CREATING A HOME PAGE FOR GEOCITIES



Howdy, I made this page to help new GeoCities members making their web pages. If there's something you don't see here that you have a question about please email me. Have fun!

This page was designed to help new GeoCitizens get their home pages up and running. A basic understanding of HTML is a must. If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about visit A Beginner's Guide to HTML. It's a good primer to get you started. HTML is a very easy mark-up language that allows you to add personality and functionality to a plain text document. The HTML "tags" are extremely user friendly. Once you have read A Beginner's Guide to HTML it would be a good idea to print it so it would be readily available for referencing.

Your next stop would be The HTML Goodies Domain. Dr Joe Burns gives a step by step tutorial on how to make a web page. He leaves little room for questions. He also covers some more advanced HTML so make sure to bookmark the page for future references.

With that out of the way, you should have a basic understanding of HTML. You should know that every HTML document should have:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>This shows in the top of the browser window</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<P>Your ideas and links can in this paragraph.</P>
<P>You can have another paragraph here.</P>
</BODY>
</HTML>

If you want to work on your page at home and you don't have access to the Internet whenever you want, you can work on this using Word-pad. Select File/New/Text Only and you're there. Once you've got the basic tags like those above you can save it by using Save As... index.html. You need to make sure to add the extension html. That's what tells your computer that it's an Internet document and tells it what to open it with. Just as important, make sure you name it index because that's what tells GeoCities that you want that page to be shown first. If there wasn't a keyword such as index then the GeoCities computer would have no idea which file to show first when somebody comes to see your awesome site.

Pick a topic!
Adding Images Adding Links EZ File Upload GeoCities Email
Counters Guest books Midis Frames
Tables Java Java Script META tags coming soon
Forms HTML Validators Geo Helpers

ADDING IMAGES

Your next step is to add some images and color. Surf around the net to look for some images and backgrounds you want for your site. John's Backgrounds Page is a great source for a variety of backgrounds. One thing you need to remember is to make your page easily readable with that background. Some backgrounds are useless because they have so many colors that you would never be able to read the text, no matter what the color! They look great when you choose them, but when you add the text...   : (

For gifs, bars, and buttons try the GeoCities' own Graphics Station (formerly the Icon Depot) or another gif filled site - The IconBAZAAR. For animated gifs go to Rose's Animated Gifs. Another thing to remember is, while animated gifs look really cool they can take a long time to load. Use them sparingly.

To save these gifs you need to click the right mouse button over them and choose save as... Make sure you save them in the same folder as your index.html file. If you put them in a different directory the pictures won't show up unless you specify the file path, which can become pretty confusing. (The different tag is not necessary if you follow these steps. The tag will only serve to confuse most people.) To refer to your image in your index.html file type

<img src="imagename.gif">

If it's a jpg image type
<img src="imagename.jpg">

If it's for a background type
<body background="imagename.gif">
or
<body background="imagename.jpg">

Make sure you don't have two <body> tags in your document. The browser only reads one <body> tag, and chances are it won't be the one you want. If you had a bgcolor before you decided to add this background, you can either leave it for browsers that don't "see" images or take it out. Since you're adding a background you don't need to specify a background color!

The most common reasons for broken images broken image are not using the correct name of the image file, not using the correct HTML, and not uploading the images. When you refer to your image in your HTML make sure you use the correct name. Not all images are gifs! There are jpgs and other types. Also, if the image file is named IMAGE.GIF, don't type Image.Gif or image.gif. It may work on your computer at home, but it won't work at GeoCities unless you type it exactly like the file says,
<img src="IMAGE.GIF">. A lot of people refer to their images on their hard drive directory, ie. <img src=Images/IMAGE.GIF>. Once it is uploaded to GeoCities there is only one folder (unless you have GeoPlus), you don't have to specify the file path. All you need is the name of the gif. One more thing. You need to check your files in the File Manager and make sure that all of the images on your page have been uploaded. You can also click on them and view them to make sure they uploaded ok. One thing I did was rename all of my files in lower case to avoid any confusion while editing my pages.

