TreeDec Program

1. Overview

TreeDec reads an input file which specifies a hierarchical structure for a website and decorates the HTML files of the website with navigation aids as a result. A set of links is added to each page, allowing the website user to navigate to other related pages nearby in the tree. Specifically, TreeDec can generate three sets of related links: TreeDec will delete earlier TreeDec decorations, so it can be run against either an undecorated or previously decorated website. Note that TreeDec uses relative URLS for the generated links, to facilitate movement of the website as a whole.

1.1 Parent Directory

TreeDec assumes the existence of a parent directory. This directory:

1.2 TreeDec Logic

Here is an outline of the logic of TreeDec:

1.3 TreeDec Customization

The configuration file gives the user some control over the decorations (e.g. you can choose background color) to be added to the webpages. Nonetheless, users might need to have complete control of the generated HTML. If you wish to do this, you must modify the PERL code. The comment line:
         ### ### ### INSERT DECORATIONS HERE ### ### ### 
indicates where the new HTML is generated.

2. Parameters

TreeDec accepts two optional parameters:

3. Inputs

There are two input files, a configuration file named td-config.dat and a tree file named td-tree.dat. The configuration file controls the operation of TreeDec; the tree file describes the tree structure to be imposed on the files of the website. Within the two input files, a leading "#" indicates a comment record.

3.1 Configuration file

The configuration file, named td-config.dat, controls how TreeDec goes about its decoration chores. Each record in the file is of the form
and sets some independent choice. There must be no spaces around the "=". The keywords are composed of letters, numbers, and underscores. A non-quoted value extends from the "=" to the last non-blank. A quoted value extends from the first to last quotation mark. Thus, in these lines,
color1=   light gray
color2="   light gray  "
substituting "." for the space character, color1 has a value of "...light.gray" and color2 has a value of "...light.gray..". Generally speaking, you need explicit quotes if and only if the value must have trailing whitespace.

If you specify conflicting parameters, TreeDec will believe the last thing you tell it.

Here is an explanation of all the legal keywords and values, and the default settings.

Controls whether context (ancestor path), related (siblings), or details (children) blocks are generated. Value must be 0 (suppress) or 1 (generate). Default = 1;

Controls whether the table of contents (TOC) is used as the implicit root of the tree when constructing ancestor paths. If so, the TOC is treated as the parent of any zero-level entries (no preceding tabs) in the tree file. Value must be 0 (TOC not in ancestor path) or 1 (use TOC as root). Default = 1;

Controls whether text is inserted to allow skipping over the navigation table. This is useful primarily for those employing audible screen readers. Value must be 0 (no skipping inserted) or 1 (insert text for skipping). Default = 0;

These control the background color used in the context (ancestor path), related (siblings), and details (children) blocks. The value will be passed on to a BGCOLOR parameter in HTML, so it should be a legal color. Defaults are:

ancestor_bg "#ffaaaa" (light pinkish-red)
sibling_bg "#ffff66" (light yellow)
children_bg "#aaaaff" (light blue)

This controls the visible mark that separates links within the ancestor path. Note that this is inserted into an HTML file, so be careful of greater-than and less-than signs. The default is " -&gt; " which is displayed in HTML as: space, dash, greater-than sign, and space (so it looks like a crude arrow pointing to the right). You can also insert an image; for example: "<img src=/home/image/arrow.gif>"

The character string within the existing HTML files marking the place where the navigation aids will be inserted. "Insert_String" tells TreeDec to perform a case-sensitive search for the designated string; "insert_string" makes it case-insensitive. TreeDec will insert the new material immediately before or after the first occurrence of this string within a file. If the string occurs in the middle of a line, the line will be split to allow insertion. By default, TreeDec uses insert_tag (see following), not insert_string to find the insertion point.

The HTML tag within the existing HTML files marking the place where the navigation aids will be inserted. The default is "body". TreeDec inserts the new material immediately before or after the first occurrence of this tag within a file. If the tag occurs in the middle of a line, the line will be split to allow insertion.

Several points to be aware of:

This determines whether insertion takes place before (value="b") or after (value="a") the insertion string or tag. The default is "a".

TreeDec generates temporary files before possibly overwriting the existing files. This parameter specifies the directory in which these files are written. The default is "../tmpweb". E.g. new version of a/b/xyz.html is written to ../tmpweb/a/b/xyz.html. Likewise, if tempfile_dir has a value of "mirror", the file would be written to mirror/a/b/xyz.html. If a needed temporary directory does not exist, TreeDec will create it automatically.

