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FrontPage 2002 Tutorials - FrontPage Subwebs and Permissions

by Tina Clarke

(some tutorials cover FrontPage 2000 as well)

A named subdirectory, which is called a subweb, is a complete web site nested inside another web site. The site that contains a subweb is called a root or parent web. Since the first version of FrontPage, subwebs have been supported, and with FrontPage 2000, the concept of nested subwebs was introduced. A site administrator / Webmaster can use subwebs to organise the site logically, streamline work and delegate parts of the site to others. First, it is crucial to understand the difference between a folder and a subweb. If you open a web that contains both folders and subwebs, you can see the way the two are represented.

foldertypes.jpg (340x174 -- 16179 bytes)

In the diagram above:

A subweb icon has a small globe on the picture of a folder.
A folder icon just shows the folder with no globe.

When you make a subweb initially, it can inherit certain site settings (such as theme information and permissions) from its parent site (root web).

However with a subweb you can change this and have:

Adding an external link to a link bar based on the navigation structure

  1.  In 'Navigation view' right-click the page to which you want to add an external hyperlink, and click 'Add Existing Page', on the popup menu. The 'Insert Hyperlink' Dialog box will appear, to create a hyperlink to a page or file.
  2. Under' Link to', click 'Existing File or Web Page' to select.
  3. Then select the page or file to which you want to link, in this case you want to link to the rootweb so you will have to click the folder icon with the arrow next to the 'Look in' box to go back one level to the rootweb.
  4. Make your file selection and press ok.
  5. Now in the 'Navigation View' pane the file will have a small globe on it to denote the linkage.

Subwebs are really specialised folders. From the viewpoint of the user, they are just like regular folders

The link  - being the rootweb and accessfpjournal being the subweb - would look exactly the same if it were a folder. But from the viewpoint of the FrontPage Webmaster, subwebs can you give you much more scope.

What subwebs can give you is a way to direct usage of that subweb without letting the rootweb come to harm by incorrect usage. This means that the Webmaster can grant authoring rights to a user for a subweb without allowing the user rights to other parts of the root web.

When working with a large Web site, it's often easier to break up the site into smaller subwebs. Performance can improve, because the time required to recalculate hyperlinks is directly proportional to the number and size of the documents stored in a single Web.

It is a good idea to use a subweb for a FrontPage Discussion component or a guestbook component, so that, the files are not shared by other discussion groups .

See FrontPage Discussion 2002 for instructions on how to make a Discussion web.

With folders, on the other hand, you can use them in much the same way but they can't be specialised like subwebs.

Folders can be used to organise your files easier. (For example, putting all of your image files together in an images folder.) This is why FrontPage automatically creates an images folder when you create a new web, along with _borders and _private folders.

The _borders file will be hidden till you tick the box under Tools | Web setting | Advanced, next to 'Show hidden files and folders'.

NOTE: _borders and _private are preceded by an underscore (_) to hide them from the FrontPage Search and TOC (Table of contents).

If you have content in folders that you don't want anyone to see, it's best to net them in the _private folder, which cannot be browsed by an anonymous user, the user name and password of the site is required for them to be viewed on the server.

When you place web content in folders, the URL (web address) of that content includes the folder name. For example, if your root web is named  and you have a page named sitemap.htm in a folder named accessfpjournal, then the URL of that page will be .

Folders can also be nested and there is no limit, but sensibly you don't want to take this to extremes or you will find yourself with a rather large url with lots of slashes.

NOTE: When you make a folder, it's best to make an index.htm page within the folder or anyone can view the contents list of the folder.

Converting a folder to a subweb

Folders under a root web site can be converted to subwebs with their own permissions for who can author, browse, or administer them.

In the Folder list, right-click the folder you want to convert to a subweb. WARNING: Do not convert the root folder of your computer's hard drive. Doing so may make your hard drive unusable.

Click 'Convert to Web' on the pop up menu and a dialog box will be displayed asking if your sure you want to do this.

NOTEs: The larger the contents of the folder, the longer it will take to convert the folder to a web site. For a large folder, this process could take several minutes.
Pages that include other files may not be updated when the included files change.
Hyperlinks on link bars might not work correctly if you follow this procedure.

When you click Yes, FrontPage adds the _private, _vti_cnf, _vti_pvt, _vti_script, _vti_txt, and images folders, which are indicative of a Microsoft FrontPage web. The folder icon also changes from the Windows folder icon to the Web folder icon.

When you double-click this folder, you will start another instance of FrontPage, and open the newly converted web.

