WebRing : Java Glossary

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WebRing WebRing
Webring.com is an organisation that helps organise webrings, like-minded websites that link to each other in circle. on managing and joining them. Though it is actually very simple, about 50% of people who apply to join rings fail, if they don’t get experienced help. With the rise search engines, the importance of web rings has declined.
Introduction Trouble Shooting
Terminology Alternatives
Joining New Rings Joining Multiple WebRings
Making Changes Starting Your own WebRing
Under The Hood Roedy’s Rings
Bugs Links

Introduction

This document will lead you step by step through what to do to get your website on a webring. It sounds complicated, but you go step by step, you will succeed. Webring.com is an organisation that helps organise webrings, like-minded websites that link to each other in circle. WebRings bring more people to your site. WebRings are composed of websites, not email ids. Now there are two levels of membership: Level 1 memberships are free. Level 2 memberships are  $36.00 USD per year. With Level 2, Webring will set up the nav bars on your website for you, and other perks. You are not required to place any ads on your site. To become part of the ring, you embed a piece of JavaScript HTML on your webpage called a navbar (or sometimes a SSNBSSNB (Server Side Navigation Bar). A nav bar renders something like this:

Sample Nav Bar

People can visit each website in the ring in turn by clicking on the nav bar next button.

The

There is an alternate version of the nav bar HTML that uses no Javascript at all that lets you customise the way the nav bar looks.

If you don’t have a website, you can get a free one from an ISP ISP (Internet Service Provider) such as SimpleNet, Angelfire or GeoCities. You can’t join a ring until you have a working website with something on it to show people. In a pinch, you might borrow a corner of somebody else’s website.

You will need to learn HTML or some HTML generating tool. You will need some simple (often free) tools to write and validate your HTML. You will need an FTP tool to upload your creation from your local hard disk to the webserver. I use Netload which completely automates the process and FTP Voyager to recover when things go off the rails. The coming instructions look intimidating. Admittedly they are long-winded, but they are not that difficult if you go step by step. It might help to print out these instructions, and tick them off as you complete each step.

Terminology

A large, up to *.gif, *.jpg or *.png image that is used on the hub page. It is not the same as the nav bar logo. You need both. As a ringmaster, you can change it with Edit Ring Logo. It can take perhaps half an hour to show up on the websites after you upload a new logo.
navigation bar. A piece of HTML that generates a box representing the web ring on your web page. Visitors can click to go the next site in the ring or go to the ring hub to join themselves. The nav bar handles all your webrings for that webpage. You don’t need one per webring. It works because all the different webrings use the same U# embedded in the nav bar. I like to put them near the bottom of the page so that if something goes wrong, you can still view the top part of the page.
sometimes called the ring logo. A 50 × 50 *.gif, *.jpg (but not a *.png) icon that is used on the on the nav bar page. It is not the same as the hub logo. You need both. As a ringmaster, you can change it with Customization ⇒ Navigation code ⇒ Nav bar logo. It can take perhaps half an hour to show up on the websites after you upload a new logo.
ring home page
A web page created by the ringmaster giving any information he wants. On my web home pages I give extra explanation on setting up the nav bar.
SSNB
SSNB. A more technical term for the navbar, especially when talking about the magic numbers it contains to identify the ring and site and webpage.
ring hub
A web page at webring.com for a ring that lists the member sites. It also gives you a place to join the ring.
ringmaster
The person in charge of a webring. They get to decide who can join and who can’t. They set up the criteria, and adjudicate them. They also do the administrative work for the ring.
site
Webring uses the word site is two different ways which is very confusing. If you are a ringmaster the sites are the website that have signed up for your ring. If you are looking at a U# for an URL, then the sites are the rings this site belongs to.
site URL
An HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) URL that points to the website, webpage and anchor on the page where you want visitors to arrive. That is also where you place the nav bar so that visitors can leave for the next site in the ring. URLs are long, so WebRing assigns each unique URL that you use an abbreviation, called the U#, normally a number but it can contain letters.
Webring community  community
The new term for WebRing, sometimes called a WebRing community, all the websites on one ring.

Joining New Rings

This section applies to everyone joining a ring.

Making Changes

Under the Hood

If you are a novice, just ignore this section. You might wonder why Webrings don’t just have a standard nav bar link to the Webring site, not needing any customisation at all, no account and no u#. The problem is WebRing would have no way of knowing where the reference came from, which website and which page on that site the nav bar was located. Many browsers hide that information. Presumably, WebRing could have put the website referring url in as a parameter, but instead they chose to encode the same information with an account and a u#. Which a click on the nav bar comes in, WebRing, looks up that account and that u# to find the website and referring page, and the list of Webrings attached that u#/page. This gives them a little more control.

