Type & Grids - A Responsive HTML5 Template
Now iPhone/iPad/mobile compatible!

Aspen Help

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Getting Started Guide

Follow these tips to get started with the Aspen site.

  • Begin by opening up "settings.xml" with a text editor and start changing the settings. Then open up "index.html" in your web browser and refresh the page to see the results of the changes you made.
  • Get in the habit of constantly refreshing the "index.html" page after you make changes to the XML. If you make a mistake in the XML (for example, accidently deleting a quotation mark) your page may no longer load. If you refresh your page right after making changes you'll be able to tell where you made the error and be able to fix it. If your page stops loading and you aren't able to find the problem see question 1 in the FAQ below.
  • If you don't need certain info for a project (like a URL) just leave the attribute as an empty set of quotes with no space in it instead of deleting it. For example, if you don't need a Launch Project button set the url part like this: url=""

    That way the site will know it's not needed and will leave the button out. See the example below:

    XML
  • If you don't want a photo in a section, set the photo src to "blank.png" like in the example below. That will make the text column fill the full width of the page. Set it to "blank_300.png" to keep the left column. Basically the width of the text column is set according to the width of the photo.

    XML
  • Some of the attributes use just a single number for the setting, such as navLineStyle="1". For settings that use that format, there are 4 styles. Entering navLineStyle="2" will make the nav lines dotted and navLineStyle="1" will make them solid. Try putting in different numbers to see what they do. The same goes for the newPosition setting, "1" will position the new icon in the top left, "2" will position it bottom left and "3" will position it bottom right.
  • Even if you aren't using your own logo, still leave the "logo.png" and "logo_detail_view.png" in the images directory. The SWF file still looks for them before "settings.xml" is loaded and you might get an error in your browser if they are not there.
  • Make sure you edit the content inside "index.html" as well as the content inside the "mobile" folder which is what users without Flash installed or who are visiting the site on mobile devices will see. If you don't remember to edit it, the name "Isabel Designostrom" will appear which you probably don't want.

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions are ordered by how common they are - most common at the top.

  1. My site suddenly stopped working after I made changes to my XML file. What do I do?

    Your XML file is probably malformed, meaning there is a typo/mistake in it somewhere that is stopping the web browser from reading it correctly. It is most likely a very simple fix - you just need to find where you made the error. An easy way to do that is to navigate to your XML file in your web browser. For example, if your site is named "yoursite.com" then navigate to this URL:

    http://www.yoursite.com/xml/settings.xml

    In Firefox, the page will say something like:

    This page contains the following errors:

    error on line 1 at column 5: error parsing attribute name

    Usually that will give you enough info to locate your error. If you still have trouble, post a question in the forums and I can help you.

  2. Nothing is happening when I open "index.html" or I am getting the message "Adobe Flash Player has stopped a potentially unsafe operation". How do I fix this?

    This is due to a security restriction in the Flash Player when loading XML files locally. Read more about it here, here and here if you want a technical explanation, otherwise just follow the below steps:

    1. Click the "Settings..." button on the warning popup or visit this link
    2. In the "Flash Player Global Security Settings" dialog box, select "Add location" from the "Edit locations..." drop down
    3. Click "Browse for folder..." and select the folder where your project is located
    4. Click Confirm
  3. I'm on a PC and am using Notepad to edit the XML files. Everything looks bad and runs together. What can I do?

    If you don't own Dreamweaver or any other HTML editor then I recommend downloading and using Notepad++ to edit the XML files. It's free and I've heard good things about it.

  4. How do I use my own logo?

    Open up "settings.xml" and set "hasOwnLogo" to "true". Set the logo text and tagline text to blank (logoText = "", taglineText=""). Then save your logo as a PNG file named "logo.png" and place it in the images folder (you can save over the logo already there). Finally save another version of your logo as "logo_detail_view.png" - this is for the logo on the project detail view page. For example, you might want a dark on light version of the logo on the selected work page then a light on dark version for the detail view page.

