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Where is the HTML for my site? How is my site constructed?

The pages on the TIAS site are constructed automatically from our database and from templates. The HTML pages are generated dynamically and only exist for the amount of time that they are needed. The templates are 'masters' for the various pages on your site:

Their actual configuration is controlled by the preference switches that you or Customer Service can set to determine their performance.   Preferences switches are also used to control the appearance of your site -- you can change the background color or text colors very simply by using your site customization options.  Some of the options are complex or are special-charge items and these are only accessible to Customer Service.  Click here to see the preferences accessible to you.  Contact Customer Service to have your other preferences set.

Please note that TIAS does support options for fully customized sites, but you'll need to make arrangements for this and understand the system naming conventions to be able to make this work! This is particularly important in regards to directory naming conventions -- there are some directory names that are reserved for TIAS use (for instance 'images' and 'pages') that you should not plan to use in your custom design. If you have this custom design option, please contact (or have your designer contact) Customer Service if you need help.

If you are using the standard system, you'll find that it includes templates for these pages:

  1. Site First Page: This page (technically called the 'index' page by those who write HTML) is the first page that your customers will see when they enter your site.  Some people want their customers to see their catalog of items immediately, in which case, their preferences are set so that the catalog and the index page are identical.  Some people like to have an introductory or 'jump' page that does not contain inventory information.  TIAS gives you both options. 

  2. Main catalog page of your site: Depending on how your preference switches are set, this may be identical with (1) if you wish or it may be a different page.

    • Multi-purpose Text Message This message can be set in your site customization options. It appears on all pages, not just the first page of your site. This is handy to use for general announcements if you are on vacation or offering a special or some sort because not all visitors see your site first at the main page.
    • Store News Appears in bold type on the first page of your site only. Maintain this with the Site Maintenance menu option for 'Store News'
    • Opening Paragraph Appears in standard type on the first page of your site. You maintain the contents with the Site Maintenance Menu option for 'Opening Paragraph.'
    • Featured Items You define the format (horizontal or vertical) on your site customization options page (the default is vertical.) You select which items to feature in the 'Maintain Inventory' menu option.
    • Store Logo You upload your store logo using the option on the Site Maintenance menu that is titled 'site Logo.'
    • Page content width You can customize the width with the options on your site customization menu. You'll need to do this if you are using a background that has a border down one side.
    • Tip of the Day This is an optional feature where you can create a library of quips, jokes, advice or tips. They appear at random when your visitor comes to your page. This can provide interest and give a reason for customers to revisit your pages. To add tips, select 'Tip of the Day' from your Site Maintenance menu.
    • 'About Us' This information appears both on the first page of your site and on your FAQ page. It is an excellent space to write about yourself, your products or offer customer testamonials. You can write simple formatting HTML or put images in this space.
    • 2nd menu There are several optional features (notably the site calendar and the links page) that will show on the bottom menu if you have decided to use them. You activate these features in your site customization options; once activated, you will see options to maintain them in your Site Maintenance Menu.
    • Links to Optional Pages In your site Customization options, you'll find options where you can have a special page that lists all your eBay auctions, your Yahoo! auctions, your new items or items that you've flagged with the status code 'sale'. If you've selected any of these choices, the links will automatically show up on the first page of your site.
    • Banner Exchange Unless you've chosen not to participate in the reciprocal banner exchange, the banner for one other store will appear at the bottom of your pages (and your banner, in turn, will appear on other people's pages. This is a great way for customers to surf around the system.
  3. Category pages: One or more pages are generated for each category of inventory where you currently have merchandise. If your category is currently empty, this page is not generated. There are MANY preferences that determine exactly how this page behaves and how information is displayed -- you may, for instance, suppress price information, display status flags, weight, height and other descriptive fields, etc. as you choose

