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  • Is it difficult to make a web site?

    Is it difficult to make a web site?

    Since I have written many programs in just about every computer language I guess I will have to learn how to program a web site. I'll head down to Barnes & Noble to get some text on the subject but in the meantime could someone who has created one give me a brief overview. For example, do you need to get a compiler for the language?

    Thanks.....Mike

  • #2
    Nope.

    For the basics, you can write HTML in a plain text file in Notepad. Just "save as" and label it .html rather than .txt then upload it to your site.

    You can get cheap HTML editors that let you easily click-and-drag and see the page in realtime; Netscape Navigator (the browser) usually comes bundled with Netscape Composer, which works quite well. I use it regularly.

    It's limited, of course, as it doesn't do JAVA or Flash, but you can embed those easily if you have them.

    You'll need an FTP (file transfer protocol) in one shape or another to upload the files to your space- if you're just using the space provided with your ISP account, chances are they don't provide many point-and-click upload features. Places like Yahoo and AOL usually have web-based upload applications that essentially do the same thing as an FTP, but make it more user friendly.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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    • #3
      Mike
      It is for me, because I am too lazy to bother.

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      • #4
        Doc,

        Okay, the simple web site is easy. What if I wanted it a bit more elaborate? Maybe you could get a little more detailed.

        How do I register a domain name? Do I go to my ISP and request it from them? These are some of questions I have.

        Thanks.....Mike

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        • #5
          Depends on the ISP.

          In the case of mine, yes. I just called them up, talked to the head tech, told him I wanted to register a domain and needed it hosted.

          They set me up with 50 meg of space, registered the domain in my name, and we set up a password/login for the FTP access. I paid the registration fee through my normal monthly bill.

          Once I had that, I whipped up the pages on my PC, uploaded them through the FTP, then browsed 'em to make sure I didn't have any errant misspellings or whatnot.

          Doc.
          Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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          • #6
            Oh, as for the complexity of the site itself, if you're sticking with plain HTML, it just depends on how good you are with the language.

            The usual ones are <i> for italic, <b> for bolding and <u> for underlining. There's size tags to make text larger or smaller, you can specify the font (though if the viewer's PC doesn't have that font installed, it'll default to a standard) and you can change the background color and text colors in a nearly unlimited range.

            The last two are excellent reasons for an editor, like Composer- unless you're well familiar with each color's hex number.

            <img> tags put in a photo, and <center> will put it in the middle of the screen. <a href> tags make hyperlinks, <br> is a carrige return break, and <p> starts a new paragraph.

            For a decent site you'll want to have some graphics, which means you're going to need a graphics program, like PhotoShop or Paint Shop. Actual photos will usually need to be cropped and compressed before uploading.

            My page is pure HTML. No flash, no Shockwave, no Java, no hidden codes, no animated .gifs. Made with a combination of a six-year-old cheapie HTML editor and Composer, with PaintShop Pro to do the graphics crunching.

            It's not great, it's not highly interactive, and there's a bunch of broken links and outdated stuff, but it's functional, and I haven't had to pay anyone a bucket of cash to write it for me.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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            • #7
              Doc,
              I've got to say I laughed out loud thinking about a jacked up 4wd corvair pulling a Chevette backwards up the road.If you had done that during morning rush hour traffic I bet a bunch of people would have spilled their coffee on their paper after they dropped their cel phone!
              Robert.

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              • #8
                Doc,

                Thanks for taking your time for the explanations! I appreciate it!.....Mike

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                • #9
                  Doc, How much did the 50 meg cost (if you don't mind me asking)? Do you get pop-ups when you go to your page, and did you register with any search engines? Can you have email go to your .com adress?
                  Thanks
                  Location: North Central Texas

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                  • #10
                    Mike,

                    HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is not a programming language. It is a page description language and is linear. There are no branch functions or other programming constructs in HTML. The markup tags are pretty straight forward. As an example, try creating a text document in notepad. Use just plain old text but save the file with a .htm extension. You will then be able to load in in your browser. In other words, you can create a text page with no markup at all. Try it, it's easy.

                    Fancier stuff may involve using Javascript or JAVA, a full Turing strong programming language. Other option like Flash are also available.


                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      Joel- As I recall, each site costs me $20 a month. I have several websites and a couple of domain names.

                      My primary site- linked above- has two .com E-mail addresses, and I can set up more at the drop of a hat (it's a simple setup I can do online.) They're standard POP3 addresses, not webmail like Yahoo or AOL.

                      It's an actual ISP setup- an internet service provider through one of the local phone companies. It's not a bandwidth reseller like freeyellow.com or 50meg.com, and thus has no pop-ups, pop-unders, banner ads or any of that nonsense. I am not limited in bandwidth/data transfer, like Geocities or Angelfire, though if I started to get a lot more traffic (the main site sees about 2,500 page views a day, the comic another 3,500- my bulletin board, which is an offsite host, sees 11,000 to 18,500 a day) I'd pay for anything over X Gb.

                      I registered manually with some search engines back in '98 when I set up the primary domain, but I haven't bothered to go back. Heck, Google "Doc Nickel" or "Doc's Machine" and I'm on the first three pages that come up.

                      Google is the first search engine to get it right- they find you, not making you come to them to be listed. If you want to have people use your search engine, you have to list everything you can, not just anyone who bothers to register with you. Google comes to find you, and thus there's no need to register. Your placement in the results is a matter of how much traffic you see, how many requests you get, and how many other sites link to you.

                      Evan is exactly right- it's not so much a programming language as it is a simple set of instructions that tells the browser how to lay out the text.

