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site structure and organization

webdez :: accessibility - design style - organization :: dvd3000
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Something that's important in preventing site headaches is having good site structure and organization. This is NOT something that I payed attention to in the first several years of my site, which has caused many broken links, and hours of confusion and reorganization over the years. Starting in 2022, I tried to fix the site structure and organization, and this is where I'm at so far.

Most personal homepages that I see, are usually just a header, 5 links for the 5 pages on the site, and a little section of words. Now for most people, this is probably totally fine, since most personal websites don't get as large as this one. This is exactly what I did when I first started my website back in 2014.

By 2019, this organization scheme was just not working anymore. So many links had piled up that it was making it hard to find things, even for myself. How was anyone else supposed to find anything? I knew something had to be done, but I had to find a way to organize a bunch of pages, that aren't labelled in any specific category. Some were pages, some were mini-sections, it was just a mess!

It took a bit of convincing myself, with all the work it would take to do it, but I think it would pay off in the long run (I plan for my website to be a long run).

When I first started breaking the link mess into sub-page categories, for example, Computers on the main page links to computers.html, and on that page, Paint Classic links to mspaint.html. This is just wrong. For years, I'd just been throwing every HTML file into the root of the server. Please, never do this. Most files had names that told nothing about themselves, like driver.html, comic23.html, ect. Instead of computers.html, make a Computers directory (I like to keep names short, so lets call it "tek", and create an index.html. Now when you click computers, it goes to comp and clicking Paint Classic goes to tek/mspaint.html.

Now one thing to always remember when moving things that have been in the same place for years, implement redirects! Add redirects in through cPanel, or just in .htaccess so that anyone who clicked a link to the old location of a file, will instead be taken to the new location instantly and seamlessly. You can even implement wildcard redirects for entire directories, so if you change flow to blog, flow/posts/post2.html will automatically redirect to blog/posts/post2.html. (I'm not moving the blog, but it was originally "flow" which redirects you to "flow")

You can't just rely on redirects to do ALL the work. This will just cause more confusion, you gotta update the links in every HTML file as well. There are over 300 pages on my site, so changing every one manually would take ages. One of the most useful things I've found, is "Replace in files" in Notepad++ or TextMate. You can enter a search term, and it will bring up every file, and show which line it is on. I still manually scroll through the search list to make sure I'm not accidentally changing anything, but after that, it's just one click and it's all done!

Another thing that I used "replace in files" for is that- I've always edited my site offline, and uploaded to the server later, but now that my site runs a couple PHP scripts and other things, I started using a local Apache server that simply creates a local web server out of the "web" directory of my hard drive, so everything works as it would on a real server. Since I always worked offline, I always linked to index.html instead of the index's root, because offline, linking to the directory just brings you to a directory listing, instead of showing index.html (on the server, loading a directory with an index.html will show you the index). So now, some things link to tek and some link to tek/index.html. It's not a big problem, but I'd like to keep it nice and consistent, so I can easily just use "replace in files" to fix all that.

Years ago, my site was even worse, where for example, computers linked to http://dvd3000.000webhostapp.com/computers.html instead of just computers.html" This makes it difficult to browse offline, or in another server, and even worse if you have to move domains some day like I did. Even still in my site fixing efforts, 000webhost links for my old domain are still showing up, but one more "replace in files" should clear that up. Also, my other 000webhost, mystuffspace.000webhostapp.com deleted itself. I have NO IDEA why. 000webhost has sucked since 2019 anyways, but I can't complain, cause it's free.


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New Video! The Bt878 Analog Capture Device - 12/25/22

New Photos! New Garage Photos! - 04/03/23

New Comix! Find the Coleslaw Eater - 06/10/22

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