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Introduction to wenost


Wenost was originally developed by Michael Baker to aid in the construction of a website for Balfron High School.

Some of the design goals for the Balfron High School site were to give all pages a common look, provide easy navigation between pages, ease of maintenance, and avoid the use of frames.

Most of these goals were achieved using PPWizard, an HTML pre-processor. PPWizard allows for the inclusion of standard text into a set of HTML pages such as that needed to define the navigation bar at the top of this page. However it does not provide a mechanism for maintaining links between pages that are different on each page.

With a small site, such as the wenost site, maintining the links by hand would not be too difficult. However from the outset it was apparent that the Balfron High School website would be of a moderate size (at time of writing this it was about 50 pages), and maintining the navigation data by hand was not an option. Wenost was originally developed to aid in maintining this data.

Htm2txt and cpdate were originally developed by Michel Baker to aid in the re-construction of his personal website.



Wenost is used by first constructing a structure file for the website. There is one line in this file for each page on the website. The first word that appears on each line is taken to be the filename for the page (without the ".html"). The rest of the line is taken as a descriptive title for the web page, suitable for use as a page title and as a description for links to the page. Indentation is used to denote the tree structure of the site. The structre file for this site is shown on the examples page.

The output from wenost is a set of files that can then be used, in conjunction with a few files that describe the sites page layout, as input to PPWizard. This results in a complete set of pages with the desired look, and complete set of navigation links. It is then up to the site constructor to add the content of each page to text files produced by wenost.

If changes are required to the structure of the website, such as adding or deleting pages, or changes to its tree structure, these can be easily made. First the structure file is modified, then wenost is re-run, and finally PPWizard is re-run. This results in the recreation of all of the page content files. However any text that has been added to the page content text files is preserved, as are the file dates of the content text files. The content text file date can be used to include a last modified date on the web page (as on this page).


Htm2txt can be used to extract data from an existing HTML file. The outputs are a line appended to a structure file, the "body" (all the data between <body> and </body>), and the "head" (all the data between <head> and </head> excepty the "title"). However these are not suitable for direct use with wenost.

The structure file contains no structure indentation. Each page appears in the order that it was processed by htm2txt. The user must edit this file by hand to place the pages in the desired order and indent each line to indicate the desired tree structure for the site.

Once wenost has been run with the modified structure file, the content extracted from each page by htm2txt can be manually added to each content body file produced by wenost. Alternatively PPWizard can be used to "#include" the body file, as can the head file.


Cpdate can be used to copy the date of one file to another. For example consider the case of using htm2txt to extract the body of an HTML file and then using PPWizard to include the previous body into a new version of the file that has added site navigation links. If, as on this page, the common footer for the website includes a page last updated date taken from the .txt file generated by wenost, then the date will not be that of the original content. If the date of the original content is required then cpdate can be used to copy the date from the .body file to the .txt file.

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This page last updated: 01/03/2003 at 10:41:03am
Please send any comments on this page to Dr Michael Baker.
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