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Developing a research website Genes to Geosciences November, 2009.

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1 Developing a research website Genes to Geosciences November, 2009

2 Why? Scientific exposure (globally) Shows what you’re researching Easier for people to find you (research, consulting) Provides access point for your papers (links, PDFs) Helps refine your ideas, interests (similar to funding proposals) Demonstrates organizational skills Advertise scholarships / positions Attracts students / collaborators Outreach (interpreting science for the general public) Posting lecture materials Access point for databases For fun, and it’s not that hard

3 Today Introduction Basic HTML tutorial Creating Publishing Exposing

4 Web pages A source of information accessible through a web browser Can be retrieved locally or from a remote server Can be static or dynamic Client-side scripting can make pages more interactive A group of related web pages with a common navigation bar  web site

5 Some terminology HTML – Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML) – A computer language for describing the structure of text-based information Web Browser – Software that interprets and displays HTML – Interacts with text, images, videos, music, etc. Web Server – Web browsers communicate with web servers primarily using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) – HTTP allows information to travel both ways Web Server

6 Some terminology Web Server Web Browser HTTP HTML ComputerCyber-space

7 HTML A computer language for describing the structure of information in a web page It’s just a text file with a different suffix (.html) “View source” in any web browser shows the underlying HTML Square brackets tell the web browser how to interpret information: hello title

8 HTML Basic structure This appears at the top This appears in the browser

9 HTML Basic structure This appears at the top This appears in the browser

10 HTML Basic page Dr Joshua Madin Research Website Welcome to my research website. I am primarily interested in coral biomechanics.

11 HTML Basic page Dr Joshua Madin Research Website Welcome to my research website. I am primarily interested in coral biomechanics.

12 HTML Elements content Structural level-one heading paragraph table structure Presentational (used less and less) bold italic Hypertext my other page link to MQU

13 Cascading Style Sheets Presentation typically universal for a website So why repeat presentational elements? Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a mechanism for normalizing a websites look and feel

14 Cascading Style Sheets “file_name.css” contains formatting and presentation rules for any HTML file that links to the CSS h1, h2, h3 { color: green; } CSS rules can be over-ridden

15 Terms to remember HTML: Hyper-Text Markup Language HTTP: Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol CSS: Cascading Style Sheet URL: Unique Resource Locator – An internet address (e.g., http://www.facebook.com) Javascript – A scripting language that can be embedded in HTML to make pages more dynamic XML: eXtensible Markup Language – General-purpose specification for custom markup languages – For sharing structured data AJAX: Asynchronous Javascript And XML – Interacts with remote server in the background without interfering with existing page

16 HTML Tutorial Genes to Geosciences November, 2009

17 Instructions Go to module website: – http://www.gg.mq.edu.au/rep/websites http://www.gg.mq.edu.au/rep/websites Click on: – “HTML tutorial” Save to Desktop Unzip (uncompress) “tutorial.zip” Now open the program WordPad – Then, File  Open – Files of type: All Documents – Navigate to the “tutorial” folder on your Desktop – Open “tutorial.html”

18 HTML Editors Software to help avoid writing HTML (WYSIWYG) E.g., Dreamweaver, Frontpage, KompoZer, iWeb, many others Pros Easy to use (sometimes don’t need to know HTML) Focus on design Some tasks faster (e.g., tables) Fewer mistakes Often sophisticated additions (javascript, etc.) Cons Each one is different (and usually not cross-platform) Usually cost money $$$ Creates HTML that is hard to read (large files, hard to fix) Sometimes not standards compliant Only editable with single software package (what if discontinued?) Lack of fine control Highly constrained (e.g., hard to add dynamic content)

19 Example: iWeb

20 Recommendation For basic research website, often best to use HTML Even if you want to use a graphical editor, it is important to understand the underlying HTML

