Maintenance of the La Silla Observatory Web Site

WARNING: In June 2011 the LPO and Paranal Web have been migrated to the ESO Content Management System. The migrated content is currenly being tested and is planned for release by end May. Consequently, the previous mantenaince pages are out of date and have now been replaced by this page The La Silla Web is still maintained in the "old ' way.

In case you need further details about the LPO, Paranal and La Silla Web content and its maintenance please check with ESO Web Editor.

Table of Contents



As of Mid July both the La Silla and Paranal web sites have been integrated in the new La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO) web site. The new LPO web site basically contains four main areas:

  • User information that is site independent and applies for the whole La Silla Paranal Observatory. E.g. safety information, news, contact addresses;
  • Paranal facilities that contains all information specific for Paranal: telescopes and instruments, site information, science operations, astroclimatology;
  • La Silla facilities which contains similar information specific for the La Silla site.
  • ESO Internal Information that is relevant for the complete staff of the La Silla Paranal Observatory.
The main LPO web site can be reached via the URL: can also be reached via the "Science Users" area of the ESO web via the menu item "Observing Facilities". The menu on the left shows you the La Silla and the Paranal Facilities menus buttons, in addition to the links for the general LPO information.

With the exception of a limited number of pages, the new site has been built following the standards for the new ESO web with regards to navigation, look and feel, fonts, colours, etc.

The La Silla and Paranal Web sites - User's Perspective

Apart from the completely new look and feel the information in the new web pages for the Paranal and La Silla site has also been restructured. This restructuring is done following the idea that both the Paranal and the La Silla Facilities Web sites shall be self contained. Consequently, Paranal and La Silla have their own navigation menu and all site specific information is accessible via these separated menus.

For each site the information is grouped in six catagories: Safety and Emergency Procedures, Telescopes, Instruments, Site and Logistics, Astroclimatology, and Science Operations. You will find these categories as items in the menu.

Each of the categories have a number of subcategories. E.g. the "Paranal Instrumentation" menu item habours the full set of Paranal instruments which becomes visible when scrolling the mouse over this menu item. In the case of selecting an instrument the submenus items for the instruments become visible as pop-ups.

Directory Structure and Authorisation

Local Copies

While the live versions of the files that make the La Silla Paranal Web site are located in Garching, development and maintenance for the La Silla and the Paranal sites is done locally at La Silla and Paranal respectively. This means that each site has a complete copy of its web, in addition to general LPO web pages that are not site specific. It still has to be decided whether it would be useful if each site has a full copy of the ESO Web, (except Archive, dynamic pages and a few others), or a partial copy, e.g. /sci/ or /sci/facilities/.

Directory Structure

On the development servers the La Silla and Paranal web sites as well as LPO have their own branches in the file structure:

  • In Garching, the files are located on w4 = in the directory structure starting with:
  • On Paranal, the files are located on odyssey5 = in the directory structure starting with:
  • On La Silla, the files are located on epu = in the directory structure starting with:

The directories for LPO, La Silla and Paranal are located below the directory /sci/facilities/: lpo, lasilla, and paranal. For each for these three "sites" the files are grouped in subdirectories basically according to the items in the site specific menu:

  • news/: contains news;
  • telescopes/: contains the telescope information;
  • instruments/: contains the instruments-specific information;
  • site/: for site, safety, logistic and astroclimatology details.
  • sciops/: contains the Science Operation pages;
  • internal/ contains Internal information. Note that a link to this information is only available via "Internal Documents" item in the LPO menu.


All navigation menus are located in one of the base directories of the system: /home/web/site_name/docs/2007/includes/, wheresite_name is paranal, lasilla, or eso. At this moment access to these files is only granted to the Web Editorial Office and the Web Administrator. This applies only for the site specific telescope and instruments menus. Change requests or other support requests concerning these menus shall be sent to the Editorial Office.

The same policy is followed for all other system files, images, style sheets, etc.

Authoring Groups

Maintenance of the Web pages is controlled via so-called web authoring groups (also known as w3 groups). Basically, for each site the main areas (see above) is under control of and maintained by one authory group which contains one or more members. A person which is member of a w3 authoring group has the permission to make changes of files that has that group ownership. A person can be member of more than one authoring group annd hence (s)he can access to more areas.

