Lab Experience 15. HTML and FTP Downloading

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1 Lab Experience 15 HTML and FTP Downloading Objectives Learn some of the most basic features of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the underlying language for creating web pages Create a simple web page Use a web browser to perform simple file transfers with FTP (File Transfer Protocol), the basic protocol for internet file transfers Background You have read about the history of the web, the algorithms and protocols that make such networking endeavors possible, and some of the social implications of the web. In this lab session, you will practice using some of the most basic features of HTML to make your own web pages. This opens the door for you to become a contributor to the web enterprise rather than simply a user of the web. You will also learn how to use your web browser to perform simple file transfers from ftp servers. Creating web documents with HTML is somewhat analogous to writing programs in assembly language. Today there are many web editors available to simplify the process of writing web pages. In fact, the web browsers and most word processors include facilities for creating web pages. You might think of web editors as the high level languages of web production. Just as programs written in high level languages such as C++, LISP, or PROLOG must be translated to machine or assembly language before they can be executed, documents written using web editors are converted to HTML before they are viewed as web pages. In this lab you will work directly with HTML. Just as learning a little about assembly language helps you understand what is going on inside the computer and helps you understand the features of a high level language, learning the basics of HTML is important for understanding the underlying process of web page formatting and design. Another practical reason for learning about HTML is that you will often see some attractive feature that a web author has used on a page. Using your browser you will be able to look at the source of the page. However, the source will be the HTML file for the page. This is true even if a fancy web editor was used to create the document. So, to learn by example requires knowing about HTML. Once you have practiced the basic features of HTML, you may well want to learn to use a web editor. Most word processors and web browsers include tutorials that teach you how to use the special web editing features that they provide. The discussion that follows is based somewhat on "A Beginner's Guide to HTML" which was developed at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications and is present on many World Wide Web servers. Recall from the text that much of the formatting of HTML is achieved with pairs of tags that enclose the text to which the formatting action applies. The beginning tag of a pair is usually of the form <action- 139

2 140 Laboratory Manual symbol>, and the ending tag of the pair is of the form </action-symbol>. Here the action symbol is a special code indicating the manipulation that should be applied to the text enclosed between the pair of tags. For example, the symbol B indicates boldface. Thus <B> Lab Manual </B> in an HTML file causes the text "Lab Manual" to be displayed in boldface on the web page. Keep in mind that tag pairs can be nested within each other just as parentheses pairs can be nested in arithmetic expressions. For example, the HTML expression <B> Just bold <I> Both bold and italic </I> Just bold </B> Plain displays on the page as Just bold Both bold and italic Just bold Plain since the italic tag pair is included within the bold tag pair. Here is a list of basic tags together with their uses. Unless mentioned specifically, these occur in pairs. There are many books and online tutorials on HTML. There you will find more tags and HTML features. HTML This tag indicates that the enclosed material is written in HTML. Therefore your entire HTML document should begin with <HTML> and end with </HTML>. HEAD There are two major sections of an HTML document - the head and the body. This tag and its partner mark the beginning and end of the head section. This section does not contain material that will actually appear on the page itself. Primarily, it contains the title of the document. TITLE This tag and its partner enclose the title of the page. This is placed within the head section of the document. The title does not appear on the page itself but does appear in the title bar of the window. Another important use of the title is that it appears in the bookmark list if the page has been saved by anyone as a bookmark. BODY This pair of tags marks the beginning and end of the body section of the document. This section includes all of the text of the page together with the HTML tags for formatting the page and linking the page to other pages on the web. These four tags are actually enough to create a simple web page. As mentioned in the text, a minimal HTML document would look like this: <HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE> Title of your choice </TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> Text of your choice </BODY> </HTML> If you created such a file with a text editor and named the file with a file name ending in. html, you should be able to open the file as a web page using your web browser.

3 Lab HTML and FTP Downloading H1 P UL OL LI There are six levels of headings in HTML. These are numbered H1 through H6 with H1 being the largest and boldest. These are used to provide headings for divisions of your page. For example, you might use H1 for the main heading of your page and use H2 for section headings within the page. Some browsers may not distinguish six distinct levels. This tag is used to mark the beginning of a new paragraph. HTML ignores line breaks and extra spaces between words in the text. Therefore the P tag is important to cause line separation between paragraphs. Optionally, you can use the P tag to specify how the paragraph should be aligned. For example, you can use <P ALIGN=CENTER> to center the paragraph on the page. HTML supports several types of lists such as unnumbered lists, numbered or ordered lists and definition lists. This tag indicates an unnumbered, bulleted list. This tag is used for an ordered or numbered list. Note that lists can be nested with different list types being nested within each other. This tag indicates the beginning of a list item within a list. No closing tag is needed. You should now study carefully the HTML file shown in Figure Be sure that you understand how the nested lists produce the page shown in Figure Here we have two ordered lists nested as list items within the unnumbered list.