It also lets you play games by assigning multiple different u#s to the same page, and hence allowing multiple independent nav bars on the same page.

Clever readers will have noticed that this scheme also allows you to put your nav bars on several different websites, all managed by the same account.

Bugs

It may not be a bug, but a feature. Here are some of the bugs/shortcomings I have detected in the Webring.com ring management software. If you notice that any of these have been fixed, please let me know.

These are bugs I discovered at the time Yahoo.com was running the webring. I have not yet retested to see if these bugs have been fixed. Be wary of them.

Webring.com Bugs
Bug Fixed? Description
pending display Some pending websites are missing from the Your Ring Memberships list.
restricted join When you join a ring, you cannot join another until the pending status of the first one is resolved. This can take weeks. You have to buy a level 2 membership to avoid this log jam. This is strictly speaking not a bug, just a very annoying feature.
tests not propagated When you test a web page to ensure it has a good nav bar, you it marks only one of the rings as passed. It should mark all rings that use that page as passed.
failed link lock If you have a failed link because of a missing or erroneous nav bar, you can’t join any other rings until you fix the problem. However, even after you fix the problem, you still can’t join. You have to wait until the next day until some batch process updates your good guy status.
orphaned links If the webring you are joined to goes defunct, your website will display a random ring rather than a defunct marker.
*.png not supported If you upload a png for the nav logo or link to one, nothing happens, no error message.
reload collapses stack If you click reload to view a page, the stack which was showing all webrings collapses to show only one.
wrong ring Webring often displays nav bars totally unrelated to the U# on the page.
Wrong ringmaster email id There is no way to change the ringmaster’s email id.
ringmaster change There is no way to have a new ringmaster take over.
Erroneous HTML in nav bar. Nav bar does not pass HTMLValidator syntax checks.
picky javascript Nav bar finder can’t find the nav bar if HTML errors in it are corrected.
Can’t find old gif-style ring logo Nav bar finder can’t see the old graphics style nav bars previously used when webrings.org managed the rings. It thinks the link is broken.
frames confuse nav bar Nav bar finder can’t see a nav bar in a frame. It thinks the link is broken.
bad sort Your personal list of rings are not sorted in alphabetical or any other meaningful order. In contrast, ringmaster can order the sites in the ring any way they choose.
url not displayed The list of all rings you are joined to does not display the URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) of your web pages.
ringmaster hamstrung Ringmasters can’t correct spelling and grammatical errors in site descriptions. They can’t correct URLs. They can’t get nav bars for people to insert in HTML and send back for upload.
wrong ordering Ringmasters are asked to approve websites before the nav bars are installed. Sites without nav bars should never be activated.
invalid email ids Webring.com approves rings sites where there is no way to contact the site manager by email.
ring home page Webmaster cannot explicitly designate the ring’s home page.
restart When ringmasters manage sites, the lists start over at the beginning each time, rather than picking up where you left off.
mysterious nav bar codes Nav bars use a special code that ties them to a particular page. You can’t verify they are correct, other than by installing new nav bars. I think it might be possible to have standard nav bars that can be safely duplicated moved about, even between sites. Not a single member of one of my rings was able to successfully install a nav bar!
dead rings Most rings are dead. These is no way before you go to the effort of joining to see when the ringmaster last did any ring management.
nav bar test There is no way to trigger a bulk retest of multiple broken nav bars. There is no way to know how fresh the test results are.
nav bar box too small Box where you pick up the nav bar is too small to let you view it all at once or copy/paste it without scrolling.
nav bar icon preview After you change the nav bar icon, webring does not show it to you to make sure you picked an appropriate image. You can’t proof it on your website either, since the change does not become visible till somewhat later. Your mistakes should not be viewed by the public. Webring rejected my bug report on this saying it properly should be submitted as a wish list request and asked that I start over from scratch in my submission.
png support You can use png for the ring hub image but not for the nav bar icon.
Ring image does not display. Even when you have a ring image, it does not display in the editing screens.
ugly image There need to be two images, one tiny one 32 × 32 for the nav bar and one big one 150 × 150 to decorate the ring hub. They used to use only one mid-size image and send it for both purposes. So it looked ugly decorating the ring hub and wasted bandwith for the nav bar icon.
The more people who report a given bug, the more likely Webring.com is to take the bug report seriously, and to give that bug priority.

