Saturday 25 April 2009

Websites (and things)

Since 2001 I've had my own website. It started small using GeoCities free hosting service (soon to be no more). As the amount of information grew (and particularly the amount of pictures) it became apparent that the limits of GeoCities had been reached. So I got my own domain name and hosting package. This meant that uploading no longer happened via the 'Quick Upload' facility on Geocities web page but instead meant that I had to reacquaint myself with an FTP client (last used as an anonymous user to download internet data back in the early days!).

The company I bought my hosting from recommended FTP Commander. Free and easy to use. We had a long and happy relationship... until the advent of my laptop which required a new install. I was distraught to find that the free version of FTP Commander no longer existed. Paid for versions only. Well, it is my number one rule of computing that I won't pay for anything if I can find an 'equal and approved' free version. Step up Mozilla and the free and easy to use FileZilla. Installed and ready to go.

Up to the time of the new laptop and the advent of Office 2007 I'd also been using Frontpage as my HTML editor of choice. The demise of Frontpage in 2007 meant that I had to revert to my extremely old (and creaky) version of Dreamweaver (only about 5 or 6 releases out of date). Good enough but a little tempremental (possibly not entirely compatible with Windows Vista?).  Imagine my delight the other week when I discovered that Microsoft were releasing (for free) Sharepoint... which is basically Frontpage reimagined. How happy I was to have the old familiar programme back (although, of course, new and improved).

The best thing was that as this is entirely compatible with Windows Vista (obviously) the whole integrated upload (publish your site) would work... and I wouldn't need my FTP client. The advantage of this way is that the computer will monitor and update only the changed files. One small snag in between me and automated bliss. I had no idea what my FTP password was. FTP Commander had a box you could tick (or an option somewhere) which let you unmask the password. Filezilla had no such option. Then followed an hour or so of fruitless internet search... the only result being programmes that want to charge you between $15 and $20.

Stop right there, put your credit card away. There is an amazingly simple solution. I share this here in hopes that other forgetful types will be saved my frustration. In Filezilla open the site manager. Right click on the site and choose 'export'. Open the resulting XML file. There is your password. So simple. A definite "D'oh" moment!

So, web-master bliss. Easy site updates from here-on in. Do please drop by and enjoy the fruits of my labours.