  5. How do I add my project images to the selected work section?

    Place your images in the "images" folder. The thumbnail images should be sized 300x185 pixels and the detail view images can be any size you want. Then open up "selected_work.xml". Each portfolio item is represented by the code block that begins with <item id=... > and ends with </item>. The first "src" part is the path to your thumbnail image (the image you see when the site first loads). The lines between <images> and </images> each represent a detail image. Set the "src" part to the path of your image. The "id" part can be any name as long as it is unique but I would recommend keeping it in the "project_01a", "project_01b", etc format.

    Just copy and paste the lines to add more images. It sounds more complicated than it really is - just follow the way it is setup in the demo and you should be fine.

    Additionally, for each portfolio item you will have to add it to "site.xml" for it to have its own unique URL. Open up "site.xml" and follow the instructions in the comments.

  6. How do I change the section titles?

    Open up "site.xml" and change the "title" attributes. Leave the "id" and "src" parts the same.

  7. How do I setup the contact form?

    Open up "contact.php" and follow the commented instructions. Basically you just need to change the email address (in two places) and site name to your own. The form will need to uploaded to a server that supports PHP in order for it to send the email. Everything in the deploy/demo folder needs to be uploaded for everything to work properly. If the form does not work on your server (if you get the "server error" message), then your server does not support PHP. Please contact your web hosting company and inquire about PHP support (most web hosts should support PHP).

    Note: It's come to my attention that some servers will not allow an email to be sent to an email address on a different domain than the domain the contact form is on. For example if your site is "yoursite.com", you might have to setup an email address at that domain like "hello@yoursite.com". You can always set that email to forward to a different email you use. Contact your webhost on how to set something like that up.

    GoDaddy users: If you use GoDaddy for your hosting or if for some reason you are still having trouble with the contact form sending, download this form. Edit the 3 lines at the top and replace it with your old form.

    Update: I've heard from several customers who have had problems with the form sending correctly even though their web host supports PHP. This is one more thing to try if your host is giving you problems. Open up "contact.php" and locate line 18:

    $headers .= "Reply-To: " . $senderEmail . "\n\n";

    Try removing one of the newline characters (\n) at the end of line 18 so it looks like the below:

    $headers .= "Reply-To: " . $senderEmail . "\n";

    Apparently the extra newline can cause an error on some web servers. Changing that should fix the issue - I apologize to anyone who had issues with that.

  8. How can I add video projects?

    Unfortunately this doesn't come with a built-in video player - if you want to add video your best bet would be to have the "Launch Project" button link to the video in a new window.

  9. How do I edit the content in the other sections?

    Open up the different XML files located in the "xml" folder. To edit the footer text, open up "footer.xml", to edit the About page open up "about.xml", etc.

  10. How do I set the preloader color? I don't see it in "settings.xml".

    The preloader color is set at the top of the "site.xml" file. You can also set the preloader height there as well. It's not in "settings.xml" because the preloader needs to be displayed before "settings.xml" is loaded.

  11. How do I set the background color of the site during the loading screen?

    The initial background color is set at the top of the "index.html" file. Look for the following line:

    bgcolor: "#ffffff"

  12. My "About" section won't appear in the right-click context menu. What's up with that?

    Certain words are reserved by Flash and are not allowed to be used in the context menu. Unfortunately "About" is one of them. Try doing something like "About Us" instead.

  13. How do I change the page title at the top of the browser window?

    The page title is set at the top of "index.html" between the "title" tags (before the site has loaded) and at the top of "site.xml" (after the site had loaded).

  14. Why does my site load slowly?

    How fast your site loads depends on 3 things:

    1. The users internet connection speed
    2. The server speed of where your site is hosted
    3. How many and how big the images you are using

    The actual site itself (not including any portfolio images) is a rather small file size. If you are loading lots of large, high quality images the site will take longer to load then if you are using small, web optimized images. To optimize your images for a faster loading time, open them in Photoshop and go to File > Save for Web and save them out at a lower quality.

