[Cybertalk logo] Copyright (c) 1995 by Timothy C. Barmann. This article is intended for personal viewing only and may not be re-distributed in any form. Please e-mail link requests.

June 11, 1995

Make a home page
of your very own

By Timothy C. Barmann

To make your own home page, first you need an account with an Internet access provider who lets customers store home-page files on their computer.

Several local companies offer this service as part of their basic connect fee, including Intelecom Data Systems of East Greenwich (885-6855), Log on America of Providence (453-6100) and brainiac Services of Greene (539-9050). (Brainiac charges a $25 one-time home page setup fee.)

Monthly access fees for these companies are $10 to $25.

Last month, Prodigy (1-800-776-3449) announced that subscribers will be able to have home pages as part of their basic service fee, which is $9.95 a month for five hours. So far, they are the only major online service to offer user home pages.

Once you find a provider, you'll have to make up your home page on your computer (unless you're on Prodigy - see below). If you're comfortable using a word processing program like Microsoft Word, it's not that difficult.

Web pages are written in a language called "HTML"- hypertext markup language. But don't let that intimidate you.

At the heart of all Web pages is a simple text file. Within that file, HTML commands are inserted to format text into headlines, for example, and to place other objects like pictures.

There are a number of how-to books to help you create a Web page, but some of the best material is available for free on the World Wide Web itself. A good place to start is with the "frequently asked question" file about the Web, which is at http://sunsite.unc.edu/boutell/faq/.

If you missed April's meeting of the Ocean State Internet Society, where making a home page was discussed by Angela Taylor, many of her presentation documents are available on the Web. The address is http://www.ids.net/osis/iug42695.htm

There are also many programs, some freeware and shareware, for both Macintosh and Windows-based computers that aid in Web page creation. You can find several at http://www.yahoo.com/Computers/World-Wide-Web/HTML-Editors/.

Microsoft has an add-on program called Internet Assistant for Word 6.0 for Windows that promises to make home page creation easy. It's available for free on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/pages/deskapps/word/ia/default.htm

If making your own page sounds too complicated, Prodigy is about to make it simple for Windows users. Subscribers can automatically create a home page while connected to their service. The best part is that you won't have to learn anything about HTML. The drawback, though, is that you must use one of four templates they provide - which can limit your home page design.

The service is expected to be available by the time you read this. Macintosh users will have to wait until Prodigy releases its Mac Web Browser, which it says will happen later this year.

Regardless of what provider you choose, you'll want to include pictures in your home page. But you must convert them to an electronic format. If you don't have a scanner, some photo finishers now will scan your pictures (or negatives) for you when you bring your film in for developing, and give you a disk with your photographs.

Timothy C. Barmann is a Journal-Bulletin staff photographer. His column runs every other Sunday on the Online page. Comments about this column or suggestions for future topics can be sent to him via e-mail at tim@cybertalk.com.