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Smallsite Design

Online visitor help

2. Site structure

The structure of a Smallsite Design site is fairly basic, while still providing a lot of flexibility.

The three basic components of a site are:

site Domain
└─ subsite Has own home page and navigation
└─ category Group of related articles
└─ article Where the real content goes


Subsites are like a self-contained part of a site with their own navigation and home page.

Each of the main elements has an identifier (ID) that is used in URLs, so the initial layout of the main subsite, by ID, is:

main Main subsite
└─ main Default category, with same ID as its subsite
└─ h-main Home page, with the subsite ID preceded by h-

Subsites and default categories are not directly accessible by a path, but through their home page, such as /art/h-main/, though the main home page has the special path of /

Generally, if a site is for a single purpose, there will only be the main subsite. However, if the site covers areas that might attract different target audiences, whether that be in the topics covered, or by differences in depth of treatment, then extra subsites may be included. That is because they offer their own home page and navigation, making it easier for visitors to stay navigating within the same type of content.

Extra subsites need their own name, from which their ID is derived, so a name of Buying land produces an ID of buying-land, leading to an ID structure of:

buying-land Buying land subsite
└─ buying-land Default category
└─ h-buying-land Home page


Categories are a collection of related articles, and have a page that lists them all.

To get a list of all the non-default categories in a subsite, the path is like that for a single category, but using the subsite ID instead, such as /cat/buying-land/, even though that would appear to be what we would use to access the default category, if we could.

The order of articles listed on the category page may be alphabetical, reverse alphabetical or numeric. When numeric, the position number is listed before each headline in the list, but also in the heading of the article page itself. Articles of a numerically-listed category also have links to the previous and next articles in the sequence in a special navigation bar at the bottom of the article.

Articles in a non-default category also have a special navigation bar, with a link to the category listing page, preceded by a Categories link to the subsite's category list. Also included are subsite category and article totals. If the article order is numeric, Previous and Next links to the respective articles in the sequence are also shown.


Articles are the repository of the information the site is providing. There are several special types that help build a useful site.

Article IDs are derived from their headlines, prefixed with their type identifier, except for special subsite articles which use their subsite ID instead.

The available article types and their ID prefixes are:
#TypePrefixID fromDescriptionSee
1Generala-HeadlineGeneral purpose with sections and subsectionsGeneral article
2Navigationn-HeadlineNavigational pages, due to allowing cards, catalog or an image gallery. Limited content otherwiseNavigation article
3Procedurep-HeadlineProcedures and instructions with steps, substeps, and learning notesProcedure article
4Testt-HeadlineSimple multiple-choice questions for helping readers gauge their understanding of a topic. Score-dependent comments can be added. Results are shown, but not retainedTest article
5Contactc-Subsite IDVarious types of contact information, including a web email formContact page
6Glossaryg-Subsite IDList of special terms used in the subsiteGlossary page
7Policiesl-Subsite IDList of the policies applying to use of the subsite or its services, including privacyPolicies page

Non-main subsites may be set to use the main subsite's glossary or policies pages.


Locales are a combination of a language and the region where it is spoken, but may include a script which is the character set in which it is written.

Smallsite Design uses locales rather than just languages to allow dates and numbers to be formatted correctly for the locale's region. For example, the US version of English, as a locale of en-us, formats dates in month-day-year order, whereas most other English-speaking countries format dates in day-month-year order. English in European countries, such as Germany with a locale of en-de, still use their convention of commas (,) for the decimal separator, rather than the full-stop (.) of traditional English-speaking countries. There is a special en-150 for continental Europe that obeys these formatting rules.

With some languages, the spoken word can be written in different character sets called scripts, the most well known being Traditional and Simplified Chinese, which in Hong Kong have locales of zh-hant-hk and zh-hans-hk respectively. If there is only one script for a language, it is omitted from the locale.

While the texts for subsites and categories should render correctly for all enabled locales, some articles may still be in the process of having their texts translated for some locales, and so will render the page in a locale that is available. A highlighted message under their heading will indicate the intended locale and which one they are actually rendered with. All links on the page still use the original locale to maximise locale continuity while traversing the site.

If a site offers multiple locales, the locale that a page is rendered in can be changed by clicking on a link in the Locales subsection of the Links section at the bottom of pages. Once that selection is made, all links will include that locale to maintain site locale continuity.

To ensure consistent use in its filenames, Smallsite Design exclusively uses all lowercase with - separators for locales, even though they may be shown with some capitalisation and _ separators elsewhere. This is allowed by the IETF RFC 5646 standard as long as it is used consistently.

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