Creating My First Web Page
I am a radio amateur and long-time radio hobbyist, and I have built a small SWL (short wave listener) radio receiver that I think might be of at least as much interest to radio hobbyists who browse the web as most of the receivers that are on the web now (and I have seen many of them). I had schematic diagrams and a narrative description for this receiver, and I could take color photographs and have them transferred to a compact disc. I wondered how one would go about incorporating those items into the simplest possible web page suitable for hosting by HAL PC.
I emailed Beverly Rosenbaum initially to ask about posting this personal web page because I thought she might include my request for information about building and uploading it in “The Readers Write” column of the HAL-PC Magazine. She did better than that. She sent me the web addresses of several tutorials and ended with -
“I hope some or all of these links offer some help. Let me know how you doing after you try them out. Maybe you'd like to write about your experience.”
There were many good tutorials about this subject, and one of them (recommended by HAL-PC for SIG leaders to create their pages) is at www.pagetutor.com/pagetutor/makapage/index.html. Specific instructions to prepare and upload content to HAL-PC are at www.hal-pc.org/publish.html.
There are also the following:
visualtutorials.com/html.htm?find-creating_a_personal_web_page, visualtutorials.com/html.htm?find-learning_basic_html, personalweb.about.com/journal/Library/bl_tutorial.htm, wp.netscape.com/browsers/createsites/index.html, and archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/General/Internet/WWW/HTMLPrimer.html (which has a printable version).
I have been a radio hobbyist for almost 50 years and retired for over 6 years, so when I built a radio receiver that seemed to me to incorporate several novel features I decided I wanted to put the receiver on my own web page. I had already written a text using Microsoft WordPad and drawn several schematic diagrams for the radio in Microsoft Paint, but my starting point for the web page was that I knew nothing about web pages. I had to remind myself what “HTML” means.
I read some of the tutorials and made a list of what I didn’t understand:
After studying the tutorials more I saw the whole web page task and several, but not all of the details more clearly than I did when I first received the tutorial links from Beverly Rosenbaum. The most serious uncertainty was: How could I upload my completed web page to HAL-PC? I was still “fuzzy” about that. Also, I had privacy and identity theft concerns. I decided to email James Lowry at firstname.lastname@example.org. I found his name and e-mail address in the January-March, 2004 HAL-PC Magazine, page 56.
Then I began to build my web page using Notepad, and here’s what happened: First, I spent a lot of time trying to follow instructions. I put my text originally written in Word pad and pasted into Note pad between <pre> and </pre> tags. It did not work well. Very ragged copy spread out all over everywhere. I then removed the pre tags, added <p> tags to mark paragraphs. Then it looked very good. Then I spent several days trying to force my HTML web page to display the bitmap files originally drawn in MS Paint. I had been advised by an acquaintance who is knowledgeable about programming that I could just rename these bmp files as gif files. That did not work. I was not even sure that I should be able to view my files at this stage. Maybe they would be invisible to me but visible to viewers of my web site! I then talked to an “expert” at Microsoft’s web site. He put the idea into my head that it might be useful to try .bmp rather than .gif. I did, and it displayed very well but only after I removed all the width and height numbers between the <>’s. This was, of course, a blind alley. We will presently learn why.
I’ve been dealing with computers sticking their silicon tongues out at me in this way for over 15 years now. I’m used to it.
Now, on to the next adventure: I then talked to a photo processor about putting some color photographs on a CD, so I could load the images onto my web page (two or three at most). The folks at the photo center said they could do that.
I bought a disposable camera, took all 27 exposures and had them developed and put on a CD. They opened easily when I loaded the CD into my computer. I chose three that I wanted on my web page. I wrote three HTML tags for these three pictures and labeled each one “.jpeg” because my computer told me they were jpeg files. They would not open in my web page. Then, just because HAL-PC said it wanted “jpg” rather than “jpeg” I changed each of the three files to “jpg”. Then I had three nice big pictures on my web page. So big that they must be scrolled to center them. I couldn’t have chosen better images if I had tried. They’re just what I wanted. Then I removed one of the images that was out of focus, probably because I got closer to the radio than the recommended 8 feet, and substituted an image that had seemed too small to use. I then had a complete web page with text, schematic diagrams and pictures. And I had learned that some file extensions can be changed and some can’t. I have no idea why.
At this point there were two issues remaining:
James Lowry said he uses something called “cute ftp” that can be downloaded from the web to upload to HAL-PC. Is cute ftp compatible with my Windows XP? I might create more problems then I would solve. He also said that identity theft shouldn’t be a problem unless I put personal information on my web page.
I then exchanged two e-mails with the HAL-PC webmaster, Marilyn Wright Gore. I was then a little less concerned about how I was going to upload my web page once it was completed. Ms. Gore gave me some specific steps to follow to upload. However, she told me that one cannot change a file to a gif file by just renaming it “gif”. I could see that software to perform the necessary conversion costs about $99. Also, the bmp files are far too large for convenient downloading even for those browsers capable of downloading and opening them. Fortunately a family member confirmed another way to do this that just might work: Print out each of the bitmap diagrams on paper, take them to a copy center to scan them and hand me gif files on a CD (they will furnish the CD). My experience with the photo center with respect to the photographs gave me some confidence this could happen. These schematic diagrams are critically important to the value of the web page. Without clear, correct schematic diagrams a radio can neither be understood nor reproduced, and neither, coincidentally can a computer, a cell phone or a PDA.
So when my computer didn’t want to display my bitmap files renamed gif it was trying to tell me something, and I listened.
I submitted my web page receiver schematic diagrams to the copy center and I had each of my diagrams on a floppy as a gif file. When I first viewed them on my web page in my browser they were too big. I then included the width and height in each “scr” and each image was still the same size, too big. So I tried something: I scaled each image down by dividing the width and the height by the same number. After a few tries I determined that dividing by 2.5 or 2.4 was about right. Image quality is degraded somewhat, but the diagrams can still be read; they can be viewed without scrolling. And they are proper gif files.
I then made my first attempt to upload the completed web page to HAL-PC, but I think it did not upload. I had first used the Finder in my computer to look for <ftp>. Many files were found. So, I thought it might be true that the instructions in one of the tutorials for uploading with the ftp client that comes with Windows 95 might work with my Windows XP, Home Edition. Apparently the “Wizard” in Windows XP Home Edition gives me a choice of Yahoo or Microsoft, neither one of which is HAL-PC, so forget that. I was able to log on and get all the way to the public directory at HAL-PC using the ftp client in my computer, but I think I did not send all of my flies OK. I then asked the webmaster, Marilyn Wright Gore for help.
As of about 6:00 pm, June 13, 2004 the WD5HOH regenerative receiver web page is online. Many thanks to Marilyn Wright Gore, HAL-PC Webmaster for pointing me toward LeapFTP download, which enabled “drag and drop” web page files between my web page file folder and the HAL-PC public register. I was able to do a last minute correction to the jpg file extensions to my three photographs, changing them to JPG to enable their opening when I realized they were listed in caps. I had been reminded that UNIX is case sensitive. I did this just before I dragged the index.html file to HAL-PC. Just in time. It turned out, too, that my web address was taken care of once I entered my user ID.
My web page can be seen at www.hal-pc.org/~blyoung/.