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Organizing Files and Directories

Macintosh users are used to creating folders. A folder can contain files and other folders. Likewise, PC users create directories, which can contain files and other directories. In both cases, you use folders or directories to organize and categorize your files into logical units.

On UNIX machines, you use directories to organize files, just as you would on a microcomputer. And as usual, directories can contain files and other and directories, called subdirectories.

Create an index.html file for every subdirectory you create
In general, each subdirectory you create should have an index.html file. Exceptions to this rule might be a graphics subdirectory in which you store graphics files that you use on your Web pages and a forms subdirectory in which you store comments forms.

Organize files into subdirectories
Create subdirectories to organize your HTML files by topic. For example, you might create several subdirectories, including one each of the following: forms, graphics, newsletters, brochures, etc.

Plan for growth
Your Web will never be complete. You will always be updating existing pages and adding new ones. It's important to plan for that growth at the outset. The best way to plan for this growth is to create directories rather than files. For example, suppose you want to serve a departmental newsletter in your Web. It's a short, simple, 1-sheet newsletter. You have a decision to make. Do you create a file, named newsletter.html for this newsletter, or do you create a subdirectory called newsletter for it? Corresponding URLs would be, for example:

  • Okay: http://www.utexas.edu/coc/rtf/newsletter.html
  • Better: http://www.utexas.edu/coc/rtf/newsletter/

Many might think that since the newsletter is a simple 1-pager, it doesn't need its own directory. This is true if you don't plan to keep old copies around, if there are no graphics associated with the newsletter, if you don't plan to put each article in your newsletter in a separate file, and if you are certain that the newsletter will never grow out of a simple newsletter.html file.


  Updated 2006 July 26
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