content, updating your file will be simple.

If you'd rather not have to code the JavaScript yourself, I use a great script called, Master Syndicator which will code your content for you. I highly recommend it. www.web-source.net/cgi-bin/t.cgi?l=wm2

You can also find a free text to Javascript converter here: bontragercgi.com/Convert_Text_to_JavaScript.html

Using JavaScript to display your navigational set up can not only enable you to instantly update the content on every page of your website, but can also save you hours of valuable time.

About the Author:

Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web Design Mastery. www.webdesignmastery.com And, Ebook Starter - Give Your Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book. www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies." www.web-source.net

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