Chapter 10

Managing and Publishing Your Work

This page serves as the companion web page for Chapter 10 of Expression 4 Web Step by Step.

After you’ve taken all the time and trouble to create a Web site and get everything set up the way you want, you are probably going to want people to be able to access it. Whether your site is intended for only a select group of users (an Intranet site), or for the general public (an Internet site), you will need to place the files and folders from your development site onto a more generally-available server.

From a Microsoft Expression Web standpoint, moving your site’s local files and folders to a server is a process called publishing. Although publishing might, on its surface, seem like a simple copy operation, there’s actually a lot more going on during the publishing process; Expression Web not only copies files, it keeps tabs on what’s been published, where it’s been published to, and when each file was last published. In addition, with Expression Web, you can publish not only from your local site to a server, but also from a server back down to your local computer, or even from one server to another server without copying the files to your local computer at all. Given these capabilities, the complexity and usefulness of the publishing functions become quite apparent.

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Understand hosting requirements and publishing protocols
  • Find and register a domain name
  • Use Microsoft Office Live Small Business
  • Understand the publishing protocols available in Expression Web
  • Understand and evaluate security requirements
  • Publish with FTP, HTTP, or File System
  • Create a subsite
  • Import and export web packages
  • Use SEO reports

Considering Hosting Requirements

You can host your domain and site on many different server types. For the purposes of this discussion, you can divide servers into two main categories: those that run a Windows operating system, and those that do not.

The decision about which server type to use depends solely on what kind of files and functionality you either have currently in your site or plan to include in the future.
Reseller Accounts
If you’re a professional web designer, or if you intend to get into the business, you should look into what’s commonly known as a reseller account. Such an account will allow you to host your own site and all your customers’ sites. You’ll be able to access all the sites through a common control panel, and your clients will be able to access their own domain settings through their own unique domain control panel. One provider of reseller accounts with a concentration in Microsoft Expression Studio products is www.ExpressionStudioHosting.com. Because a reseller account hosts not only your site but also the customer sites for which you’re responsible, due diligence in the beginning carries even more weight. Reselling hosting to your customers can be easy and profitable if you have the right host, but it can be a recipe for disaster if you choose the wrong host. You can check www.webhostingtalk.com for reseller accounts also.

Finding and Registering a Domain Name

In addition to acquiring hosting space for your site, you’ll also need a domain name. A domain name is the base of the alphanumeric address called a Uniform Resource Locator ( URL), and it’s the address visitors use to find your site. For example, Microsoft’s URL is http://microsoft.com; their domain name is microsoft.com.

When you register your domain name, you will want to choose something directly related to your name, your company’s name, or a word or phrase that the potential readers associate with the products or services your company provides. It’s important to give a great deal of thought to the domain name you choose, because the name will have a direct impact on search engine relevance for all the pages within your site. In addition, it’s the name people will use to access your site. Whether you’re giving them that name in print advertising, by phone, or in person, the name needs to be descriptive, easy to remember, and easy to spell.
Reseller Accounts
People who are in business as website designers or developers might want to look into reselling domain name registrations as well as reselling hosting. Domain name registration is less lucrative than reselling hosting space, but the added level of convenience of having all your customers’ domains registered through a common domain control panel might be worth it for you. Two of the most popular options are www.wildwestdomains.com and www.enom.com, although they each have different methodologies. To resell hosting and domains with a concentration on Expression Studio products, see www.ExpressionStudioHosting.com. A large number of domain name reselling options are available, so this, as with all major decisions, also requires some research.
 

Using Microsoft Office Live Small Business

One possible solution to register a domain name and set up hosting in one step is Microsoft’s Office Live Small Business site. You’ll find various feature levels available at http://smallbusiness.officelive.com. The site offers free domain registration and a free basic web site, but also provides you with the opportunity to add paid services such as extra storage space, a set of e-commerce features, and e-mail newsletter functionality. Office Live Small Business might be just what you’re looking for, so you should spend some time checking it out.
Office Live

