a website is not difficult, it's just confusing. The process can be
broken down to just a few steps; so long as you have a computer with
an internet connection, some bodgy software, and plenty of perseverance
(or an unhealthy obsession with computers), web publishing is within
the grasp of any computer literate person.
you want to put info on the web, but are unsure of the steps, try
a website is the counterpart of web browsing, but in process it is
more like using a word processor or page layout program. Putting info
on the World Wide Web is a kind of publishing - compare it with email
or print media as a means of conferring information or graffiti as
a message board.
on the web is cheap, immediate, requires few resources, and can be
seen from any web browser in the world. The main restriction with
Web publishing is it excludes people who don't have access to the
are three elements to getting a site up:
You need content, which you need to format in HTML. (eg a file called
2 You need the content to be published on a server.
3 You must have an address on the server, so people can find it. (eg
www.elf.org - which could direct toward any server on the Web).
content is the key to the site. The other steps are procedural.
out what you want to put on the site - text and pictures are the best
place to start. Then start assembling it.
standard format for WWW documents is HTML - hypertext markup language.
It's like a special word processor format that can handle text, tables
(for fancy formatting), layers (even fancier interactive formatting),
and links to other locations on the WWW. It can embed pictures, sounds,
motion clips and other electronic documents. A web site can become
a very confusing place!
Navigator and Internet Explorer are browsers: they can read HTML (and
surf the web), but they do not write HTML. There are specific programs
for compiling HTML content: try Dreamweaver by Macromedia, or there
you have used word processors or programs like HyperCard or PowerPoint,
the basic concepts of programs like Dreamweaver are similar and pretty
easy - but expect to be confused all the same. Insert a table to position
the text, enter your text (cut and paste from a word processor), and
insert pictures using the Insert Image command. There are plenty of
books around on how to use these programs.
able to format text, insert pictures, and hyperlink to other documents
are the primary skills to learn; the rest are flourishes. For very
simple HTML, it is possible to save even a MS-WORD document in HTML
format, and upload it to the web.
in programs like Photoshop 5.5 or Flash are invaluable for adding
look to a site. Websites are best kept small, and both these programs
can assist that.
combined with a scanner is a really good setup. Many scanned photos
will want to be cropped, resized or filtered before putting on the
simplest website contains no more than ascii text: web browsers can
show txt files as easily as HTML. Contrastingly, sites like indymedia.org
use server-side programs to build a complicated and versatile interface.
'Plug ins' allow other programs to run within a browser window, so
your computer can stream video, animate flash files or show Acrobat
sites are a blank canvas, you can express yourself using any of its
Serving over the WWW
could publish (or serve) your own site over the World Wide Web from
your own computer with the right software - so long as you remained
connected to the Internet. But as this is expensive and difficult,
you will need find a host and put it on their server.
host can be arranged for free (through a university or sites like
geocities or xoom - with annoying advertising), or you can find commercial
servers by searching for "website hosting" on a search engine.
A commercial server costs money, but should give a good connection
and allows you to have your own domain name. Servers may be anywhere
in the world - but a proximity to your audience helps. Eg Melbourne
users should get a faster connection to a Melbourne server than one
in the UK.
your content on a free site has advantages of anonymity too: crosswinds.net
has its own web-browser based FTP interface, which means it is possible
to upload documents from a café computer to the web.
Sites and Address
'website' is a fairly vague term: it can refer to a single page or
a cluster of pages. There is no need to have a front page, but it
may help users to have a beginning.
address is crucial. This is how the HTML documents are located on
the ever-changing directory of the internet. An address is centred
around a Domain Name. A domain name consists of a name and an extension
- eg s11.org or abc.net.au. There can be subdomains, like melbourne.indymedia.org,
and directories, like www.antimedia.net/awol is a directory on antimedia.net.
is possible - at a price - to purchase your own domain name. This
domain can be directed to any server. Domain names and hosting can
be arranged as a package: search for "domain registration web
hosting" on google.
domain name system is regulated by ICANN, which meets in Melbourne
on 10-13 March 2001.
to the web
you're content is complete and your server and address are known,
you will need to upload your content to the server. There are different
protocols for uploading to your server according to the server's preferences.
Normally File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used: Dreamweaver has an
FTP interface inbuilt, or programs like CuteFTP allow you to upload
files independently. This is just a procedure to verify that you know
the server's password and to enable you to read and write to the server's
hard disks freely.
uploaded, anyone browsing the web who requests the right document
will see the document that you uploaded to that address.
internet is an anarchy - do as thou wilt, but exercise caution. If
you are doing anything controversial which starts making news, expect
(at the least) threats of legal action. Try to deal with them creatively.
internet is also a complex digital arena, which is ever changing and
always uncertain. It is not a good place for confidentiality. Is Back
Orifice on your computer?
few simple precautions will assist anonymity though - don't use your
real name, use a friend's credit card when purchasing online etc.
internet is the internet. It was designed by the military, but came
into the public domain via academia - there are a lot of older systems
and sites that coexist with the flashy consumer driven websites advertised
on billboards; sites like totse.com apparently pre-existed the public
internet. Anything and anyone you need to find is hidden somewhere
online. Search engines like google.com are a good start. You can teach