Building A WebSite

  Back to Design and Decide

Alllrighty now. Not sure how you arrived at this page -but- we want to say that this is our 'old' way of doing things. We are in the process of revising the site and it will take some time. After all it took a long time to build it in the first place. The information, at least most of it, is still good. So get what you can and come back later to see if we have gotten things changed yet. IF, you didn't come to here from there, you can jump over to our new Design-Decide and check on how we are doing.

Houston we have a problem!!

    First, I need to say that, even though I am trying to jump on the "Any Browser" band wagon, a lot of the things in my pages are best viewed using Firefox ver 1.5 and above. (I am now using ver 3.0.3) Microsoft keeps putting their own little glitches in that mess up things. CSS was supposed to be great ... and it is ... but M$ isn't co-operating. My CSS code "should" be interpreted the same in all Browsers. That is one of its claims to fame. How-some-ever, my CSS code, at times, gets interpreted differently by M$. So I apologize for the pages that look strange cause I haven't fixed all of them yet ... to work on M$ as well as Netscape/Firefox. Even in the latter two there is a "problem". Netscape, at least up to and including version 7.2, would not do vertical scrolling inside a div. Early versions of Firefox didn't either. However, Firefox 1.5 and above ... does... and so does IE ver 6.
Note:    Think it is fixed.     If not please drop me a line... Thanks.

    If you arrive at this page, and the text starts below the left hand menu, just click on reload or refresh. The text should move to its proper place along side the menu. I am still working on all this and the boxes are a @%$#. I got hold of some info on proper use and I will try to implement it. Hopefully in my pursuits I will do something that corrects the problem and I can document it. If I get one of those, "All of a sudden it works" then I guess we'll all have to guess.

   Oh Darn!! I just hate it when this happens. This same piece of code will display correctly in Netscape 7.2 on Linux and in Netscape 7.1 and IE 5.0 on Windows. However, the mouse event for scrolling will not work. The above problem appears in Mozilla 1.8a4 on Linux. Also in this latest Mozilla (Oct 2, 04), I can use the mouse wheel to scroll after doing the re-load but if I click inside the Div box or try to use the side scroll bar the text jumps back below left side menu. Hmmmmmmm???? Always somethin'. Oh by the way, the whole thing works correctly in IE 6. Displays properly and the mouse wheel scrolls. (I think there is a conspiracy here )
   19 Dec 04: Well another little quirk. On my front page I have a form button that displays the date and time. If you click on it, it will display the amount of time you have spent on my site. After, clicking on that form button, and then dismissing the alert box, you can use the scroll wheel to scroll the text... in Netscape 7.2 on Linux!!

Welcome to Building A Website - Page 1

    I am, more or less, writting this as I am building this Web Site. Hopefully, in a plain and friendly enough way that anyone can, and will, understand it. If it is not clear enough in some area, then either research it more on your own, or send me an e-mail with your questions. Just click on my name at the bottom of any of my Pages. I have been involved with computers and the Internet for a few years but just never quite got a Web Page that I thought that I could be proud of. Now, retired with disabilities, I am looking over what I missed, skipped or ignored. This will perhaps help some or just be a nice story of my computing experiences. Part of my health problems is memory. Short term is worse than long term, so that is another reason (actually the biggest) for this document. Then I'll know what I did.

Special Note: I have found that describing the building of a WebSite while building it is not as easy as it seemed at first. A lot of information is inside the code, the HTML code, of the pages as comments. So, in addition to the verbage on these building pages, view the source code. Most browsers have a "View Source" or "Page Source" selection in their 'View' pull-down menus. Look at the Text selections along the top of the browser that you are using.

    Now then, I'm sure that you are here for one of two reasons. Number one cause you are fortunate enough to know me , or two, cause you are building a Web Page and need some help, guidance or info. Hopefully, this will meet both satisfactions. Now I don't know your level of knowledge reguarding the Internet ... but ... I do assume that you at least know how to Navigate on the Web. For the most part, when I send your Browser out to another location, I open another HTML window. If you click on your Back Button and can not get back to the page you were viewing, then close the current page or window and the previous one will pop back in. Unless something wierd happened, and if so, you'll have to start over... Oh darn...

Another Special Note: In my travels whilst building and writing all this up, I found what I consider a Gem in the PHP Coding Standards WebPage. I don't know why I didn't think of this myself. But alas, someone else did and here is a copy:

Gotcha Keywords

  • :TODO: topic
    Means there's more to do here, don't forget.
  • :BUG: [bugid] topic
    means there's a Known bug here, explain it and optionally give a bug ID.
  • :KLUDGE:
    When you've done something ugly say so and explain how you would do it differently next time if you had more time.
  • :TRICKY:
    Tells somebody that the following code is very tricky so don't go changing it without thinking.
    Beware of something.
  • :PARSER:
    Sometimes you need to work around a parser problem. Document it. The problem may go away eventually.
  • :ATTRIBUTE: value
    The general form of an attribute embedded in a comment. You can make up your own attributes and they'll be extracted.

