Help for Administration of a Site within AcoSoc.org

AcoSoc.org is a domain controlled by the Acoustical Society of America and provides space for the web pages of many of the committees of the Society. This page provides help and advice to those who are administering the committee sites within this domain.

In order to administer a sub-site within AcoSoc.org, the space must be set up by the main site administrator, and you must obtain the username and password for this space. Currently the AcoSoc.org administrator is steve.thompson@knowles.com. The address to your pages will be something like http://Acosoc.org/yourname or http://AcoSoc.org/TechComm/yourname. When the space is first created, it will have a simple "Under Construction" page, and there will be no links to it from anywhere. You are then responsible for turning it into a useful site.

The next step is to create the HTML pages for your site. You can actually do this prior to requesting the space, as you will be building the site on your local maching anyway. This usually requires some understanding of the HTML formatting "language," and can be greatly aided with the help of a good HTML editor. See below.

Finally, you must upload your pages to your space on the AcoSoc.org site. The preferred method for this is using the SCP or SFTP file transfer protocols. These are better than the older FTP protocol, which transmits all data, including passwords, without encryption. Free transfer programs that implement these secure protocols are available. They are listed below.

The explanations below are provided by one who is familiar with the Windows and Linux operating systems. Unfortunately he has no experience with MacOS. Certainly, all of the capabilities that are described for Windows are also available on the Macintosh. With apologies, hopefully those Mac users who need help can find it elsewhere.

How can I learn enough HTML?

There are a number of good books html, and a number of web sites dedicated to helping authors get started creating html pages. Pointers to learning HTML include Writing HTML: A tutorial for creating Web pages, Web Monkey, CNET Web Builder, HTML Goodies, Yale Web Style Guide, and W3C HTML Homepage.

HTML Editor

An HTML file is a plain text file, so it can be created with any plain text editor, e.g. Windows Notepad. You should generally not use a word processor, as its output is not plain text. (It is possible to use a word propocessor if you save the output as plain text, but there is usually an easier way.) Some word processors have a "Save as HTML" output format. This will usually work, but it often creates files with a lot of irrelevant extra information that makes the files hard to understand by ordinary people. It is not the method recommended here.

A good, free HTML editor is HTML-Kit. With a little understanding of HTML, this editor can help a lot with the syntax of HTML tags. Another free editor is Composer, which is available from Netscape. Neither of these is a WYSIWYG editor. For that capability, a shareware or commercial editor is needed. perhaps the best known Commercial editors are FrontPage, which is available for purchase from Microsoft, and Dreamweaver, which is available for purchase from Macromedia. These tools write the HTML code for you as you compose your page. Using them is similar to using a word processor such as Microsoft Word. Between these and the free editors, there is a wide range of other commercial editors available at lower prices as well.

File Transfer

When your files are created, you need to upload them to the web site. There are two possible methods of access. The older FTP (File Transfer Protocol), while still possible, is discouraged for security reasons. The better method is some form of secure transmission using the SSH (Secure SHell) protocol. In its simplest form, SSH provides a command shell interface to our web hosting machine. This is available to all users. If you are comfortable with it and know how to use it, you are welcome to it. If you are just interested in transfering files, there are easier methods. There are a number of programs with an intuitive graphica user interface that use the SSH protocol for data transmission.

For Windows machines the PuTTY program provides a secure shell interface, and a simple command line client for SFTP. It may also be used by some other programs for the low level transmission of data. A nicer graphical interface is provided by the WinSCP program. The user interface of this program is divided into two main windows. One is a file explorer for the files on you local machine. The other lists the files on the remote machine. You need to tell the program where to fine your remote direfctory, and the username and paassword to gain access. Other options for Windows users are here.

For the MAC, there are also a number of options listed here.