2003-11-21 / Columnists

WaveTech

By L. Robinson
WaveTech By L. Robinson

Look Ma!!! I’m on the Internet!

This is where the fun really starts! Now to save on space for these next few columns I have uploaded a supplemental page to the web. This is where you will find a bunch of links to freeware, shareware and relevant tutorials to assist us on our web site building project. The page is http://xtc-media. com/wavetech.htm.

Make sure you bookmark the page, as I will be updating this page with hints and tips as we go along just to make our lives a little simpler.

So, you are ready to become one of the few, the proud, the brave… a Webmaster!

Making your presence on the web is not as hard as you think. Besides that’s what the web is basically for!
To share information, right? So why should you want to take the time out of your life to build a website?

Well, first off it is really a great way to share information and accomplishments with family and friends, as well as having an online photo album of special events (trust me, there’s nothing like forgetting that one family member in the CC line of your email when sending out pictures)!

Also, if you frequent chat rooms, it’s kind of cool to have a point of reference that people can use to see who you are. And as always if you do a good job and your personal site looks great, you can always get bragging rights.

I am going to tell you a little secret… you might really find out that you like doing it and maybe discover that web design is your calling in life!

So if you are willing to put the time in, let’s get started…

First off, you need to get what’s called a Domain Name. This is your address on the web. To get to this, you need to go to what’s called a domain registrar. These are entities that are in the business of selling web addresses. Prices range from $10 to $35 dollars a year! Some registrars include web space and email boxes (yourname@ yoursite.com) with your purchased name. Others just give you the name with nothing else! I will compare some of the major registrars on the supplemental web page.

Once you get your domain name, the next stage is to get a website editor that you can work with. There are basically two kinds of website editors, HTML and WYSIWYG. HTML is the code that the page is made up of (to see this, right click on a page, say http:// rockawave.com go to ‘view source’ and you will see a bunch of source code). This is called Hyper Text Mark up Language (html). Now before I get a bunch of email from people telling me that I don’t know what I am talking about… yes, there are other design languages such as ASP, Python, DHTML, Flash, Perl, and Java to name a few, but this column is geared toward those who may not have that much experience, so HTML will have to do for the time being. This is the basic language of the Internet and if you do plan on continuing to build for the Internet you should learn as much about HTML as possible. I will give you some links to some really good online tutorials that you will find very helpful. An HTML editor is for those who prefer to build strictly using source code.

The other type of web site editor is called a WYSIWYG Editor, which stands for, What You See Is What You Get! This is basically an editor that allows you to see what you are doing without looking at line after line of code and it is much easier to work with. Most of the high-end editors like Front Page and Dreamweaver include both editor views! But remember, you should try to obtain at least a rudimentary understanding of HTML even if you decide to use a WYSIWYG editor…Trust me, sometimes you do have to roll up your sleeves and dig into your source code to fix problems that may arise.

Again, I will leave links to full working shareware programs that will get you started on your page. Download a couple of them and see which one you are more comfortable with. Remember, this should be a fun project not a headache!

The next step believe it or not is the most important stage! And you’re not going to even do it on your computer!

Yep! You are going to make a layout of what you figure your web page/s is going to look like! And you are going to do it old school style, with paper and pencil!

First off, how many pages are you going to make for your site? For the sake of our project, it will be simpler if we do a 3-page layout…The Front page (intro page), Photo Page (album) and accomplishments page. But feel free to make as many pages as you feel that you need. Just draw out how you would like your pages to look, where you want to place images and text and while we are at it, why don’t you write out what text you are going to put on your pages?

In my years of creating sites, I feel that this little step will save you a lot of time and keep your headaches down to a minimum! It’s always better to have a set game plan than to sit down and just look at a blank screen and then try to come up with ideas on the fly! Remember, other people are going to be looking at your work, so take some time to flesh it out before you throw it up.

Ok, we are on the way to getting our site up!

Next column, we will go over image editing, hosting, uploading and promoting your site! And I want to see some of those websites! So don’t forget to send me those URLs (You have to love it when you get to see people in your community representing on the web)!

Just remember… These columns are geared towards the novice user and should not be used for business. Well, ‘til next time, remember to keep a lane on the information highway open for me!


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