Revised 1997 May 4
This page is for beginners, if you have ideas for it send them via EMAIL
(indbio@disknet.com)

Introduction to Hypertext and the World Wide WEB
By Harold Eddleman, Ph. D.

This is my beginning page for folks who have an interest in the WEB, but have not had an opportunity to see it on a computer. Let us begin by explaining hypertext because it is the basis of the World Wide Web. Hypertext is a concept of linking underlined words with other more advanced or more detailed text. First here is non-hypertext example. Suppose you are reading a small book about fruit and the first paragraph mentions strawberry, blackberry, apple, pear, peach, apricot, quince, and plums. Suppose you have heard of quince jelly and you believe it is usually green and served with lamb. While you got this book from the library to learn how to plant a couple rows of strawberries in the garden, you suddenly become obsessed with a desire to learn about quince. You might turn to the glossary and get a definition. You might turn to the pages of color fruit photographs at the center of the book. You might look for a chapter on quince and find none. You might turn to the index to find all the pages about quince. You might still wonder why quince jelly is always(?) green and turn to the chapter on jelly making and learn that green food coloring is often added to quince jelly. You might begin wondering whether you could grow quince fruit. Most fruit books say little about quince, and you may find you have learned nothing about the flavor, best varieties, or any of the other things you want to know. You decide to go back to the library the next day to look for books having more information on quince.

In the above example using a book on fruit, you had to hunt around in the book to find the things you wanted to know about quince (a tree fruit having a flavor between apple and pear and grown in temperate zones). If you had been reading a good WEB version of the fruit book, you would simply click on the blue underlined words that interested you and the information would appear on the screen. There would be no need to make trips to the library to get more books. By the time you finish these pages you will know how to use and write such pages. Does the Web have anything about quince? I don't know, but as soon as the phone line is free I am going to make a search. Yes, I found hundreds of sites giving information on quince.

Writing a web book on fruit may not be within your interests or abilities, but you do have interests and abilities in your own professional area or everyday experiences. Why not share what you know with the world by writing something for the web. It could be about fishing, baking, gardening, wildflowers in your county, birds that come to your feeder, or everyday life on your farm. If you do write a web book, you don't have to write everything, you can insert links to other sites and leave choices for the reader to get as deeply involved as he wishes. For example, in a web book about hunting ducks, you can have links to sites about gunsmithng, natural history of ducks, duck photography, decoy making, ducks around the world, and duck habitat. The reader need only choose those things about ducks that he is interested in. I have no interest in killing ducks, but I would love to read such a web book because few duck species nest here. No species nested here before hunters began their conservation efforts. You may not want to write a web book or web site but the preceeding gives you an idea of how the web can be used. Actually, writing a web book may not be so difficult. You only need to write some of your first hand experience and then add links to web pages written by experts.

Why should I take the time to write a web book or web page? That is a question every discouraged web author asks frequently. The best reason is that there would be no web with its wealth of information if public spirited folks like you had not taken the time to write what is now available. You probably won't ever make a dime from the time you spend helping make the web a delightful place. However, your everyday life will benefit from the writing experience and you are sure to learn many new things. Just writing about your farm, garden, town, or county you will give you a greater preception of details. You will become a more intelligent person, less occupied by the tiny annoying details in your life. If you write about your friends, you will enrich your friendships or make everyone angry with you--either way you will learn from the experience.

Actually, you may profit from writing on the web in unexpected ways. If you do a good job, people will gain a new appreciation for abilities they did not know you had. You might write about your cattle, just to share your love and appreciation for the fine beasts and attract additional buyers. Writing about your hobby of growing unusual flowers might attract folks wanting to buy your surplus plants. Stories about your garden may attract buyers for vegetables and fruit or a garden center might ask you to help them part-time. Best of all, you are likely to create new friendships with people from distant communities who share your interests. New friends would never have met otherwise.

As you browse the web, you are sure to come across some very impressive sites that brighten your day. Please always take a moment to click on their mailto: (email) address and drop them a sincere note thanking them for their effort. Give the details of what you liked. A generic 'nice site' does not help them improve their site. If you don't like a site or find it offensive, always feel free to vent your disgust upon the poor webmaster. I recently found a business site hard to read due to red print on black background. I gave up trying to read it and told them it was illegible without a magnifying glass. Two days later I got a nice e-mail from the webmaster saying he had no trouble reading the site, but after my message he had viewed the site with several browsers and found it was illegible with some. I revisited the site and it is now very attractive with white background and red-brown print.

While you may not find what you want to know on the Web, searching for it is pretty simple. First you need a browser. There are several good browsers. You can download Lynx, a non graphical browser from the University of Kansas, if your computer is not capable of graphics or color. You can use Net Tamer on a DOS machine which does not have windows. Microsoft is giving away Internet Explorer 3.0 to maintain its grip on PC owners.

The leader in web browsers has been Netscape ever since it came out, but Mosaic was the first widely used graphics browser. Since personal users can use Netscape free for an unlimited evaluation period, why not go with the best and download Netscape 3.0 gold from your local bulletin board, your ISP provider, or directly from Netscape? I like Netscape because it includes a superb Editor which lets you see how everything you type will look to readers using the same version. Netscape was used to write 75% of the pages traveling the internet according a recent survey.

To keep things simple, I will assume you have downloaded a copy of Netscape 3.0 gold. It is too confusing to attempt to write everything for every browser. Besides Microsoft and other companies have hunmdreds of people working to keep up with Netscape. For example America on Line is working to make their browser capable of reading frames.

1997 May 4: This page is to be continued after I examine how it fits with the other pages in this series. So far this page has few links. It is easy to write the text first and then add the links later.

Try these pages in my site.

Related pages in this web site (Those in blue are linked to this page; just click on them)

Background Pages

Pages on WWW Linked to This Page


Written by Harold Eddleman, Ph. D., President, Indiana Biolab, 14045 Huff St., Palmyra IN 47164
Suggestions, corrections, and comments are appreciated: Contact Harold Eddleman indbio@disknet.com

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