DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

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Web Basics 101 for Beginners

source & copyright: TechSoup.org


The Web offers a rich array of content and services. Learn how to make the most of your surfing experience in just ten minutes.

Page Contents

1. What Is the Web?
2. What Is the Web Made of?
3. How the Web Works
4. Web Pages
5. Websites
6. Navigating the Web
7. Identifying a Hyperlink
8. How Hyperlinks Work
9. Using Web URLs
10. Examples of URLs
11. Anatomy of a URL
12. Membership Websites
13. Web Browsers
14. Anatomy of a Web Browser: The Toolbar
15. More Web Browser Anatomy
16. Specifying a Home Page in Netscape Navigator
17. Specifying a Home Page in Internet Explorer
18. Saving an Image from the Web
19. Printing a Web Page
20. Multimedia on the Web
21. Plug-Ins


1. What Is the Web?

The World Wide Web is a collection of electronic documents that are linked together like a spider web.

These documents are stored on computers called servers located around the world.

The Web has evolved into a global electronic publishing medium and increasingly, a medium for conducting electronic commerce.

2. What Is the Web Made of?

The Web consists of:

Your personal computer

Web browser software to access the Web

A connection to an Internet service provider (ISP)

Servers to host the data

Routers and switches to direct the flow of data

3. How the Web Works

Web pages are stored on web servers located around the globe.

Entering the (Uniform Resource Locator) URL of a web page in your web browser or clicking a link sends a request to the server which hosts the page.

The server sends the web page to your computer and your web browser displays it on your screen.

4. Web Pages

A web page is an electronic document written in a computer language called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

Web pages can contain text, graphics, video, animation, and sound, as well as interactive features, such as data entry forms.

Each page has a unique address known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), which identifies its location on the server.

Web pages usually contain hyperlinks to other web pages. Hyperlinks are text and images that reference the URLs of other web pages.

5. Websites

A website is one or more web pages that relate to a common theme, such as a person, business, organization, or a subject.

The first page is called the home page, which acts like an index, indicating the content on the site.

From the home page, you can click hyperlinks to access other web pages.

6. Navigating the Web

There are three main ways to move between web pages or websites:

* Clicking a text hyperlink.

* Clicking a hyperlinked graphic image, such as a button, photograph, or drawing.

* Typing the URL of a web page in the location box (also known as the address field) of your web browser and the pressing the Enter or Return key


7. Identifying a Hyperlink (for persons not using a screen reader)

Text links are usually underlined and in a different colour from the rest of the text.

To determine if a graphic is hyperlinked, move your cursor arrow over the image. You know the item is hyperlinked if:

* The arrow cursor turns into a hand.

* A URL appears in the status bar at the lower left of your web browser.


8. How Hyperlinks Work

A text or graphic hyperlink hides a URL.

Clicking a hyperlink passes the URL to your browser.

Clicking different parts of a linked graphic, called an image map, takes you to different web pages or different places on the same page.

In addition to pointing to web pages, hyperlinks can access media files, such as sound or video clips.


9. Using Web URLs

A URL indicates where the web page is stored on the Internet.

URLs almost never use back slashes (\). All slashes are forward slashes (/).

You need to type a URL exactly for your browser to locate the desired web page.

Although URLs may contain spaces between characters, they usually do not.

Some large websites have multiple URLs that access the same site.

The location box or address field on your browser indicates the URL of the page you arrived at after clicking a link.

10. Examples of URLs

a. example: directory

ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/
A directory of files at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that you can download

b. examples: home page

http://www.dawncanada.net
The home page for DAWN Canada: DisAbled Women's Network Canada

http://dawn.thot.net
The home page for DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

http://AFHM.org
The home page for Action des Femmes Handicapées Montréal (AFHM)

c. example: newsgroup

news:rec.gardens.roses
A newsgroup about rose gardening


11. Anatomy of a URL

Here is how to interpret the various parts of a URL:

http:// www. dawncanada.net/ english/ welcome.htm

http:// -- Short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, this indicates a hypertext document or directory.

www. -- This indicates a page on the World Wide Web. (Sometimes "www" is missing.)

dawncanada.net/ -- Called the domain name, it often tells you the name of a company, university, or organization. It can also tell you the country of origin.

www.dawncanada.net/ -- Together, these indicate the web server name.

english/ -- This is directory or folder on the web server that contains a group of related web pages within the website.

welcome.htm -- This is a web page inside the folder. A URL doesn't always include the name of the web page.


12. Membership Websites

Some websites require you to enter a password to access sections of the site.

You can get a password by registering with the site, usually by filling out an online form. YahooGroups is an example of a membership site; YahooGroups does not charge a user free as some of their operating costs are underwritten by advertising dollars. Some sites require that you pay a fee.

Examples include:

News sites, such as The Wall Street Journal

Technical support sites for many companies

Sites with proprietary information that is sold, such as financial and research sites

Extranet sites


13. Web Browsers

A web browser is a software program used to access the World Wide Web.

A browser (also known as client software) retrieves data from remote web servers and displays a web page.

The two most popular browsers come from Netscape and Microsoft.

Browsers basically work the same way. Once you know one, you can easily learn the other.


14. Anatomy of a Web Browser: The Toolbar

The most useful buttons on your browser toolbar include:

Back -- Returns you to the previous page.

Forward -- Returns you to a page you have backed up from.

Home -- Takes you to a home page specified in the browser preferences.

Reload or Refresh -- Downloads the web page from the server again.

Stop -- Stops the browser from loading the current page.

Print -- Lets you make a hard copy of the current document or frame loaded in your browser.


15. More Web Browser Anatomy

Access indicator icon (upper right) -- When animated, it tells you the browser is retrieving data.

Status bar (lower left) -- Reports on the progress of the data download.

Go menu -- Lets you select a web page you have previously accessed.

Text-only mode (Images button) -- Prevents graphics from loading, providing a faster way to access web page


16. Specifying a Home Page in Netscape Navigator

On the browser Menu bar, click Options, select General Preferences, then select the Appearance tab.

In the Browser Starts With text-box, type the address of the web page you want as your start-up page. the box.

Click OK.

17. Specifying a Home Page in Internet Explorer

Go to the web page you want to use as your start-up page.

On the browser menu bar, click View, select Options, then select the General tab.

In the address Text box, type in the address of the web page you want as your start-up page.

Click Use Current


18. Saving an Image from the Web

Move your cursor over the graphic.

Windows users: Click the right mouse button. A pop-up box appears.

Macintosh users: Click and hold the mouse button. A pop-up box appears.

Save the image to your hard drive by selecting a Save option.

You can accept the current file name or rename the file. (Graphic files are usually in .gif or .jpg format.)


19. Printing a Web Page

Most browsers have a Print button on the toolbar that lets you print a web page.

Some web pages are divided into multiple sections called frames. You can only print one frame at a time.

To print a particular frame, first select it by clicking it.

Then click the Print button or select Print Frame from the File menu.


20. Multimedia on the Web

Sound, video, animation, and 3D interactive video are referred to as multimedia.

Some multimedia, called streaming media, plays as soon as you access a web page.

Others require that you download the multimedia file to your computer first.

Multimedia files often requires that your browser use a plug-in program.


21. Plug-Ins

Plug-ins are small software programs that extend the capabilities of your browser by enabling it to play sounds and video clips or do other functions, such as automatically decompressing files that you download.

Plug-ins may come with your browser software or can be downloaded from websites.

Some plug-ins enable streaming audio or video, which lets you hear or view a multimedia file before it has completely downloaded to your computer.

Congratulations on completing this mini-course!

You're on your way to becoming a Master of the Web.

 

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