Include Module ready to use

Oct 9, 2007

By John Weible

Overview

A well-designed web site (and subsections within a site) almost always contains certain duplicative elements on a number of pages.  The most common example is the use of navigation lists that are relevant to the section of the site, and those lists should be identical across many pages.  The only feasible way to configure and manage such repeated content across a site is by having the ability to automatically include content stored in other files where desired. If you've ever used "server-side includes" (SSI) on a standard web server, this concept is very similar but more powerful because we use inheritable properties to configure it.

Examples

  1. Take a look at the IT ISD pages.  The left-side column has a list of a few links and our unit contact information.  That information is stored in a single file, but automatically shows up in every file located inside the /it/isd/ folder.  So our Personnel page automatically has the same information there without it having to be inserted using the editor. 
  2. Similarly, there is a list of navigation links shared by all of the Learn pages.  We created one file, called "navlist.include" and put the list of links in it.  Then, by editing the properties of the /learn/ folder, we set Include Module #1 to "/learn/navlist.include" and set Modules in Left Column to "include1", and set the Show Left Column option to "Show."  (NOTE: Merinda created most of these pages before the Include Module was available, so at the moment most of the learn pages still contain a stale, incorrect but unused navigation list in the "Content in Left Column" element.  It doesn't matter because we set Modules in Left Column to "include1" which overrides the display of any internal content in that column.)

How to Configure the Include Module

For a fuller explanation of how to use this feature, see Using the "Include" Module.