Gotcha Formatting

  • Make the gotcha keyword the first symbol in the comment.
  • Comments may consist of multiple lines, but the first line should be a self-containing, meaningful summary.
  • The writer's name and the date of the remark should be part of the comment. This information is in the source repository, but it can take a quite a while to find out when and by whom it was added. Often gotchas stick around longer than they should. Embedding date information allows other programmer to make this decision. Embedding who information lets us know who to ask.


   // :TODO: tmh 960810: possible performance problem
   // We should really use a hash table here but for now we'll
   // use a linear search.

   // :KLUDGE: tmh 960810: possible unsafe type cast
   // We need a cast here to recover the derived type. It should
   // probably use a virtual method or template.
Now then, properly used this will help others ... and yourself. Ever get interrupted or come back later to fix or finish some code? ... and forgot what you were doing? And then it takes almost as long or longer to figure it out all over again. Old habits are hard to break and sometimes new ones are harder to learn but, I plan on making the above habitual. Chuck (3 Aug 04). But alas... we must remember to use them AND have the time when we stop doing what we are doing.

    What to Do? To start off with, you need to come up with an idea, or theme, for your Web Site. That has been one of my biggest problems. It may be yours. Just what to write about?? What can I do that will look spectacular and really impress my friends, especially, and the visitors to my site? .. Nothing really .. So I finally decided on a number of possibilities:
  The Lord GodComputers,  the InternetModel Airplanes (R/C mostly) and Music.
Hmmmm... that is quite a range.  Hows about we present them all?!
One of the items, that most Web Pages have, is a menu where you can make selections. So, I will have a selection area. My Home Page will be a greeting place where visitors arrive and then select where they want to venture. This will be a sort of multiple sites in one. I'm sure there is a better way to describe that but this will do for now. Besides, this is supposed to be in common friendly terms and not real technical. I will try throughout these pages to have unfamiliar (and even some that are) terms defined. Just move your mouse over a word or an image and if it changes, then there is a link to something somewhere... as you will see in the following description of a WebPage.

    It should be common knowledge, by now, that the Web Pages on the Internet are written, or created, using something called HyperText Markup Lanquage (HTML).
Here's an example of a simple HTML document:

          <TITLE>My first HTML document</TITLE>
          <P>Hello world!

    The above, copied from W3C, is one of the simplest HTML layouts that you will find. But, it has all the basic elements. Which I have linked to more explicit definitions. Of course I must hope that the pages I reference are still available when you read this. That is a problem you may have run into already on the Internet. A company, or person, either runs out of money to keep their Web Page, or they loose interest and drop it. Or they change it to something else. In my case it will be cause of lack of funds. If the pages that I have linked to are not still available, then just search the internet for other locations using the appropriate words, terminology, etc. And if my page is no longer available you won't be reading this.

    Niceties: Now before you get comfortable with the simple, you might also investigate the more complex. CSS, JavaScript, PHP and Java. CSS and JavaScript are the two most important for starters. I'm sure that you will want fancy, active pages, so you had better check out these other areas before you get really wrapped up in your Web Page(s). There are many ways to create these pages and your curiosity, knowledge and time will be the biggest decider on all of this. If you use Microsoft Frontpage, then your Web Pages may not be fully readable by other browsers. I use Macromedia's HomeSite and DreamWeaver. In fact most, if not all, of the time I am using HomeSite. It is actually nothing more than a fancy WebPage specific editor.(a very good one in my opinion) You can... if you are desparate ...write/create WebPages using Notepad. However, I wouldn't recomend it, unless you are really desparate.

    Now then, pay attention. What you can do with your Web Pages can, and usually does, depend on your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Why?? Cause what programming languages you can use depends on where the code is going to be executed. CSS, JavaScript and Java Applets are Browser Plugin dependant but PHP and MySQL are Server dependant. Your ISP will usually provide you with enough space to place simple, to intermediate, Web Pages. But having any complex pages will usually require a Hosting Service, such as HostRocket , which is where these Web Pages are located.

Client or Browser Side Dependant:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • ActiveX controls
  • Flash
  • Java Applets
  • VBScript
Server Side Dependant:
  • Microsoft ASP/.NET (an advantage to this environment for JavaScript developers is that you can program in JScript, Microsoft's version of JavaScript)
  • Java server technologies such as J2EE, JSP, and servlets
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • ColdFusion

What HostRocket Offers

    Included in all accounts - August 2004

  • Web Hosting Control Panel
  • MS Frontpage WebSite Hosting
  • PHP 4.2.3, CGI, Perl 5.6, MySQL
  • ImageMagick 5.5.2 Support
  • Unlimited Email and FTP Accounts
  • Fast, Free 24/7 Tech Support
  • Web Site Hosting Help Forums
  • Reseller Hosting Available
  • 2 Web Based E-Mail Programs
  • Streaming Audio/Video Hosting
  • Free Domain Transfers
  • Phone Tech Support
  • 99.5% Server Uptime
  • HostRocket, A WebHost You Can Trust
The above is, naturally, changeable... for the better or worse.