ADDING LINKS

Let's say you want to make a second page and link it to the first one. For example, call the second one page2.html. To link the two pages type <a href="page2.html">Go to my other page</a>. Put this code after the body tag in your index.html wherever you want it to appear. Now you need a link to your index.html from page2.html. Go to the second page and type <a href="index.html"> Main Page</a> and put this after the body tag on that page. You now have your pages linked together. You can check the link by opening your page in your browser window by selecting (in your browser) File/Open File in Browser... Then browse for it. It should come up in your browser window. If it doesn't then more than likely you probably forgot to add the .html extension to it or save it as a text document.

You can also use images for links. Try typing:

<a href="page2.html"><img src="yourpic.gif"></a>
To add a link to your favorite site you would use the same tag as above, only you have to tell the visiting browsers a little more precisely where to look. There are quite a lot of pages out there titled help.html - the name of this file. Let's say you wanted to make a link to this page. You need to specify which help file on the Internet you want to link to. The tag is
<a href="http://www.oocities.com/BourbonStreet/3563/help.html">
GeoCities Member Help</a>.

EZ FILE UPLOAD

Now you're ready to upload your pages to GeoCities. The easiest way is to use Netscape Navigator. If you don't have it, you should get it. I'm not trying to promote it for anything other than it's ease of use when uploading files here. Go to the EZ File Upload Utility located near the bottom in the File Manager. Click the browse button to find the files you want to upload. Find index.html and double click on it. That should enter the directory path for the file. Now click the upload button. If all goes well, you have just uploaded your first page! One problem, you need to upload all the other images used on that page too. So click the browse button and browse for the image files. Keep doing this 'til all the files are uploaded. Now you can enter your address and see your outstanding home page.

GEOCITIES EMAIL

For information setting up your GeoCities email account go to GeoCities Email Procedure. If you are still having problems another good resource is SiliconValley/Pines/4125/.

To add a link on your page for your email address type :

<a href="mailto:name@wherever.com">Email me!</a>
Don't add a space between the : and your username!

NetAddress If you need additional email addresses, or would like a more personalized one try NetAddress or Iname. Both are very reliable. NetAddress even stores your email on their server for you so you don't have to configure your browser to retrieve it. Just go to NetAddress and pick it up.

COUNTERS, GUEST BOOKS, MIDIS AND MORE

There are several free counters available to add to your site. GeoCities provides one for all the members here. You can also find one at Net-Trakker, SiteFlow.com or WebTracker.

You can find free guest books at LPage, Guestbooks.net or SPIN.

Once you decide you're ready to announce your site to the world, add a GeoGuide to your page (it keeps those aggravating pop-up ads from coming up on your page). You can design the banner yourself using Paint Shop Pro. This is a great paint program for beginners (like me). I found a couple of guys with pages devoted to people like us who don't know what they're doing at Paint Shop Tutorials and Paint Shop Pro Web Graphics. They give you some ideas on how to add great effects to your gifs. The Gif Construction Set will help you create some animated gifs. Another good program for animated gifs, transparent gifs and banners is LView Pro. The HTML Goodies Domain has a good tutorial on how to use it. I have a couple of friends who create great banners for GeoRewards and ILE. You can visit them at The Internet Billboard and Maggie's Kitchen . Just email them with details on how you want your banner to look (colors, pictures, text, etc.) and they'll get back to you as soon as they can.

Midis have become very popular for home pages. Just about any song you can think of comes in midi format. Try to use a small one that doesn't take forever to download. Here's a search engine you can use to find a song you want for your page. Where it says "song or band name here" put in the name of the song you're looking for or the name of a band. Leave the quotation marks!

