So you want to make your own homepage?

What is a Homepage?

A homepage (or any other web page, for that matter), is just a document with text and formatting commands combined. The web browser, such as Netscape, Mosaic, Lynx, WebExplorer, reads this text and outputs the pretty formatted document you see.

This system is similar to a page produced by a word processor, where you add special formatting commands such as bold, tables, etc. The difference is that in most word processors you don't see the formatting commands, just the effect of the commands (i.e. WYSIWYG), the resultant document is not a text document, and the formatting commands are not meant to be read directly by people.

HTML documents are more similar to (La)Tex or nroff/troff, in that the formatting commands are just normal, human-readable text, and in that one runs some other program that reads in what you wrote and outputs formatted text. For example, in HTML, to put text in bold, you would just type <B>this is bold</B>.

Of course, there is a major difference: Web documents can contain links to other documents, sound, and movies.

How do I make a Homepage?

You need to do the following three steps:
  1. Ask your Internet provider for instructions
  2. Learn HTML
  3. Make your page.

Ask your Internet provider for instructions

You need to find out from your Internet provider (the company that gave you your Internet account) the details such as what to call the file, where to put them, etc.

If your Internet provider does not allow personal homepages, all is not lost. The following places will give a homepage to anyone, just for asking. Thanks to Kathleen Clark for telling me about most of these, and for the descriptions. [My comments are in [].]

Which one to recommend? That's a tough one. The ones that give you the most editing and graphics options (Kamtec, LookUP), also give you LESS free space to work with than the others (BHI, AngelFire). So it's a tossup. It also depends how html intensive you want to get.

Learn HTML

There are many sources for learning HTML; below are two that might be useful. (As there are Purdue links, some of the info might be Purdue specific.) But I feel the best way to learn HTML is to look at how other people have done it. The only problem with that way is not everyone does it right. So to make sure you got it right, send it through Hal's Validation Program or WebLint.

If you don't want to learn HTML, there are editors that look like word processors but can output HTML. I haven't used any, so I can't comment. (With the exception of WordPerfect 7.0, which seems to work well.)

Make your page!

The easiest way to make your own page is to find another page that (1) you like the layout and (2) provides information similar to what you want to provide. Simply save the source of that page and edit it appropriately.

Another option is The-Inter.net will make a page for you, but I've never tried it so I don't know how good it it. Or take a look at a colection of templeates.

And when you like how your page looks, make sure to submit it to Make a Friend!


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