When you start to build your own website, you may initially think that it’s going to be a small project, but over time you may find that you’re adding more pages to your site, more images or other media, then suddenly what was a small project becomes a larger one. If your EverWeb project file suddenly becomes large you may find that a couple of things happen: first is that it’s more difficult to manage and maintain the project easily, and secondly you may find that loading the project file, editing it and publishing changes may take more time than they used to. So, how can you make maintaining and growing your website such that you don’t get bogged down all round? Here’s one way you may want to consider..
The Advantages of Off Loading Project File Content
One useful thing about your website is that you build it with at least some form of structure. You can use this structure to ‘off load’ some of its contents into other project files. For example, if you have an art or photography website, you’re going to have lots of image files. These image files will be likely be categorised in some way, e.g. by theme, exhibition, photoshoot date and so on. When you have many image files, you may find that it takes longer for your project file to load when you want to edit its contents, and that editing itself may become a slower process, and that publishing time too may take longer, especially if you have to republish your whole site.
Splitting your project file in to smaller, individual, project files and linking them all together can be a handy solution. Smaller project files will be more manageable and faster to edit and publish. There’ll also be less unwieldy to manage from a structural standpoint. If you’re a photographer, for example, you may decide to have use separate project files for individual or specific photoshoots. If you’re a blogger, you may find it useful to have your blog in a separate project file, especially if the blog, and/or the site is large. Although there are advantages to off loading your content…
The Disadvabtages of Off Loading Project File Content
…there are also some disadvantages too. One big one is that if you change the look of your site, you have to ripple the changes through all of your linked project files. In theory, this should not be a big hassle if you use Master Pages, but you have to be careful to make sure that you retain consistency across all your project files.
The second disadvantage is that you have to use external links to link the pages from one project file to another. This can become a hassle, especially when the URLs you’re using are long. Website links always should be tested before you go live, and if you are linking up multiple project files, this will become more essential to make sure that everything hangs together properly. Also bear in mind that if you change the directory structure or any page or directory file name in the project file, you will need to change all of the links in all of the other linked project files too.
The third and final disadvantage is that you may find that you are still using a large number of the same image files in each of your project files e.g. you may need to have the same image, or images, in all of your project files so you may not be saving yourself any time and effort splitting up the one large project file in to many smaller ones. In fact you may find that you are just consuming more disk space instead.
Getting Started with Website Content Off Loading
If you decide that off loading content is a viable solution for you, the first thing to decide upon which parts of your site you want to off load. Usually this will be pages or folders with large image files in them e.g. for a photographer or artist, you may have different folders for different photo shoots or exhibitions. On the other hand, though, you may have pages that use large video or audio files or PDF documents in your Project that may be better off in a seperate project file. One important thing to note here, is that when off loading content, you will want to do it on a folder by folder, or page by page, basis and not based on the Assets themselves which reside in your Project’s Assets List which would be a different story altogether! Using folders and pages enables you to easily link different pages, or folders, together across project files.
The second thing to be absolutely sure of is that you have proper backups of your original, source project file. In EverWeb, you can set up a regular project file backup from the EverWeb-> Preferences-> Backup menu. It’s recommended that you backup your project files on a regular basis, either by using EverWeb’s Backup and Restore feature, by adding your Username-> Library-> Applications Support-> EverWeb folder to your computer backup, or ideally doing both!
The third point of note is regarding disk and server space. When you start the process of off loading content, this will inevitably result in the duplication of the project file, either one or more times, depending on how you want to separate out the original project file. So for at least some time, this will take more space on your local hard disk. Also remember that you will want to also backup the duplicated files too. We will cover how to reduce the size of individual project files in the next ‘Off Loading’ post.
When it comes to publishing the separate project files, you may also want to keep an eye on your server space. When you publish your site, any files that are on the server that are not used in your site are not deleted. You have to do this task manually or clear down the whole of the site on the server and do a full republish. Once you have tested your linked together project files, you may want clear down your website on the server and then do a full republish of all of the new project files. This will take out all the ‘dead wood’ on the server. You may, however, find that with multiple project files that your server space usage will increase as you may be using the same files (e.g. logo image files) in each of the individual project files.
Once you have considered the pro’s and con’s of Off Loading Content in to smaller project files, you may decide that Off Loading is for you! In the next post on this topic, we will look at how to do this and how to manage your project files going forward…