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Info on MAST Web Site

Technical Information

The MAST web pages are compliant with "HTML 4.01 transistional" and "CSS levels 1 and 2". Cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript are used for controlling the appearance of the navigation links so be sure they are enabled in your browser. We are also in the process of verifying compliance with Priority 1 accessibility and section 508 compliance as defined at the WebXACT site.

The majority of MAST pages are created dynamically using a PHP-based template. The template combines a MAST header, mission-specific banners, gutters, and footers with staff/mission-generated content files. The pulldown menus use JavaScript. If JavaScript is disabled, one can still click the link and find the next level of links on the displayed page. Note JavaScript is also used in some web forms for such things as marking files for download and selecting output columns.

MAST HTML forms either call PERL CGI scripts, or use PHP. Several programs now use XML for file formatting (e.g., the MAST mission search forms, and whatsnew and faq pages)


The MAST web site is basically organized by mission, with each mission having it's own home page. For active missions which maintain their own web site (e.g., FUSE, TUES, & GSC), links are made directly to the project-supported pages when appropriate. Also, for some missions (e.g., EUVE ), all or part of the data archive actually resides at another data center but data can be retrieved transparently using MAST-style search forms.

The MAST home page itself contains general information and links to cross-mission tools, software, documentation, and "high-level" prepared datasets. Besides the various cross-mission search tools, seach forms are also available for each individual mission.

Page Layout

Beginning in June 2001, the MAST web pages were redesigned to follow a common page layout. In December, 2004, further changes were made to take advantage of new features (e,g, CSS and javascript) that have become more common in most popular web browsers. Except for search forms, cgi-generated pages, and a few large documents, all MAST pages now contain the elements described in the MAST Tutorial.

Browser Compatibility

The use of CSS and javascript has meant that the MAST web site is no longer compatible with older versions of web browsers. Although only limited hardware is available for testing, the following platforms/browsers have been tested:

  Solaris Windows Mac OSX
Firefox 2.x C C C
Netscape 7.x C C C
Netscape 4.x NC NC NC
Explorer 5.x - C PC*
Explorer 6.x - C PC*
Safari - - C

C = Compatible
PC = Partial Compatibility
NC = Not Compatible

* - known problems with Explorer under Mac OSX include:
  • some table cells do not change color on mouseover,
  • pulldown menus do not appear in expected positions
  • "Mark all" option on search results page does not work

Valid HTML 4.01!         Valid CSS!