Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Moving from Microsoft Office Live Web Hosting (2)

(For the latest PDF files Merger Software please have a look at the top of the left margin, inside the red box.) Already I have checked that how far my web pages are relying on Microsoft Office Live (OL) css files on the host servers. Wherever I go I should have access to these files. I know that those files and  their paths remains on-line for a while but if in a weekend the host decides to deprecate all of them, decommission the old servers then I'll be in trouble. Although some people have put them available online, I should have a copy of my own site saved on my own desktop or somewhere in my possession. It is easy to extract them. I give their paths to W3 CSS validator, (click) here. To find the path you can right-click on your pages in the browser and open "View Source." In the document, inside the <head> part of the document. You will find the links to css files like this,
<link href="" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" />
Copy .css part and past it on the text field of W3 CSS Validator and press "Enter." All the CSS file content comes on the page. Copy them and paste on a notepad. Save it as, say, masterroot.css and keep it. I have put my used files, MasterRoot, Tables, and Theme available if you like save them and open them on notepad or using your favourit editor. The file can inspire you, later, when you become more aggressive towards building your site with richer interactions, to modify it and customize it and perhaps correct it on established standards (e.g. use % for font size rather than px or pt) for your personal requirements. Look inside the CSS files, find out what you do not have as your own asset such as, url('../../../wh/images/icons/slideshow_buttons.png'), but you are using them in your pages. Right click on that resource on your related pages and save the pictures with its defult name on your own computer. Later, chang that URL to url('/images/icons/slideshow_buttons.png'). Now, you are ready to be weaned from free milk and it is necessary to pay couple of pounds (you might have to pay dollars or euros) per month. It's worth having it if you gain ad-free hosting, with unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and diversity of uploading file formats. So far my website was very simple. I even could not add a download counter to it. It was enough for me since I do not have a business to promote it on my site as a show window. I do not want to be employed either to attract the head hunters. Nevertheless, I like to experiment new ideas and write them down.  After lot of research I could find a place to meet my demands in having a hassle free hosting. That gives me a free domain name if I need one. But I did not need another domain but what now I have and easily can transfer to them as registrar of the domain after now. I can keep the present registrar but my selected web hosting has a scheme that helps a life time free domain name registering. As I am a retired person I like to have a guaranteed place to keep my website at least for ten years after me. I had to select a place that already has shown that resilience not like mushroom firms that come and go without being adhered to any liability. The very cheap hosting I found is the oldest in the market too. I liked to have the best customer service. I have many questions and cannot adventure on googling questions and ramble through forums that you see questions are asked in 2005 and by now has not received any answer. I did not like to receive everyday an unsolicited email to ask me to upgrade to a VIP or pro or such type of equivalent products. I needed to have secure place with up-time almost near to 100 percent. I found it here. I am paying £3.0 ($4.5 US) a month.
(This site is an ad-free education site but for only from 1/March/2012 to 30/April/2012 as a help to pass my experience to many who have to move from free OLSB before 30/April/2012)Disclosure: I am a professional able to review IT related products and may receive compensation from the company whose product I advised here, ONLY if you buy through this click (you also may get discount). I tested the product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best, but I do not accept ANY paid reviews at all. I do not review any other product on any of my ad-free, non-commercial sites and the opinions expressed here are my own.
I paid $162 ($132 +$30 VAT) for three years. At the portal there is no mention of  VAT. Therefore the VAT is hidden from the potential buyer, which is not acceptable for me with the ethics of a teacher. There was no mention of the fact that for the non-profit organisations they have cheaper plans. Also this is an introductory fee. Renewals are as much as twice of this price. I might decide to renew after three years or even make it automatic due to my age. However, many of the people now a days use the "switch-to-next-cheapest-offer scheme." Competition is fierce and diverse in webhosting and gradually in cloud computing in general. See, purchasing car fuel or domestic utility or even Internet Service Provider or cable TV normally narrows down to limited sources but it is not for things such as the web hosting. There are cheaper introductory offers but not as good as this one with such a long track record of hosting. Immediately after subscription I uploaded all of my OL pages as html to my dashboard into the root and into the folders that I have created. I uploaded my CSS files into the root directory. Using their robust editor, I corrected the above mentioned codes to
<link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="/MS_MasterRoot_CSS.css" />
 Purposefully I changed names of the CSS to my desired ones. I uploaded all the images, too. In contrast to OL, I could organise files into the subfolders. I uploaded CSS files into the root. In half a day my site was up and running with a look completely similar to my OL site. You can compare this two sites at (click here please) OLSB (07/March/2014: no longer exists) and at its new (click please) host, or even on my home toy Apache web server that I have implemented on an old laptop (please click here; this could be slow and sometimes down due to turning off the laptop).Structure has completely migrated in half a day. Details, I have time and gradually do them. I have left the green default of OLSB background as it is (when you refresh a page it flashes green). It is for the test of my codes. Later I change it to transparent in the CSS. Please look at the bottom of the page it is validated by W3C, both for html code and for the CSS. I put this page for comparison since in its creation I only had used OL default aspx editor, not my own html pages launched from the "Documents Gallery." Due to more control on style, my new page is more meticulously designed. Bulk of my work have been done. I am enjoying my new freedom. I have loads of things ahead to do and to learn (thanks to my friend "Phoenix" for his discussions). A panic has happened among some, perhaps more than half of the OL free guests. It is as easy as this to solve. I have worked on Google hosting almost from a year ago. It is very basic and rough and inflexible. It is good to practice things around but not rely on it to be used as a host. It has no place for any adventure and is far more basic than OL with no guarantee of any customer service. Next, How to Create a Free Web Hosting in Your Home?
(Update : See also this post Web Hosting at Your Home (Revisited) )
Update 07/March/2014 : by doing differen experiments and as it is now well known for all designers, I demolished my entire web, built it based on HTML5, CSS3. My site follows a single CSS file. Using tables for layout and partitioning of web pages is completely wrong. Search engines ignore most of the contents inside any table rows and columns. I built all the pages with division (div) html tags. I created templates for pages and in a production line manner, I exported my pages to new layout. CSS3 has facilities for header, footer of pages, for different media, images, video and so on and compatibility with older Internet Explorers versions can easily be overcome. Poor parts of the world might still use IE versions before IE9, but it is their own choice since they can use free and modern versions of Mozilla browsers. I easily have created my own wiki, php files, download counters, and even (though not necessary) a basic analytic.  I have a back up of my site on my own personal home web hosting (and also on a 700MB CD) that enables me to change to any host at any desired time. Therefore, good bye to everything that is not under my own control and understanding.