4 142 Laboratory Manual Figure 15.1 An HTML file with nested lists.

5 Lab HTML and FTP Downloading Figure 15.2 The web page produced from HTML code of Figure BR HR B I A This tag causes a line break to occur. While the P tag causes a blank line to appear between the paragraphs, the BR tag simply causes the following text to appear on the next line. Since regular line feeds in the text are ignored, this is an important feature for those situations where you want to make sure that the following text begins on a new line. The BR tag is used alone without an end tag. This horizontal rule tag also occurs without an end tag and causes a neat horizontal line to occur. This is often used to separate sections of a page. As mentioned earlier, this tag pair is used to have text appear in boldface. Again, this is used for putting text in Italics. The anchor tag pair is used to create links - probably the most important feature in HTML. This topic is complicated because of the wide variety of types of objects that we might wish to access via links. The possibilities include other pages within the same directory as the current page, other pages on the same web server but in another directory, specific locations within the current page or other pages, pages stored on other World Wide Web servers, images (sound, video, etc.) at any of these locations, files to be downloaded from ftp servers which allow public access for such purposes, and telnet services allowing the use of computational resources on another computer. Here we discuss how to link to pages in the same directory, to pages on other servers using URLs, to other locations within the current page, and to objects on public web servers. Later in this section, we discuss linking to images and to public ftp servers. In addition to the code A, the beginning tag contains the target address for the link. The

6 144 Laboratory Manual form for this tag is <A HREF="target-address">. If we are linking to another file in the same directory, then the target address is simply the file name. Note that filenames of HTML files should always end in.html. To link to files in other directories, you must use the pathname to the file. To link to pages on other servers, you simply use the URL as the target address in the tag. As you know, URLs to web pages begin with http. This indicates that we are linking to a file on a World Wide Web server. There are specifications other than http that allow linking to objects other than web pages. For example, ftp indicates that we are linking to an ftp server that allows public access, and telnet indicates a link to a server providing computational services. We shall discuss the ftp option more fully a little later in this section. The end tag is simply </A> as you would expect. Between the two tags is the text that should appear highlighted and which is clicked to execute the link. For example, if you wanted a link from your page to a popular page for learning about the weather, you could put in the HTML expression <A HREF= Web Exercises </A> With long documents it is often convenient to have links to various sections within the document. For example, if the document is divided into chapters, you might like to have a table of contents at the beginning with links to the various chapters. To do this requires not only the links to go to the various chapters, but also a new type of anchor naming locations within the document to which we can link. The form for this new type of anchor is <A NAME="location-name"> Location-title </A>. Here the location name is a name that will be used in the anchors that link to this spot, and the location title will appear at the top of the screen when such a link is activated. For example, if we wish to allow links to Chapter 2 on tree searching algorithms, we could provide a name anchor of the form <A NAME="Ch2"> Chapter 2 - Tree Searching Algorithms </A>. Since we want the chapter title to serve as a heading, we would probably include the entire anchor within a heading tag pair, say like <H2> <A NAME="Ch2"> Chapter 2 - Tree Searching Algorithms </A> </H2>. Now to provide a link to such a named location, the anchor is of the form <A HREF="#location-name"> Link-text </A> where location-name is the named location to which we are linking, and Link-text is the text for the highlighted link used to activate the transfer. So, in the table of contents we might have links of the form <A HREF="#Ch2"> Chapter 2 </A> or <A HREF="#Ch2"> Tree Searching Algorithms </A>

