FP98: How to Create a Channel Definition File

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Summary

This article describes how to create a Channel Definition Format (CDF) file and some of the tags used in the CDF file.

More information

As a content provider, you can create one CDF file for each type of Channel you want for your Web site. A CDF file allows users to subscribe to your FrontPage Web as a Channel or a desktop component.

When users subscribe to your FrontPage Web as a Channel, they can browse your Web offline, display updates to your Web on their screen saver, and download or receive e-mail notifications when pages in your FrontPage Web are modified. This feature is available only in Web browsers that support Channel Definitions, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 4.0.

Creating a Channel Definition Format File

You can use the Channel Definition Wizard to create a CDF file in FrontPage 98, using these steps:
  1. In FrontPage Explorer, click Define Channel on the Tools menu.
  2. Click "Create a new Channel Definition Format file for the current FrontPage Web." Click Next.
  3. On the Channel Description panel, enter the following information:
    1. In the Title box, enter a title for your Web page.
    2. In the Abstract box, enter a short description about your Web page.
    3. In the Introduction Page box, type the path and file for the page you want. Or, click Browse, select the file you want to use, and click OK.
    4. In the Logo Image box, type the path and file name of the image you want to use. Or, click Browse, select the image file you want to use, and click OK.
    5. In the Icon Image box, type the path and file name of the image you want to use. Or, click Browse, select the image file you want to use, and click OK.
  4. Click Next.
  5. On the Choose Source Folder panel, in the Source Folder box, type the path for your Web content. Or, click Browse, select the folder you want to use, and click OK. Click Next.
  6. On the Edit Page panel, select the page or pages you do not want to include in your channel and then click Exclude. NOTE: To select multiple files, press and hold the SHIFT or CTRL key as you click each file you want. Click Next.
  7. On the Channel Item Properties panel, do the following.

    NOTE: You can customize each item on this panel.
    1. In the Channel Items list, click the item you want to customize and then set the following properties or click Delete to delete it.
      • Abstract
      • Page Cache
      • Usage
    2. Repeat step a for each item you want to customize. When you are finished, click Next.
  8. On the Channel Scheduling panel, set the following options:
    • Start date.
    • End date.
    • How often you want the user's computer to check for updates
    • The time schedule you want to delay connections to your site.
  9. Click Next.
  10. On the Log Target panel, in the Log Target URL box, enter the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script you will use to process the information, click Browse to locate the CGI script, or leave the Log Target URL box blank. Click Next.
  11. On the Finish panel, in the File Name box, enter the name of the CDF file you want or click Browse to select a specific file. Click Save.
NOTE: You can see your CDF file by clicking All Files on the Views bar in FrontPage Explorer.

Channel Tags

A CDF file is a text file that contains a list of HTML tags, which reference specific Web pages on a particular Web site. (These tags, along with the entire CDF file description, have been submitted to the Word Wide Web Consortium and are awaiting acceptance.) Some of the new HTML tags in the CDF file that are created by the wizard are discussed below.

All CDF files must begin with the following tag:
<?XML Version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1" ?>
This identifies the file as an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file so that it can be processed appropriately by the browser.

The <Channel> and </Channel> tags start and finish the CDF file. You can use multiple <Channel> tags to create sub-channels. The hyperlink reference (HREF) attribute for this tag points to the top-level Web page in the Channel.

The <Title> tag allows you to specify a title for the Channel. You will be able to see this in the Channels list on the Favorites menu.

The <Abstract> tag allows you to specify a text string that displays a ToolTip when the mouse passes over an item. You can specify an abstract for the primary Channel and each item within the Channel.

The <LogTarget> tag allows you to specify a custom CGI script that records information about browsing habits of users logged on to the Channel.

The <Schedule> tag allows you to schedule the time intervals for updating subscriptions and delaying connections.

The <Log> tag specifies which graphics are used in the Channel Bar on the Windows active desktop and in the Channels list on the Favorites menu.

The <Item> tag denotes each individual page of content on the Web-site that you want to be displayed in the Channel.

The <Scope> tag defines whether the pages in the Channel are to be downloaded to the subscriber's computer or the subscriber must connect to your Web to view changes.

The Channel Definition Wizard outputs a valid CDF file. The Channel Definition Wizard does not create some of the advanced features that can be used in CDF files. These features are:
  • Time zones in download schedules.
  • Multiple items for a given HREF.
  • Control of Web crawling levels.
  • Separate control of the Netcaster-compatibility anchor tag.
  • Sub-channels.
  • PurgeTime or Type On Tracking elements.
  • Per-item control over the Track attribute.
  • Per-item control over the Logo element.
NOTE: Microsoft FrontPage does not provide an interface that allows you to edit the CDF file and add these tags. However, if you edit the CDF file in Notepad, FrontPage will preserve your changes the next time you run the Channel Definition Wizard.

References

For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
173920 FP98: General Information about Active Channel Technology
For more information about channel definitions, click the Index tab in FrontPage Help, type the following text
channel definitions

and then double-click the selected text to go to the Using Channel Definitions topic.

Properties

Article ID: 174055 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft FrontPage 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhowto KB174055

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