Customizing the BIRCH Home Page
The BIRCH Home page $BIRCH/public_html/index.html is overwritten each
time BIRCH is updated. If you were to directly edit this file, all
changes would be lost the next time BIRCH is updated. However, there
are numerous provisions for locally customizing this page.
Automated localization of hypertext
When you update a BIRCH site, the customdoc.py
script substitutes URLs in BIRCH
documentation to point to local copies of documentation. The procedure
is described on the page BIRCH - Customize
Documentation. Some of the BIRCH web pages contain pseudocomments:
legitimite HTML comments (ie. beginning with <!-- and ending with
-->, which also contain command tags recognized by the customdoc.py script. As described on this
page, URLs specific to the master BIRCH site at the University of
Manitoba are replaced with local URLs. URLs that are required to
be unchanged contain the HTML pseudocomment
<!-- DON'T CHANGE -->
which causes customdoc.py to ignore the line.
Blocks of text that should only be present on the master BIRCH site at
the U. of M. are enclosed in the pseudocomment tags
<!-- BEGIN DELETE -->
text to be deleted
<!-- END DELETE -->
The Announcements Window
The Announcements window is an HTML IFRAME (inline frame) that views
the contents of the file $BIRCH/local/doc/WHATSNEW.html. The generic
BIRCH installation includes a sample file that you can add to to
maintain a running log of changes at your site. It can actually contain
any HTML that you wish to use, so feel free to be creative.
Replaceable sections of the home
Several sections of the BIRCH home page are designed to be
replaceable. In $BIRCH/public_html/index.html, these sections are
enclosed in pseudocomment tags such as
<!-- BEGIN REPLACE name="localident.html" -->
<td><a href="http://www.umanitoba.ca"><img src="UMlogo.gif" alt="UM">
<!-- END REPLACE -->
This HTML code places the local logo and web site
location onto the upper left hand corner of the BIRCH HOME page. In the
example shown above, customdoc.py replaces this code with the contents
of the file $BIRCH/local/public_html/localident.html. If that file does
not exist, the space between the BEGIN REPLACE and the END
REPLACE tags would be left blank.
You can change localident.html as many times as you wish, and each time
you re-run customdoc.py, the new HTML will be inserted.
Other sections of the BIRCH home page can be replaced as well. In all
cases, the files for local HTML code are found in
$BIRCH/local/public_html. In the BIRCH distribution, most of these
files contain the original HTML, but commented out. This gives you
something to start with when trying to figure out how to modify them
for your local system.
This file contains HTML code for any special announcement you
wish to place above the BIRCH ANNOUNCEMENTS window.
This section is for links to documentation for desktops that are
installed on your system.
This section is for links to documention for application software
installed as part of the local system.
The DATABASES box contains information on locally-installed databases,
which will differ greatly from site to site.
The lower right hand corner of the BIRCH home page is the location for
putting acknowledgements for support, infrastructure etc.
Making the changes take effect
To get your changes incorporated into the BIRCH web documentation,
simply go to the install-birch directory and type
oldstr.param newstr.param htmldir.param
You can run this script as many times as you wish. It is automatically
used to incorporate your localizations whenever you update to a new
version of BIRCH.
Please send suggestions of comments
regarding this page to