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Getting started with iWeb

Step 7: Test your site

Before you spend time uploading your site to your .Mac account or to another server, make sure that all of your links work correctly and that every-thing looks good in the Web browser. Although iWeb doesn’t offer an option for testing your site prior to publishing, there is a way around this problem—publish the file to a local folder on your hard drive.

In iWeb, go to File: Publish To A Folder. In the resulting dialog box, click on the New Folder button, type in a name for the folder, and then click on Choose. iWeb creates the folder inside your Sites folder, and then places the files for your finished Web site within it. When it’s done, iWeb pops up a dialog box that gives you the option to visit your new Web site. Click on the Visit Site Now button to open your Web pages in Safari. Navigate through your Web site, checking for any broken links. If everything looks OK, you’re ready to publish. If not, make the corrections in iWeb before continuing. Once you’re satisfied with your Web site, drag this test site to the Trash to free up space on your hard drive.

Step 8: Publish your site

iWeb gives you two options for publishing your site: to .Mac (which requires an annual $99 membership) or to a folder, which you can then upload to the Web server of your choice.

To .Mac To publish your iWeb site to .Mac, either click on the Publish button in the bottom left corner of iWeb’s window, or choose File: Publish To .Mac.

To a Folder If you don’t have a .Mac account, you can still use iWeb to create a site. You just need a Web server to which you can upload your files. Many Internet service providers (ISPs)—Comcast, for example—provide Web space as part of their service contract (check with your ISP to find out how much Web space you have and where you upload the files). To publish your site, go to File: Publish To A Folder. When iWeb is done, upload that folder to the correct directory on the Web server. In most cases, you should be able to mount your ISP’s network server on your desktop and then just drag the Web folder to your ISP’s Web space.

Updating Your Site Once you publish your site, you’ll notice that the page icons in iWeb’s Site Organizer switch from red to blue. This is iWeb’s way of telling you it has published these pages to the Web. If you add a new page or edit a page after publishing, those pages appear in red. This is an easy way to tell which pages have changed and need to be published again as you update and maintain your site.

A work in progress

Getting your new Web site up and running should take only a day or two, depending on how ambitious you are with movies and podcasts. But don’t rest on your laurels for too long. To keep visitors interested, you’ll want to update your site regularly with new content. Once you have the basic structure set up, adding blogs, new photos, and other pages should be easy.

[ Chuck Toporek, a senior editor with O’Reilly Media, is the author of Mac OS X Tiger Pocket Guide (O’Reilly Media, 2005) and Inside .Mac (O’Reilly Media, 2004). Photographs by Peter Belanger ]

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