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Editing group pages, and other forms of rocket science
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Some of my groups pages do not show up properly. Why?
Christopher Brooks, 18 Aug 2005
Last updated: 7 Apr 2016

Based on Some of my group's pages don't show up properly from the GSRC FAQ by John Reekie, 1999.

Because this web server takes pages that you authored and "wraps" them in its own HTML to generate the web page header, footer, and on on, authored pages have some (reasonable) restrictions on what they can contain.

  • If your workgroup is not visible at all, then go to the admin page for your workgroup, (http://chess.eecs.berkeley.edu/groupname/admin/config) and be sure that is Enabled is checked.
  • If the menus on the left are not visible, then go to the admin page (see above) and be sure that Fancy HTML is selected
  • Frames don't work. In theory, frames could be supported but it hasn't been a high enough priority yet. Please just write simple flat HTML pages and let the server add the headers and other decoration. See the customization FAQ if you would like to have the server add your own margins or footers to your pages.
  • Pages need to be "well-formed." Because we are processing your HTML and embedding it within the pages of this website, it's a lot easier for the server to extract what it needs from your pages if it contains correctly-formed HTML. The overall structure of the page should be like this:
    <title>My Title</title>

    Other things that can prevent your page from displaying are:

    • No <body> tag.
    • Too many <body> and </body> tags.
    • Malformed tables. Each <table>, <tr>, and <td> tag must have a matching end tag.
    • Igor Markov points out that another trick is to read a page into Netscape Composer and then write it out again. This technique is especially useful in fixing table errors.


When you are authoring your own pages, you are better off using relative links where ever you can. Relative links allow a copy of your pages to be viewed from anywhere.

If you must use an absolute link, consider using

< a href="/workgroup/myfile.html">myfile.html</a>

instead of < a href="http://chess.eecs.berkeley.edu/workgroup/myfile.html">myfile.html</a>

Syntax Checking

Or - problem with centered text

If a public page has problems, then it is worth checking both the HTML Validation and the CSS Validation.

In particular, looking at the CSS Validation will show what cascading style sheets are in action.

For example, a page was having centered text. Running the CSS validator and looking for center showed that many tags were centered, but in particular that the body tag had the following style:

body {
        margin: 0px 0px;
        text-align: center;
        color: #000000;
        font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
        font-size: 11pt;
The solution was to change the body tag to look like:

<body style="text-align: left">

HTML links from forum pages to the main workgroup pages should take into account that the main workgroup pages are can be found in /workgroup>/, whereas the forum is in /workgroup>/forum.

Broken Link Detection

To check for bad links on the trust site, use wget:
wget -np -m -X chessj http://chess.eecs.berkeley.edu >& wget.out
We use -X chessj to avoid searching Java pages. At one time, the calendar would blindly give months into the future and past forever. This was probably fixed, so -X chessj might not be necessary.
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