    To control the various elements:
    • Multi-purpose Text Message This message can be set in your site customization options. It appears on all pages, not just your category pages.
    • Category Title This is set in your category maintenance options if you have the level 2 category features enabled. (You can enable these options on your site customization page.)
    • Category Icon You can upload an image to appear on this specific category in the 'Maintain Category' feature if you have the level 2 category options enabled
    • Store LogoThis is maintained using the 'Site Logo' option on the site maintenance menu
    • Item Number This is the number you assign to the item when you add it to the system. If you do not like having these displayed, you can set the option off to do so in your site customization options
    • Quantity Pulldown If you have more than one of an item, the customer needs to be able to select how many they want. You control the appearance of the quantity pulldown in your site customization page
    • Link to Detail This is automatically generated by the system
    • Item title and description This is the title and description that you entered when you added the item to your inventory.
    • Category Description This description appears at the top of the specific category. if you wish to use category descriptions, you must have the level 2 category options enabled
  4. Item ('picture') pages: These are the individual pages that describe each item that you are offering for sale. The behavior of this page also is controlled with the preferences.

    • Image Borders You can control the format of the image borders on the Customization options section of your Site Maintenance menu
    • Item Title You define the item title when you enter the item into your inventory.
  5. Policy page: This is the standard order policy page for your site. TIAS provides suggested verbiage for this or you may supply your own

  6. Contact page: This is a standard form that allows a customer to send informational requests to you. We provide this this rather than offering the customer a simple email link because it is consistent with the graphic appearance of the rest of your site, it greatly reduces the chance of spammers getting your email address and also because it checks to ensure that the customer has provided enough information that you will be able to contact them. All questions to this form are logged and are make available to you through your management dashboard.

  7. Item question page: This is a standard form that allows a customer to send information requests to you about a specific item (and identifies that item to you with your own inventory numbers) This ensures that you have the correct identification of the item that they are asking about. There are preferences for this page that allow you to determine whether or not you want to allow them to make offers for an item.

  8. Order form: This is the form that is displayed whenever a customer wishes to enter an order. Its performance is controlled by the preferences that you select.

  9. Calendar page: If you have selected the optional calendar service, there is a page used to generate your calendar of events

  10. Links page: If you have selected the optional links service, there is a page used to generate your links information

  11. Email-to-a-friend page: This is the page that appears when a customer asks to email information about one of your items to someone else.

The names of the templates and the executable pages are:

  1. Main index page of the site: 

    1. Executable name: index.shtml;

    2. Template name:  templates/HomePage.html if the jumppage preference is on; otherwise templates/MainPage.html is used.

  2. Main catalog page of your site:

    1. Executable name::  catalog.shtml;

    2. Template name:  templates/MainPage.  Note that this page uses sub-templates for individual line item formatting; these are templates/MainPageTable.txt and templates/MainPageItem.txt

  3. Category pages:

    1. The executable has various names, in the format nnn/1.html,  nnn/2.html where nnn is the name of the category;

    2. Template name: templates/InventoryPage.html.  This page also uses sub-templates for line item formatting; these are templates/InventoryTable.txt and templates/InventoryItem.txt

  4. Item ('picture') pages:

    1. Executable pages have various names, in the format pictpages/category/stocknumber.html (note that these pages are generated dynamically when used and not stored, so there is no Executable name;

    2. Template names are templates/PictPage.html. 

  5. Policy page:

    1. Executable name::  OrderPolicies.html;

    2. template name:  templates/OrderPolicies.html

  6. Item question page:

    1. Executable name: question_form.htmlThis page is not stored in the local directory and cannot be tailored.

  7. Order form:

    1. Executable name:  OrderForm.html,

    2. Template name:  templates/OrderForm.html.  Sub-templates are used for button formatting, these are not customer-maintainable.

  8. Calendar page:

    1. Executable name:  calendar.shtml;

    2. Template name: templates/calendar.html; note that this is an extra-charge feature that must be activated by Customer Service.

  9. Links page:

    1. Executable name: links.shtml,

    2. template name: links.html, links_bar.html, links_top.html . Note that this is an extra-charge feature that must be activated by Customer Service.

We strongly recommend that you use the standard versions of the templates. There are many options for customizing the standard templates that are available to the Customer Service staff.  If you have need for information that is not included in the standard form, you can contact your Customer Service rep who will see if the standard template can be modified to meet your needs.

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