How to use the Actrix User Homepages
How to use the Actrix User Homepages
With all Actrix domestic dial-up connections, you receive a limited amount of space for your personal homepage. This is for Actrix subscribers to display information about themselves.
All user homepages have the address of "http://users.actrix.co.nz/yourusername"
Actrix Networks Limited is in no way responsible for the material that may be found within this section.
A list of advertised homepages is available here.
Writing and Designing
Basic everyday web sites are built using a language called HTML. HTML is so simple to understand that an eight-year old can master it, and many of them do. It is written in plain text so you dont need any special software to write it, and there aren't too many weird symbols or anything. Its principles are easy to grasp and there are a large number of websites online that offer tutorials in how to produce your first site from scratch. A good basic online guide can be found at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/, but there are literally thousands of similar sites, and a quick Google search on HTML tutorial, will help find the one that is just right for you.
If you want, you can also use a "wysiwyg" program to make web pages. Wysiwyg is short for "What you see is what you get". FrontPage and DreamWeaver are the most common, but these are expensive to purchase. You can download some free HTML editors, and Coffeecup is one that I highly recommended. You can download a 30 day trial from www.coffeecup.com, but if you want to keep using it for more than 30 days, it will cost you US$49. Other html editors recommended include:
- NVU (pronounced N-View) has a wysiwyg interface and is a completely free open source program available from http://nvudev.com/. It's useable on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Araneae is basically a glorified Notepad that automagically distinguishes between various pieces of HTML using colour coding which is pretty handy. No wysiwyg, but completely free from http://www.ornj.net/araneae/.
- PSPad is fairly simple and easy to use. It has highlighted syntax in source code, but no wysiwyg. Freeware from http://www.pspad.com/en/.
- Crimson Editor is a free source code editor for Windows that's quite small (can be copied on one floppy) - no wysiwyg - http://www.crimsoneditor.com/.
- What could be easier than the old NS Composer now renamed, updated and bundled with SeaMonkey browser for Win, Mac and Linux. The price is right at $0.00 - http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/.
You can also use Microsoft programs like Word and Publisher to make html pages. Create the pages so they look the way you want them, and then choose to save the pages as HTML. The reason I don't recommend programs like Word and Publisher is that they're not primarily tools for producing web pages. When they do save as HTML, they tend to create very bloated and inefficient code which makes them larger in file size (longer to download) and they often use Microsoft's version of HTML which doesn't work all that well in browsers other than Internet Explorer.
Main page: The first and most important thing to know is that your main page should be called index.html or index.htm. When a browser comes to your website, this is the page that it will find and load by default. So, when you've designed your main page, save it with either of those names.
Linking to images and other pages: When you're making a website it's really helpful to keep in mind that, at least at first, everything is in the same directory on your hard drive. When you've saved index.html somewhere, also save any images you want on that page in the same directory along with any future pages you create that you want to link to from your main page. This makes it easy to also upload them into the same directory so that a web browser knows exactly where to find the images it needs to display in your web pages and the pages it needs to link to.
The process should go something like this.
1. Create index.html and save it in a new folder under My Documents called "website."
2. Find any images you want to put in the page and also save them in the "website" folder.
3. Use your wysiwyg program to insert the images from the "website" folder into your pages(s).
4. Also save any new pages you create in the "website" folder.
5. When you upload your pages and images, put them all in the main folder of your website.
The Actrix User Homepage system calls folders "directories" but it means the same thing.
Keep your images small: Before you insert images into your web pages, you will probably need to make them smaller than they currently are. Many digital cameras save images at well over a megabyte each, and this is way too big for web page use. Images should be reduced to around 20-30 kilobytes each if possible. Up to 100 kilobytes each might be okay for broadband viewers, but people on dialup will get frustrated and aren't likely to stick around at your website waiting for images to appear.
You can reduce image file size by making dimensions smaller, and by increasing the amount they are compressed. There's an Actrix Online Informer article from back in November called Downsize my photos that provides some ways just about anyone should be able to do this.
Working with sub directories
As your webpage expands, you may want to think about incorporating some sub-directories into it. A lot of designers, for example, put all their images in a single directory, and all the pages that have to do with a certain topic in a single directory. If you're just starting out and have only a few pages and a few images to worry about, then don't let this distract you, but if you're planning something larger in scale, subdirectories will help you keep your files organised and able to be found more easily.
As an aside, most people who are into web design will tell you that at first, the simplest things seemed to go wrong, and they would spend ages poring over code they'd written trying to find out where the mistake was. Usually it was just a misplaced " or / in a pathway, and once they'd found the problem (and kicked themselves for having missed something so simple) they never made the same mistake again. If this happens to you when you're starting out, don't worry - you're normal, and these days you have the advantage of being able to "google" whatever your problem is. Be sure others have struggled with the same thing.
Uploading the Page
Once you have created your site, you'll want to upload it to the web so that everyone can see your creation. Doing this is quite simple using Actrix's handy web-based tool. To get to it, follow these instructions.
1. Enter your Username and Password into the My Actrix Login on the Actrix homepage and click on Login.
2. Click on the User Homepage link once you have logged in.
3. You will be taken to Actrix's web based tool to upload your web site.
The box in the top left will allow you to search your computer for the files you wish to upload. Click on Browse, locate the file on your computer and when you have finished click the upload button. If you uploaded a file called test.htm, for example, then once it has uploaded successfully, you will be able to view the file at http://users.actrix.co.nz/username/test.html
The box in the top right will allow you to create new directories. For example, you can create a directory called images by typing images into the box and click create. You will then be able to upload files to http://users.actrix.co.nz/username/images/
This is quite handy as some programs which create web sites will put images into a directory called images. If you upload them into the main directory, your web browser won't know where to find them when the page loads.
The bottom two panels show you files which you currently have uploaded. There is a 2MB size limit on files uploaded to user homepages.