Help in Setting Up Your Own Web Site 

 [Help me, please, help me!]
  This is unofficial advice (from a rank non-expert) on setting up a web site on the Alpha computer at FDU's Florham-Madison Campus.

1. Begin your page

At the alpha prompt>, type in the command install_html. This will make a "directory" (which is like a folder in the Mac world) called public_html, which will contain all your web-site stuff. Inside that "directory" will be a "file" (which is like a document in the Mac world) called index.html. That is, at first, just a dummy web-page to give you a start. 

2. Check

After you have run install_html, check things out to build your confidence. At the alpha prompt, type ls -l. This will give you a detailed listing of everything in your part of the alpha. You should see the public_html directory. To see what is inside that directory, type cd public_html, which will move you into your public_html file. Then type ls -l again to see a list of what is inside public_html. There you should find your file index.html.

3. Opening the dummy

Now at the alpha prompt type your web-page address, accessed through lynx. Type:


Your beginning, or dummy web-page should open. It's not very interesting, but it is a good confidence-builder to see it in place. 

4. Simple HTML

Now is your chance for originality. To modify the dummy page, one may open it as a file and judiciously modify it using a screen editor such as pico. One must be careful when modifying the index.html file, for there are in it not only ordinary words, but special codes enclosed in brackets. For example, <B> means that the following text is to be in bold type, and <\B> means that you are ending the run of boldface text. Similarly, <I> and <\I> are for italics. A very useful one is <TT> and <\TT>, which gives fixed pitch text: that is, each letter is the same width, like an old-fashioned typewriter. That is very useful in trying to get columns to line up, like schedules in a syllabus. Re-doing your page with a screen editor is known as "the way of the true initiate", "the manly way", "the army way", or "the hard way". 

5. Page-editing programs

I prefer the easier way in many things, and in this case I prefer to use a web-page editing program. There are several around. One of the best is the highly praised Adobe program called PageMill. These programs allow one to write normally within the program, with all the good Mac-like (or, I suppose, Window-like) amenities, which are translated into the proper web code. Everything comes out ducky. (Prolonged laughter, applause.)

Anyway, using one of these programs, one makes a new index.html document (or file). This must now be uploaded to the alpha and substituted for the old dummy file. One must get into ones public_html directory. Then run the command ls -l to see the index.html file sitting there. Remove it by typing

rm index.html

Then upload your new web-page file. Use zmodem. Type rz and notice a bunch of garbage appearing, which includes a B followed by a pack of zeroes, signifying (to the inner priesthood) that the alpha awaits a file transfer. Then have your communications program send your file by zmodem transfer. The command for this will vary with your communications program. On my program (WhiteKnight 12) it is a simple menu command.

After the upload, do ls -l again to see what you have wrought. Your new file should be sitting in the proper directory. 

6. Permissions

Permissions must be set properly for people to be able to access your page. Chances are good that your custom-made page will be uploaded without the proper permissions. No problem! Do ls -l and note the strange letters in the column at the left of the display for each file. then run the command chmod 644 *, which will give the proper permissions to all files in your public_html directory. 

7. Check your results

Now try accessing your web-page again (as in 3, above). When it displays, gather additional confidence. Make plans for greater accomplishments, and share your expertise with others. Try to think of uses for this technology. And let us all know! 
  OK, I've had enough. Return me to Dr. Boyer's home page.

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