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Frequently asked questions

Q: When I open my HTML file in Netscape, I don't see anything. What am I doing wrong?

A: HTML coding is very precise. If one slash, bracket, or tag is missing, the page will either not appear or it will display incompletely. You need to carefully review all the codes. Check for missing brackets, quotation marks, colons, and ending tags. In particular, make sure that all the necessary ending codes are included at the bottom of the file. Inevitably, you will find a coding mistake that prevents your page from displaying.

Q: The text on my page appears, but a question mark in a small square displays where my graphic should be. Why doesn't my graphic appear?

A: There can be a number of reasons why your graphic doesn't appear. These reasons include the following:

  • The graphic was not saved properly or was not saved in GIF or JPEG format.

  • The file was not uploaded properly to your Unix account. Remember, if your file transfer method requires that you identify the file type (text or binary), you must transfer your graphic files as binary or raw data.

  • The filename is not listed correctly or there is a mistake in the HTML coding that makes the call to the graphic file. The filename must be exact and include the appropriate upper and lower case letters.

  • The Unix permissions are not set correctly. To set the permissions, go to the public_html directory in your Unix account where the graphic is stored. Then, type chmod 644 and the name of the file. For example, type chmod 644 picture.jpg to set the permissions for a file titled picture.jpg.

Q: When I open my web page file using the pico editor, certain lines are cut off and end with the dollar sign character ($). What can I do to view the full text?

A: The dollar sign character ($) indicates that a line contains more text than what appears on the screen. To remedy this problem, place the cursor on each paragraph where you see the dollar sign characters. Then hold down the Control key and press the letter j.

Q: I made some changes to my web page, but I have not finished working on one section. Is it possible to keep the section but somehow not display it on my web page?

A: Yes. To prevent that section from displaying, you can use the "comment out" code. The comment out code consists of a beginning tag (< !--) and an ending tag (-->) as shown in the following example:

<!-- Text between these tags will not display. -->

While this section will not appear on the web page, anyone can view the document source to see the section you commented out.

Q: I want to place a file on my web page so someone can download it. How can I do this?

A: Upload the file to your Unix account and place it in the same directory as your web page. This will probably be the public_html directory. Then, on your web page type the following:

<A HREF="filename">description</A>

For example:

<A HREF="hmwk1.doc">Click here for the first assignment</A>

Depending on the type of file as well as how a particular user's web browser is set up, one of the following actions will occur when the link is selected:

  • If the file is a text file, then the contents of the file will be displayed in the browser.
  • If the web browser is set up to automatically start a specific program when it encounters files that end with the same file extension as the file on your web page, then this program will be started. This program, in turn, will open the file.
  • If the browser does not recognize the file type, it will prompt the person viewing your web page to save the file or select a program to view it.

Q: I created my web page using Netscape Composer and noticed that there is a publish feature. What do I enter in the "HTTP or FTP Location to publish to" box in order to upload my web page files to my Astro account?

A: To upload your web page to your Astro account, enter the following information in the HTTP or FTP Location to publish to box:

ftp://system-name followed by the full path name of your public_html directory.

For example, if your account is on astro.temple.edu, you would type:

ftp://astro.temple.edu followed by the full path name of your public_html directory.

To determine the full path name of your public_html directory:

1. Log in to your account.

2. At the Unix Menu, press 5 and then press Enter. This brings you to the system prompt.

3. Type cd public_html and press Enter to access your public_html directory.

4. Type pwd and press Enter. The pwd command stands for print working directory and displays the full path name of your public_html directory. For example, if the full path name of the public_html directory is:


you would type the following information in the HTTP or FTP Location to publish to box:


Q: I created my web page and uploaded it to my Astro account, but I don't know how to call it up. What's my URL?

A: The format for your web page address is:


For example, if your AccessNet username is jdoe, your URL would be:


The mark before your login ID is a tilda (~). The tilda is located above the accent key which is the first key on the left in the top row of your keyboard.

Q: In my public_html dirctory, I created two subdirectories: one called "courses" to store files for a particular section and one called "graphics" to store my graphics. If I have an html file in the "courses" subdirectory that makes a call to a graphic in the "graphics" subdirectory, how do I list the directory path? In other words, how do I make a call to a file stored in a directory that is outside the directory in which I am working?

A: To do this, you must include a command to return to the main public_html directory first. If, for example, you saved your graphic as picture.gif in your graphics subdirectory, the code would be:

<IMG SRC=../graphics/picture.gif>

In this case, the code ../ tells the system go to the directory below the current directory and then go to the graphics subdirectory where the file picture.gif is located.

Q: I've seen a great web page. Can I just copy the coding and fill in my own text?

A: You can get ideas from other web pages and even use some of the coding in your own page, but it's not a good idea to copy someone's page design. Copyright laws are still a bit unclear when it comes to web design, but common courtesy is the web norm.

If you want to copy a distinctive element from a web page, you should ask permission from the web author. Also, if you wish to imitate the structure of a page, you should request permission to do so and then acknowledge the web author on your page.

Back to Creating a Web Page at Temple

Updated 5/1/02

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