Web-Publishing Software for People Who Still Use vi

So far this is just a concept, but I'll discuss it here. This whole website was created with vi (the unix text editor). I'm happy with the content, but I think the design could use some work. I looked at cascading style sheets, and was able to use them to get the yellow/blue logo at the upper left. What I really want, though, is a banner across the top, and a list of internal links down the left side. I want these to appear on all pages, and I want to be able to change them, and have the changes appear on all pages. I suspect that apps like FrontPage can do this easily, and that they probably use a concept like "publish to web", where they create the entire website and upload it to the server. This is basically the same as doing a "build" for a software project.

The main reason I still use vi is because I can log in from anywhere and update the site. Going to a "publishing" concept would really constrain me. So I'm considering a compromise, where I write some simple software that inserts the banner and link list into each page on the site. When I update the banner or link list I just run the software, and it updates each page on the site. If I create a new page in vi, I can run the software against it, and the software will insert the banner and link list. I think I can even use make to manage the process and update only those pages which need it.

Once it works it should be easy to maintain the site. But I'm concerned about the development phase, and keeping the existing site running while being able to see my development work. Yes, I've backed up the whole site. Now that I think about it, the best way is probably to do it at home on a local system. That pretty much solves all the problems. Now to do (and document) some design work.


It would be nice to have the software pick up the last modified date of each HTML file, and insert that as a tag at the bottom of the page to say something like "last modified on XX/XX/XX".