A server-side include is a file that the server incorporates into your document when a browser requests your document from the server.
When a visitors browser requests the document containing the include instruction, your server processes the include instruction and creates a new document in which the include instruction is replaced by the contents of the included file. The server then sends this new document to the visitors browser. When you open a local document directly in a browser, however, theres no server to process the include instructions in that document, so the browser opens the document without processing those instructions, and the file thats supposed to be included doesnt appear in the browser. It can thus be difficult, without using Dreamweaver, to look at local files and see them as theyll appear to visitors after youve put them on the server.
With Dreamweaver you can preview documents just as theyll appear after theyre on the server, both in the Design view and when you preview in a browser.
Placing a server-side include in a document inserts a reference to an external file; it doesnt insert the contents of the specified file in the current document. Dreamweaver displays the contents of the external file in Design view, making it easier to design pages.
You cannot edit the included file directly in a document. To edit the contents of a server-side include, you must directly edit the file that youre including. Note that any changes to the external file are automatically reflected in every document that includes it.
There are two types of server-side includes: Virtual and File. Select the one that is appropriate for the type of web server you use:
- If your server is an Apache web server, select Virtual. In Apache, Virtual works in all cases, while File works only in some cases.
- If your server is a Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), select File. (Virtual works with IIS only in certain specific circumstances.)
Unfortunately, IIS wont allow you to include a file in a folder above the current folder in the folder hierarchy, unless special software has been installed on the server. If you need to include a file from a folder higher in the folder hierarchy on an IIS server, ask your system administrator if the necessary software is installed.
- For other kinds of servers, or if you dont know what kind of server youre using, ask your system administrator which option to use.
Some servers are configured to examine all files to see if they contain server-side includes; other servers are configured to examine only files with a particular file extension, such as .shtml, .shtm, or .inc. If a server-side include isnt working for you, ask your system administrator if you need to use a special extension in the name of the file that uses the include. (For example, if the file is named canoe.html, you may have to rename it to canoe.shtml.) If you want your files to retain .html or .htm extensions, ask your system administrator to configure the server to examine all files (not just files with a certain extension) for server-side includes. Parsing a file for server-side includes takes a little extra time, so pages that the server parses are served a little more slowly than other pages; therefore, some system administrators wont provide the option of parsing all files.
- Inserting a server-side include
- Editing the contents of a server-side include