One of the problems with having a web site is that what looks good today looks awful tomorrow, as tastes and technology change. There is nothing more depressing than knowing that you want to change the look of your site, but also knowing that you have hundreds of pages that will have to be changed individually to facilitate the new look. Yes, CSS (which I now use religiously) can help a lot in this regard. But many older pages, including until last month all of mine, either don’t use styles at all or have the styles embedded in the page itself (talk about defeating the purpose).
So when I decided to update the look of Newsome.Org, that was one thing, since it only has about 3 pages to worry about. But when I decided to update the look of the Err Bear Music page, that was another thing altogether. The EBM pages contain a main page, 5 index pages and literally hundreds of song pages, one for each of my songs. It would take days and days and days to reconfigure each page individually- I know this because I have done it twice in the past. This time I decided to see if technology could make it easier, and boy did it.
There are a number of search and replace programs that will work with html files. I tried several of them and found Alias Find and Replace to be the best. It made a 30 hour job a 2 hour job, and the only reason it wasn’t a 30 minute job is because I had to figure out what to tell the program to replace to get what I was after.
The hard part was the individual song pages. Those pages are identical except for the lyrics part in the middle. After a little trial and error, I changed hundreds of my song pages in a few minutes in 3 steps. First I used “Search & Replace Blocks” to remove all of the header tags and embedded styles in favor of a uniform header and a reference to a remote style sheet (which will now allow me to globally make any subsequent changes to all pages merely by modifying the style sheet). Second, I used “Search & Replace Blocks” again to replace everything in each page before the beginning of the lyrics with the new code from my new page template. Third, I again used “Search & Replace Blocks” to replace everything after the lyrics with the new code from my new page template. Worked like a charm.
Alias Find and Replace works with all kinds of files, so it’s not only a time saver for html files, but also any other files where you need to make the same change a lot of times.
It’s a great timesaver and I highly recommend it.