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Writing Your WWW Page

A quick guide to publishing on the World Wide Web.

This page exists as a response to all of those who have requested help in getting their World Wide Web pages written and published. This page is intended only to get you started. It is by no means complete. Only the basics are covered. It is up to you, the reader, to use your imagination, your artistic talents and literary skills to creat your "masterpiece".

Remember, there is no such thing as a mistake - it's a learning experience! Don't be afraid to experiment. Try different layouts and formats. Play with it. Have some fun. If you write and test your code locally (on your own computer disk) no one else will see it until you publish (up-load your page to your host server).

When you've published your page, send me an e-mail message and tell me the URL so I can see it.

A few things you should know:

  1. A computer is an Idiot. It only follows instructions; it is however, a very fast idiot.
  2. A computer program is nothing more than a set of instructions for the computer.
  3. Web pages are simple programs, written in Hyper Text Mark-up Language.
  4. These HTML programs are stored in special computers called servers.
  5. When you go to a WWW page, your browser connects to the appropriate server and requests a copy of the specified program. The server then sends a copy of that program, along with any required graphics (pictures), to your computer.
  6. Your browser interprets these program instructions and displays the WWW page on your computer screen.
Before you start :
  1. Go to my links page.
  2. Down-load, print and read the Wilbur specification.
  3. Down-load, print and read "A Beginner's Guide to HTML".
  4. Make a 'directory' (folder) for your WWW site files. I called mine 'W3-PAGE'
    (you will be storing all of the files used on your site here).
  5. Decide where you want to publish. Your ISP will usually provide a few Meg of disk space for their customers WWW sites. You can also publish on a variety of third party 'Web Hosts'. These are usually free.
  6. Read the HELP files for the Host server you are going to use; this will give you necessary information (such as file naming constraints) for publishng on that server.

If you follow along in the Wilbur specification, as you read this sample HTML program you will get a pretty good idea of how this is done.


Sample HTML Program
Element  Tells the browser
<HTML> This is the beginning of the HTML code.
<HEAD> Beginning of the "header".
<TITLE> Beginning of the "Title".
Sample HTML Program This will be displayed in the top line of the screen.
</TITLE> End of the "Title".
<BODY BGCOLOR="SLATE"
TEXT="BLACK">
Beginning of the 'Body' of the doccument.
Set the background color to 'Slate'
and the text color to 'Black'
<CENTER> Center what we want to display.
<H1> Use largest 'Header' font.
Sample HTML Program Display the page title in the header font
</H1> Stop using largest 'Header' font.
</CENTER> End of 'Centering'.
<HR> Insert a 'horizontal rule'.
<BR> Insert a blank line.
<IMG SRC="picture.jpg"
WIDTH=218 HEIGHT=149
ALIGN="RIGHT"
ALT="Campsite Picture">
Let's put a pictue in here.
We'll make it 218 pixels wide and 149 pixels high
and align it with the right side of the screen.
While it's loading we'll display the name of the picture.
<CENTER> We'll center the paragraph header
<B> and make it bold.
Pictures then display the header,
</B> turn off bolding
</CENTER> and end the centering
This is an example of how we can
put photographs on our WWW page.
Notice how the text flows around the
left side of the picture. We could
have placed the picture on the left
and have the text flow around the
right hand side.
Now let's add some text.
<P> Start a new paragraph.
By specifying the dimensions of the
picture area, we are able to display
the text while the picture is loading.
This feature is very useful when loading
large or many pictures. It allows the
visitor to start reading the text while
waiting for the pictures to load.
<P> Start a new paragraph.
If you've been following along in the
Wilbur specification, you can see how
easy it was to do this.
<P> Start a new paragraph.
You might recognize the picture.
It's my campsite in Brown County
Wisconsin.
</BODY> This is the end of the body of the doccument.
</HTML> This is the end of the HTML code.

If you click here you can see what it looks like.

Now that you know a little about writing HTML, you can try writing a simple WWW page.

Launch "Note-Book". This program is a 'text editor' and is perfect for writing HTML code. It saves files in ASCII text format, which just happens to be the format required for your WWW page.

Following the example program and the HTML specification, write your page - a few lines at a time. Start with the <HTML> and the </HTML>, then add the <HEAD> <TITLE> ---- </TITLE> </HEAD> elements.

Please use a creative tile for your page. There must be 10,000 Home Page's and another 10,000 My Home Page's on the WWW. Remember, it's the World Wide Web! Once you publish, your page is there for the whole world to see! Genreric page titles are for generic people. You are unique. Your are special. Don't tell the world that you're a generic person.

Save the file as "index.html" or "index.htm" in the directory (folder) you created to hold your WWW files. The actual filename you use will be determined by the server you use to publish your page.

Leaving "Note-Book" open, launch your browser (do this off-line). Open your HTML file in the browser and you will see your page. Bookmark your page so you can return to it easily.

To make additions and changes, switch back to Note-book [alt tab] make the change or addition, save it, switch back to the browser and hit 'Reload' to see how the changes you just made to your code affect the way your page is displayed. This way you can watch your page take shape.

Once you've got your page looking the way you want it, it is time to publish. Follow the instructions given to you by your Web Site Host. Publising is usually easiest if you are using Netscape "Gold"® (it has a built in FTP client).

A few more hints:

This page is always under construction.


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© 1997 Paul Graham