Crude automation of web page updates

The whole world of 'tilde' accounts is to give you a little server space where you can monkey around in bash and maybe build a website the 1990s way -- by editing HTML in nano, emacs or vim. At least, so I believe.

I have set it up so that if I scp files into the right directory, they will be automatically added to the index.html.

Consider the following bash script. I log into my account and run it from ~/public_html using nohup so that it does not stop when I log out. The script lives in the ~/public_html/pages directory and just creates a block of HTML with links to each of the HTML files it finds in there.

The script then creates a little file with the time and date updated information in it, then cats all the bits together, then sleeps for a day and runs again. My scripting is very crude, but seems to work.

while true
  cd pages
  cd  ..
  echo \<p\> \</p\> > date
  echo \<p\> \</p\> >> date
  echo Last updated: `date` >> date
  cat pages/index.middle.html date index.tail.html > index.html
  rm date
  sleep 24h

Here is the text of It loops over all the .html files in the directory. The echo command prints out a line of the form of a basic HTML link. It grabs the second line of the html file for use as the link text (that is what the head/tail bit does) then creates the link.

rm index.middle.html
for f in *.html
  echo \<p\>\<a href=\"pages/$f\"\>$(head -2 $f | tail -1)\</a\>\</p\> >> index.middle.html

The output of looks something like

$ cat pages/index.middle.html 
<p><a href="pages/hermes10.html">The Hermes 10 electric typewriter</a></p>

So all I have to do is make sure I upload an HTML file (with its dependencies) that looks something like the one below. Top 3 lines are:

  1. open comment
  2. link text
  3. close comment.

After that, any legit HTML should do.

Link text - always here.
  <h1>Main heading</h1>



So I make up my new page locally, with the correct 3-line header, then scp it to the correct folder, and the script wakes up once a day and adds the page to the index.

Crude, but effective. Obviously, I can complexify what I do and add more features, but I'll let that evolve with time.