Continuing Education Website Development comments by an experienced developer with 20 years of experience
by Gerald Newton
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 http://www.yourdomain.com 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 http://www.yourdomain.com/yourdirectory/yourpage.htm 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.
Building web pages
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 http://www.activestate.com/activeperl/downloads . 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
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.