Using "Include Files" Ensures Fast, Consistent Updates to Your Websiteís Layout
The idea behind an "Include File" is very simple. Basically, you create the look and feel of the new site — including the logo, the good-looking graphics on the page, the standard links... all of that is collectively called the "layout" or the "Graphical User Interface (GUI)." Once thatís squared away, the web developer cuts the finished layout into (usually) three standard pieces — the top portion (called the "Header"), the middle portion (called the "Body")... thatís where the text of the page will always go, and the bottom portion (called the "Footer").
Then the web developer creates and uses a standard page throughout your new website, with each new page containing identical bits of code that "call" the Header... they basically say "Hey header... appear here." Then thereís the area on the page where the text goes, and of course, it then "calls" the Footer.
The big advantage is that by creating and calling these standard Header and Footer files, the web developer can literally update the entire website in less than a minute. Letís say you need to change the Copyright date. All you have to do is change that date in the Footer file, and every single page of the website is automatically updated with that new information.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are another excellent example of "Include Files" in action. A CSS file is a website file that contains all of the instructions for how you want the text on the site to appear. It may also define how you want the tables to appear, the background colors, etc. There are a slew of different instructions that you can establish using a well-designed CSS file. By simply referencing that CSS file as an "Include File," then whenever you need to make a change to the site, you make it once in the CSS file, and it ripples immediately and consistently across your entire website.
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President and Founder, Urangatang Web Design. To obtain reprint
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