Most versions of Netscape now include a what-you -see-is-what-you-get editor that you can use to create web pages without knowing HTML. The editor is vaguely like Microsoft Word. (Word can now save documents in HTML format, too). Provided you have some basic understanding of web browsing, you should be able to make your home page using netscape in no time. (For example, you'll need to have some idea of what a URL is).
Your life will be a lot simpler if you create your home page on babel. The following instructions tell you how to do that. But it is also possible to edit your page on a Mac, or on a PC at home, and then upload it (Netscape uses the term "Publish") to babel. There is a section at the bottom of this page with some information on how to do that.
You could also build your web page on linc (following these same instructions), if you have an account there. However, we prefer that you put your page on babel, since it is our machine. It is also possible to have your web page on unagi--but you will have to notify the manager so that your page can be made visible to the web server.
chmod a+rx public_html
chmod a+rx ~
netscape-gold index.html &
(You should already be in the public_html directory; there should be no spaces in "netscape-gold").
The Netscape editor is somewhat finicky. Look over these hints to make your life easier.
To do this you will need some application that can edit HTML documents (or that can save documents in HTML format, which is the same thing). Many versions of Netscape, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Frontpage, etc. can do this. They can be used to create webpages that are considerably fancier than what you can do with tired old Netscape Gold. The catch is that if your page contains links to other pages that you are also editing and then uploading to babel, the links need to be adjusted during the upload process in ways that are too complicated to explain here. After uploading you might find yourself with links that no longer work. So be careful and try to make sure that you understand what you are doing! To edit your homepage using Netscape Gold on your own computer, point it to your home page on babel, and hit the Edit button. Netscape will make a local copy of your file. It is probably best if you un-select both options in the dialog box (about adjusting links and including other files). After editing you can use the Publish button to put the file back on babel. As the "destination URL" you should give the following:
Use your own login and password.
Netscape's download/publish behavior is very strange. I would try to explain it here, except I have not been able to figure it out. If you get it wrong it can scramble your links, or worse. Just yesterday this happened to me again. I recommend that you use the Netscape editor on babel, and never let it make "local copies". You have been warned.
Starting with Word 97 or so, Microsoft Word has HTML functionality built-in; for Word 6 and Word 95, Microsoft provides Internet Assistant, an add-on to Word that allows it to convert files from Word format to HTML and back. You can use it to edit HTML files with Word. (But don't get taken in by their propaganda! Make your web documents available in HTML format, not in their proprietary Word format as they tell you to; otherwise only PC users will be able to see your page). The HTML mode is not as convenient as the Netscape editor, but it's nice if you want to prepare a lot of material (without too many links) in Word format, and then convert it to HTML. If you do this, you will have to upload your files to babel afterwards. Use Fetch to upload your files, not Netscape's Publish feature! (See Warning above).
A Unix program called latex2html is installed on babel et al. It can convert quite complex LaTeX documents, breaking them up into small pieces and constructing a table of contents, references from citations to the bibliography, to footnotes, etc. The resulting documents often need some hand-editing, but it does an impressive job. See the online manual (using the command man latex2xtml) for documentation.
All of the HTML editors fall far short of being able to use all of the features that the HTML format allows. At some point you will want to finetune your documents by hand, using emacs (or any other text editor). This page is a starter on the stuff you'll need to know.