Overview of the Process

Working with WebMerge involves three main tasks:

Create Your Source File

Any program that exports tab-delimited or Merge formats can be used to create publishable source files for WebMerge. These include FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Access and Excel, AppleWorks, and nearly every other database or spreadsheet program.

To use the data from those programs in WebMerge, just export it in either Merge or tab-delimited format. FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access both offer Merge as an option for exporting, as do many other database tools. Nearly all database and spreadsheet programs will export in a tab-delimited format. See Preparing Your Source File for details.

If you're a member of an affiliate program most such programs provide a delimited feed suitable for use with WebMerge. WebMerge can work with nearly any columnar format, including tab-delimited, CSV, pipe-delimited, and others.

Prepare your Template Pages

You can make templates for your Web pages using your favorite Web authoring tool, including Dreamweaver, GoLive, BBEdit, or even Word Pad. You'll add simple placeholder tags into your HTML, and WebMerge replaces those tags with the corresponding data from your source file. If you need to publish instantly you can even have WebMerge create a set of basic templates for you automatically.

You can make detail pages showing some or all of the fields in your export file, and you can make an index page that links to those detail pages. A new detail page is created for each record in your export file, and a new link to that detail page is created in your index file.

If you have a lot of records you can have WebMerge make multiple index pages, with a subset of links to the detail pages on each according to criteria you specify in the Index Pages tab. You can learn more about index and detail template options in the sections Index Pages Tab and Detail Pages Tab respectively.

WebMerge tags offer a great deal of flexibility that can accommodate nearly any layout. For details on how to use WebMerge tags in your templates, see the section Using Tags in Templates.

Run WebMerge

Once you've assigned a source export file and set up your templates, the WebMerge window provides easy and flexible options for how and where those pages are generated. See 4W WebMerge Settings for details on these features.

You can save these settings for future use, and even have them run automatically when you double-click the settings file. For more complex workflows you can have WebMerge run a series of settings files in succession for completely hands-free operation. See the section Generation Tab to learn more about these options.