Web Page Publishing

Setting Up Your Network Account

Before you can start using your web space you need to contact Kevin Kelly (kelly@whitman.edu) and request space be setup for your account.

Writing and Uploading Files

The files that make up a web page or website can be created using all manner of different software applications. Anything from incredibly powerful and complex applications like Macromedia Dreamweaver to the most basic and simple text editor can be used. It should also be noted that your website can be created and published through two different methods.

  1. Build your site locally (on your own computer or in one of the labs) and publish it to the "remote server" after it's finished. All you need to build a site by this method is a simple text editor or WYSIWYG program, and an FTP client.
    • Text Editors : Notepad (Windows) and TextEdit (Mac) come pre-installed in their respective operating systems. More powerful text editors such as Notepad++ (Windows) and TextWrangler (Mac) have features such as "Syntax Highlighting" that makes writing code much easier, and are available for free download at their respective websites.
    • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors allow you to intuitively create web pages without having to know much if any HTML or other coding language, though they also have some powerful coding-specific features as well. Macromedia Dreamweaver, one of the most popular WYSIWYG applications is installed on select lab computers, and is available for purchase from the Macromedia website. Nvu, a solid open source and cross-platform alternative is available free for download at www.Nvu.com.
    • It is NOT recommended that you use word processors such as Microsoft Word to create and edit website files. Documents can't easily be saved in the proper text format, and the code that these applications generate is disgustingly messy to the point of being nonfunctional and unrenderable.
    • Information regarding FTP clients and uploading your files can be found in our FTP Documentation.
  2. Write directly to files on the server. The straightforward way of doing this is by logging into the server via SSH, and using a serverside text editor such as PICO. More information about this can be found in our SSH Documentation. Also, some applications have built-in FTP functionality that mimics editing files directly on the server.

Learning the Basics of HTML

In the words of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

"HTML is the lingua franca for publishing hypertext on the World Wide Web. It is a non-proprietary format based upon SGML, and can be created and processed by a wide range of tools, from simple plain text editors - you type it in from scratch- to sophisticated WYSIWYG authoring tools. HTML uses tags such as <h1> and </h1> to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists, hypertext links etc."

What does that all mean? Basically, HTML is the primary language that makes up pages on the World Wide Web. The W3C maintains comprehensive documentation and specifications for HTML and a large number of other language standards. Since the full specification document is a mind-boggling sensory overload to someone new to HTML, the W3C also has a set of introductory guides:

It should be noted that HTML is primarily a means to organize and identify elements and sections within a page. As of this writing, the standard for formatting a page, its content, and generally "making it pretty-looking" has shifted from HTML expressions to a separate specialized language called Cascading Style Sheet.

Learning the Basics of CSS

" Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents."
Separating formatting information from your HTML and storing it in CSS will be of incredible convenience for any web site that has more than just a single page. The time spent setting up a CSS file is very well-spent. Below are a few resources to help you get started with CSS.

Your Home Page's Address

  • The URL of your home page will be http://people.whitman.edu/~ [your User Name]/
  • Important note about naming your source file: The ~ in your URL directs the browser to look in your html directory for a file called index.html. Hence, your home page MUST be named index.html if you want it to show up when the above URL is entered.
  • Regardless of whether or not there is an index.html file in your html directory, you can view any web page you create by typing the above address plus the filename. For example, if you want to view the file home.html, use the following URL:
    • http://people.whitman.edu/~User Name/home.html

However, if you do not have an index.html file, you technically do not have a home page on your designated server - you may have a series of web pages that will show up when you type in the correct URL, but there will not be a default first page (ie - a home page) that browsers are directed to automatically from the list of Whitman people's home pages.

There are links on the people.whitman.edu home page to lists of Whitman students, faculty, and staff with home pages on the Whitman personal webpage servers. The lists are dynamic - they are updated by a script that runs once a day. The script adds a link to an individual's home page if the user has a file named index.html in the 'html' directory of their designated server account.

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