Search in Alta Vista

To add a midi song to your page you need to have 2 different codes. One for Netscape and one for Internet Explorer:

<embed src="midiname.mid" autostart="true" loop="true" width=140 height=60>

<bgsound src="midiname.mid" loop=infinite>

FRAMES AND TABLES

Frames, if used effectively can help to navigate a site more easily and quickly. If you are unsure what I mean by frames go to my Drink Menu page. I used frames there because my list became so long that it became a hassle to scroll through the whole list to come up with a certain drink you were looking for. Also, the Margaritaville midi I used kept restarting if I tried to use the jump command. I just finished a frames tutorial so I would appreciate it if you went to Hootch's Frames and let me know what you think of it. If you want to skip learning frames for now, you can go to Hoskinson's Frames Wizard. It will help you make the frames and give you the resulting HTML code for them.

Tables are real easy to make! Here is an example of one:
<table border=4 cellspacing=%1 cellpadding=3>

<tr><td>first cell</td>
<td>second cell</td></tr>
<tr><td>third cell</td>
<td>fourth cell</td></tr>
</table>
These commands make a table that looks like this:
first cellsecond cell
third cellfourth cell

The <table> command tells the browser that you're going to have a table. The border tells it how thick to make the border around the table. You can change that to whatever size you want. The cellspacing defines the area between different cells in a table. (Don't forget to put a % in front of the number!) The cellpadding is the area between the text in a cell and the cell wall. <tr> says your starting a new row. </tr> says that's the end of that row. Finally, you need to close the <table> tag at the end with </table>. You can also add a caption to your cell at the top with <caption>My first table</caption>. The align commands can be used to manipulate the text in a cell. Here's another example:

<table border=8 cellspacing=%1 cellpadding=6>
<caption>My first table</caption>
<tr><td>First cell</td>
<td>Second cell</td></tr>
<tr><td>Third cell</td>
<td>Fourth cell</td></tr>
</table>

looks like this:
My first table
First cellSecond cell
Third cellFourth cell

JAVA AND JAVASCRIPT

Do not let people tell you that Java and Javascript are the same thing - they're NOT. Java is a very complicated (at least for me) programming language. It is supposed to be like C (another programming language).

Using Java, developers can write custom mini-applications called Java applets, which will provide Internet sites with a huge range of new functionality: animation, live updating, two-way interaction, and more. Java applets allow cross-platform programmability and can be embedded right into HTML pages.
~ Netscape

Unless you know these languages or want to spend a good bit of time learning them, there are some great places you can go check it out what it does. You can also add some to your page, as long as you have a Java-enabled browser. If you're not sure what I mean, go to
the top of this page. It has a banner applet at the very top. If you can't see it (you have to give it a minute to load) then chances are you don't have the right browser. You really need to have Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Now for places to check out some good Java. My personal favorite is The Java Boutique. They have their site nicely laid out and make it easy to copy the Java for your own. Another one of my favorites is Gamelan. They have quite a bit of Java. If you want your own chat room on your site this is the place to look! If you are curious about learning Java go to Kneedeep in Java for a taste of it. There are some pretty cool applets on that page.

Javascript is not as complicated as Java. It's not a programming language, and you don't have to learn how to create class files or any of that Java stuff. It's simply a way to make some cool effects. It's a scripting language that you type right in your HTML document. I don't know it yet, but I'm learning. I have found some really good places to check it out. While I was writing this I found one at Webpedia JavaScripts that I didn't know was there. I guess my favorite place is Javascripts.com. They have it laid out so easily my 11 year old nephew could do it. One more place to check out is The JavaScript Planet. This place has an enormous amount of Javascript. He also has a guide that let's you know which browser doesn't understand a certain script. Microsoft and Netscape are still fighting over who is better and not all scripts work with both. Until they can resolve this little spat try to use one that works with both.

HTML VALIDATORS

There are several online HTML validators with which to check your coding. Don't expect to pass with flying colors! They can be pretty tough on you. (Especially if you use Javascript.) Most validators allow you to choose which browser your checking for compatibility and/or what level HTML your checking, ie-Level 3.2 (Wilbur), MI Explorer, Mozilla, etc. Here are a couple to check out:
Doctor HTML
Bobby
W3C Validation Service
NetMechanic HTML Validation - Perform separate tests for links, HTML and load time for your page.




geohootch@yahoo.com




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