Web Publishing With Zobel

(or How to Ride a Horse on the Web)

Zobel is a horse, a cyber horse. She likes to run around the Internet and bring web pages to people. Tell her where your web page is and she will go find and bring it to you in your favorite Ethiopic font.

But where do you find Zobel and how can you tell her where your web page is? Well... its all in the magic of "linking". Lets review the different kinds of links we can make in web pages.


Different Kinds of Links

A Relative Link

A link that assumes we are starting from the same directory as our starting web page:

<a href="Dir/file.html">Click Here!</a>

An Absolute Link

A link that starts back from the web server root:

  <a href="/Dir1/Dir2/file.html">Click Here!</a>

A Server Link

A link that also includes the name of the web server plus complete path to the file:

  <a href="http://www.xyz.com/Dir1/Dir2/file.html">Click Here!</a>

We usually use the these kinds of links for connecting to web pages at other web sites.

A Zobel Link

A Zobel link is a lot like a server link. We first need to link to Zobel, wake her up, and then tell her where to find our web pages. So a Zobel link looks like two server links combined:

  <a href="http://www.EthiopiaOnline.Net/Z.pl?file=http://www.xyz.com/Dir1/Dir2/file.html">Click Here!</a>

Of course you will want to replace "http://www.xyz.com" with the name of your web site and /Dir1/Dir2/file.html with the real name for your directories and web pages. Here is a real example that you can try now:

  <a href="http://www.EthiopiaOnline.Net/Z.pl?file=http://libeth.sourceforge.net/Zobel/HelloWorld.html">Click Here!</a>

Zobel Likes Cookies

If the above example did not work for you it might be because your web browser did not give Zobel an WWW "Magic Cookie". Most people who have been to Ethiopia Online before and have read Amharic will have cookie stored to give Zobel.

The cookie will tell Zobel which font a person likes to use to read the web pages. If someone does not have an Ethiopia Online cookie then Zobel will choose to show the page with the freely available Ge'ezFree Zemen font. Web browser can give and store cookies automatically, you won't need to worry about them.

But for someone new who does not have an Ethiopia Online cookie yet, it is best to put a Font Menu on your starting page so they can select the font they want to use now and in the future. Zobel can make your font menu's automatically giving you all the latest font choices:

For Zobel to make the above style menu just add to your web page the following HTML markup:


Remember! You only need to add the font menu to your first page not to every page at your web site. Zobel will automatically update the links to Ethiopic web pages for you so that the right font is used again.

By default the menu button that appears reads "Reopen" but you can change that by adding value="New Word" as shown:

<LIVEGEEZMENU value="Click Me!">     

More Advanced Menus

In general you will not need more than the last two examples to let users view your pages with different fonts. However, if you would like to make more complex or attactive forms, Zobel can still help simplify your work:

<form LIVEGEEZFORM> <LIVEGEEZ FORMMACFRIENDLY> <br> <input type="radio" name="OnOff" checked> On <br> <input type="radio" name="OnOff"> Off </form>
Mac Friendly

Finally you make work with individual form components and change their appearance:

<form LIVEGEEZPOST> <LIVEGEEZ FORMFILE> <LIVEGEEZ FORMCOOKIE> <font color="red"><LIVEGEEZ value="View With:" FORMSUBMIT> <i><LIVEGEEZ FORMMENU></i></font> <b><font size="-1"><LIVEGEEZ FORMMACFRIENDLY></font></b> </form> Becomes:
Mac Friendly

Here is our example page again, this time with a menu.

How Zobel Looks for Links to Ethiopic Web Pages

A web page can have links to other web pages, as you know by now, and those new web pages can be in any language. Zobel needs just a little hint to know which links are for Ethiopic web pages. The easiest way is to let your link phrase be in Ethiopic as shown below:

  <a href="News.html">English News</a>
  <a href="Zena.html"></a>

and correct it to become:

  <a href="News.html">English News</a>
  <a href="http://www.EthiopiaOnline.Net/Z.pl?file=http://www.xyz.com/Zena.html&sysOut=GFZemen"></a>

Of course the above is just an example unless you really work at "xyz.com". Zobel will change the link as shown above so that the link to the Amharic web page also uses Zobel, the English news page is left alone.

If you want to keep your link phrase in English then the way to give Zobel the hint she needs is to update the link by adding "LIVEGEEZLINK" as shown:

  <a href="News.html">English News</a>
  <a href="Zena.html" LIVEGEEZLINK>Amharic News</a>

Finally, if your web pages are in SERA (the traditional system at Ethiopia Online) you can use ".sera." in the file name and Zobel will find it:

  <a href="News.html">English News</a>
  <a href="Zena.sera.html"><sera>amarNa zEna</sera></a>

Here is our example page now with some links thrown in.

What to do When Zobel Doesn't Work

Yes, publishing with Zobel is just that easy! It is only a matter of making the first link and Zobel will do the rest. Unfortunately there is a limitation at this time ... Zobel is still better at writing output (in 70 systems) than for reading input. Zobel can read and understand some Ethiopic fonts better than others.

If you find that Zobel is not translating your files correctly, we want to train her to get it right! Please email the Ge'ez Frontiers Foundation and describe the problem to us, be sure to also send us the link the page that is not translating properly. Please check out these problems first before reporting problems:

Zobel Might Fail If:
  1. The HTML itself has errors, such as a missing </font> somewhere.
  2. The HTML is using non-standard entities (&abc; codes).
  3. Links have to work without Zobel before they can work with Zobel, be sure to test all links first!
View the Source of Our Publishing Examples: