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  1. #1
    Join Date
    April 17th, 2007
    Webmerge and Frontpage
    We are in the process of testing Webmerge and have come up against a possible problem.

    We have a two-tier system with:
    2 Webmerge setting files
    2 HTML template files generated by Frontpage 2003
    1 Excel file with a tab-delimited feed
    (nb Tried to attach these files but .xsl and .4ww file extensions are not supported)

    We have approx. 100 categories with each category holding on average 10 items, so about 1000 Excel records in total.

    When Webmerge runs this then will build about 1,100 HTML pages.

    We then use Frontpage to manage the files between our local server and the published website.

    Even if we make one small change to our Excel file, when Webmerge runs it creates new versions of each HTML page. Frontpage compares these against the files on the remote website and flags them as new files resulting in a total overwrite of every page on the site.

    I presume that when Webmerge builds an HTML file, even if there is no change to the HTML code in it, it will still change the file date/time stamp?

    Is there any way to turn this off so that only files that have physically changed in the HTML get overwritten?

    Thanks, in advance.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Member MarkJH's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    I wish there was. I make changes daily to a handful of pages amongst about 10,000. What I do is keep a note of the pages that I've changed and upload them manually. It's slow, cumbersome and a total pain having to recreate pages that haven't changed but I can't see any other way right now.

    I think this might be something that Richard is looking at for a future version of WebMerge. Being able to auto skip any file that hasn't been altered is certainly the one feature that I need above anything else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    April 17th, 2007
    OK, thanks. Frontpage has a manual FTP client built into it, so I'll try that as a stop-gap solution. Hopefully Frontpage will be clever enough to update the search indexes!

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    I'm developing a feature for v3.0 (no release date set quite yet) which will optionally generate pages only for records which have changed.

    This is a tricky issue, since few source feeds contain anything like a "Date Modified" field, requiring us to compare each entire record from the last version of the source file to each record the new one.

    Ordinarily this would be prohibitive in terms of both storage requirements (keeping a copy of the last source file) and performance (comparison of each entire record is relatively slow).

    Fortunately there's a handy algorithm called MD5, which produces a unique string only 16 bytes in length for any text passed into it. Tech details aside, in practical terms this means we can create a sort of "digest" of the last source file, allowing us to keep the settings file under a few MBs in size and doing the record-by-record comparison at an acceptable speed.

    Since the version that'll include that feature is still some months away, I may be able to improve performance in the v2.5 version coming out ahead of it which will make complete generation of all records less of an issue for you.

    How long is it currently taking to generate the 10,000 records you're running?

    If it's more than a few minutes we may be able to optimize your template, or perhaps explore ways we can further optimize WebMerge's processing of it.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site

  5. #5
    Join Date
    April 17th, 2007
    Good news. So far I am very impressed with WebMerge and it has saved us allot of development time. I've been running with it for a week and this is the only problem I have come up against. I'm certain that I can get round it temporarily using a manual FTP approach but I look forward to v3.0.
    p.s. MarkJH has the 10,000 records, not me.

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