Learning HTML or XHTML is not absolutely necessary to be able to create a webpage. There are tools such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver that can be used to treat a webpage much like a Word document. FrontPage is available with Microsoft Office 2003 on \\rose-hulman.edu\dfs\ .
The problem with using FrontPage, however, is that the pages it generates are optimized for Internet Explorer. The code may not be very maintainable if you should wish to go back and edit them later without FrontPage.
Microsoft has several online courses in the use of FrontPage here.
Those interested in learning HTML will want to read some or all of the following sites:
XHTML is a newer form of HTML created by the World Wide Web Consortium (also the creators of HTML). The syntax is very similar to HTML, with the exception that tags and attributes inside of tags (like "img" and "src") must be all lower case. XHTML is strict on the requirement that all tags must be closed.
Links for learning XHTML:
- XHTML - Groundwork
- W3School's XHTML Introduction
- Learning XHTML - provides a quick reference to tags and their meanings.
Writing a Page
If you are using a tool such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver, then you will need to follow the user guides and help information available for those programs.
You should already be familiar with (X)HTML from the section above.
There are two ways to create your page: you can create the page on AFS where it will live, or you can create the page on your own machine and upload it to AFS. Editing the page from a local copy offers an extra measure of protection in that your changes (or, perhaps, mistakes) will not be viewable until you upload the file onto AFS. However, there is the added step of uploading the page.
To create your webpage on your local machine, create a location on your local machine to store the file. The best place would probably be in a folder inside of My Documents. Using your HTML editor, save a blank file as an (X)HTML file in that folder.
You will need to create your page in your home directory on AFS, under the directories Public and HTML. A typical name for a page is index.html; naming the file index.html will ensure that it will automatically load when someone visits http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~your_username/.
If you are on one of the Public Unix Machines, you will need to use a console-based text editor such as Emacs or Vi to create and edit your webpage.
If you use AFS for Laptops, you will need to use a text editor such as Notepad to create the webpage in your home directory.
Using your text editor and your knowledge of (X)HTML, create your webpage. You may want to include a link to your resume (which you can upload later), contact information, a portrait of yourself, and/or research project information.
Uploading the Page
If you chose to create your webpage on one of the public Unix machines or in your AFS space using AFS for Laptops, then you should already be able to view your web page by viewing http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~username in a web browser. If nothing comes up or if you see a listing of the files in that directory instead of your webpage, make sure that you named your webpage index.html and that you placed it inside the HTML directory under Public in your AFS space.
If you created the web page entirely on your computer, you will need to move the file to the AFS server. You can either copy it to your AFS space using AFS for Laptops, or you can use FTP.
To use FTP, make sure that you have installed and configured SecureFX for access to Rose. For more directions, visit the Alternate AFS Access Methods page.
Once SecureFX is configured for use, connect to the Rose AFS server and login. You will be presented with the contents of your AFS home space. Open the Public and HTML directories. In the window showing your local files, browse to the directory where you created your webpage. Drag the webpage to the window showing the HTML directory.
Try to view the webpage in your web browser. See the suggestions above if you cannot see the page when you try to load it in the browser.
If Your Page Doesn't Look Right
The first thing to do is check your page (and its style sheet, if you created one) for missing closing tags, brackets, or braces.
You should also attempt to validate your page (and its style sheet) using the tools at the W3C: the (X)HTML validator and the CSS validator. If the validator finds mistakes, it will tell you where the mistakes are by line number so that you can fix them.
If your page is still not looking the way you believe it should, you may wish to make sure you are using styling tags appropriately (DevGuru provides reference guides for (X)HTML and CSS) and that, if you are using a complex layout structure such as tables or CSS, that you have properly layered the elements.
The Help Desk does not provide assistance with web page creation, with the exception of helping if you have trouble installing or configuring SecureFX or SecureCRT.