.shtml

A Web file with the suffix of ".shtml" (rather than the usual ".htm") indicates a file that includes some information that will be added "on the fly" by the server before it is sent to you.

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HTML Web page
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A Web file with the suffix of ".shtml" (rather than the usual ".htm") indicates a file that includes some information that will be added "on the fly" by the server before it is sent to you. A typical use is to include a "Last modified" date at the bottom of the page.

This Hypertext Transfer Protocol facility is referred to as a server-side include. (Although rarely done, the server administrator can identify some other file name suffix than ".shtml" as a server-side include file.) You can think of a server-side include as a limited form of common gateway interface application. In fact, the CGI is not used. The server simply searches the server-side include file for CGI environment variables, and inserts the variable information in the places in the file where the "include" statements have been inserted.

When creating a Web site, a good idea is to ask your server administrator which environment variables can be used and whether the administrator can arrange to set the server up so that these can be handled. Your server administrator should usually be able to help you insert the necessary include statements in an HTML file.

This was first published in April 2005

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