Web Development Guide

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This is a quick start guide for building WEB pages.

Tools

Everything starts with tools. You can chose your own tools, but here is our recommended list of PC tools. If you are on UNIX, try TUCOWS . The  following links will download the appropriate software.

AOLPRESS - Used to create web pages. Its free from AOL, a gift to the community!

FTP - A simple tool that lets you FTP files to and from your server. Its free to universities, governments and non profits.

TELNET - Lets you log on to a server. Should be on your PC. Search for telnet.exe and create a shortcut on your desk top. If you must, then download it.

PHOTOED - Lets you resize, touch up, scan, and save pictures in any format including gif and jpg. A simple thing from Billy Gates if you have any version of Office. Search for photoed.exe and create a shortcut on your desk top. If you must, then download it.

TUCOWS - This is probably the best collection of shareware around. Go there, find yourself free cute software.

How Do I Begin

The internet requires a different view of the world. It is based on shareware. You should get use to searching for and evaluating shareware on the Internet. That includes web content. To facilitate this mode of operations, might we suggest that you create the following folders on your PC:

  • yournameware

  • yournamewaltweb

where "yourname" is replaced with your first name.

Download the 4 software tools listed above and install them.

Fire up AOLPRESS. Feel free to go through the tutorial or just go for it on your own.

Fire up PHOTOED.exe and load a picture that is in any format but .gif or .jpg. For example, go to your windows folder and pick one of the windows back drop pictures in .bmp format. Save the picture in .gif and .jpg formats. Use your browser to open the pictures and view the results. Try setting your .jpg compression value to 75. View the results in the browser and look at the size of the files using different compression ratios. The bottom line is .gif files are for graphic arts and .jpg are for photographs. To learn more about graphics for the web go to ScanTips.com .

Save your first page as "index.html".

Go to your browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) and open the page up that you just saved in AOLPRESS. Your entire web site can be developed on your PC, without transfer to a server. It just will not be available to anyone else on the network.

At this point you can publish your web page using the MII procedures or you can publish your web page on your own UNIX server within your organization. The following publishing steps apply to publishing your web pages on your own UNIX server.

Once you are happy with your first "index.html" page, telnet into your server. Verify that you can log in. If so create a "public_html" directory. Log off.

Use you FTP tool to FTP into your server. Select the ASCII option on the FTP tool and transfer your web pages to the "public_html" directory. If you have subdirectories, use the FTP tool to create subdirectories and place the files in the proper areas. If you have images that need transferring, select the BINARY option on the FTP tool and transfer the images.

After you have published your first web page and have some confidence in the process, you can start to become more proficient with HTML.

In AOLPRESS, bounce between the nice page interface and the source page which shows the HTML tags. Its is a good idea to become familiar with your most frequently used tags. You will find that you will use about 10-15 different tags at most and you will quickly learn them and recognize web pages that use those tags.

As you browse the web, feel free to select the "view source" option in your browser to see other peoples HTML code. If you like it, feel free to save the page and use it as a guide to develop your own versions of the features. That is what the Internet is about, sharing and growing.

Once you are happy with your web page, suggest your link to a PORTAL, such as the NEXCOM or URET Portals for inclusion in their communities. This is probably the most critical step in the whole process. The portals are to become the meeting places for all stake holders in the domain.

Next Step

Eventually you may find that you would like your web pages to perform functions other than display your content. These functions include forms processing, internal search engine, tracking visitors. That requires CGI based software. Most of the web is based on PERL scripts. The following links are excellent sources of PERL scripts and how to get started in this area.

MattsScriptArchive Nice place to start to learn and install some useful and simple CGI's.

BigNoseBird.com The is step 2 in learning CGI programing. It is an excellent site with slightly more complex scripts.

CGI Resources.com This is one of the largest repositories of CGI resources on the WEB. Go here after you have installed / modified 2 or 3 scripts and made them work.

Perl Manual This is a single page version of the popular perl manual maintained many places...


The purpose of this guide is to help you develop your own Web page. It is based on practical experience and is more of a historical summary of a user starting with little or no knowledge and developing a set of Web pages to support a government program help facility. Although the following items can be reviewed in any order, it is suggested that you start at the top and work your way down as you progressively gain new understanding of each area.

Web Authoring Tools This will help you to locate and understand some of the tools used to create Web Pages. The discussion addresses working with text and graphics, creating new content, and converting existing information products from sources such as Power Point and Word to HTML compatible Web Pages.

Colors  Mixing and matching colors is not trivial. Remember there are still monchrome users out there, and even the color users need carefull selection of colors. Your eye has a very different depth of field for the color blue than for red or green, causing the users eye to significantly re-focus, leading to fatigue. Mixing significant levels of the other 2 primary colors in any color you select will minimize these effects. That is why pastels are good...

CGI And JAVA Services This will help you to locate and understand how to create and install counters, clocks, or dates , forms, logins, and other application oriented behavior using perl scripts and JAVA .

  Frames And Tables  Frames are an excellent way to present information. They can reduce the load on your communications link and to the visual appeal of the information product, provided they are not over done. Tables can give the look of a frame and are an alternative.

Common Operating Environment (COE) HTML Style Guide This is a style guide that will provide valuable insight into structuring your web page.

COE HTML Check List This check list will aide you in creating and validating high quality web pages.

Shareware Tools If you have been thru this and are just looking for some shareware tools, then by all means consider this information.

Cassbeth Technology


Quick Start

What should you use to develop Web pages on the PC environment? In summary, the ideal set of tools from this authors perspective are:

  • Transit: for converting large documents with tables of contents to HTML with hot buttons and anchors.
  • LView: for converting GIFs from opaque to transparent backgrounds.

These and other tools can be easily accessed using key word searches such as HTML, GIF, JPEG, Internet and other related buzzwords. A good source for PC Internet development shareware software is Tucows Index and Other Microsoft Tools .



There is more to life then all this techie stuff. You are burning out half of your brain. Before it is too late, give it a rest and feed the other half of your brain with a visit to a wonderful sane cyber shop.


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