Trouble Shooting

Webring carefully hides the button to get it to verify/ test your latest nav bar upload. click my account ⇒ manage memberships ⇒ Go HERE if you want to see/manage/edit the sites that you have in other rings. (aka My websites in URL Order)⇒ click on the site title (middle colum), not on the pass/fail ⇒ click on test (just after The status of your navigation code is: Fail, half way down the page in the fine print.)

Oddly, you can’t access the test from the Go HERE to manage your website URL, U#, get navigation code, view your SSNB stack(s), etc. (aka My websites in URL Order) screen.

If your nav bar test fails, double check the following:

  1. Is the nav bar on the exact same URL you told Webring.com? If not, either tell Webring.com (on the appropriate form) the correct place or move the nav bar to the correct page.
  2. Get a fresh nav bar. Nav bars only work properly on the page they were created for.
  3. Don’t change the nav bar HTML in any way. Don’t even put a carriage return in the middle of it. Once you get it working you can try tidying up the HTML checking all the time that the tests for nav bar presence still works and all its buttons still work.
  4. Scan your website to make sure the u#s are unique and that they match the Webring.com records.
If you rename a webpage containing a nav bar, you must tell WebRing the new URL it is associated with. You can keep the same U#, just tell WebRing point it to the new URL. If you get confused, just install a new nav bar with a different u#.

On the Go HERE to manage your website URL, U#, get navigation code, view your SSNB stack(s), etc. (aka My websites in URL Order) screen you will sometimes see Delete SSNB code beside an entry. This means there are no living webrings associated with that web page any more. You should either delete the nav bar from your page and the entry from WebRing, or join some suitable rings. These defunct pages will not show up at all in the click my account ⇒ manage memberships ⇒ Go HERE if you want to see/manage/edit the sites that you have in other rings (aka Your Ring Memberships) page.

Alternatives

See RingSurf, a competing WebRing scheme. If you hope to hide from nav bars by going to RingSurf you are out of luck. They are in the process of converting to nav bars too. RingSurf and Webring.com nav bars are handled completely independently. If you have both RingSurf and Webring.com rings on the same page, you need both a RingSurf and a Webring.com nav bar.

See this proposal for a new generation of WebRing software.

Joining Multiple WebRings

Once you get the hang of it, joining WebRings is easy. You don’t have to keep adding more nav bars past the first one. You can browse the list of existing rings. and join the ones you like, or just chase the links visiting sites exploring the creativity of your fellow humans.

To make all the webrings show up in the nav bar, configure the size of the stack on the WebRing site. Otherwise visitors to your site have to click Visit a complete list of WebRing memberships here in fine print, to see the other rings. The effect can take 30 minutes or so to show up.

Starting Your own WebRing

If you don’t see a suitable WebRing to join, you can create your own WebRing. All you need is a logo gif in both 50 × 50 for the nav bars and 150 × 150 (up to 250x250) for the hub. pixels, best with a transparent background, that you could prepare with PaintShop Pro. Browse the Webring.com categories to find where it would fit, then click create a ring and follow your nose. At first you will tend to get lost in the menus. Be patient with yourself and you will find you can soon manage several rings with very little effort. The real work talking people into joining your ring. It is hard at the beginning and gets easier as the ring grows and becomes ever more attractive.

It works best if you provide a URL instead uploading your logos. Your server will be faster than theirs. Also they seem to compress and distort the images, so the URL method gives nicer looking images.

Webring automatically tests member sites periodically to make sure they are properly installed. They can fail or pass or pass-L. Pass-L means he put the nav bar on a different page from where incoming visitors land, but that they can get to the nav bar to leave in one link. Typically visitors land on the home page, and click webrings to get to the nav bars. It is a judgement call whether you should allow these. I do not. They make it harder for visitors to navigate to the next link.

Roedy’s Rings

I am the webmaster of several rings including: The Java Ring, The Canadian Queer Ring, the Living Lovers Ring, the Men Seeking Men for Lovers/Partners Ring, the Euthanasia Ring and the 9/11 Conspiracy Ring.

If you have trouble with one of the rings I manage, you can email me at email Roedy Green'or phone me, Roedy Green, at (250) 361-9093. That is in Victoria, BC Canada. However, there are many things I cannot do for you.

  1. I can’t put your nav ring in for you (unless you trust me with your ISP id/password and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) trivia) to upload the finished result.
  2. Unless you give me your Webring.com id/password, I can’t change your URL.
  3. Unless you give me your Webring.com id/password, I can’t change your site name.
  4. Unless you give me your Webring.com id/password, I can’t change your site description.
You normally have to do all those things for yourself.
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