RootsWeb FreePages Banners and XHTML Doctype

UPDATED: February 2013

RootsWeb masthead banners are displayed on all free hosted websites. If you are using the HTML Transitional doctype and your pages already validate, you should experience no problems with the banner validating.

If on the other hand, your account is hosted on any of the Rootsweb servers and you are using the XHTML doctype, your pages will NOT validate because of the banners. Good News, there is a “fix.”To change the banner code so that it will validate if you are using the XHTML doctype create a file named “banner_select” containing only the text: XHTMLNeutral and nothing else. The file should be a plain text file and the file name must NOT include a file extension, i.e. do NOT name it banner_select.txt or banner_select.html

  • Upload the file to your misc_html directory for FreePages server.
  • Upload the file to the public_html directory for www, homepages and virts accounts.

If you are using the File Manager –

  1. Sign in to your account with FileManager
  2. Enter your username and password
  3. Select the misc_html directory for FreePages sites Screenshot RootsWeb File Manager.
  4. Click Enter File Manager
  5. Scroll down to File Upload Utility
  6. Browse to the banner_select file on your computer > Select It
  7. Click Send Files

This will change the banner code for your entire Freepages account, e.g. family_html, genealogy_html, military_html, etc. as well as misc_html. If your system will not allow you to save or upload a file without a file extension, upload the file with the extension as required by your system, then rename the file on the server. File Manager can be used to rename the file without the file extension or your ftp program.

XHTMLNeutral is actually just one of four banners you can choose from; you can use any one of the four following words in your banner_select file to choose different banners.

  • BasicNeutral [the default; it validates as HTML 4.01 Transitional]
  • XHTMLNeutral [validates as XHTML 1.0]
  • BasicGreen or XHTMLGreen [as above, but with green backgrounds]

If you are using one of the specialty banners (USGENWEB WORLDGENWEB CANADAGENWEB, or USGWCENSUS), these have not changed. You will have to decide between the specialty banners and XHTML validation.

Major Revision Sale – Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web

Ready to move from FrontPage to Expression Web? Need some help in getting your site up to web standards? Take advantage of the major revison sale and purchase the Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook for $20. instead of the regular price of $29. This is the lowest price ever for this EBook!

With the advent of Service Packs 1 and 2 for Expression Web 4.0 a major revision of our the EBook was called for. We are adding new material, as well as new templates and a selection of new Expression Web queries as part of the revision.

Expression Web MVP’s Tina Clarke and Pat Geary will give you instructions and tools to get you on the right track. Your purchase of the EBook also gives you access to the owners section of the site which contains additional tips and FREE templates you can use. Purchase of the EBook also gives you free updates for life. Every time the EBook is revised, we send you a mailing to access the updated version. No additional charges apply.

Obtain your Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook NOW and get the updated one when it is released.

You can obtain other free ebooks and free templates at the following sites:

BUY Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook for the lowest price ever $20.

Limiting Window Size

A recent question on the RootsWeb Freepages Mailing list was:

For some files on a Freepages site I’m in the process of developing, I would like to restrict the size of the page window to a fraction of the normal size. The problem is whether this is possible and, if so, how to accomplish it.

Barry Carlson, a frequent contributor to the list, proposed the following with examples.

The Pseudo Window is totally generated using CSS, and though more complex to get going is faster and doesn’t need a call to the server each time a link is clicked.   Both versions use JavaScript, but those familiar with commerce on the internet will know that you can’t do anything without JavaScript enabled.  Both versions work down to and including IE5.01, while Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 and Chrome 2 will show rounded corners for the Pseudo Window version. ~Barry ~

Absolute vs. Relative Links

Do you know the difference between an absolute and a relative link? Do you know which is your best choice for SEO  (Seatch Engine Optimization) purposes?

Absolute Link

An absolute link is created when the href value is a fully qualified URL, including:

  • the transfer protocol: http://
  • domain name: e.g.
  • and filename: e.g. your-page.html

An absolute link to the Expression Web Tutorials & Templates homepage looks like this:

<a title=”Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates.” href=””>Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates</a>

If you are linking between websites, you must use an absolute link. If you are linking to the Home Page of your site OR the index page in any directory, then you do not need to include the file name. Why? When the path does not include a filename, the server attempts to open the directory index, or default file. The default file name will depend on what your server requires.

