So… Lets make a easy to maintain bespoke website.
Maintaining a large bespoke website can be very time consuming. Using “include” can take the website to the next stage of modular design.
Imagine having to write 1 line of code into a ‘php’ file instead of having to copy & paste the same piece of code across 70 or so pages, worse still… imagine that piece of code had a typo – across all 70 pages! You would have to go back and amend all of the pages and it would be a costly waste of time!.
Using PHP include can reduce the time consuming method of copy and paste, shorten time and take your website to that next stage of design (Or look at a CMS system but that is a different topic). With the php Include method, the information you amend in one file can change across multiple webpages with a simple save and upload. To name a couple of ideas, you can use this method for navigation, footers, banner adverts and much more. I cannot emphasise how much easier this will make your life when working on larger projects if you must take the bespoke method. Change once to update many!
It will save hours!!!
Getting start with PHP include
As a basic example we are going to make a footer. We will have a master or ‘main’ document that will “include” – pull in, integrate, import a file from your website.
This tutorial/experiment will assume you already have prior knowledge of setting your website up with root folders etc, if you need some more help with this please follow these tutorials.
You Will Need:
– The main file (The parent/master)
– An external footer file (why not add some styling to your html?)
– one line of code, which you will embed into the parent folder.
– A space to upload/test your experiment. (domain and hosting)
Stage 1 – Parent File (Master)
The ‘Parent’ (master) will pull in the external files to construct the page. in this example. The master will have some code in the bottom of the pagethat will say ‘Hey footer, you included down here’.
Why not call your parent file ‘master.php’
This image shows (with straying CSS, bleurgh! sorry an old image ) the master.php and Product-footer-test.html working together… or popping out of the bottom.
Stage 2 – Footer File
I have used the footer in the example. This area of the website at my previous company used to have frequent updates, with new products being added constantly. As you can see, all styling is added to this queasy example with the accursed table by using CSS – the image below is the bare bones of the footer file – no bells, no whistles! ( Why did I use the horrible table back in the day… I groan).
If completed correctly, changes or modifications to the footer file, will be included in the master file once you add the “include” piece of code to the master file. So what you change here (the footer file) will be visible once you come to uploading all of the files and testing the file.
How you treat you footer is down to you, this tut is here to show you the principle.
Stage 3 – The Simple Piece of Code to Paste Into Your Master PHP file
The image below shows in red where the piece of “include” code sits. So, imagine you have made a hollow space on your webpage, in the hollow space you are going to add this code to the bottom. As shown.
The line of code above which has been inserted into the bottom of your master file will call on the footer module and all of its elements. Once you upload your files you can see whether the footer has worked! Oh and check you have saved everything!
The visual diagram below will visually show how the principle works – leaving aside how the coding works for the PHP include.
Summary of PHP include in action
In a nutshell. You have a the parent (the main page) and a child, in this example it was the footer. 2 elements talking to each other. Thank you for reading.
Hey, need a hand with your website?
There’s other methods to get the results you want which may be even more effective if you are a non-coder. You can use a web builder, a CMS or something else. If you would like help you can find out more on the design website