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.
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.
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:
// :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:
It should be common knowledge, by now, that the Web Pages on the Internet
are written, or created, using something called
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd"> <HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>My first HTML document</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> <P>Hello world! </BODY> </HTML>
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.
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
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
, which is where these Web Pages are located.
What HostRocket Offers
Included in all accounts - August 2004
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.
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)
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.
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 ...