                      Here's an example:

                      <HTML>
                      <HEAD>
                      <TITLE>
                      Test Page
                      </TITLE>
                      </HEAD>

                      <BODY BGCOLOR = "#FFFFFF">
                      <IMG SRC = "Demophoto.jpg">
                      <center>
                      Your block of text goes here.><p>
                      Your next paragraph goes here>
                      </HTML>

                      That would give you a blank white background, with the "demo" photo in the top left corner, and two lines of text below it.

                      You can add more paragraphs, more photos, photos in between paragraphs, you can use the <center> tag to put the photos in the middle of the screen, ad nauseum. Just remember that any tag ( <> ) has to be "closed", thus: </>.

                      So the <i> tag tells the browser where to start italicising the text, and the </i> tag tells it where to stop italicising.

                      Tags also have to be "nested" properly: you can have text both bold and italic, like this, but that tags have to be in the proper order:

                      <i><b>Text</b></i>

                      And not: <i><b>Text</i></b>

                      The order doesn't matter- you can start with <b> or you can start with <i>, you just have to reverse it when "closing" the tags.

                      I could go on, but it's a deep subject- it's like asking "how do I machine a part?"
                      But feel free to ask- as I said, I'm no expert, or even a talented amateur, but it wasn't all that long ago I was in your shoes, and I recall having to ask the same questions.

                      Doc.

                      [This message has been edited by Doc Nickel (edited 08-03-2003).]
                      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                      • #12
                        A good hosting service is dreamhost.com, I've had an account with them for 7+ years. You can get a full account (no pop-ups and like junk) for $9.95 a month. Prepay for a year and they'll register your domain name for free for the first year. You get 200Meg and 20 mailboxes (pop3 or IMAP) and access to a MySQL database server at no extra cost. They have a full web admin panel so you have extreme control over your site settings. It pretty much is a bunch of geeks who started a business and run it for other geeks - not a bunch of bankers.
                        My account has 1gig, 140 mailboxes and I can host 7 different domains on it and since I've been with them so long I get it $10 cheaper then list. That's the kind of stuff they do.

                        Myself, I've been programming websites professionally for those 7+ years - HTML, CSS, JAVA, SQL, ASP, PHP, PERL - the common web languages, both markup and programming + database. I've been with quite a few providers and so far have been the happyist with the dreamhost guys.

                        If you are going to buy a book, get the HTML book by O'Reily. It sits next to me at work. I also have their books on CSS and Javascript (plus many others). Great reference books.

                        The best way to learn website design is with a reference book and some websites you like. Save them and view the code, pick them apart (with your refernce for help). There's also a lot of sites on the web that will teach you just about anything you want to know - from styles and tricks to graphics.

                        If you don't have a solid graphics program, then I would recommend Paint Shop Pro from www.jasc.com . It is largely on par with Photoshop but is $60 as compared to $600. There's just not much it can't do. I started with it before I started working for a company that could buy me the expensive Adobe software.

                        I would say - avoid things that flash, animated gifs and all the little pre-made animations that dot the web. You want to keep your graphics tight and use the right format for the image type. JPG for photos and GIF for items like logos that use large areas of the same color. You can also use a transparent GIF to push content around. It is simply a small GIF image that consists of only transparent pixels. You then use the tag -
                        <img src="file path" width="XXX" height="YYY">
                        The browser will resize the invisible image to whatever you enter in the height and width tags.

                        Probably the simplist trick is using tables to control placement. Since it is a general mark-up language it isn't very specific (using basic HTML) on just where stuff goes. it just starts at the top-left and flows down. To make matters more diffcult, some tags (language keywords) have built in paragraph breaks and some don't.

                        By using invisible tables (by setting their borders to zero <table border=0> ) you can use the cells (like in a spreadsheet) to place content in an advanced manner. You can specifiy widths (in pixel or percentage) for cells and the whole table. This gives you a bit more control over the top to bottom, left to right flow. Save a website page with invisible tables, change the borders to 1, resave it and load it in your browser. You can then see the hidden placement structure. I learned a lot this way at the beginning. Remember - you don't need a server to just test a simple page in your browser.

                        A program that's better than notepad is one calls Editplus. It available from www.editplus.com as shareware and only costs $30 to register. It supports many advanced features for programmers including syntax highlighting, auto text completition and just a bunch of stuff. I've been using it for over 6 years for web design. I sometimes start a rough draft design of a page in Frontpage then tune it in Edit+ because Frontpage doesn't write the best code. Another real good web design package is Dreamweaver but it's expensive at $399.

                        Sketching out a webpage idea on graph paper can give you a good idea of the needed table structure - if any. Oh, and you can place a table in a table. That lets you do even more.

                        Ask away. If you want to see what I do then go to www.pmz.com . I do the webdesign, graphics and database programming. My partner deals with getting the data from outside databases loaded in to ours so I can use it.

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                        • #13
                          If you want to see some examples of basic and not so basic web pages try looking at the source code for my web pages. I write every thing in notepad so there is none of the obfuscated code that many of the wysiwyg generators produce (especially Front Page). Got to http://vts.bc.ca and select the sample work button at the left side. Then take your pick of my websites that I have written. If you want to see use of Javascript go to http://koolmail.ca (also mine) and view source. This is a good deal more complicated.

                          [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-03-2003).]
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                          • #14
                            Guys,

                            As I understand it from your posts, I can write the code for the web site in something like Notepad and view it by using Internet Explorer. If everything looks good then find a company that does web hosting and upload that code to them. Do I have this correct?

                            Mike

                            [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 08-03-2003).]

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                            • #15
                              That is correct, Mike.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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