Trainer's Outline for IP Training 2 - Creating Hypertext Links
- Topics covered
- "Composing Good HTML"
is a recommended reference.
Instructions for Trainers
(Same as for IP Training 1) People learn HTML best when they can actually
HTML documents during the session. If possible, get students to
bring in text that they want to put onto CFN, so they have something
real to work on.
If time does not permit any editing of HTML documents during the
training session, give the students homework. There's nothing
like doing it yourself to give you an "aha!" insight into how it works.
Another strategy I use is a lecture on an overhead projector with a
connection to CCN. Even at that, I find myself writing on the blackboard
most of the time and there is no hands on during the session. - CS
Time Limit: 1 hour
Topic of this session is how to create hypertext links using
HTML. We will also be covering a few pointers on the design
of HTML documents.
A Very Simple Link
Example 2-1. A simple link to a file in the same
directory. Tell the participants not to be distracted by
the stuff in the "favourite foods" file; it's used later on
to illustrate named anchors. Example 2-1 also contains a
few notes introducing the anchor tag.
Mention that, if the destination specified in the "href"
attribute is just a filename, the browser will assume that
the file is in the same directory as the file where the
reference occurred. In our example, this means that the
file "favfoods.html" is in the same directory as
At this point, it may be necessary to give a quick intro to
the concepts of file, directory, pathname, relative
pathname, absolute pathname.
A Link Using a Relative Pathname
Example 2-2. This is an example of a link to a
file in a subdirectory of the current directory. The same
file (favfoods.html) is used. Have the participants use the
= key to show the information on the file location (i.e.
verify that this file is indeed in the test subdirectory).
Recommend that IPs use relative pathnames whenever possible,
because they will probably be moving files around a couple
of times during the development process. Most IPs would
probably be doing the initial HTML development on their PCs
at work or home. Then the files would be uploaded to the IP
rep's personal home directory on CFN for more testing. Then
the files are installed to the IP directory. Point out that
it makes things a lot easier in the long run if you make all
your file references relative. Otherwise you would have to
edit your HTML files and change the links every time you
moved the files to another directory.
Introduce the next variation on linking: suppose you want
to link to somewhere in the middle of a document (could be
in the middle of the same document or the middle of another
Give a couple of examples where you might want to use this:
e.g. suppose you have a long document with several sections,
and the first thing in the document is a table of contents;
it would be a nice touch to have each item in the table of
contents be a link to the corresponding section.
Two steps to accomplish this:
- Step 1. Create a named anchor (i.e. mark the place where
you want to be able to jump to).
- Look at the
favourite foods file, where
the titles for the food lists (bottom half of the file) are
Point out the similarity in format to the anchor tag with
the href attribute. The difference is that the attribute is
name, not href. Note that the name attribute doesn't
specify a file name. It's just a way of identifying this
word or phrase so you can link to it.
- Step 2. Create a link to the named anchor.
- See the favourite foods again,
only this time look at the links in
the top of the list. Note that you use the same method as
you usually do for creating links. The only difference is
that you refer to a named anchor by puttiing a # in front of
Named Anchors in Other Documents
See Example 2-3. This example just
shows how to link to a named anchor in another document.
Links to other computer systems
Mention that the examples we've been dealing with are for
files on the same system (in this case, CFN). If they want
to link to files on other computer systems, the HTML usage
is basically the same, you just replace the filename with a
Of course, you'll have to explain what URL means. It may be
helpful to explain the following terms first. Or, depending
on the participants, you may want to go through the
definition and format of a URL first. Whatever works.
[BTW, don't feel you have to stick with the definitions I've
given. I supply them in case you don't want to make up your
own. Also, feel free to correct me on any of these
definitions. My knowledge of the net could always use some
reinforcement. - BL]
At this point, it would be useful to go to some CCN pages
that have links to other sites, so that the participants can
look at some real live URLs.
- What is the Internet?
- In the simplest definition, the Internet is a network
of computer networks which spans many counties over the
world. It is not the only computer network in the
world, but it is [probably] the largest.
- Is Internet the same as the FreeNet?
- No. A freenet (in general) is a community-based
computer network, containing resources by and for the
local community. Access to freenets is usually free or
available for a nomimal amount, since they work on the
principle of universal access, like public libraries.
In addition to the community information, freenets
usually provide access to the Internet, (thus the
possible confusion between the freenet and the
Internet). You could say that such a freenet is a part
of the Internet (or, as we say, "on the Internet").
Chebucto FreeNet is the local freenet for the Halifax-
- What do you mean by "access to the Internet"?
- When computers are networked, it means that they are
hooked together in some way. With all these computers
hooked together on the Internet, there's a lot of ways
that information can flow between them. You can send
messages to someone on another computer (email). You
can login to another computer on the Internet (telnet).
You can access files that are on another computer and
transfer them to your own computer (ftp). People have
also developed other, easier-to-use methods of
accessing information on the various computers on the
Internet. One of these is called Gopher, which
presents information in the form of menus. Another
method of accessing information is the World Wide Web,
which uses hypertext. This is what Chebucto FreeNet
Having access to the Internet means that your computer
is hooked up to the Internet in some way and you are
able to use these various ways of transferring
information (email, telnet, ftp, gopher, WWW). Since
CFN is connected to the Internet and you have an
account on CFN, you have Internet access. Note that
this doesn't necessarily mean that you can use ALL of
the Internet access methods. CFN has email, telnet,
USENET news, gopher, but no FTP, due to our contract
- What does URL mean?
- URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator . It's a way
of specifying the location of an information resource
on the Internet.
The NCSA Beginner's Guide to HTML describes the format
for a URL as follows:
where scheme is one of:
(news and telnet are less often used)
hostname.domain is the Internet address of the computer
:port is optional (that's why it's in square brackets).
It basically provides more information on where to
connect to the hostname.domain computer
The rest of the URL is the pathname for the file.
Most of the URLs you'll be dealing with on CCN will
probably be of the http (=HyperText Transfer Protocol)
kind, since those indicate World Wide Web format.
Your own personal URL
Everyone on CFN has a URL for their profile:
where you replace zz999 with your own user id. A couple of
things to note:
HTML Document Design
- Naming files:
- Choose descriptive names for your files. When writing your
links, remember that after you move your files to CFN, the
HTML file names must have the ending ".html".
- Multipart documents:
- If you can, break up your information into shorter files
(these breaks should occur in logical places). People
usually find it quicker to browse through several shorter
linked files rather than one long one.
A hierarchical organization of information is easily
understood by the reader. If you use a hierarchical
organization, make sure you keep this structure readily
apparent by using a table of contents, and by putting links
to the next section, links to the parent section, links to
the previous section, links to the table of contents in each
Don't create dead end files. Each file should have a link
back to your organization's home page, a link to the next
logical section (if appropriate) and a link to the previous
logical section (if appropriate).
- Relative pathnames:
- These were mentioned earlier in this session. The main
advantage is of using relative rather than absolute
pathnames is for portability. Note that this applies to
your own files, not other IP's files that you may want to
Check out some of the links on the IP Help Index... some of
those documents have good guidelines for structure and