A Quick-And-Dirty Include Utility

[Download] qdi.zip — QDI for Windows (v1.00, 2003/09/03)
User manual available online (also included in the distribution).

What is QD Includer?

QD Includer (or just QDI) is a program for quick-and-dirty text insertion into source files. It was originally developed to facilitate maintenance of HTML code in mid- to large-size Web sites, but can also be used for other applications.

Actually, for the last four years I have been using QDI to maintain the HTML at the wrotniak.net site, about 300 pages total. You may view the source of this page to see how I am using QDI.

QDI runs as a is a 32-bit console application for Windows (95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP); it cannot be run in plain DOS or under Windows 3.1.

The program is free; you can use it for any purpose at your own risk and responsibility. Just don't blame me if anything goes wrong (see the legal disclaimer in the included user manual).

Why do we need QDI

The HTML standard does not provide an easy to use code insertion facility (like, for example, the one in the C/C++ programming language). Neither style sheets, nor server-side includes will replace this feature, the former being too limited in scope, the latter depending on the server software (thus untestable on your development machine).

Especially in hand-coded HTML (and I still believe that this is the best way to do things), we would often like the same fragment of code to be shared between a number of documents. This would be simple if the HTML standard allowed for something like

... some code ... #include "tags.i" ... more code ... #include "map.i" ... more code ...

No way. The text in "tags.i" and "map.i" has to be mechanically inserted in every page using it, and when anything needs to be changed, the changes have to be carried out in all files. How stupid.

QDI fills this gap. It will take a directory tree, go through all HTML (or other) files in that tree, identify all insertion points and insert (or replace) the insertions as needed. The whole process will take a minute or two.

(Update of 2005: after four years of using QDI I cannot imagine managing my Web site of about 300 pages without it. Together with style sheets it makes modifications to those hundreds of pages quite easy.)

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Posted 2003/09/04; last updated 2005/08/12 Copyright © 2003-2005 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak