Here are some BASIC CONCEPTS that you will need to understand
in order to build your webpages, and mount them on the web:
Organization - Keep your files
organized on your own computer. Place your webpages, images and
scripts into a special directory, and keep it in the same place
on your machine. The reasons for this will become obvious
as we proceed.
Backup - You might consider 'backing up' your site, once it's created,
on an external disk of some kind (a large capacity floppy disk,
or if you have a cd writer - you can put it on a cdrom (editable
would be nice), or a zip disk/drive is ideal).
of the reasons you want to backup are:
Accidental Erasures...Anything can happen, and often DOES!!
Word to the Wise...Having a back up copy of a website I have been working on
has 'saved my bacon' more times than I can count!!
There are some 'conventions' that you SHOULD use
when naming files for your website. These are:
- NO SPACES within the file name
- On UNIX/LINUX/NT servers, if you leave a space in your file
name (such as: my homepage.html)
Unix will attempt to insert something to fill the 'space' between
'my' and 'homepage' -
usually with a code like '%20' -
so that the server will read the file as, 'my%20homepage.html'
- now if all the links to reach your homepage say 'http://www.mydomain.com/my
homepage.html', your homepage will NEVER be found (the browser
will be looking for 'http://www.mydomain.com/my'). You would
have to address it as: 'http://www.mydomain.com/my%20homepage.html'
in order for your web browser to find it. If you MUST have
spaces between the words in the names of your files, use either
a 'dash' ('-') or an 'underscore' ('_') or even a 'dot' ('.')
to bridge the space, as in: My_homepage.html, 'my-homepage.html', 'my.homepage.html'. That way you will
always be able to have your files found correctly.
NOTE: This is a particular problem
for people who use MACS - I see it all the time. MacOS WILL
allow spaces in the names of files, whereas Windows platform
will NOT. If you use a MAC and have gotten into the 'habit'
of putting spaces in your names, lose
the habit...It will cause you no end of problems
in setting up your site.
- CAPS vs. LOWER CASE - This is actually
a matter of preference, but it's important that you
try to be consistent in your naming conventions, if
for no other reason than to save your own time and effort.
On UNIX/LINUX/NT servers, the system has a built-in 'case
sensitivity'. If you place a link to a file that you
named 'Myhomepage.html' but you type the link in
the server will not find that page. By the same token,
a page named 'myhomepage.html' cannot be accessed by a
link that calls 'Myhomepage.html'.
Some administrators' settings even 'force' lowercase in
files that you upload, and in almost all cases, all server
files are named in lowercase. I would suggest that you
use lowercase as a standard method of file naming, but
even if you decide you want to capitalize the first
letter of all your files, or the first letter of each word
in the name of all your files, BE CONSISTENT.
Do it the same way every time. This way, you will have
no problems with linking to your files, internally or externally,
because you will KNOW how you did it without having
to go search out the file and check to be sure.
NOTE: When addressing your webpage
in your browser address bar, it doesn't make any difference
whether you type the URL in ALL CAPS, all lower case or any
combination of the two...because the "default" setting
for URLs is lower case, and the
browser will convert the address to all lower case automatically. (Email
addresses use the same defaults, too.)
- DUPLICATE FILES - Obviously, two files cannot have
the same, exact name; your computer will not allow this, nor
will the server, so...if you need to keep a 'version' of a
file as a backup...try renaming the file with a different file
extension (a common one for a backup copy is '.bak')
or...you can always append a 'number' to the file name, that
let's you know it is the first, second or third 'version' of
this file and so on.
Example: 'index.html' = 'index2.html'
- OR - 'index.html' = 'index.html.bak'
Mirroring - What you want to do on your machine
is to "MIRROR" the arrangement of your files on your server. This way,
you can make your changes to the documents on your own machine, and UPLOAD them (by FTP) to the server, overwriting
the original files. Being organized in this way helps to prevent silly
mistakes, such as overwriting the wrong index page ... and having to
recreate it from scratch... :((
Another 'bonus' of
MIRRORING is that the same RELATIVE LINKS that work on your own
computer will work on the SERVER without any changes.
Directory Levels - Pay
attention to the different DIRECTORY LEVELS on
both your own machine and your server. This will be very important
in understanding how to apply your internal
links between html documents.
Level 1 on your server would be the public directory where your
webpages can be viewed by everyone who accesses your URL.
Level 2 would be the directories WITHIN the Level 1 directory. These
directories might contain more html pages, or images, or
other directories even. If your Level 2 directories contain
directories, then those would be Level 3 directories...and
so forth. (Directories within directories
within directories...do you begin to see why organization
Linking and Addressing - Now...you
need to tell the browser where to find the images that go on your
webpage, by drawing a 'roadmap' for
There are two methods you can use:
Simply put, this is creating your link so that the entire URL is
completely spelled-out in each link. An example of Absolute Addressing
This type of addressing is based on the location within the directory
structure of the page from which the call is made. An example of
relative addressing would be:
<"../../images/some.jpg"> The page calling
the image from the image directory is TWO levels
DOWN from the image directory where the file is located.
call is originating from the same level as
the images directory, then the call would look like this:
The principal advantage to Relative Addressing,
is that you could move your files to any server in any domain and
the links within the files would still work. With Absolute Addressing you would need to go in and change
all the links to reflect the new directory structure. You will
find, though, that there are times when for one reason or another,
you MUST use Absolute Addressing; no worries...either one is perfectly
!!One thing I WOULD recommend regarding link addressing
is that you
BE CONSISTENT. If you are going to use Absolute Addressing, use it
everywhere, and the same goes for Relative Addressing.