Creating a Web Page at La Tech

OK. You've learned how to get a VM account at Tech, you've learned where to use, you've learned how to use it. You've sent e-mail, you've surfed. Is there anything more to do? You bet there is. If you're brave enough and willing to spend a little time learning something new, you too can have your own web page just as millions of people all over the world already have.

Creating a web page is not as hard as it may seem. All it takes is a combination of desktop publishing skills, knowledge of HTML (the computer language that's used), and most of all, a willingness to learn.

Before we tell you how to create actual items on a web page, let's first go through the procedures required to have a web site at Tech.

We will assume that you have already received your VM account and that you are familiar enough with the system to use it fairly well.

In the shared filesystem (SFS), you want to create a directory named webshare
Follow the directions below for creating HTML documents, and place them in the webshare directory
Use help SFS to get information on managing SFS files and directories
If your account uses a minidisk, create a file named webshare filelist on your 191 (A) minidisk listing the files you want exported to the web. Each entry should contain the filename, filetype, and file mode; one per line, with a blank (space) in the first column.

After you have done this, you are now ready to create your web page. The easiest way to do this is to use a computer program that writes the code for you. Both Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect can take your documents and put them into HTML. However, be warned, that neither one of these programs do a good job. They are intended for word processing, not HTML creation. You can also use Microsoft Publisher which costs around $80. Publisher is easy to understand and does come with some predesigned templates- where you just substitute your text for whatever is there. Publisher works great with two exceptions. One, you can not edit the HTML code that goes into your page. And two, publisher exports everything, including text, as a graphic, which causes the download time for your page to be very long. A page like this would not be able to be read by Tech's "dumb" terminals.

All these programs can be used to develop web pages, but if you are willing to spend a few extra bucks (around $150) you can get a top of the line web page editor. Microsoft FrontPage is now in its second version (FrontPage '98) and does wonders for creating web sites. In fact, this entire site was created using FrontPage. If you can use your word processor on your computer (especially Word) you should have no problem using FrontPage. FrontPage does take a while to learn, but you should be able to learn it in about one weekend. Not only do you have drop and drag capability, but FrontPage also allows the user to preview what the web site would look like in any browser that is installed on the system. There are also many programming tasks that FrontPage can automate (such as creating response forms) and you can directly edit the HTML code if you know what you are doing.

Before you go out and buy FrontPage though, we would recommend that you buy a "code" book. This is a book that contains the latest approved programming code for HTML (hypertext Markup Language) that has been approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c). There are many on the market to choose from and can be found even at Wal-Mart. 

You should also invest in a book that specifically teaches you how to use FrontPage. Although FrontPage is a wonderful program that's easy to use, the instruction book that comes with it, does not walk you through many of its features. Features- which can greatly enhance the way your page looks. Once again, there are many of these books out and they can be found anywhere computer products or information is sold.

But let's say you are like the average always broke college student and you don't have $200 bucks to create a way awesome web site like Dr. Bruce Magee's. Don't worry, you already have on this computer, everything you need. First, visit this site- A Beginner's Guide to HTML. This is an excellent resource and gives you a primer on how to create a document in HTML. Once you learn the basics, you can pretty much do anything you want to with the web. As far as a text editor, you can use any ASCII text editor such as WordPad, which can most likely be found on this machine.

Well, that's almost all that we have to tell you about using Louisiana Tech's Internet Resources. We hope that this web site has provided you with some facts and information that you did not know before. Before we go, however, we would like to leave you with some other web sites that might help you along your journey into cyberspace. Be sure and click the forward arrow below, and then click on any of the logos to go to that company's page. Each one is sure to have something to offer you from news and information, to search engines, to chat, to . . . well, you get the picture. Happy surfing!