A three-letter code to control under what conditions TreeDec will overwrite existing HTML files and the disposition of the temporary directory tree. The first letter controls what happens if no errors are detected during page generation; the second if at least one error is detected. The valid codes and their meanings for the first two letters are:

r rewrite
a ask the operator whether to rewrite
n do nothing
q quit as soon as an error is found

"q" is allowed only as the second letter.

The third letter is "s" or "d" for save or delete, and indicates what is to be done to the temporary directory tree after successful overwriting has occurred (all the temporary copies have been renamed to the "real" website tree). If the temporary directory is deleted, then any other files that exist in it (not created by TreeDec) will also be deleted.

If overwriting has not occurred, then the temporary directory tree is left intact.

The default is "ans", i.e. if no errors are detected, ask the operator whether to rewrite, otherwise do not rewrite, and save the temporary directories even if overwriting occurs.


A td-config.dat might look like this:
# Configuration file example here
# the following should produce a space, two successive greater-than 
# signs, and then another space.
ancestor_sep=" &gt;&gt; "
# insert decorations right after the head segment of the HTML file.
# if no errors go ahead and rewrite, otherwise ask operator;
# delete temporary files if rewriting takes place

3.2 Tree File

The tree file, conventionally named td-tree.dat, specifies the logical tree to be implemented.

3.2.1 Record Format

Each record of the tree file consists of some indentation implicitly showing its position in the tree, the filename of the page to be altered, some whitespace, and the title to be used in the decorations:
   indentation filename whitespace title

3.2.2 Indentation field

The indentation field consists of zero or more tab characters so that the filename is indented to express hierarchical relationships in the conventional way. Each tab represents another level down within the tree. A record must not skip down more than one level beyond the previous record, since this cannot be interpreted as normal tree structure. Thus, the first record must be a "zero-level" record (no tabs).

It is valid to have several zero-level records in a file. You can think of this as representing several independent trees, or as one big tree with the table of contents as the root (see do_toc parameter).

3.2.3 Filename field

The filename must immediately follow the indentation (no intervening spaces) and must not itself contain spaces. Always use "/" as the separator between directory levels, even on Windows systems, where "\" is the convention. Perl takes the operating system into account, so that the same source code can run on various systems without alteration.

Filenames must be specified as relative to the parent directory. Absolute pathnames are not allowed. For example, "mammal/feline.html" is OK, but not "/home/zoosite/webfiles/mammal/feline.html". The directory structure does not have to reflect the logical tree structure in any way; the only constraint is that all the files must be within the subtree of the parent directory.

Note that filenames are used for two purposes: first, to tell TreeDec which files to rewrite, and secondly to compute relative URLs between files.

3.2.4 Title field

Finally, the title is taken as "everything else" (the remaining words) in the record. In the special case where the title field of the record is "*", TreeDec will attempt to retrieve the title from the <title> field of the HTML file, instead of getting it explicitly from td-tree.dat.

3.2.5 Record Order

Note that order of siblings is significant for the display of sibling and child links. For example:
## probably wrong
	chaps/c-3.html            Chapter 3
	chaps/c-1.html            Chapter 1
		subs/sub11.html   Subsection 1.1
	chaps/c-2.html            Chapter 2

## probably right
	chaps/c-1.html            Chapter 1
		subs/sub11.html   Subsection 1.1
	chaps/c-2.html            Chapter 2
	chaps/c-3.html            Chapter 3

3.2.6 Tree File Example

Here is a plausible td-tree.dat file:
# Tree file example here - think of a zoo application
./zoo-home.html             Zoo home 
	mammal/mammalia.html     Mammals
		mammal/feline.html    Felines
			mammal/lions.html  See the Lions
			mammal/tigers.html and the Tigers
		mammal/canine.html    Canines
			mammal/wolf.html   Beware of Wolves
			mammal/jackal.html The Jackals Circle round
	bird/birds.html          Birds
		bird/canary.html      Hear the Canaries sing
# and so on for birds and other families
	fish/fish.html           Our Aquatic Friends
	insect/insects.html      Insects
# try to pick up title from mosquito file:
		insect/mosquito.html  *

4. Constraints

5. Results

See the results page for an explanation of TreeDec output.

Version 1.1
Page last modified: 15 May 2002
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)