Converting a subweb (child web) to a folder

In the rootweb (parent web), in 'Folders view', right-click the subweb you want to convert to a folder.
Click 'Convert to Folder' on the popup menu. NOTE: The larger the contents of the web site, the longer it takes to convert the web site to a folder. For a large web site, this process could take several minutes.

When you select this option, a dialog box will be displayed asking if you're sure you want to do this and will warn you of the following.

When you convert a web site or subweb to a folder, many of the web site settings may be lost. Converting a subweb to a folder makes the subweb available to anyone with permissions on the parent web site. Pages with a theme applied may change to match the parent web site's theme. Hyperlinks in navigation bars to these pages will be lost. Tasks for these pages will be lost.

When you click Yes, you will remove the _vti_txt folder and some of the files in the _vti_pvt folder. The folder is then available within its parent Web, just as any other folder.

Deleting a web site or subweb

WARNING: If you want to keep your files, BACK THEM UP before deleting the web site or subweb. After you delete a web site or subweb, it is permanently destroyed and cannot be restored. If you created the web site by converting a folder on your computer (or on another computer) into a web site, that folder and all of its contents will be permanently deleted from that computer.

To Delete a web site or subweb that you're currently editing in FrontPage,

Right-click the web site or subweb in the Folder list
Click 'Delete' on the popup menu.

NOTE: You cannot delete a subweb unless you have administrative permissions on the parent web site.

Protecting subwebs with passwords

If the Web server is IIS (Internet Information Services. Microsoft Web server software that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol to deliver World Wide Web documents. IIS incorporates various functions for security, allows for CGI programs, and also provides for FTP servers.) running on Microsoft Windows, users and groups are set up and maintained in Windows, and cannot be created in FrontPage. You select the users and groups for your web sites from these Windows accounts. Access to web sites is then determined by the user's logon account (user name and password).

NOTE: Because FrontPage security is based on Access Control Lists (ACLs), in order to enforce security; your web sites must be hosted on an NTFS partition rather than a FAT partition.

First you need to open up the website live on the server.


NOTE: If for some reason you cannot open the Administration pages from within FrontPage, paste the following link into the browser - Change for the address of your own site.

Using the Site Administration pages you can:

NOTE: Some site administration options are not available from within a subweb, including:

To configure any of the above options, you must use the site administration pages from the root-level Web site of the server or virtual server. See your network administrator or ISP for more information.

permission.jpg (430x176 -- 13626 bytes) click to view

NOTE: If you enable unique permissions, a copy of the parent Web's user accounts and roles remain with the subweb. You can then delete any accounts and roles that you don't want and add new ones as needed. The subweb will also retain the same user role setting for anonymous (guest) users as the parent Web unless you specify a different role.

The options will have been changed under the 'Users and Roles' Section.

NOTE: If your site has user account limits, and you want to delete the user account rather than just remove the user from all roles, you can use the 'Manage Virtual Server Accounts' page in the Site Administration pages for the virtual server.

Next click the Administration link at the top of the page.

admin.gif (200x28 -- 4142 bytes)

Press 'Manage users'

NOTE: If there is a user named 'Everyone', delete this user. This is created by default and must NOT be used

Next click the Administration link at the top of the page
Click 'Change anonymous access
Select 'off' for Anonymous access and press the submit button

Close FrontPage and any Administration pages, then test your new password protected page. If you have done everything correctly you will be prompted for a User name and Password (which will be the same one you use to open the site live and to publish)

NOTE: You must shut down FrontPage and any Administration pages before testing as you will be still logged in to your site and the password box will not appear.

Other Sever types

If your site is hosted on a Unix box running apache:

Most Unix Web servers maintain an access list of users who have permission to use the Web server, which is separate from the list of users and groups who can log on to the computer. To specify who can access a web site in FrontPage, you add users and then specify their passwords and permission levels.

FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions Security Under UNIX

If your site is hosted on a NT server I recommend Spooky Login

Password protection can also be utilised through ASP. This site produces a number of FrontPage addons to this effect:

Some useful links:

SharePoint Portal Server
SharePoint Team Services Add-in: Self-service Site Creation

And finally...

If you like the easy life and have a host capable of running ASP or ASPX you should check out Page Protector retailing at websunlimited for the great price of $10.95. This FrontPage add-on makes the process extremely painless.

or you might like to try the Page Protector Pro. This FrontPage add-on allows you to control access to your web pages, utilizing a built-in or custom database with a pain free price of $19.95

First Published in ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume , March 2003