How to set up a basic homepage

You can make up much of your web material without putting it on-line, but if you have a web site, you can transfer the material directly to it. For the workshop, if you have a site or have time to set one up, great! If you don't, don't worry about it; you can do that later.

In order to have a web site, you need to establish something of a beachhead on the web. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, but it has to be there. Here at Northern, web pages are usually on corn. This page assumes that you already have an account on corn or on another mainframe here at Northern where other web pages already exist. The instructions work for corn; if you have an account on another computer, you may need to talk with ACS.

You can print this page by clicking on it some place and then clicking on the print button at the top of your browser page.

To set up your basic homepage:

  1. Open your corn account.

  2. Turn off the screen dump function by typing biff n at the corn prompt. This command keeps incoming mail from dumping onto your screen.

    corn%biff n

  3. Make a subdirectory for your web pages. Here's how. At the corn% prompt (where you normally type in Pine to open the Pine E-Mail program) type mkdir public_html and press Enter. It should look like this:

    corn%mkdir public_html

    The mkdir command means make a directory, and the public_html is the standard name for the subdirectory that contains web pages.

  4. Now change to that new subdirectory by typing cd public_html at the corn prompt and press Enter:

    corn%cd public_html

    The screen will look identical. I don't know how to verify that you are in the new subdirectory, but I usually type in ls and press Enter at the corn prompt. This command lists all the files in the subdirectory. Since the public_html subdirectory you just made is new, there should be no files in the directory when you issue that command.

  5. Once you're pretty sure that you have created the new directory and changed to it, open a new text file by typing pico and your last name and the html tag at the corn prompt and pressing Enter; keep everything in lower case:

    corn%pico lastname.html

  6. Inside the word processor page type the following exactly, leaving out the . after the < symbols. HTML tags are sandwiched inside the lesser than and the greater than arrows, and the periods in the following text de-activate the commands, so that you can see them in this document. Therefore, leave the periods out. Also change Jane Doe to your name and put your own department name in place of the ???.

    <.title>Jane Doe's Homepage<./title>
    <.body bgcolor=#ffffff>
    <.h3>Department of ???, Northern Illinois University<./h3>
    <.h1>Welcome to the Homepage of Jane Doe<./h1>

    The html command opens all html documents; the title doesn't appear on the web page, but it does appear at the top of the browser page. The /title command turns off the title command. The body command opens the body and changes the background color to white. The h3, /h3, h1, and /h1 commands turn on and off a third-level and first-level heading; the words between the on and off commands will appear on the page as different size headings. The hr command puts in a horizontal line; it does not have an off command. The /body and /html commands close the body and html commands which appear at the top of the page, and they finish the document.

  7. Once you've typed in the basic web page, you need to save it. You do that by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the x key. The screen will ask if you want to save it; answer with y for yes. It will ask if you want to call it the name you specified earlier; answer with y for yes.

  8. Now you have to contact your web master or ACS. Tell this person that you have a homepage on your corn account (and give them your account name and file name). That person needs to link your account to the web by tacking you on to an existing address. Make sure you get the http:// address from this person. For instance. My homepage file's name is sullivan.html but that file is tacked on to an http:// address that contains Northern's address, the subdirectory of academic departments, the subdirectory of the English department, the subdirectory of writing across the curriculum, and then the file name. The full address is

  9. Once you have been told that your page has been activated, go back into your corn account and change to the public_html directory. Type ls to see your file name. Then at the corn prompt type the make menus command. It should contain the last three directories in your http address. For instance, for my account, I type in the following:

    corn%mkmenus -d acad/english/wac/

    Notice that the actual command is "mkmenus -d" and the rest is the string of directories leading up to and including your directory. It does not actually contain your file name. Ask your web master to be clarify what your command should contain. When the command has been issued, the screen says that it is making all files readable by each other and then it says that .cache has been made. When that happens, your homepage should have been made active.

  10. Go to your browser (probably Netscape or Microsoft Explorer) and type in the address to your home page. Your page should appear. To make changes, you need to go back to the file in the public_html subdirectory of your corn account, open it with pico, edit it, save it with the Ctrl x and yes commands. Then you can view the revision back in the browser by clicking on the "Reload" button.