Week 2

Creating Web Sites ch. 3& 4:

Chapter 3– “Putting your page on the web”, is a wonderful explanation of web hosting. It describes domain names and how to register them, as well as things to look for in a web hosting company. There are some tips on choosing a domain name such as trying to keep it as close as possible to an existing company or business name. Ideally they should be the same, but this is not always possible. There is a discussion of top level domain names (.com, .org, .net, .biz, etc.) with the verdict seeming to be that .com is the way to go. It is what most people expect, especially for a business. If one has a non-profit company, then .org may be just as good. For a personal site, .net may be okay too, but the emphasis was .com.

As stated in this chapter, most people only need the lowest level of web hosting (bandwidth, space, etc.) unless one is offering many large files (audio, large photographs) for downloading purposes. There is a handy web host checklist offered for those who are new to having their own hosted site. Two sites are mentioned (http://aplus.net and http://www.brinkster.com) as web hosting options, but there are many others. It is best to avoid the free ones, although some ISPs (internet service providers) offer free space that is okay until you are ready for your own.

Chapter 4– “Power tools” is all about creating a first page in an HTML editor. Most people use either an HTML text editor or WYSIWYG editor. Some free ones such as NVU are mentioned but this is really phasing out and is replace by Komposer. The rest of the chapter discusses the use of Dreamweaver or frontpage with a brief exercise. This exercise is a bit confusing. You are to type a previously demonstrated page’s text into an HTML editor. It is assumed you are using frontpage or Dreamweaver as those are what the screen shots are from. The exercise instructions are interspersed with the screen shots which make it harder for someone who is using a different editor (or even a different version of the one shown) to follow. At the end FTP is shown but in a very confusing way. It assumes that you have already gone out and bought host space and a domain and is using FTP. If one is using a student site (such as at USF) one needs to know SSH and have it downloaded. Fortunately there is a very good tutorial for USF students in how to upload to their allotted space.

Review the following websites:

W3 Consortium: http://www.w3.org/

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a very full and up to date website. In spite of the fact that there are lots of things going on, it seems fairly straightforward to navigate. There is a large horizontal navigation bar at the top with clear indications. In the top of the right column is a search box for the site.

W3C develops web technologies and tries to keep the web running at full potential. This site is a place to go for information on news and technologies and new ways to communicate. At the bottom of the left column there is a box titled W3C A to Z which lists different topics in alphabetical order. This makes it quite easy to find information related to CSS or HTML for example. Under CSS there is even more information such as learning CSS (they offer tutorials), different authoring tools, the specs for CSS versions 1, 2, and 3, etc. There are not a lot of graphics and images on this website, but it is full of useful information and seems to be accessible to most.

W3Schools: http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp

W3Schools is the powerhouse of tutorials. Sponsored by W3C, this site is all about free web building tutorials from the very basic HTML and basic CSS to more advanced browser and server scripting tutorials (AJAX, SQL, PHP, etc.). The basic topics are listed down the left side and, once selected the main content of the tutorial will be in the center. It is quite easy to skip ahead or find a specific topic to view.

Under CSS, there are many tutorials both basic, and advanced covering beginning syntax and pseudo-class. There are numerous examples covering background, text, font, borders, padding, lists, etc. These are invaluable resources to both beginners and intermediate or those trying to problem solve, or try something new.

USF specific tutorials: http://www.cas.usf.edu/lis/distance/tutorials/

The main tutorial page is very easy to follow with columns for: general topics, USF OASIS, myUSF/ Blackboard, and student web page. I viewed two tutorials: Printing from blackboard and SSH files. Both were made using some sort of video type of software, such as captivate. One could watch screen shots as the cursor was moved to what needed to be clicked on and there were text caption boxes with important information so one did not need to have audio. The printing from black board was nicely done as if fit in the computer screen without scrolling and the important information boxes were place in the center in yellow so they stood out. The SSH files was not as good because in order to access the controls, one had to scroll down and then could not see what was being demonstrated at the top of the screen. In general the information was quite useful and the main tutorial page made it easy to find what was needed all in one place.