Understanding Expression Web’s Available Publishing Protocols

  • FTP
    • Requires FTP to be set up on the server. Check with your host for FTP parameters for your site.
    • Is the most common and widely available form of publishing.
  • SFTP
    • SSH File Transfer Protocol
    • In most cases you will use FTPS since it’s much more common to install an SSL certificate for a site than to provide Secure Shell access.
  • FTPS
    • FTP over SSL
    • Not "default” set-up with most hosts. If you’re interested in, or required to use the enhanced security afforded by this method, you should contact your host and see what they have available. In most cases you will use FTPS since it’s much more common to install an SSL certificate for a site than to provide Secure Shell access.
  • Microsoft Office FrontPage Server Extensions
    • Requires FrontPage Server Extensions on the server. Check with your host to see if they are available.
    • Provides for encrypted transfer of user name and passwords by using the HTTP protocol to publish.
    • Allows for maximum exploitation of the Expression Web features and greater security than File Transfer Protocol (FTP) publishing.
  • WebDAV
    • Requires Distributed Authoring and Versioning (DAV) to be set up on the server. Check with your host to see if this is an option for your site.
    • Is currently fairly rare but provides a feature set that is otherwise not available.
    • o For more information about WebDAV, visit www.webdav.org and see "WEBDAV: IETF Standard for Collaborative Authoring on the Web" by E. James Whitehead, JR.and Meredith Wiggins available at: www.ExpressionWebStepByStep.com/Files/WebDavIntro.pdf
  • File System
    • Publishes a disk-based site from one folder structure to another.
    • Is generally used to "copy” a site from one location on your computer to another for administrative purposes.
    • Has no requirements, but also results in minimal capabilities at the publish location.

Considering Security Requirements

Although publishing via HTTP using FrontPage server extensions will protect the user name and password, it only protects your site from being logged into by a malicious user due to an exposed username and password. If you have sensitive files such as an encryption key, a database of sensitive user information such as credit card numbers, and so on, you need to do more than protect just the log-in credentials. You need to encrypt the files as they’re passed from your local computer to the server.

Encryption has been a staple of eCommerce sites since the very beginning of commerce on the Internet. Generally an SSL certificate is added to the server. The browser and server encrypt all of the data that is transferred during a secure session (https). While browser and server security is essential in eCommerce transactions the same level of security should be considered while publishing sensitive files from the local computer to the server or from the server to the local computer.

If you’re using HTTP publishing via FrontPage Server Extensions or WebDAV you can publish securely using HTTPS and therefore use the site’s SSL Certificate to encrypt the files you publish.

In the absence of HTTPS you can chose to publish from Expression Web 4 using FTPS or SFTP, both of which securely encrypt your files as they’re transferred.

Ask your host what they have available to securely publish your files.

Publishing with FTP

Publishing with FTP is a valuable capability, because virtually every server and every hosting space has FTP publishing available. It’s definitely the most common method of transferring files to a server. Even if you prefer to use HTTP publishing over FrontPage Server Extensions, as many people do, a time will come when you need to use FTP. For example, you may have a new customer with an existing web site and you need to copy the customer’s current online assets down to your local computer. If his current hosting provider does not support FrontPage Server Extensions, you won’t have a choice: you’ll have to use FTP to transfer the content. Knowing when and how to use FTP is a valuable skill, and it’s one you will undoubtedly need.

In this exercise, you will publish a site to a server via FTP, and become familiar with the publishing settings available in Expression Web for FTP publishing

Publishing Panel

Publishing Using HTTP (FrontPage Server Extensions)

HTTP publishing is the most solid and secure publishing method from within Expression Web. Although this feature requires FrontPage Server Extensions to be installed on the hosting account, it doesn’t rely on FrontPage features. HTTP publishing provides the added benefit of encoding the user name and password that you use when publishing and supports publishing through a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL/HTTPS) if you have a Secure Server Certificate installed on your server.

In this exercise, you will see how to use HTTP publishing through Expression Web, and explore the features available with this method

HTTP (FrontPage Server Extensions) Publishing

Publishing to a Disk Location

You typically use file system or disk location publishing to copy a site from one location on your computer or local network to another. This can be useful when you want to move a site from an "active” folder location where you work on sites to another folder location where you archive finished work, or to move a site from its existing folder location to a network share on your local network.

In this exercise, you will publish from one folder location to another with Expression Web

Publishing to a Disk-based Location in Expression Web

Managing a Web Site

Whether you’re the owner of a single site or a professional webmaster responsible for a great number of sites, one of the requirements you will have is site management. This task takes many forms and comes into play at many points in the process.

Backing Up Server-Based Sites

Occasionally, the files on a server-based site can actually be newer than the files in the local copy of the same site. For example, if the server-based site contains form data, is a shopping cart, or is a type of dynamic site that takes user input, the server-based site will have more or newer information than the local copy. In this case, making a backup copy of the server-based site is essential.

In this exercise you will back up a server site to your local computer

Backing up with the Import Site Wizard in Expression Web 4

Editing Server-Based Sites

Occasionally, you will want to make a change directly to a server-based site, rather than changing a local file and publishing it. With Expression Web 4 you can make the changes directly to the files that reside on the server.

One reason for editing directly on the server is that you might not have access to a computer that contains a local copy of the site. Another common reason to work on a server-based site is that you might be trying to fine-tune some server-side scripting and want to bypass the process of changing a local file, publishing it, and then checking the server-based file with a browser.

By working directly on the server, you can make your change and test it, all from within the Expression Web user interface.

