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Adding a HTML description

Adding a HTML description to your list is easy, and can do a lot to enhance the appearance of your list in the database. All you have to do is update your list header and add the text of your choice. Here is an example:

* The coffee lovers' list
* Review= Public    Subscription= Open         Send= Public
* Notify= Yes       Reply-to= List,Respect
* Notebook= Yes,L,Monthly,Public
* Owner=  claudia@espresso.xyz.it (Claudia Serafino)
* <HTML>
* COFFEE-LOVERS is an open list for, well, coffee lovers! Our
* motto is: <cite>"Instant – just say no!"</cite>
* That's pretty much our whole charter, although there are a
* few other <a href="http://www.coffee-it.org/charter.html">
* rules</a> that you may want to read before joining. For
* instance, we don't allow flame wars about decaf: if you like it,
* well, it's your body after all.
* <p>The list is maintained by
* <a href="http://www.coffee-it.org/claudia.html">Claudia
* Serafino</a> (that's me!) and you will find all sorts of
* useful info about coffee on my home page.
* </HTML>

In other words, you just insert your HTML text in the list header and bracket it with <HTML> and </HTML> tags (these tags tell the web interface where the HTML text begins and ends – they are not actually sent to the web browser). There are three simple rules that you must follow when inserting your HTML data:

  1. The <HTML> and </HTML> tags must appear on a separate line, as shown in the example above. You cannot have anything else on that line and, in particular, you cannot mix keyword definitions with HTML data.

  2. The HTML data you are providing is embedded into the document shown by the web interface when users query your list. Because you are given some space between two horizontal rules on an existing page, rather than a whole new page, you should not include tags that affect the whole document, like for instance <TITLE>.

  3. While this procedure is compatible with all versions of LISTSERV, there are a few restrictions on the placement of equal signs within your HTML text with versions that do not have any specific support for the <HTML> and </HTML> markers. In practice, you can ignore this rule unless you get an error message while storing your list.

When reformatting your list header description for HTML, bear in mind that the text will not always be viewed using a web browser. It is best to keep the formatting as clear as possible and minimize the usage of HTML tags, since there are still many people without WWW access. For instance, do not hesitate to use white space between paragraphs for clarity.

Update latency

Barring network outages, a list header update takes a maximum of 24h to be reflected in the distributed LISTS database. Database updates are usually scheduled to be broadcast at night, so the changes take place overnight. Once the LISTS database has been updated, it can take a maximum of 24h for the frozen copy of the database used by the web interface to be updated. In most cases, both the LISTS database and its frozen copy on the web server will be updated overnight. However, if the site hosting your lists is several time zones west of the site hosting the web server, and if that server only updates itself once a day, you may have to wait two days for your update to be reflected.

Inserting a pointer to another list

Sometimes it may be useful to link a number of related lists together so that the viewer can quickly examine all the lists without having to go back to the search screen and retyping the names you are providing. You can do this using the special HTML sequence:

<!--#listref listname@hostname-->

This sequence is internally translated to an <a> tag with a URL that will bring up information about the list you indicated. You must then provide a suitable caption and a closing </a> tag. Example:

Don't forget to take a look at
<!--#listref COFFEE-L@COFFEE-IT.ORG-->
the coffee list!</a>

Restrictions on the placement of equal signs

While all versions of LISTSERV are supported, servers which have no specific support for the <HTML> and </HTML> tags will process your HTML data as an ordinary list header line and attempt to determine whether it contains a list header keyword or descriptive text. The exact algorithms vary from one version to another, but in general the parser looks for a single word followed by an equal sign. With HTML text, it is possible (if unlikely) to generate such patterns. Here is an example:

* Sample list with problem pattern
* <HTML>
* For more information on the list, just check <a
* href="http://www.xyz.edu/mypage.html">my home page.</a>
* </HTML>

In that case, you can just reorder the HTML data so that the equal sign does not appear in this position. Alternatively, if the equal sign was meant to be actually displayed as an equal sign (as opposed to being part of some HTML tag), you can use the HTML escape sequence &#61; instead.

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Last update: 12 Jun 2024 20:00 -0400 (52,665 lists, 924 sites)
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