Moving from Microsoft Office Live Web Hosting (1)

(For the latest PDF files Merger Software please have a look at the top of the left margin, inside the red box.) Frequently in the past I have written about tuning of Microsoft Office Live web hosting. This was a generous flexible tool offered by Microsoft essentially for small businesses to help them to have a decent hassle free presence on the web without cornering them to buy anything from the host. You even could remove that small font link and logo of the host at the bottom of created page. (I never removed it, as I believed that should be promoted; when one gets one should give.) Its editor was the best in terms of robustness and flexibility and design among any on-line editor I ever had experienced. One could bypass that editor by creating his own page and launching them from the "Documents Gallery" of his own. Not that you could produce one of those aggressive websites with different capabilities that is possible to run from a full blooded paid hosting, still enough to learn and keep the fire aflame. Besides tens of thousands of small businesses using that facility for income, there were ten folds of them used the hosting for personal non-profit applications such as educators, charities, different churches of different religions, artists, writers, political protagonists, anybody who wanted to have a voice on the Internet or had something to offer free to the public. This was a great altruism.  And one knows that altruism pays. When a computer enterprise promotes free presence of public on the Internet, at the end there'll be a queue of enterprises in some indirect manner in front of its own sales department. But should not forget the lesson of Sun Microsystem. Sun was a computer "Robin Hood," earning from big enterprises but lavishly spending for any geek (perhaps I mean cool) ideas around. It was a funky cafe, in the eyes of nerds to come and test their tastes. I frequently had received free Amazon vouchers, tee shirts, mugs from Sun just for writing a couple of lines as a comment, or a good bug report, without ever asking. There were supports for hundreds of projects without obligation to finish them. Free software, tools, and tutorials were available in every corner of Sun Microsystem, in galore. Return was good as Sun was enjoying having seven billion dollars just in cash in its backroom safe. But when enterprises started to fall, that cash was spent in few months without Sun having a cushion from backbone of more population. Oracle took over the Sun and accepted prudently many of the legacies of Sun Microsystem. Oracle has not any bad reputation as an aggressively business oriented company. Even I do not believe, in spite of many contrary ideas, that such a bad reputation exists for Microsoft. Essentially IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, Intel, Google, and many other similar companies are based on a founder and a population of employees mostly from the nerds with deep tendency to fulfill a mathematical curiosity than earning the money. Still, I believe, Oracle should keep the name of Sun in a similar way to that of Ohm, Siemens, Volt, Watt, Ampere, and such reputable names. I fell a bit far from my original discourse. Now, Office Live is being shut down. At first, I was somehow bitter, hearing the news. However, now I understand why Microsoft has made such a decision. It was not possible for Microsoft, especially in present financial situation of the world to maintain an activity which is not part of its expertise and statement of mission. Add the fact that most of those customers are not deeply engaged in design of a website. Microsoft has offered a paid hosting as part of the Office 365 on-line suite. That Office 365 is a good and well designed product seamlessly coordinated with Microsoft Office, but its web hosting is far weaker and more basic than Office Live and for one who needs only web hosting is useless and expensive. Therefore, many of OL users are decided to move. Thank you Microsoft for hosting my site. I learned many things from you and received support of a paying customer, but now it is time to adventure in open space and stand on our own feet. How can we move? It is subject of the next post.
(Update : See also this post Web Hosting at Your Home (Revisited) )