How to Create a Blank Page for Web Services
Are you interested in having boomtime mimic your website's look-and-feel almost perfectly? If so, you'll need to create a new blank page on your website, where boomtime scripts could then be dropped into place. There are four steps to this process, as depicted on the right.
If you're really lucky, you'll have someone that can do this for you. If you're just sort of lucky, you will have a web-editing tool or template system that can auto-generate a new page for you. Otherwise, you'll have to create a blank page from one of your existing web pages (but lucky for you, we're going to try and help explain how to do this).
So to summarize, try one of the following methods to create a blank page, in order, depending on what you have available to you:
- Outside Help. Find someone to help you, such as a web developer. If you hired someone to build your website, it would be best to enlist their assistance at providing you with a blank page.
- Web Design Tool. If your website was created, or is managed, by a template system (usually provided by your hosting company) or a web design tool (such as FrontPage, Dreamweaver, etc), use that tool to create a new page.
- From Scratch. Otherwise, you can create a new blank page from scratch from one of your existing pages.
- Ask boomtime. For $49.95, we would be happy to do this for you. Custom Integration Support is what you need.
Creating a Blank Page from Scratch
Creating a blank page from an existing web page consists of two steps:
- Pick an existing web page from your website, and save that web page on your local hard-drive for editing.
- Edit the web page, removing all the "main content," while keeping all the elements common to all your web pages (i.e. navigation, colors, styles, etc).
Picking an existing web page, saving it locally
Please follow the following steps to get your web page ready for editing.
- Using Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox, go to a web page on your website that you want to use as a template for your blank web page.
- Pick a web page that you want to have your Instant Gift Certificate page look exactly like. For example, suppose your website has two different types of designs. You would pick the web page that you want your Instant Gift Certificate page to look like.
- Most importantly, pick a web page that sits at the same level (and directory) as where you want to put your Instant Gift Certificate. For example, suppose you have two directories of content, located in www.myweb.com/dir1/ and www.myweb.com/dir2/, and you wanted your Instant Gift Certificate page to be located at www.myweb.com/dir2/instant-gift-certificate.php. You would pick a web page that resides within www.myweb.com/dir2/.
- In Internet Explorer v7 (IEv7), go to “Page,” then “Save As” and make sure “Save as type” is set to “Webpage, HTML only (*.htm, *.html)”.
- In Internet Explorer v6 and below, go to "File," then “Save As” and make sure “Save as type” is set to “Web Page, HTML only (*.htm, *.html)”
- In Firefox, go to “File,” “Save Page As” and make sure “Save as type” is set to “Web Page, HTML only.”
- Dashes (-) are better than underscores (_) for SEO purposes.
Edit the web page to remove the main content, but preserve the look-and-feel
Note for Windows Vista users: Don’t use Notepad to edit your HTML files, as it creates some interesting formatting errors with your final blank web page. Instead, consider using WordPad or another application to edit your HTML file.
First, find the file you've just saved on your local hard-drive. Don't double-click on it (just yet). You will do two things to this file: Edit it and view it. Editing the file will allow you to make changes to the content of the file (i.e. your web page), and viewing the file will allow you to see how your web page looks in Internet Explorer or Firefox. You will be doing both editing and viewing, perhaps several times, until you have the file just the way you want it.
Second, make a backup copy of this file. In MS Windows, you can usually right mouse-click on the filename, and select "Copy".
Third, now it's time to edit the file. Don't double-click on the filename. Instead, you will right mouse-click (for Windows users) and select an application that enables you to actually edit the file, such as WordPad (avoid NotePad).
Fourth, once you are editing the file, you will see native HTML code. If this looks completely foreign to you, you may not want to go further and instead contact us for Custom Integration Support for just $49.95.
So, now that you're editing the file, you want to find where the main content starts. Figure out what it’s “container” is. For example, if the main content is in a table, is the main content within one or more rows or columns of the table, or are there one or more tables within the main content? If the former, you can’t blow away the table, you’ll need to carefully remove the main content. However, if it’s the latter, you’ll be able to totally remove the table(s) in question, as part of the main content that needs to be removed.
Confused yet? There’s a bit of a trick, to see how your main content fits within a table structure. Use table borders. If you see a <table> tag in your HTML file, make sure it contains “border=1”, as in: <table border=”1” other_params>. This will give you an idea of what and where the table fits within the context of your web page, helping you pick which table is (or tables are) important to your web page.
Once you've identified the main content, you will want to remove it. We recommend deleting a little bit at a time, then saving it, then viewing it in your browser to see how it looks. If everything looks okay, remove a bit more, and keep repeating this process until you have all the main content removed.
So, how do you view the file in your browser? By double-clicking on it. Your computer should call up the file you're editing in your default browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari). When you make a change to your file, and re-save, you can then hit reload or refresh in your browser to see how the file looks after you've made some changes.
When you're looking at the file, pay very careful attention to the overall structure of the page. Unfortunately, there is no rule-of-thumb for all cases. But, if navigation, boxes, lines, or images aren't looking right (i.e. they normally line up but are no longer lining up), that could be a sure sign you might have deleted too much and should undo your previous change to the get the file looking normal again.
If things get really crazy, you can always delete your file and start over with the backup file you've created.