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Web Publishing Basics

Web Publishing Basics

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In This Chapter

\ue000Getting started with Web publishing
\ue000Putting together a Web page the easy way \u2014 and the easier way
\ue000Examining types of Web sites
\ue000Reviewing Web page guidelines

Web Publishing Basics
Chapter 1
T
he Web is an incredibly easy way to get your message \u2014 any message \u2014

out to anyone in the world who\u2019s interested in it. By putting up a Web page, you can stay in touch with friends and family, entertain people, help yourself get a job, or help yourself do your job. You can start a business, grow a business, or just have fun expressing yourself.

Nearly a million people have purchased this book since its first edition more than ten years ago, and our readers have used every technique we describe in this book, and more, to get their first Web pages up and running. By read- ing this book, you\u2019re starting on a path that many, many people before you have followed to Web page success.

Web Basics 101

You may have begun using the Internet and Web without really getting a
chance to learn how they work. Knowing how they work can help you
become a better Web publisher. Here\u2019s a brief, to-the-point description.
For more information, you can search the Web; the World Wide Web
consortium site atwww.w3.orgis a good place to start.

COPYRIGHTED
MATERIAL
Understanding how the Web works

The Web, formally called the World Wide Web, is a collection of a bunch of
text and graphics files (plus some other stuff) that make up Web pages. Web
pages are combined into linked sets of pages called Web sites. People often
use the term interchangeably, but technically, a Web page is a single page; a
Web site is one or more Web pages linked together.

The base of the Web is the Internet. The Web depends on the Internet to con- nect its many files together and to allow people to get to the Web. E-mail is a separate function that also depends on the Internet. And FTP (file transfer protocol) is another Internet service, used to move files from one computer to another.

The Web is defined by two specifications: HyperText Transfer Protocol
(HTTP) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML). The underlying idea
behind the Web ishyper text\u2014 text that can contain links to other pieces of
text stored anywhere on the Internet. The Web got its name from the way all
the links connect the pieces of text together like a huge spider\u2019s web.

You look at Web pages by using a program called a Web browser.A Web

browser uses HTTP to request a Web page from a Web server. The Web page, in turn, uses HTTP to request any other files, such as graphics images or ads, that are part of the Web page. After you request a Web page, your Web browser pulls the files that make up the Web page from one or more Web servers and assembles those files into one page on your machine.

10
Part I: Create a Web Page Today
Getting webbed

This book talks a lot about the Web, but doesn\u2019t discuss how to get on the Web as a user. Even if you\u2019re on the Web already, perhaps through a connection at work, you may also want to get on the Web from home. How do you do that?

The most popular online service is still America Online (AOL). AOL has robust Web publishing features, coverage around most of the world, good spam blocking, kid-safe controls, and many other good features. You can use AOL\u2019s Web publishing features (see Chapter 4) whether you\u2019re an AOL user or not.

MSN (Internet access from Microsoft) is also popular, and there are a host of other providers who can give you a good deal \u2014 in many cases, cheaper than AOL. What most of these other providers lack is the ability to get online from nearly anywhere in the world by using a dialup number and the wide range of services AOL offers.

It\u2019s quite likely that your Internet Service Provider, whether it\u2019s a big name like AOL and MSN or a little guy, offers you space for your Web site \u2014 and perhaps helpful support services as well. Check your ISP\u2019s offerings as you decide how to get your first pages up on the Web.

The most popular Web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, which you
can use separately or as a built-in part of America Online software; Firefox,
the successor to the once-popular Netscape Navigator; Opera, a standards-
compliant Web browser from a small company; and Safari, a browser for
Macintosh computers.

After a Web browser requests a Web page using HTTP, HTML steps in. Each
Web page includes a text file written in a format calledHTML(for HyperText
Markup Language) and usually one or more graphics files. HTML defines a
Web page\u2019s appearance and functionality. Actually, HTML doesn\u2019t precisely
specify the Web page\u2019s appearance: Different Web browsers display various
HTML commands differently. Also, users can specify how they want things to
look. So what one user sees when she looks at a Web page may be different
from what another user sees. (Chapter 8 goes into detail about HTML.)

Getting a Web page up on the Internet is surprisingly easy. In fact, if you\u2019re in a hurry, you may want to go straight to Chapter 2 (for GeoCities, a Web-based service), Chapter 3 (for Google Page Creator), or Chapter 4 (for the fine page creation service on AOL and AOL.com). Follow the instructions there to get your first Web page up in a few hours.

Getting up URL-y

TheInter net is the giant computer network that connects other computer net-
works around the world. At its base, the Internet is just a giant mechanism
for moving files from one computer to another. It finds files by using a kind of
address called aURL (Uniform Resource Locator \u2014 which sounds like some-
thing the Army invented to track down clothes!). The acronym URL is usually
pronounced \u201cyou are ell,\u201d although some pronounce it \u201cearl.\u201d Most people
today use the term \u201cWeb address\u201d or \u201cInternet address\u201d instead of \u201cURL,\u201d
but as a Web publisher you should know both terms.

The address that you type to get to a Web page is a URL. For example,www.
netsurf.comis the URL for Arthur\u2019s Netsurfer Communications Web site. A
URL consists of three parts (see Figure 1-1):
\ue001Protocol:The name of the communications language that the URL uses:
HTTP (used on the Web), HTTPS (for secure Web pages), FTP, and so on.
\ue001Domain name:The name of the server the file is on.
\ue001Pathname: The location of the desired file on the server.
11
Chapter 1: Web Publishing Basics

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