The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

iWeb Do’s & Don'ts

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If you don’t use iWeb on a Mac, you probably can stop reading right here-this blog isn’t for you. What does this blog have to do with grilling? Well nothing directly, but iWeb is the Apple software I used to create this Grilling & Smoking website. My site is linked from several web pages listing web sites designed by people using iWeb. As a result I get many hits from Mac users using those sites. I figured I would pass along some tips from the “School of Hard Knocks” that I have picked up in the last year plus of using iWeb.

Before iWeb I never created a web site because I know zero about HTML. A year later I still know little about web sites, but yet I now have a web site. iWeb is easy to use, but it is version 1.0 software. Plus I’ve had a few miscues along the way that I’ll share in the hopes it can help someone else. Use these tips to avoid the scene below.

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Tip 1 Backup Your Domain File:
You don’t know what your Domain file is? Neither did I until it was too late. Your Domain file is the file storing all of the information for your website. It is a single file called a Package. It is a single file that is actually contains multiple files. All of the images and html are stored in this file. If you have a problem with this file you can lose the contents of your website. There is no way to restore this information from your .Mac site, you must have access to this Domain file. Where is this mystery file? It is stored in your home folder.

My Domain File actually contains 1,768 items- all the image, all the html for my site. Back it up.

The path to your Domain File is:
Home>>Library>>Application Support>.iWeb>>Domain

Backup the Domain File every time you change your site

Store the copy of the Domain file elsewhere on your Mac. Do drag a copy of this file, hold down the Option Key while dragging the file. You will see a green plus sign telling you a copy is being moved. I usually add the date to the file name so I know when it was made. To use the backup move the current Domain file out of it’s folder and replaced it with the backup. Rename the backup file to Domain.

Use the Get Info Command in the File Menu to Show you the date & time of your backup file

Tip 2 Before opening your backup Domain file store a copy of this file:
If you are restoring from a backup Domain, make a copy of this file in case you have trouble with the first backup. Always have a copy of any Domain file you are trying to open. So before opening the backup Domain file, make a copy. Don’t ask how I know this.


Tip 3 Save your work and Backup Your Domain before Publishing your site:
If iWeb should have a problem while uploading your site or if iWeb crashes during an upload, you may loose your unsaved changes. A bad enough crash can toast the Domain file and as a result your ability to update your site. So Save your changes and backup the updated Domain file.


Tip 4 Beware Unlinked Image Files:-Part 1
If you open your site and one or more pictures have an image placeholder consisting of a black background with a grey X through it and a question mark, this is a problem. At the least iWeb has lost the location of an image file and you will not be able to Save your changes. If iWeb crashes you could loose you work. Go through your file and find the image(s). Replace them with the appropriate image. When the unlinked pictures are all replaced, you will then be able to save changes into you Domain file. Don’t upload your file when it is like this you will lose the image on your site too.

Tip 5 Beware Unlinked Image Files:-Part 2
If you have been working in iWeb for a while and suddenly open a page and see the black background with a grey X where a picture recently existed this indicates iWeb may be about to crash. I have found two things cause this. If you have lots of applications open and are running low on RAM. Also if you are low on hard disk space it can affect OS X’s ability to use Virtual Memory. It is recommended that you have 10 percent of your total hard drive space free under OS X. iWeb and particular and your other applications will run faster and be more stable. What do you do under these circumstances? Well hopefully you saved recently.

Try quitting all other Apps you can to free up some memory. Try saving your Domain file and quit iWeb. Then relaunch iWeb and hopefully the images will be found again, If not you may have to relink the picture files. Once again never upload to your site because you will upload missing pictures to your site. In fact try to get out of iWeb ASAP as it will be unstable due to the memory issues.


Tip 6 If your site won’t upload incrementally use the Publish All to .Mac Command
I have had times where the incremental upgrade won’t work correctly. This is when iWeb uploads just the changed pages to your site. This goes faster but I have had times where my site can’t be updated this way. Publish all to ,Mac usually works every time. The only time it has failed was when I had an unlinked image and it caused an error. So assuming the file can be Saved (meaning no internal errors) your site should update via Publish All to ,Mac.

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Tip 7 Use the Fastest Internet Connection You Can
The time that iWeb is most likely to have issues is when you are uploading your site to your .Mac account. I always switch from WiFi to a wired Ethernet connection to make my uploads go as fast as possible.

Tip 8 Save Your File as Soon as You Open it
This blog was inspired by what happened to me last night. I added some new pictures to iWeb and a blog documenting my return to grilling after a 3 month hiatus. Before uploading I was getting ready to save then back up my Domain file. What I didn’t know was there was an unlinked image. I am not sure what caused this. It my have occurred when I moved my files over to my new laptop, I don’t really know. The missing image prevented me from saving and worse yet iWeb crashed. I lost 90 minutes worth of work. I reopened iWeb and it promptly crashed again. The key was deleting that image right away and bringing in a fresh copy. Problem solved.

Moral of the story: Right after opening iWeb try a Save. Better to know about any potential issue up front instead of 90 minutes into the process. As you are working do regular saves every 5 or 10 minutes or so. Then Save again and back up your Domain file prior to uploading.

iWeb is generally a GREAT application and has allowed me to easily do a task I knew nothing about. So don’t be scared reading the tips above. iWeb is generally stable but all it takes is once to lose quite a bit of work


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