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Web Publishing Hints


Web Publishing Hints

NOTE: At the time this information was published, Netscape Composer was widely used as an authoring tool for web sites on campus. We now strongly recommend using Dreamweaver for authoring sites. Dreamweaver automatically takes care of a lot of the site management issues and problems mentioned here.


Name your "home" page index.html
When creating a new site, the default page that displays (i.e., your home page) when people visit your site should be named "index.html" (or index.htm, if your prefer). If a file called "index.html" or "index.htm" is not found by the web server in your site directory (when the referring URL ends in a "/" - and not with a file name), then the person browsing to your site is presented with a list of all the files within your site, of which there may be many to choose from (including those which you don't necessarily want exposed outside of their intended content - for example, frames).

Microsoft Word "save as html"
AVOID using Microsoft Word save as html for authoring your web pages. Microsoft html pages are extremely code heavy and contain a lot of extraneous characters in the code. This makes for abnormally large files, sometimes four times larger than they would be with an editor such as Dreamweaver, and consequently this results in slow download times for end users. You can still use Microsoft Word to save as html, but then you should use the "Clean up Word html" feature in Dreamweaver before publishing the html page(s).

Images
AVOID re-sizing images from their original size which were taken with a digital camera . Not only does the image have the original file size, meaning it takes up more disk space which results in slow downloads, but re-sized images can play funny tricks with browsers. The browser has to extrapolate data in order to re-size the image for display. Some browsers on some platforms will just not display the image at all. The best is to take the original image into a photo editing software and re-size it. Then re-save it in a web format, with an extension such as jpg (pronounced: j-peg).

Publishing to a directory
When using Netscape Composer, your publishing ftp URL MUST ALWAYS have a prefix that starts ftp://webhotel.roch.edu/adminusers/user id where user id would be replaced with your actual user id After the user id portion of the URL, be sure to include the site directory you are publishing to (for example, publichhtml for your default site). User "jdoe" would NOT want to publish to ftp://webhotel.roch.edu/adminusers/jdoe/ but instead ftp://webhotel.roch.edu/adminusers/jdoe/anothersite.

Publishing Errors in Netscape Composer
You may get errors when trying to publish using Netscape Composer. Check to see if you have all the publishing preferences set correctly and spelled correctly. Make sure you have saved the file you are trying to publish. You can't create something from nothing. The file doesn't exist in Composer's mind until you've saved it. On the Mac you may have to use an FTP client such as Fetch to upload your files.

Naming of files
Only use alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9), periods, dashes and underscores when naming your web files to publish. Special characters (like spaces, !, @, #, $, %, &, *) are not allowed and as a result, your links may break.

Choose a system (that works) and stick with it. Save yourself some headaches and be consistent when naming your files. It would probably be best if you use all lower case when naming; that way if you update a page or are making a link, you know what your system is, and your links will work. Keep in mind that some servers including our own are case sensitive, meaning capitalization and lower case letters do make a difference.

File extensions
Be Sure to include file extensions. The web server determines your file "type" by its extension, and then takes the appropriate action for files of that type when delivering it to web browsers. File extensions are the characters after the last period in a file name. For example, index.html has an extension of "html" and picture.gif has an extension of "gif." Your published files should have the correct extensions for their types. It is best to use consistency when giving extensions. If you are naming HTML files pick EITHER .htm or .html for ALL the pages in your site. If you mix in .htm with .html, you will end up with multiple copies of the same page if you re-save a web page and give it a different extension than the original (ex. if your updated home page is index.htm it will not overwrite an older version index.html, thus the changes will not be seen on the web).

Multimedia files
Publishing multimedia files to the academic site is okay. BUT the server is not configured to handle large streaming multimedia files, so the end result may be a frustratingly slow experience for people who are browsing to your site. Keep in mind that our Internet connection at the college is very fast compared to what the average home user (student) would have. Just because you can put multimedia files on a web page doesn't mean it is good web design. We have plans to implement streaming multimedia servers that you can similarly publish to in the future.

Connecting to Webhotel
WebHotel only accepts network connections from UCR's network (including UCR's Remote Access Service). If you are trying to publish while connected to the Internet via a commercial ISP (Internet Service Provider) such as AOL (America Online), the FTP connection will be refused.

Passwords
Your authentication credentials (i.e., user id and password) for web publishing are the same as your credentials for logging into UCR's Intranet and dialing into UCR's Remote Access Services (except that Remote Access uses your e-mail address as a user id). Changing your password via the profile page on the UCR Intranet server changes your password for all of these services.

Also see the Frequently Asked Questions section to gain more insight on common problems.

Last Updated: April 30, 2014

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