    Warning! Microsoft, Netscape and the rest of the computing community can not get together on all this. They each have their own little idiosyncrasies that can cause problems with the others. Writing a proper and correct Web Page is not easy in itself. If you want the whole world to view it then you must leave out the items that are peculiar to one version OR check which Browser is in use at the beginning of your WebPage and have conditional jumps to proper locations for each Browser. Now this can cause a lot of code to be written depending on how fancy and how compatible you want to be. In this attempt, I want my pages to be read by all. If there is a problem, please let me know by e-mail. Of course, make sure your Browser supports the item(s) you are trying to use or view. I sold a PC to a client and after using it for a few days they called to complain that they couldn't get a stock program to work. Well, to make a long story short, the customer was using Netscape. The particular software he was trying to use was some that he had 'downloaded' from the Internet. It was MS Internet Explorer specific. Unfortunately, you don't find out about these kinds of things until after you try to use them. So, if you are buying, ask before, and if you are creating, announce in the beggining, if something is Browser specific.

    Linux & Windows: Along with the above topic we also have Linux versus Windows. There is not, at least not when I wrote this, a version of Internet Explorer that works on Linux. Netscape works but is becomming Mozilla. I like Linux and it is my default boot-up system. How-some-ever, one of the first things I do after I boot-up Linux is start my VMware copy of Win2k. Why?? Primarily cause I can't bring myself to learn new tools when the old ones are familiar and still working. I have the means of using what I know and like, so I do. In some purist eyes this is bad. But VMware works both ways. You can run Windows inside Linux, or you can run Linux inside Windows, or combinations. My main system is SuSE Linux in which I run RedHat Linux and Win2k at the same time via VMware. Doing this does require the proper hardware and patience on your part. Emulation is slower than the actual thing. But, if setup properly on fast equipment, it is tolerable.

    CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, reminds me of C++. It "forced organized structured programming" (fosp) on you. This is both good and bad. I will finally submit to the fact that it is mostly good but it really didn't deserve all the hype. C++ originally was nothing more than a bunch of # defines at the beginning of the C file or a separate include file. These got enhanced and then incorporated into the language. Then C became C++. CSS is, in effect, a bunch of defines or macros at the beginning of an HTML file or in a separate file that gets included or linked to the main HTML file. Like C++, CSS redefines some of the HTML tags. In addition you can create your own tags and make your original HTML file neater and more readable. And if you need to make a change that involves one of your customizations, you will be able to do it simply and in one location or file. Something to think on strongly here in the beginning.

    JavaScript, originally called LiveScript, is a neat addition to HTML programming from Netscape. Technically, it is NOT Netscape specific. It is an open scripting language that operates on the client-side of a client-server configuration.(The Web) In other words, it runs on your PC (or your visitor's PC) and not the one you (or they) are connected to. It allows you to have interaction with your site visitors. The only real problem is the War between Microsoft and the rest of the World. Not everything in JavaScript is supported by MS. Primarily because of NIH (Not Invented Here). In fact they, MS, have their own version called Jscript.

    PHP, PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is the current definition. The original definition was Personal Home Pages. PHP is a server-side scripting language. When a browser requests a PHP page from a PHP-enabled server, the server interprets the PHP code and sends the resulting HTML to the requesting browser. (The browser receives only HTML, not PHP code.) This is one reason you need to be picky in selecting your Host Server.(Where you put your site)

    Java, A high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally called OAK, and was designed for handheld devices and set-top boxes. Oak was unsuccessful so in 1995 Sun changed the name to Java and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning World Wide Web. The rest is history. We have Java applets all over the place. Requires a Java enabled Browser.
The source code of a Java applet is stored in file with the suffix ".java". The source code is compiled into byte-code and stored in a file with the suffix ".class". The .class file is included in the HTML document using the applet tag.
    <APPLET CODE="your_applet.class" WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=50>
A Java applet is executed by a Web browser when the browser loads an HTML document that contains an applet tag.
    In order to run the Java Applets you, and your Visitors, will need a Java Runtime Environment. The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) provides the libraries, the Java Virtual Machine, and other components to run applets and applications written in the Java programming language. In addition, two key deployment technologies are part of the JRE:
1.) Java Plug-in, which enables applets to run in popular browsers;
2.)Java Web Start, which deploys standalone applications over a network.
An Info Reference


    Why present all these complicated items here? Why not just go in easy steps and just do simple HTML first?? Cause nobody ever wants to work that way. We all think that we know more than we do and are just in a hurry to get our WebPages working. On top of that we all don't think the same. What is simple for one is complicated for another and visa versa. That is why we have all these ways to do the same thing, only different, in the first place. So, look things over, try them out, experiment and most of all ...
have fun building your Web Site.



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