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A Website Is Really Just Text: Build One in 5 Minutes

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This chapter starts with a blank site and one HTML page and works its way from there to a fully functional site.
This chapter is from the book

Now that you have seen what this program can do, it’s your turn to make your own project. You start at the beginning with a blank site and one Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) page, and work your way from there to the fully functional site you saw in Hour 2, “Beginning at the End: A Walkthrough of the Finished Project.”

Creating a New Website

As you saw in Hour 2, a website is a group of related files and folders under one main folder. In fact, a website such as www.designisphilosophy.com is little more than a folder on a server you can access through the Internet. By creating a new website in Expression Web 4, you tell the program, “This folder is where I will put all the text, images, and other files I want to share with everyone in the world when they visit the website. Please keep track of them for me.” In response, Expression Web 4 keeps tabs on what you do and makes appropriate changes to your files to reflect the changes you have made in related files and keep the website working properly. It does so by creating a set of hidden metadata files that describe the site and its contents. That way, the information about how your site functions is stored even if you delete the program from your computer or hand over the project to another Expression Web 4 user.

The first thing to do when you start a new project is to create a new website. You can do this from the Site menu or from the New Site icon on the Common toolbar. This opens the New Site dialog, which displays the different options available (see Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 The New Site dialog gives you the ability to create new websites from scratch, from templates, or by importing an existing site.

From the New Web Site dialog, you have the option to make a basic website with no content, create one from a template, or import an existing site using the Import Site Wizard. Under General are three more options: One Page Site, Empty Site, and Import Site Wizard. The One Page Site option creates a website with a home page file called default.html. The Empty Site option creates a website folder with no files. The Import Site Wizard lets you import an already existing site from a local folder, a network folder, or the Web.

At the bottom of the dialog is the suggested location for your new website. The suggested location varies depending on your computer’s operating system and setup. To avoid confusion, always create a new folder with the same name as your project and use it as your website folder. You can use the Browse button to select any folder on your hard drive, on a local network, or on an external server, such as your website or root folder, but keeping your files on one of your local hard drives is usually the best solution.

It’s a good idea to have a central location where you keep all your websites. Expression Web 4 suggests you use the My Web Sites folder located under Documents, but you can use any folder you want. This book uses the My Web Sites folder as the central location for all projects.

Expression Web 4 has now created a new site with one page called default.html (see Figure 3.2). This is the blank canvas you work with from here on out.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 The MyKipple site as it appears after creation.

As you make changes to the files in the website, Expression Web 4 keeps tabs on what you do and makes sure your hyperlinks are up to date, even if you change them, to keep everything working properly.

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