Layout container SSI hack

Monday, 12 Jan 2004

I finally found a more likable organizational structure for this site’s content. Previously, I had an index.shtml that included a file depending on the query string. Now, you now get sent directly to the .shtml in question.

The trick is in how to avoid having to include header and footer separately in this file: by setting $PAGE_NAME to $DOCUMENT_URI and including /template.shtml, which in turn uses $PAGE_NAME to include the file that just included it. Recursion doesn’t happen, because each page checks whether $PAGE_NAME is set before it calls for /template.shtml.

In short, the whole thing inside each individual page looks like this:

<!--#if expr="$PAGE_NAME" -->
Page content goes here
--><!--#set var="PAGE_NAME" value="$DOCUMENT_URI"
--><!--#include virtual="/template.shtml"

Having to have this in every file is still too much duplication for my taste, but at least it doesn’t vary between files (it doesn’t need, say, individual $PAGE_NAME values or something).

The corresponding bits in the central /template.shtml simply look like this:

<!--#if expr="! $PAGE_NAME"
--><!--#set var="PAGE_NAME" value="/index.shtml"
--><!--#include virtual="$PAGE_NAME"