Web Editing On Campus
Every student should have a web page, especially graduate students. Employers are increasingly using the web to find out more about prospective candidates. I need not say any more about it. But there are few comprehensive resources to show a non-technical person how to get started. What software do I use? Why are my images not working right? How do I get my pages onto the space my university provides for me?
This is not written for geeks. There are many many resources out there to help you learn how to code a web page. But who has time to learn to code, learn the arcana, and fiddle with it for days on end. Creating web pages is a procrastinators dream! I know from first hand experience. Luckily I get paid sometimes to do it. You have better things to learn and do like saving lives or the environment. Here is a very brief guide to give you concepts needed to get a page on line and to help troubleshoot common problems.
To create a web site you need a "server" that is running special software to "host" your site. Most universities provide this service to their faculty and students. Outside of the ivory tower, typically people pay a service provider for this service (or it's thrown in). Common service providers for web space include Comcast, AOL, Apple's .MAC service, Yahoo hosting, and a zillion other hosting companies. I've used dreamhost.com (it's cheap and geeky). MSU calls it the "AFS space". See below for more details.
Many programs exist for free, written either on a shoestring
or by volunteers. These tools are free. They are
not flawless. They are quirky but powerful. Either
open your wallet or open your mind.
Websites need images, and you need a program to make the images from your camera web friendly.
who wants to write code? Programs exist with word
processors-like tools to create HTML format files.
free: NVu http://www.nvu.com
commercial: Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe Go Live, Nvu, Microsoft Front Page.
You need a program to move your files to/from your web
server/host (MSU AFS). Typically this is ftp.
Free: FileZilla! (NVu has a publish function to help you with this.
Free: Windows XP and Internet Explorer have a feature called "web folders' that could be used for transfering files.
Commerical: (commercial editors listed above have built in site managment)
Multiple browsers to preview your site: your site will look different in different browsers. You should preview in all of them to make sure that potential job doesn't get put off.
Internet Explorer PC/Mac. The most popular. Download from
Firefox: PC or Mac. The most standards compliant and free.
Safari: Comes with the Mac.
The rest: Opera, Linux, etc. You don't have time to worry about these.
An MSU course from Danielle DeVoss: http://www.msu.edu/~devossda/210
There are many many tutorials on HTML on line: google search
A website is a collection of files (pages, images, and other media) that you create and 'upload' to the webserver
Someone's browser downloads your page file on the web server onto their computer and "renders" it.
You need at least one file with the name either "index.htm" or "index.html" all lower case. This is your home page. Additional pages can be named what ever you like in any folder you like.
MSU has a large server system with space available for every
student, staff and faculty on campus. It's called the "AFS" space,
named after the software that it runs (the "Andrew File System" from
Carnegie Mellon). Currently each member gets 100MB, plenty for a web
page (which needes to be small and fast). In a nutshell, you
upload, via ftp, to your AFS account in a folder called Web.
What is FTP? File Transfer Protocol: a way to move files across the internet. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/F/FTP.html
Links to AFS instructions in the MSU Techbase:
Instructions on How to upload files to MSU AFS using FTP
<head><title>My first web page</title></head>
<h1>My first web page</h1>
<a href="http://www.msu.edu">Link to MSU home page</a>
You can store and read web files that are on your hard disk as well as those on line. This is a good technique to make sure things are working before you
Start your favorite browser and open your html file (web page)
Internet expensive: File | Open | Browse ..
Firefox: File | Open File |
browse to your new file "helloworld.html"