PanuWorld Layout Manager

Web design tool for real HTML designers

In 1994 I set up the first version of this site. That time sites were designed, written, maintained manually using HTML. Using web editors was not a choice that time – there were not so many WYSIWYG editors (if any) and because of the huge browser differencies the only way to ensure the consistent layout of the pages was to write tricky HTML code by hand.

In late 1990s I designed the previous web site for inline skating club Street Gliders (Katukiitäjät). Before that, also Street Glider's web site was maintained manually, which made it difficult to keep a consistent layout and navigational elements on every page. I wanted still to design the site in pure HTML but I needed a tool that can copy the common elements to each page and update the common parts in a batch when needed.

I also wanted to continue using full local copies of the sites in order to develop and test different HTML offline. I did not have even an Internet connection at home, and later it was a slow modem connection. Using local copies allowed me to make the changes offline and then pack the changed files and send them as one chunk to the server (honestly speaking, carrying the changes on a floppy disk to the university where I could upload them onto the server).

To solve this problem I wrote a short MS-DOS program in C (because I had learned some C in the university) for managing the common parts of the web page in a site. From the beginning, the tool was called PanuWorld Layout Manager. In a few years, always when it was a time for a major update, I converted my own web sites to use a similar program. Each site had their own C source for the Layout Manager because many of the site-specific features were hard-coded in the tool.

Fifteen years have been elapsed but the name is still the same: PanuWorld Layout Manager 2 is nowadays a console program written for Win32 handling also the long file names (and e.g. the 4-letter extension .html). During these years my site-specific versions have been joined together and created the current generic command (keyword) set of the PanuWorld Layout Manager.

Download PanuWorld Layout Manager 2.0.1 for Windows (ZIP, 123 kB)
Includes also the PanuWorld What's New Manager 2.1.1 tool for keeping a what's new page and/or RSS feed on the web site.
Layout Manager manual
Introduction to the installation, use, and web site authoring with PanuWorld Layout Manager.
Layout Manager command reference
Complete (most complete) reference of available commands and their intended use.
Sample template file (TXT, 3 kB)
Template file used on this PanuWorld site (as of 12.1.2008). See the HTML source of the actual pages to see the commands used there.
What's New Manager manual
Introduction to the installation and use of PanuWorld What's New Manager.
Sample what's new file
True what's new file of this site, updated with PanuWorld What's New Manager.
Example of what's new RSS feed
The actual what's new feed of this site, updated with PanuWorld What's New Manager.

Note that this tools does not change the way you author your web pages – you can (actually, you must) still use the editor you like (whether it is WYSIWYG or plain HTML) to maintain your site. However, these utilities makes it much more easier to maintain the common parts of the web pages, for example navigational elements: with PanuWorld Layout Manager, you do not need to manually update every page of your site if your navigation menu is changed.

Because the tool just directly modifies the contents of your web page files, automating the things that you can do by hand, no tool-specific files or server features are needed to make the site work. You can even stop using the tool and continue updating your web page files manually at any time.

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