DWT left navigation customizing options for multiple sub-sites sharing same DWT

Hi there. I sure hope there are some ideas out there to help me out with this.

I have multiple sites (400+) in an intranet that will be sharing the same DWT which dictates most of the top, left, and bottom areas surrounding the page content.

However, each of these sites also needs to customize some areas within the common top/left/bottom zones, such as a list of "quick links" that are specific to each site.

If I make an editable region in the main DWT for "quicklinks", any edits by the individual site managers would only be applied to that individual page. As mentioned, the quick links have to apply to that individual site, and a different set of quicklinks to another site, and so on... but all sites will still need to share the same main DWT.

Am I looking at nested DWTs? Page includes? I've been trying different approaches with mixed results.


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I think you have to go with nested template for each sections in this case. Using includes will quickly make project complex especially if you have lots of pages. So, according to my experience it is better to go with Nested Template.
Nested templates are feature of Dreamweaver, not FrontPage. However, in the race for better editors, Microsoft has now nested DWTs in the "new" editor, successor of FrontPage, Expression Web (see pages 29-30 in the interesting document "Microsoft FrontPage to Expression Web" http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/f/2/ff2d736a-9ec6-4e3b-b094-d782aa7cda72/Microsoft_FrontPage_to_Expression_Web.doc).

Expression web has master pages, which could help you, too (but only if you have ASP.NET on your server). They are described in the document mentioned above, immediately after DWTs.

(and, if you think you'd like it, you can test the Expression web - there is a free trial on http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/overview.aspx?key=web)

Personally, for 400+ site managers and even more authors I would think about a real CMS.

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geniebeanAuthor Commented:
Yes, a real CMS will be my next challenge. No doubt you will see more questions from me later on about how to get from DWTs to a CMS like Interwoven Teamsite or RedDot. I wish I could make the leap entirely in one step, but the site managers have very limited web experience and there's only one of me.

Nested Templates:
So, by nested template, do you mean apply the main dwt to a "local" site dwt and then apply that one to the site pages... or  do you mean that each site would share the main dwt but would also have a site-specific dwt for the local parts, and both would be applied to each page? I don't believe you can apply more than one template to each page in FrontPage, and it's unlikely that we'll be able to switch to Expressions in the timeframe I have, so clarification on this would be appreciated.

Include Page:
The problem I'm having with included pages is that when the dwt is applied to a local site, the relative URL
<!--webbot bot="include" U-Include="../quicklinks.htm" TAG="Body" -->
changes to an absolute which points to the location of the dwt, not the site in question
<!--webbot bot="include" U-Include="http://myintranet/dwt/quicklinks.htm" TAG="Body" -->
instead of
<!--webbot bot="include" U-Include="http://myintranet/site1/quicklinks.htm" TAG="Body" -->
<!--webbot bot="include" U-Include="http://myintranet/site2/quicklinks.htm" TAG="Body" -->

If there was a way to keep relative URLs that are included in the dwt from changing when applied to individual webs, that would give me some options.

Also, I made a goof when applying the dwt to one of the test sites. I applied the main dwt to the whole site, including the included pages, which ended up creating a bit of a loop and corrupted the site. Imagine a menu within a menu within a menu...  Normally applying the dwt to the whole site is ideal; I turn off the old borders for the whole site and attach the dwt.

Other options?
Is there some other way to include a list of links, such as calling it from a file within each site with some script...? Unfortunately, because of security issues many of the things you take for granted when developing for the internet can't be utilized for our intranet, and whatever the solution ends up being, it has to be repeated 400+ times, so simplicity is key.

Thanks so much for helping me sort this out,

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