Technical notes index


MISSING IN iCLOUD

page 2

            CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. WEBSITE HOSTING

3. FILE STORAGE & SHARING

4. GALLERY
Apple's online service, iCloud, is intended primarily as a method for easily syncing data such as calendars, contacts, emails and pictures between your Macs and your iOS devices. Though it was touted as a partial replacement for the old MobileMe service, it is lacking a number of facilities which were available there.

This article offer some advice on migrating those facilities which iCloud won't provide.

WEBSITE HOSTING

iWeb

Apple's iWeb, part of iLife, was originally designed only to upload to MobileMe in a seamless one-click operation. With its easy for methods for creating basic websites with no technical knowledge it enabled thousands of non-technical users to create and publish their personal websites.

With the demise of MobileMe this hosting has ceased. Up to and including iWeb '08, it was only possible to publish to other hosts by 'Publishing to a folder' and then uploading that local folder to a website host using a separate FTP client. From iWeb '09 an FTP method was built-in, making it easier to publish to a host other than MobileMe.

In order to upload your existing site in iWeb '09 and above:

Click on the name of the site in the sidebar: the publishing settings pane will open. Set 'Publish to' to 'FTP'. Enter the name of the site and a contact address (if desired).

In the 'FTP Server Settings' section you will need to know the server address (your hosting service can tell you that), and your username and password for that service. Your site will be published in a folder with its name at root level of the server, with an index.html file at root level (which will overwrite any index.html file which may be there already). The 'Directory/Path' field may need to include a path such as '/webspace/' or 'ht_docs/' - this is dependent on your hosting service and they should tell you this. If you want to publish within a folder you can add that to the path.

You can then click the 'Test connection' button so that iWeb can check that it can get access to your server space. You should enter the URL of the site in the 'URL' field so that rss feeds and internal links have the correct address.

To publish using an earlier version of iWeb:

From the File menu choose 'Publish to a folder'. You should create a folder somewhere convenient specifically for this and choose it when publishing to a folder: this folder should not contain anything else.

You now need an FTP program (FTP is the 'protocol' used for uploading) to upload the contents of the folder to your server. Cyberduck is free (donation requested): Transmit is $34 but I think better. You will need the server address (your hosting service can tell you that), and your username and password for that service. You can drag the contents of your folder to your webspace, or create a folder there and drag the contents to that if you prefer.

Some facilities that iWeb provided when hosted on MobileMe will not work on other servers: comments on weblogs and photos, password-protecting your site (some hosts may provide this), searching in the weblog, and a hits counter (again, some hosts can provide code for this). Slideshows in iWeb will work on other hosts than MobileMe (they use different code when FTPing which doesn't depend on scripts hosted on MobileMe as the MobileMe version does); however there is an issue with the 'buttons' which control the slideshow which are images hosted on me.com - these depend on images which used to be hosted on MobileMe. The poster 'Old Toad' on the Apple Forums has provided a workaround, described at http://oldtoadstutorials.net/No.26.html. Although iWeb continues to work Apple have removed it from sale, which is another point to consider before committing to it.

If you have not yet started a website and are tempted to use iWeb, I would advise against it; as it's no longer for sale and won't be updated, there is always the possibility that a future system upgrade may break it. The nearest programs to iWeb in facilities and general ease of use are RapidWeaver, which I think is preferable to iWeb anyway, and EverWeb, which is designed to be similar to iWeb but with more facilities.

Websites made in other programs

It's always been possible to create websites in other programs such as RapidWeaver, DreamWeaver, Flux and so on, and upload them to the Sites or the Web/Sites folder. Uploading existing websites to another host is therfore quite simple, involving only changing the protocol to FTP from WebDAV and entering the server address, username and password, and directory path as detailed above. The main problem comes if you have internal absolute links - i.e. those which give the server name - as opposed to relative links, which simply show the path to another page on the same server. Absolute links will need to be tracked down and changed. If your site includes a podcast then all the links to the media files in the feed must be absolute links and all these will need to be changed.


Weblogs

Weblogs are a special case of websites, and iWeb makes use of facilities in MobileMe when creating a weblog: it's liable not to work properly on other servers. Rage Software have created a program called iWeb to WordPress which is designed to transfer your weblog to the Wordpress hosting platform. It cost 32.95: I haven't tried it. You can create weblogs in RapidWeaver and most other website creation programs.

Hosting services

There is a huge choice available. You should be careful about 'free' hosting sites: they will probably add adverts to your site and may have uncomfortable restrictions. It's advisable to choose a firm based in your country, or at least your continent, if you can, and preferable to have one with telephone support. Choose a plan with more than enough server space, and remember that, particularly if your site is popular, bandwidth (the amount of data downloaded by visitors) is a significant issue. Many plans specify a bandwidth limit: some offer unlimited bandwidth but be careful - some of these exclude music and video files which with a popular podcast could run you into limits quite quickly. Read the small print. If you exceed your bandwidth limits in a specified period you will be either charged extra or blocked.

If you are using a Mac it's advisable to choose a firm which can support Mac users: in theory there shouldn't be a problem as web and FTP access is universal, but if your firm doesn't understand Macs they may decline to offer support for almost any problem, Mac-related or not.

There is an issue with podcasts that you need to be aware of when finding a hosting service. iOS devices handle podcast episodes by use of a method called 'byte-range requests', meaning that they request part of the episode media file at a time, rather than the whole file. Many servers can't handle this, and the problems that iPhone users were experiencing with podcasts has led Apple to make the ability to handle this a requirement when accepting new podcasts. Existing podcasts on such servers haven't so far been rejected, but as iOS devices won't work it's best when finding a new server to check this. Ask them whether they can handle 'byte-range requests' - if they say 'no', or don't know what it is, find another service. (This applies to the episode media files, not the feed, so if you are using different servers it's the one hosting the episodes which is the issue.)

The next page will examine web storage, which is a different issue from web hosting.

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Roger Wilmut. This site is not associated with Apple.