Introduction to the WWW and HTML

Introduction to the World Wide Web (WWW) and the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)

(Part of this page was contributed by Bo Milvang-Jensen)

This page provides background information for creating a WWW personal (home) page.

Some basic concepts:

WWW (World Wide Web):
The World Wide Web may be defined loosely as the collection of network-accessible information. This information need not only be plain text, but may also be hypertext, graphics, sounds, and movies. The WWW project was initiated at CERN in 1989.
WWW browser:
To access the WWW, you need a WWW browser. On UNIX machines, two possibilities are "Mosaic" and "Netscape". Some strongly recommend "Netscape", which is (at least subjectively) much faster than "Mosaic".
hypertext and hyperlinks:
Hypertext differs from plain text in that it offers the possibility to place so called hyperlinks to other documents (which may be plain text, hypertext, graphics, sounds, etc.) in the document, allowing the reader to decide how to navigate.
This document that you a reading right now is a hypertext document, and you could try following a hyperlink to CERN by single-clicking on the underlined/colored word (here "CERN"). Before you do, be sure to locate the button marked "Back" (near the top in "Netscape", near the bottom in "Mosaic").
HTML (HyperText Markup Language):
Hypertext placed on the WWW is written in HTML. HTML is analogous to LaTeX in that you have on the one hand source code, which includes special commands (in LaTeX these would begin by a backslash, in HTML you use <, >, and &), and on the other hand the formatted output.
When you are browsing the WWW (using your favorite WWW browser), you may always view the HTML source code for the hypertext document you come across -- in Mosaic, chose "View Source" from the "File" menu; in Netscape, chose "Source..." from the "View" menu. Try it on this document!
To learn more, you could consult A Beginner's Guide to HTM.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
To access information on the WWW, one needs to know where it is, so to speak. If your WWW browser is Mosaic, it will display the URL of the page you are currently at in the "window" named "Document URL". If your WWW browser is Netscape, it will display the URL in the "window" named "Location", if you have chosen "Show Location" from the "Options" menu.
In the beginning, you need not worry too much about URLs -- but what they specify is: If you wish to know more about URLs, you may consult A Beginner's Guide to URLs.

If you want an easy homepage
Copy the files from ~wwwcats/Web/HOME_EXAMPLE
to a directory named WWW under you homedirectory.

i.e.

cd;mkdir WWW;cp -rp ~wwwcats/Web/HOME_EXAMPLE/* WWW

  1. If you did, you now have the following files and directories:
    Welcome.html
    This file contains the first information people will get about you -- i.e. the presentation of you at a glance. As all files with extension .html, it is written in HTML.
    portrait.gif
    This file should contain a picture of you, in GIF format. Right now it doesn't and you can easily identify the link to it in your Welcome.html file and then remove it.
    papers
    This directory should contain the papers you want to show to the world -- either as actual files placed in this directory or as (symbolic) links to where you have your paper files. Your papers could for example be in PostScript.
    teaching
    This is the directory where you can put (links to) lecture notes. Either update links/Welcome.htmlto include the appropiate links or remove the file, in which case, selecting teaching on you homepage will show the contents of that directory.
    links.html
    This file is where you may put hyperlinks to other sites you would like to recommend.
    html-quick-guide.txt
    This is a plain textfile with information about html.

  2. You may now look at your (still template) personal/home WWW page using your favorite WWW browser. You may tell your WWW browser to access your file as a local file in the UNIX filesystem; e.g.,
    netscape ~/WWW/Welcome.html &

    or

    mosaic ~/WWW/Welcome.html &

    This has the advantage that you can still access the links to these instructions.

    You may also use the URL the rest of the WWW will have to use when accessing your personal/home page. Remember, if your username is, say, georg, your URL will be http://www.nbi.dk/~georg/. Normally, this page will be accessed through the NBI home page, but you may choose to make other, similar files accessible in the same directory. Any WWW user may access the files in your ~/WWW/ directory directly, if they wish.

    NCSA Mosaic:
    Chose "Open URL..." from the "File" menu, or press ALT-O, and enter your URL. When you later on edit your files, you will need to tell Mosaic to reload the page, which is done by choosing "Reload Current" from the "File" menu, or by pressing ALT-R.
    Netscape:
    Chose "Open Location" from the "File" menu, or press ALT-L, and enter your URL. When you later on edit your files, you will need to tell Netscape to reload the page, which is done by choosing "Reload" from the "View" menu, or by pressing ALT-R.
  3. You now need to edit the template files as follows (remember to reload when you want to see the changes):
    Welcome.html
    Change all generic information to specific information pertinent to you.
    Remove the reference to this page when you no longer need it.
    portrait.gif
    Replace this template picture with a picture of yourself (still in GIF format) or remove the link.
    papers
    Remove the links in this directory and link in your own reprints and preprints.
    papers.html
    Update this file (as a minimum keep the table or the directory). Alternatively, remove the papers directory all together and replace it with a link to another directory with your .ps files.
    links.html
    Either update this file, or remove the reference to it from your personal/home page.
    When linking to files not in your WWW directory (instead of copying them) you should make sure that the protections are right.
    You can see a result of modifying this page if you turn to Nikolaj's Homepage.
    NBI top CATS-TOP
    8. Mar 1995
    Nikolaj Berntsen, berntsen@nbi.dk