7 Lab HTML and FTP Downloading or etc. <A HREF="#Ch2"> Chapter 2 - Tree Searching Algorithms </A>, IMG This tag occurs without a partner and is used for displaying images on a page. As discussed in the text, images are stored as special files with information such as color for each pixel of the image. There are several formats that are widely used for storing such images. Two of the most common formats are GIF and JPEG, and files in these formats are named with endings.gif and.jpeg, respectively. The web browsers are usually capable of displaying images that are stored in these formats. The form of the anchor is <IMG SRC=image-location> where the image location is the file name of the image on the computer where the page is stored or the URL for the image file on another computer. For example, if you have a picture of yourself stored in the file me.gif, then you can have it displayed on your page using the anchor <IMG SRC=me.gif>. The IMG tag also allows an optional ALIGN clause following the filename. This has to do with how the image is aligned with the text. For example, <IMG SRC=me.gif ALIGN=CENTER> will place the image at the left with one line of text to the right of the image and centered vertically with the picture. You can also use TOP rather than CENTER. This puts one line to the right and at the top of the picture. The default is to have the one line of text to the right of the bottom line of the picture. To have a picture appear by itself without text to the right, put the IMG tag in a paragraph by itself. You can then use ALIGN with the paragraph tag to justify the image as you please. You can also link to an image using an anchor. For example, if you have a large picture of yourself that you do not want to appear on your page, you might use a link such as the following <A HREF="me.gif"> A picture of me </A>. If someone clicks on the words "A picture of me", the browser should display your picture. To create an HTML file, you can use any text editor or word processor. Once you have created an HTML file on your local computer, you can view the resulting page with your web browser. To do this, take the Open file in browser option under the File menu and then select the HTML file that you have created. If you need to make changes, you can edit the file in another window, save the file, and then use the Reload button of the browser to view the new version of your page. In order to have your page available for other users of the web, your file HTML file must be stored on a web server. Most colleges and universities have web servers, but you will need to check with the local experts for the details for doing this. Many businesses have their own web servers or else pay for space on web servers of companies who specialize in providing internet services for their customers.

8 146 Laboratory Manual As with web servers, many institutions provide ftp servers. These servers usually have many directories each storing many related files. These files may be textual documents, graphics, or pieces of special purpose software that can be transferred from the server to the user's local computer - this is called downloading. In order to download a file from an ftp server, you must be able to log onto the server machine. While many servers restrict access to authorized users, others allow anonymous logins. In this case the user name "anonymous" with any password - often your address is requested as a password - yields access to the server. While there are many excellent programs specifically for managing ftp transfers, the standard web browsers can also be used for downloading files from ftp servers that allow anonymous logins. To use your browser for this purpose, simply use the ftp prefix in the URL rather than the http prefix. This type of URL can be used in the location field or in the anchor of a link. Exactly what the browser does with the file depends on the type of file accessed. If it is reasonable, the browser will display the text or image; otherwise, it may simply ask if you would like to save the file on your computer (download). In the former case, you can download the file by selecting the Save option under the File menu. Exercise Viewing HTML code In this exercise, you will view some HTML code. Start up your browser and go to the page To view the HTML code for this page, choose Document source under the View menu. This should display the HTML source in another window. By comparing the source together with the page displayed, answer the following questions on the Worksheet page for this lab. 1. Give the title of the page. 2. Describe one use of lists on the page. 3. Describe one use of a link on the page. 4. Describe one tag used on the page that was not described in our discussion in the Background section of this lab. Exercise Making your own page For this exercise you will use a text editor or word processor to create an HTML file containing information about yourself. Your page should be divided into the following sections: 1. Brief family history. 2. Brief educational history. Include a list of schools you have attended. 3. Current academic situation. Include information about your major, your current school (with a link to school's home page), and a list of courses your are taking. 4. Non-academic interests. Include information about hobbies, favorite musical groups, etc. You should have a table of contents at the beginning with links to the various sections. Separate the sections with horizontal lines. To view your page, run your web browser and select the Open file in browser option under the File menu and then select the HTML file that you have created. When you have the page the way you want it, click on the Print button of the browser to print a copy of the page to turn in. To get a copy of the HTML code to turn in, use the Print option under the File menu of your text editor or word processor.

9 Lab HTML and FTP Downloading Exercise Downloading with the browser In this exercise, you will simply download a text file from an ftp server. To do this type the URL into the location field of your browser. The browser will probably display the short text file. You should then select the Save option under the File menu to bring the file from the server to your computer.

10 148 Laboratory Manual

11 Lab HTML and FTP Downloading Worksheet Lab Experience 15 HTML and FTP Downloading Name: Course: Exercise Viewing HTML code Page title: Use of lists: Use of a link: New use of a tag:

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