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Web Guidelines

The Basics :

Automated, Site-Wide Procedures

Miscellaneous Notes


Every module hosted on netbeans has an associated set of web pages, located at

The owner of the module is responsible for maintaining these pages, using CVS. This page outlines the basics of doing so.

All web pages for all modules will have a few standard elements supplied by the infrastructure of the website. Things like the NetBeans logo and the standard navigation bar across the top will appear on all pages. These are not configurable per-module.

Note : the site headers and footers are automatically wrapped around your content - you should not include them in your HTML. Take a look at the supplied templates below for examples.

The content of the web pages on the site is entirely up to the module owner - as long as it is relevant to the module of course! If you want people to get interested an involved in your module, a good start is to put some content up on your pages.

Getting Started

Web pages for a module are accessible via CVS. As a module maintainer you should have a CVS login and password - assuming your CVSROOT is set, and you have logged in (more info about CVS), simply

   cvs checkout your-module-name/www

Edit the files as normal, and when done, commit your changes. Web pages are "published", ie live on the site, when you commit your changes.

   cvs commit -m "add module info to home page" index.html

At the very least, please put some content up on your module's home page as soon as the module is created, even just a basic description of what the module is, what it does - or what it will do!

Here's some ideas if you're really stuck for content :

  • A description of the module itself - very obvious, and probably should go on your home page. What is it, what does it do?
  • Current status, if appropriate
  • Screenshots, if appropriate
  • Specs and proposals
  • TODO lists, future features lists
  • ... whatever you like!!

Style Sheets

The style and "Look & Feel" of the pages is also up to the maintainer, however in the interests of usability and general good practice, it is preferable to maintain some consistency across the site. Please do try to use the same general style (colours, fonts etc) used on other parts of the site. We do recommend you make use of the style sheets file available. Using this should minimize work for you to match the NetBeans site style. To use, simply include a line like :

in the header block of your HTML.

For more detail of how to make use of this guide, including a description and examples of all defined styles, please see the NetBeans CSS Guide.


All branding of pages is done automatically. This means the the logo, the navigation links, colours and styles etc are all "wrapped" around your content automatically, and you do not need to add them yourself.

Interestingly, it is possible to view your content without this automatic branding. This is really only useful for testing and troubleshooting, and we request you don't use this format for normal browsing or use of your content. To view the unbranded version of your page, add "nonav/" after the host name in the URL, so for eg

  • Branded version :
  • UNbranded version :


Some basic templates of netbeans webpages are available. These pages make use of the style sheets described above, and include several standard page elements, cut + paste as you need. Remember the site-wide navigation bar and headers are included automatically, you do not need to include these!

Customising the Navigation Bar

The navigation links and text displayed in the left-hand navigation bar on your module website are also configurable - as is the module icon displayed there. If you'd like to customise that part of your site, see the Module Navigation Guide.

META tags

There several very important things to know about META tags :
  • Search Engines : For best results in search engine listings, and also for use in your site map, please make use of META DESCRIPTION tags! Use these tags to place a description of each page in the HEAD of your HTML. For example :

    <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Guidelines for setting up your netbeans module's website">

Working on netbeans

www is a module website in CVS just like any other, and can be checked out. However the NetBeans webteam have implemented a publishing system for www, and adding or editing content there is quite different than for other module websites. Please see the seperate Working on www Guide for more details.


SourceCast is the application which hosts the netbeans site. If you are not familiar with the basics of how SourceCast is set up, please take a minute to read over the introductory document about SourceCast.

Your Site Map

Site maps for all module websites are generated automatically, and updated daily. The maps are linked from the navigation bar at the top of all pages. The site map will display the META DESCRIPTIONs included in the HEAD of your HTML, where they are available. If there is no DESCRIPTION, the filename itself is used. This is much less useful than a custom description, so it is a good idea to include these if you can! See the META section for more info.

Website Traffic Analysis

Automated procedures analyse the httpd logfiles for the entire netbeans domain; the results are uploaded to the website daily. Analysis is done per-module, so you can see exactly what is happening on your website on a day to day basis. Customisation of the results is also possible per-module, so if you'd like to tweak what's displayed for your module, see the Webalizer info page for more details.

Also available are special analyses of downloads, and autoupdate requests.

Other Notes

Other random notes which may or may not prove useful. Something not here that would have helped you?
  • you can include images on your pages, simply cvs add/commit them as you would any other file. (Yes, we know, version control of binary image files is a little pointless, but that's the way SourceCast works).
  • When browsing sources online, it is common to have several levels of directories containing only one subdirectory, and no sources. This can be frustrating to navigate. One convenient solution is to create a sources index page, which lists entry-points for the source browsing, with descriptions. For example links that jump directly to sources, to docs, and so on. You could point the source browsing link in the template nav.html to say sources.html, and there have the links and descriptions.

Linking to the www Website

If you need to link to a specific page on the www website, say from the IDE, you want that link to work for the forseeable future. As the website goes through revisions and redesigns, content moves around, and sometimes the page you link to might move. That's bad news for anyone using an old release of the IDE with a hardcoded old link.

To get around this problem, there are a few key fixed URLs on the site. These are pages whose location is guaranteed not to move, so please use them if you need to link to the site from the IDE.

The current set of fixed URLs is :

If you need to link to a page not in this list from the IDE, please contact webmaster with details, we can add it. Obviously only fairly high-level and general links are suitable. See issue 34149 for more info.

Note that the real final content might not actually be at the above locations, but those pages will always redirect the user to the correct location.

If you're interested in setting up a localised netbeans website, get in touch! We'd love to help get you started.