In this exercise you will make changes directly to a server-based site via an HTTP and FTP connection

Edit a live server-based site with Expression Web 4

Using Site Settings

Whether you working with a local site by importing server-based site, or a site that you’re developing from scratch on your local computer, Expression Web offers some management features that can really help, but they’re in a less than obvious location: the Site Settings and Managed Sites List dialog boxes. Using the Site Settings dialog box, you can customize the workflow and certain default settings for a site, on a global basis. You can also do a few things using this dialog box to help troubleshoot a site that isn’t functioning properly.

While you’ve seen most, if not all, of the Site Settings dialog box tabs in the previous chapters this chapter segment is here to group all of the settings together with the specific intent of showing their usefulness from a site management perspective.

In this exercise you will use the Site Settings dialog box to make global changes and troubleshoot problems

Site Settings Dialog in Expression Web 4

Publishing Selectively

From the standpoint of speed during publishing, you might not want to rely on letting Expression Web deduce which pages have changed. For example, if you changed only one file in a site, and you want only that file to be published to the server, you don’t have to go through a full publishing operation.

Expression Web provides easy methods for publishing specific files, and provides methods for ensuring that certain files are never published. One reason that you might not want specific files to be published is that if you keep original artwork inside of a local site for management, you don’t want the large original files to be published to the server. Another reason is that you might have a configuration file in your local site that is different on the server-based site, or a database file with newer information on the server than is in the local copy.

In this exercise you will publish selected files using File System publishing to prevent specific files from being published

Selective Publishing in Expression Web 4

Using Subsites

Subsites are an important concept for site management. Expression Web treats subsites as though they were completely independent sites regardless of the folder or site that contains them.

One reason that you might want to segregate certain folders in a site as subsites: you might have a large number of files within those folders that don’t change as often as the other files in the root of the site. There’s no reason to wait for a long file-comparison cycle during an Expression Web publishing session when you know that the files haven’t changed. Also, you might want to publish a segment of your site via the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL/HTTPS) if it contains sensitive files such as e-commerce site configuration or database files.

In this exercise you will convert a folder to a subsite, publish a subsite, and convert a subsite to a folder

Use Subsites in Expression Web 4

Import and Export Web Packages

If you’re an experienced site designer, you’ve probably amassed a collection of files and scripts such as shopping carts or database applications that you tend to use in all or most sites that you create. If you’re very new to Web design, you will probably begin to develop this type of collection very soon.

With a Web Package, you can export a collection of scripts or other assets from within a site; and you can save all of the data to a single file (an FWP file), which you can save on your local computer or distribute by any method you want, such as e-mail or a link on a Web site.

In this exercise you will export and import a web package

Import and Export Web Packages in Expression Web 4

Use SEO Reports

It’s fitting that the very last segment of this book explains the newest feature in Expression Web 4: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Reports.

Earlier in this book you saw some of the reports available in Expression Web 4 but the SEO Reports feature is new and unique among HTML editors.

The SEO Reports feature enables designers and developers to give a sort of "pre-flight” inspection to their sites and pages from a perspective of attaining the highest possible Search Engine Results Page position (SERP).

In this exercise you will use the Search Engine Optimization Reports in Expression Web 4 to analyze the sample site and make changes based on its recommendations

Search Engine Optimization in Expression Web 4

Key Points

  • With Expression Web, publishing is the preferred method of creating a backup. Whether
    you publish from one file system location to another or from a server-based site to a
    file system location, the Expression Web publishing operation is the key to success.
  • With Expression Web, you can open a site live on the server and edit it as if it were a local
    site. New features in Expression Web enable you to edit a server-based site by using
    HTTP or FTP protocols.
  • Features in the Expression Web Site Settings dialog box lay the groundwork for setting
    up an efficient workflow and for managing a site.
  • In addition to the Publish Site operation in Expression Web, you can selectively publish
    individual files or groups of files, and you can also set pages to not be published
    at all.
  • Using subsites can greatly aid in overall site management and publishing efficiency.
    Subsites can segregate files in a logical way and enhance the basic parent/child folder
    architecture of a site.
  • Expression Web provides six separate publishing methods: FTP, SFTP, FTPS, HTTP (FrontPage
    Server Extensions), WebDAV, and File System. Each serves a different purpose.
  • Publishing by using File System is the most accurate and least error prone way to copy
    a site from one folder location to another.
  • Enhanced security can be attained by using FTPS, SFTP, or HTTPS publishing.
  • You can use WebDAV publishing in Expression Web if you have it set up on your server.
  • You can set various publishing options through the Remote Website Properties dialog box.
  • You can optimize the HTML code of your pages by removing HTML comments, Interactive
    Button attributes, script comments, and other elements.
  • You can import or export Web Packages from within Expression Web.
  • Expression Web now contains Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reports.




You can easily make this a point to YOUR company OR hide it all together.