  15. I don't want the right-click navigation menu. Can I turn it off?

    Yes. Inside "site.xml" set menu="true" at the top to menu="false".

  16. I purchased a product but did not receive a download link. What do I do?

    Make sure you check the email account that your PayPal account is linked to - it might be different than the email you regularly use. Also check your junk mail folder to make sure it's not in there. If you still have problems email me at and I can resend you the download link.

  17. When trying to view my site I keep seeing the message "Your Flash Player needs to be upgraded". What do I do?

    If you are seeing this message that means you haven't uploaded all of the required files. Everything in the demo/deploy folder needs to be uploaded in order for everything to work. Double check that the folder named "js" is uploaded to the root directory of your site. A lot of times people experience this problem because they haven't unzipped the files correctly. On a Mac you just double click the zip file to unzip. On a PC depending on your operating system you may need an unzip utility. See here for more info on opening zip files.

  18. How do I setup the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/non-Flash/mobile version of my site?

    1) Open up the "index.html" file from the root folder of your site in your favorite text editor. Scroll down and edit the HTML content. Basically change the name from "Isabel Designostrom" to your own and edit the email address and links and add whatever other content you want. This is the content that users will see who don't have the Flash plugin installed, although iPhone/iPad/iPod touch users won't see this and will be automatically forwarded to the mobile version described in step 2 below.

    2) Open up the folder named "mobile". This contains the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/non-Flash/mobile version of your site. There is another "index.html" file in here that you will want to edit and add your content to. Also you will want to change the images in the "images" folder.

    3) You'll notice there is an image called "iphone_icon_57x57.png" in the "mobile" folder. This is the icon that is displayed if a user adds a link to your site from the home screen on their iPhone/iPad (sort of like a fav icon). To change this image you'll want to create a PNG sized 57x57. You don't need to create any rounded corners or the shine effect - those are added automatically by the iPhone. If you don't want a custom icon you can just delete that image and open "index.html" and delete this line at the top:

    <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphone_icon_57x57.png" />

    After that you should be all set with your new mobile site!

  19. I purchased a template awhile ago before it came with a iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/non-Flash/mobile version, is there a way I can still get the mobile version?

    Yes, you can download the files you need here, then follow these simple instructions:

    1) From the ZIP file you just downloaded, drag the folder named "mobile" into your demo/deploy folder (the one that contains all the SWF files and "index.html").

    2) Rename your current "index.html" file to "index_old.html".

    3) Drag the correct HTML file from the ZIP file to where your "index.html" file was and rename it "index.html". For example if you are using the Aspen template, drag over the file named "aspen.html" and rename it "index.html".

    4) Open up your new "index.html" file and the "index.html" from the mobile folder in your favorite text editor and edit the content and you should be good to go. For additional tips see the question above.

  20. I noticed on your personal site using Cedar (www.jeremiahshoaf.com) you have it setup so when you view it on an iPhone it automatically goes to the address "m.jeremiahshoaf.com". How did you set that up?

    The "m.yourdomain.com" setup seems to becoming the standard way of delivering a mobile site. To set something like that up you'll need to create a new subdomain on your webserver named "m". Contact your web host for instructions on how to do this. It's fairly easy but varies from host to host. After that you will want to change the URL that the site forwards to. Do this by opening up the "index.html" file in your root folder and make the following edits:

    Look for this line at the top:

    document.location = "mobile/";

    And change it to the following:

    document.location = "http://m.yourdomain.com";

    Then look for this line towards the bottom:

    <a href="mobile/">Visit a non-Flash version of my website</a>

    And change it to the following:

    <a href="http://m.yourdomain.com">Visit a non-Flash version of my website</a>

  21. Any other questions?

    Please post in the forums and I'll answer any other questions you might have.

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