Continuing Education Website Development comments by an experienced developer with 20 years of experience

by Gerald Newton
March 1, 2015

File Transfer Protocol
A Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides a site to store your web pages. You connect to the ISP location provided using a File Transfer Protocol application. There are several on the market and some are free. I use FTP Cute Lite. The ISP will give you all the information needed to connect using FTP including a username and password. Once connected you will see the ISP hard drive on the right and your hard drive on the left. You simply drag the files from one side to the other to upload or download. Text files like CGI programs are required to be transferred as text and not binary but FTP Cute does this automatically. Once a CGI or Perl program file is uploaded the permission must be set. With FTP Cute you can do this by high lighting the file on the ISP Server hard drive then right click and go down to the Properties CHMOD menu. For most CGI programs the permission must be set to 755 for them to work. The base directory for Powweb is htdoc and that is your top directory. When a browser goes to your web address such as the server delivers the index.htm or html file that is located in the base directory, htdoc. That is the default page that is downloaded. For other directories the full address is required such as Most ISP's sell a domain name and register it for you for a reasonable price, sometimes for as little as $50. Picking a good domain name is important and many good names are already taken. The ISP usually has a program that will tell you if a domain name is already taken.

I have used many applications to make graphics but finally settled on PowerPoint by Microsoft as my favorite. But a free Presentation software application, Impress, by Open Office looks as good and seems to do many of the same things. Open Office suite icon for Impress is called Presentation.  Open Office is free and can be downloaded from   After building the slides I export them as jpg files. Next I use an application to reduce the size to about 800 pixels wide, 600 pixel high for inserting into the html test pages. I used to use Adobe PhotoShop for this but found that PaintShop Pro which is much less expensive will do the same thing and do it in bulk using the batch feature. I am sure if you looked at you can find an application that will do this for free. Be sure and go to and not which is a piggyback site. At one time I extensively investigated using videos but found that it takes about 10 times longer to develop a training video that does not seem to improve learning over a good static graphic. I think each question should have one graphic where the answer to the question can be found.  To build webpages using graphic thumbnails that behave like a slide show use Irfanview from  It is free.  Go to the Thumbnail feature under the file menu.

Building web pages
It is important to have an application for this that will allow you to edit in what you see is what you get and a view code feature. I still use an older version of Microsoft FrontPage for this but there are several good ones on the market. I would stay away from Cascading Style Sheets and DreamWeaver. Plain old simple Hypertext Mark Up Language (HTML) using frames and tables works just fine. Cascading Style Sheets are much too complicated for what you gain. I have found is an excellent resource for application software including their Web Access Manager which is the best way to secure your directories with a username and password. And it only costs $39.00. At one time 16 years ago I paid $200 for software to do this that was horrible.

Payment sites
I have used the worse, Regnet by Digital River and the best, PayPal. Paypal is by far the best They give immediate money and provide a debit card to use it. Regnet is nothing but trouble. They hold your money for 30 days and make you go through heck to do a refund. PayPal is fully computerized and only charges 3 percent. Regnet charged as much as 16 percent.

For ISP's I have dealt with six and is the best. They have control panels second to none and allow you to run Perl (CGI) programs and PHP at no extra cost. Their technical support is excellent and they answer the phone! They are also very inexpensive.

Writing Software
Learning to program is important to a person who wants to do it all.  The best language to start with is Basic if you have a lot of time.  But I would jump right in with JavaScript.  Today many essential JavaScript code snippets can be found using the Google search engine.  JavaScript is the language used to program web pages and Perl is the language used to run on ISP servers to grade tests, record the grades, names, etc on the ISP hard drive and provide search programs to find who passed the tests. 

For Perl I highly recommend two books.  One is Perl by Example by Ellie Quigley the other is CGI Programming 101 by Jacqueline D. Hamilton.  I have over 15 Perl Books but most are rather useless for learning Perl.  It is important to study only the material in books that is useful.  For example Perl by Example contains material about using MySQL with Perl.  For simple flat data files you do not need MySQL.  Flat data files are simply a text file with some kind of separator such as : or | between fields.  Each line of text in the text file is a record and a record is made up of fields, like name, email address, Test title, etc.   You can get what you want from these files using a small Perl program using regular expressions so there is no need to learn MySQL.   If you are dealing with millions of records and many types of data then learn MySQL. However, the best approach for large database files is to use a database program like Oracle.  Basically these Database applications require you to build your database in a highly structured format using tables so you can use about 30 commands that will perform searches and manipulations of data at high speeds.

Perl is free and the Windows version can be downloaded from .  Perl programs will run on just about any computer from the command screen.  To run them at the ISP server requires a little more to get the input from a web page and to send the output back to the client as a webpage.  That is what the CGI.PM module is all about.  It allows you to use a little extra coding in a Perl program to accomplish this.  CGI Programming 101 covers this quite well.  Perl scripts are not as easily found on the Internet so you will either have to write them or buy them.

Other tricks of the trade
For an excellent assortment of multimedia tools AVS4you is the best priced software out there.  For building human figures use Poser 10 from Smith Micro.  Download the trial version and build you figures and and capture them using Shift Print Screen then extract them using the magic wand tool in PaintShop Pro.  Save them on your hard drive.  Be sure and put hard hats and glasses on construction workers using photoshopping techniques.  Just about anything on your computer screen can be captured using the Shift Print Screen method that puts the picture into the clipboard.  If that doesn't work or the right click and copy doesn't work get your digital camera out and take a picture.  To avoid using copyright material, draw over a photo with the PaintShop Pro or PowerPoint drawing tools.  The wand tool, the invert function, and selection tool in PaintShop Pro are invaluable.  Also to make an illustration take a picture and insert the required components.  For instance my illustration of the clearance for overhead lines over a train was made by taking a picture of train tracks under a overhead power line and then I captured the picture of a train engine and inserted onto the tracks. 

For making movie clips Windows Movie Maker is excellent.  If the .wmv format is unusable use the AVS4you file conversion software to make it into whatever.  Adobe Flash movies can be made with the expensive Adobe Flash or use the AVS4you software that is much less expensive.  To make narratives of pictures and video use Camtasia Studio.  To make computerized voice overs use Text Aloud MP3 with AT&T voices.  Text Aloud allows you to import text that is read by any one of the selected male/female American/British voices and then converts the file to MP3 that can then be used as an audio file.  To get buildings and drawings for tanks, gas stations, refineries, power transformers, etc use Smart Draw.  It has a wide assortment of excellent art work.  To play MP3 audio clips there are numerous free little Javascript applications out there or just steal audio-player.js that I use.  I place a function in the body statement (oncontextmenu="return false;) in some my web pages so the source code cannot be read using the right click method but you can find the pages in your cache, load them into an editor and read them. 

Avoid using Youtube for your videos.  Google likes to insert ads into Youtube videos and also edits them.  Avoid using links to other sites since they are often there today and gone tomorrow.  Try to use only material you control that is kept on your ISP harddrive.  Also make backup copies of your entire site often.  One time a rather bad ISP in Alaska totally erased my site and I had to completely restore it from my backup copy.  Keep several backup copies and also have at least one backup laptop that you can run your site from.  I cannot over emphasize the importance of backups.  Also backup your email that is used to run your site.  Don't use Gmail or Yahoo mail but use a good email program.  I use Microsoft Outlook that allows me to export my inbox and send folders as .pst folders that can also be imported.  Also make sure you have backup capabilities for connecting to the Internet.  I use DSL at home but can always connect using my Iphone hotspot feature where ever there is cell phone access.