Below is an overview of the authoring groups have been installed and to which subdirectories these groups has access.

Web Authoring Group Members of the Group Write Access Permission
w3pllog sstrunk, amena, sciops /sci/facilities/paranal/index.html
w3pltel instmgr, sciops /sci/facilities/paranal/telescopes/
w3plins instmgr, sciops /sci/facilities/paranal/instruments/
w3plsci instmgr, sciops /sci/facilities/paranal/sciops/
w3lslog oorego, rhuidobr, lssciops /sci/facilities/lasilla/index.html
w3lstel t3p6web, t2p2web, nttweb, lssciops /sci/facilities/lasilla/telescopes/
w3lsins lssciops /sci/facilities/lasilla/instruments/
w3lssci lssciops /sci/facilities/lasilla/sciops/
w3lplog sstrunk, amena,oorego, rhuidobr, sciops, lssciops /sci/facilities/lpo/

Operation and Maintenance

Maintenance of the Paranal and La Silla Instrument Pages

The La Silla Paranal Observatory information will be maintained on three machines: w4, odyssey5, and epu. The LPO files are stored in three directory structures. The development machines odyssey5 and epu host the /lpo and /paranal, and /lpo and /lasilla directories respectively. In Garching w4 hosts all three directories:

  /home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lpo        w4, odyssey5, epu  /home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/paranal    w4, odyssey5  /home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lasilla    w4, epu

The Paranal instrument pages are maintained on odyssey5 from the manager account instmgr (with the same password as for the sciops web account). This account is to be used by all Paranal instrument scientists. Content per instrument must only be modified by the respective instrument scientists. The La Silla instrument pages are maintained on epu using the La Silla sciops account. Instruments have their own subdirectory under lasilla/instruments or paranal/instruments/,respectively.

There may be a need to make changes in Paranal and La Silla pages on the Garching w4 machine. In such cases before starting the editing proces, it must be clear that there are no activities on the file(s) elsewhere.

To avoid editorial clashes, specially for new instruments, before the editing process and eventually the re-synchronisation start, it shall be clarified between Garching and La Silla/Paranal instrument scientists when the responsibility for the webpages is transferred from Garching to Paranal, i.e., where the master files of the webpages reside.

Synchronising Development and Live servers: webcp

In the case editorial/maintenance work is done on the La Silla (epu), Paranal (odyssey5), in Garching (w4) deveopment servers, the page(s) these need to be synchronised with the other ESO Web development servers and uploaded to the live servers ( and To synchronise the file(s) with the Garching (w4) / La Silla ((epu) / Paranal (odyssey5) development servers and the live servers in Garching (w1, and w2)use the command:

   webcp file-nameor    webcp directory-name 


The table below shows for each development machine where to information is copied when using webcp.In other to resync the La Silla and Paranal server with the Garching files without copied the files tothe live servers a number of scripts are available. This script are particularly useful for updating system files.
Directory Development on Sync to
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lpo/ w4 odyssey5, epu, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lpo/ odyssey5 w4, epu, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lpo/ epu w4, odyssey5, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/paranal/ w4 odyssey5, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/paranal/ odyssey5 w4, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lasilla/ w4 epu, w1/2
/home/web/eso/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lasilla/ epu w4, w1/2

To move existing instrument web pages for the Garching server w4 to odyssey5 or epu, the follwing steps are required:

  • create a tar file of your instrument directory on
  • transfer and unpack the tar file on odyssey5 or epu
    in the the corresponding directory
    odyssey5:/home/web/paranal/docs/2007/sci/facilities/paranal/ epu:/home/web/lasilla/docs/2007/sci/facilities/lasilla/

Templates for Paranal and La Silla Instrument Pages

For creating web pages for new instruments on La Silla or Paranal, a template directory with templates for all main html files is available. The templates canbe found under /home/web/eso/docs/2007/templates2007/template_instrument/. It includes the standard directories doc, inst, tools as well as the files index.html, iot.html, visitor.html, overview.html, and news.html.

Further, the directory also contains a template php menu file that is called by each of the files in the instrument directory. The menu shall be completed and moved to the directory /home/web/eso/docs/2007/includes/. Assistence of the editorial-office may be required since most authors don't have the permission to write in this directory.