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Interactive Buttons

Using Interactive Buttons in Shared Borders and Include Pages

Using Interactive Buttons in Shared Borders or Include Pages involves overcoming problems and restrictions in the Web construction.  These pages describe the problems encountered building these pages, and the solutions found.

In this web, Interactive Buttons are placed into the left border area of the pages as shown in the following table.  The table also shows how the pages were constructed (shared border, include page, DWT) and how they fare in real life.
The first eight pages are merely examples; the remaining pages show how to make the pages, and how to fix them.

All the example pages will open in a new window.

Page Location Shared Border (with IBs) Include Page DWT or
Master Page
"Real life" Useage
Button 1 pages1/button1.aspx   _borders/left.htm   Ticked checkbox
Button 2 pages2/button2.aspx   _borders/left.htm   Ticked checkbox
Button 3 pages2/button3.aspx left     Ticked checkbox
Button 4 pages1/button4.aspx left     Ticked checkbox
Root - edited with FrontPage root-fp.aspx left     Sometimes broken when edited in a server based web, but OK in disc based webs.**
Root - edited with FrontPage Extensions root-fpext.aspx left     Sometimes broken when edited in a server based web**
Root - edited with Expression Web root-ew.aspx left     Also, sometimes broken when edited in a server based web, but OK in disc based webs.**
2 Borders pages1/buttontest.aspx   _borders/left.htm, _borders/bottomib.htm   Broken
DWT Page pages1/dwt_page.aspx     dwt/pages.dwt Ticked checkbox
Root DWT root_dwt.aspx     dwt/pages.dwt Ticked checkbox

The following pages are built using an asp.NET master page. Interactive buttons in the left navigation panel are added using FrontPage include files*

† With Expression Web it is possible that the javascript behaviours get lost whilst saving the page - there is a workaround that fixes this problem.

*Note: The included file in the above pages is included in the Content Page used in the page construction, but could be included in the Master page without any problems.  Paths in the Interactive Button JavaScript are correct when using the combination of DWT/MasterPage and include in this manner.

** Although the pages work when edited in a disc based web and tested using the Expression Web Development Server, publishing to a server using FrontPage extensions may break the pages - the shared borders and includes are rebuilt on the destination server, which gives the same results as editing on a server based web. Publishing using FTP (no extensions on the server) will leave the pages in working order.

The pages were built using the GUI (Design View) of FP2003 and edited in Expression Web, versions 1, 2 and 3; code view was used for reference, but not for direct editing  (except for adding HTML that cannot be added from the GUI, for example <code>..</code> tags).  Master pages and all .aspx pages were edited with Expression Web.

The stability of the finished pages can best be described as quirky - in my opinion the effort required in overcoming the restrictions and correcting mistakes is not worth it.

Once the page is done - it is done and will remain stable, but re-editing the page, or the includes/borders, can remove JavaScript from the <head> section, or corrupt the <body> tag in the finished page.  See Work Arounds

A better method of incorporating Interactive Buttons on many pages is to use Dynamic Web Templates (DWT), or if using asp.NET Master Pages can also be used.

Although this web was built as a subweb, the text implies that the pages are located in the root of the web; all the principles discussed apply equally to both root webs and subwebs.

The restrictions outlined in restrict.aspx make the whole method of using Interactive Buttons in Shared Borders or Include Pages impractical in many cases.  However, for the inquisitive and foolhardy, "How To" explains the process of using Interactive Buttons in shared borders.  Include pages may be used in a similar manner.