21 Creating a website Genes to Geosciences November, 2009

22 Look around for ideas Research – http://www.zoology.ufl.edu/bolker/ http://www.zoology.ufl.edu/bolker/ – http://faculty.washington.edu/deschind/index.html http://faculty.washington.edu/deschind/index.html – http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/msel/personnel/pjm.html http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/msel/personnel/pjm.html – http://www.avianecology.org/ http://www.avianecology.org/ – http://nceas.ucsb.edu/~cadotte/ http://nceas.ucsb.edu/~cadotte/ – http://faculty.washington.edu/mdethier/ http://faculty.washington.edu/mdethier/ – http://www.mathstat.dal.ca/~derekt/ http://www.mathstat.dal.ca/~derekt/ – http://katesmithlab.googlepages.com/ http://katesmithlab.googlepages.com/ – http://depts.washington.edu/jlrlab/ http://depts.washington.edu/jlrlab/ Other – http://www.lefthandlight.com/ http://www.lefthandlight.com/ – http://jonehinger.com/ http://jonehinger.com/ – http://www.o-dub.com/ http://www.o-dub.com/ – http://www.gladwell.com/ http://www.gladwell.com/ – http://vision.ece.ucsb.edu/%7Efedorov/ http://vision.ece.ucsb.edu/%7Efedorov/ – http://vision.ece.ucsb.edu/~jiyun/ http://vision.ece.ucsb.edu/~jiyun/ – http://www.sbbg.org/ http://www.sbbg.org/

23 Think about content Splash page (rare, sometimes annoying) Contact Information (beware the web-spider) Research / Projects / Interests Publications (articles, proceedings, books, chapters) People / Students / Collaborators Sometimes with sub-pages (Interests, Projects, Publications, CV, Contact, etc.) Courses / Software / Data / Database access Funding won / Awards Funding offered (scholarships) Outreach (media attention, popular articles) Pictures / Maps / Field sites Calendars (upcoming events, fieldtrips, conferences, etc.) Useful links (often for yourself) Link to a personal page hosted elsewhere (not at uni)

24 Think about a layout

25 Some design principles Browser independence – Make sure it works on all the common browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera) – Some browsers are NOT standards compliant Readability – Use clear, easy to read language – Check grammar, spelling, logical flow Content delivery – Minimize clutter; easy navigation – Make the important/relevant content easy to find – Remember that some people have small computer screens Efficiency – Make sure pages load quickly – For example, use smaller image files (i.e., not raw photos), break up pages Scalability – Design in a way that can easily be added to in the future

26 Building your website Genes to Geosciences November, 2009

27 Instructions Go to module website: – http://www.gg.mq.edu.au/rep/websites http://www.gg.mq.edu.au/rep/websites Click on: – “Compressed folder containing this website” Save to Desktop Unzip (uncompress) “darwin.zip” Now open the program WordPad – Then, File  Open – Files of type: All Documents – Navigate to the “darwin” folder on your Desktop – Open “index.html”

28 Publishing a website Genes to Geosciences October, 2008

29 Uploading Once your site is ready you need to upload it to the server Common data transfer protocols include FTP, SMB, AFP, HTTP (browser-specific) – Usually asked for username and password Eventually you’ll need FTP client software – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_FTP_client_softwar e http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_FTP_client_softwar e Copy files to server

30 Domain Name The primary address of your website – Typically end in.com.net.org.edu – Country suffix:.au.de.nz Postgraduate students get a directory – www.bio.mq.edu.au/~aharmer/ www.bio.mq.edu.au/~aharmer/ Academics – www.bio.mq.edu.au/computational_ecology/ www.bio.mq.edu.au/computational_ecology/ – acropora.bio.mq.edu.au acropora.bio.mq.edu.au – www.bio.mq.edu.au/~jmadin www.bio.mq.edu.au/~jmadin

31 Instructions http://web.science.mq.edu.au/it/doc/services/web-pub/ HTML Validation: http://validator.w3.orghttp://validator.w3.org – Copy address for each page of your website (“Validate”) – There may be Javascript warnings…

32 Exposing your website Genes to Geosciences November, 2009

33 Search Engines Google, Yahoo!, MSN Use algorithms to determine keyword relevancy – Page title – Content – Number & quality of links to your site – How long people stay on your site Meta tags are becoming less important

34 Getting Ranked 1.Submit website URL to The Open Directory – www.dmoz.org www.dmoz.org 2.Google’s “add URL” form – www.google.com/addurl.html www.google.com/addurl.html 3.Be linked from another website – Universities are usually crawled regularly

35 Some final remarks Suggest that you take a copy of your site with you and continue to work on it When you have your permanent site address, make sure you are sure it’s ready for the world to see (e.g., no spelling mistakes; no plagiarism)


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