<a title=”Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates.” href=””>Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates</a>

will take you to the same location as the link shown above.

Relative Link

A relative link is created when the destination href value is relative to the location of the current webpage or source anchor.

A relative link to the Expression Web Tutorials & Templates homepage, from any webpage in the SAME directory, looks like this:

<a title=”Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates.” href=”index.html”>Expression Web Tutorials &amp; Templates</a>

This tells the browser to look in the current directory and open the file index.html.

A relative link can only be used when linking within a website; or when the source and destination anchors are under the same domain name.

Which is Best SEOwise?

Page rank is determined by the quality (PR) and quantity of incoming links to a page. In most cases the homepage will have far more incoming links than other pages on the site. Links from your own site to other pages are also part of the equation. Google sees the following as totally different pages:

Cricket Walker, who offers free classes on SEO Techniques recommends using absolute links ESPECIALLY for your Home Page. You can read Absolute vs. Relative Links to understand why.

13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work

How many of you are in the habit of validating your web pages as you work on them and before publishing? Do you also check your work in more than just your default browser? Perhaps you assume if it looks good on your monitor, it will render the same way on everyone who visits your sites monitor. Not necessarily so! Jarel Remick lists his favorites in his article 13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work.

HTML and CSS Validation Tools

  • W3C Validation – HTML – The most commonly known tool  is the online W3C Validation Service. You can validate by URI, file upload or directly inputting the markup.
  • W3C Validation – CSS – W3C also has a CSS validation service that  allows validation via URI, file upload and direct markup input.
  • [Firefox] Web Developer Toolbar –  The Web Developer toolbar extension for Firefox has tools to check HTML and CSS validation. I use this one on a daily basis.
  • [Browser Independent] W3C Validator Favelets – A quick and easy way to give just about any major browser a way to validate HTML and CSS is by using favelets. Favelets are bookmarked snippets of JavaScript to add extra functionality.
  • Your Development Editor – Most development editors offer some sort of validation tool. Expression Web is my editor of choice and it provides validation tools.
  • Validator S.A.C. –  Validator S.A.C. (Stand Alone Complex) is a stand-alone, easy to install, version of the W3C’s HTML / XHTML Markup Validator for Mac OS X. Validator S.A.C. is a normal Mac OS X application. No installation is required, just put Validator S.A.C. where you need it (hard drive, flash drive, CD-R, etc).

Validation is a tool to help you make sure your code is standards compliant.

Browser Compatibility Testing

If everyone was using the same browser and the most up-to-date version of that browser, then browser testing would be much easier. BUT, this is the real world. My default browser is Firefox, but I know from viewing my site statistics, that Internet Explorer is used by a large number of my site visitors. And there are many still using IE6 as well as IE7 and IE8. I want all of them to have a good experience when viewing. So I do testing in three browsers – Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. My web editor, Expression Web, also allows me to check in multiple browsers from within the editing window by using SuperPreview. I have the current versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera installed on my system. Some of you may also have Safari installed.

  • Older Versions of Firefox – If you need to check in older versions of Firfox, there are ways to do this. For Windows Users: Standalone Firefox (older versions) via and for Mac Users: MultiFirefox 2.0
  • Older Versions of Safari – for  Windows based web developers there is no easy solution to test multiple versions of Safari. For Mac users there is a nice collection of standalone versions of Safari provided by Michel Fortin.
  • Older Versions of Internet Explorer – There’s no easy way to interactively test older versions of IE.

Snapshot Services

You can use several browser snapshot services which will just show an image of how the site will look for a wide array of browsers. This will not allow you to interact with your site in the various browsers but will give you an idea of how it renders.

  • Adobe BrowserLab –  Adobe recently came out with a new service called BrowserLab which lets you view a snap shot of a website via URL in different browsers. It’s fast, free and gives you a couple different viewing options to compare different browser versions.
  • is the same idea has Adobe BrowserLab but with several differences. You can test way more browsers on more platforms with more options like screensize, color depth, javascript, flash, etc. The downside is that the service is a little slower (sometimes too slow).
  • Browsercam – Browsercam is basically the same thing as Browsershots but is a paid service but offers some more in depth features. I have not yet used this service.

Read  13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work in its entirety.