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Forget the Java and the HTML!*
Just Click and Type to Create a
Really Cool Web Page Using
Netscape Composer:
A Tutorial

by gwyneth anne bronwynne jones
library media/technology specialist

First of all I gotta say that there's a really good tutorial buried deep on Netscape's main site but it's sorta hard to find if you don't have the link.  But, if you don't have it, hey... why not use mine? I frequently quote from it, plus I utilize a lot of the graphics that they use... (with full credit, of course!)  Besides, you're already here, aren't you?  Now, this tutorial is geared towards Netscape Composer 4.7 and higher, but that might change 'cause it seems like Netscape is coming out with new versions of Communicator every stay tuned.

Table of Contents

Sounds pretty good, huh?

2 Very Important Tips before you start:

  • Make a folder for all this web page stuff to save into, either on your HD (hard drive) or on a disk. It's very important that all the components (.html, jpeg's, gif's, etc.) of your page are saved together in a folder
  • Open a second Navigator window. Go up to File and select New Navigator. It's a good idea to double browse (have at least two windows open at the same time) when you are designing a web page. This helps because with one window you are composing your page, with the other you are searching for, finding, and saving graphic images and URL links to add later

The easiest way to start making a web page is to collect, organize and save your bookmarks

Bookmarks A-Go-Go

Saving, collecting, and organizing  bookmarks within Netscape Communicator is a whole lot of fun....Really!
I mean, have you ever found a really *perfect* site only to go elsewhere and not be able to find your way back again?  doh!
The bookmark is your virtual “bread crumb” to leave behind you so that you can go back again to a great site.
Well, here's how to organize and save those bookmarks so that you can always find that perfect site for that perfect lesson!  And if you save them to a disk, you can share them with a colleague, take them to a conference, or even create a quick web page!
After you save several bookmarks (by going up to Bookmarks and choosing Add Bookmark) of the same topic you probably want to organize them and put them into a folder.  Believe me, this is very helpful, easy to use, and it looks great.
To do this go up to Bookmarks on your toolbar and select Edit Bookmarks (or you can use the short cut OpenApple and the letter "B").  This will open up your bookmarks file. (see bookmark screen capture)
How to Get rid of a Bookmark:

  • To clear an unwanted bookmark, highlight the bookmark by clicking on it once and then go up to Edit and choose Clear or you can just press the Delete key

How to Create a Folder to organize and store Bookmarks:

  •  Go up to File on your toolbar and choose New Folder.  Name the new folder, then click OK. To put bookmarks into the folder,  find them on the bookmark list and just grab, drag, and drop them  into the folder. Smoosh them around with the mouse, arrange the order however you like. So far, there is no way to sort them alphabetically like you used to do in Netscape Navigator Gold. :-(

How to Add a Separator between Bookmark Folders:

  •  Click on the folder or bookmark you want the separator to separate, then go up to File on your toolbar and New Separator.  This will add a short line between your folders/boomarks which looks really nice and helps when scrolling down between the items.

How to Save Your Bookmarks to a Disk or the HD:

  •  To save your Bookmarks so that you can upload them elsewhere or use them to create a web page, open the bookmark file first then  highlight the main folder (it usually has your name on it, if you've got your email prefs in that machine)  create a folder on your HD called bookmarks, or whatever, then drag the bookmark folder and drop it into the new folder
  • Save as an HTML Doc:  Highlight the main folder at the top of the bookmarks page by clicking on it once,  then go  up to File and Save As.  Give the document a name that reflects the contents but make sure it ends with .html. This will save your bookmarks as an HTML document that you can use  as a Web Page by itself or as a basis to start using Composer.
  • To view this Bookmark page, Netscape should be open. Go up to File then choose Open  then choose Page in Composer, select the bookmark document ending with .html that you saved and click Open. This will open the document as a grey web page with all your bookmarks now as hotlinks, your separators as horizontal rules and organized in groupings according to your folders. Now, this page does not have graphics or a background color/design yet of course, but you could add that later with composer ..oh! you say you want to do that? cool!.. keep reading, then!

Now that You are in Composer, Let's Compose!

"Many of the pages you see when you browse the web were made by ordinary people like you. You don't have to be a computer whiz - you can use Netscape Composer, part of Netscape Communicator, to create, edit, and publish your own web pages."

The Composer Toolbar

Adding Text to Your Pages

"In the Composer window, click to place the insertion point on the page. (You have to start at the top left for now.) Now you can just start typing!"

OK, now you are like in Microsoft Word you can change the size,  font, colour, alignment and make this page look how you want it to look (this is a definitely an improvement over the Netscape Navigator Gold Editor!) *you* have the last word in Style!

Or you could just use the handy tool bar buttons for most of these style choices!
don't forget the tool bar, make it your friend!  We like short cuts, right? Cool!

You can also add horizontal lines to divide the space on your page.
like this!

  • Click the location in the Composer window where you want to insert the line
  • Go up to Insert and choose Horizontal Line
  • OR (easier!) click the Insert Horizontal Line button on the Composition toolbar and voila!

  Of course, you want to add cool pictures like this, right?  Awww, cute kitty!

Visit the Easy Web Design Examples page for FREE backgrounds, pictures and animated gifs!

Adding Graphic Images!

"You can put images on your pages to make them more visually interesting. Images are part of why the web is so popular. Before the development of browsers like Netscape Navigator that display images "inline," visitors to an Internet site had to download each image separately and open them with a special viewing program. Each image on a web page is a separate file, distinct from the HTML document that makes up a web page. The page contains not the images themselves, but a link to the image, which is displayed as part of the page. While you're making your pages, your images might reside on your hard drive or on the Internet. When you publish your pages on the Internet using Composer, it will post both the pages and the images to the server."

Huh? Sorry, I had to read that last part a couple of times before I got it.. Ok, this is what it means. If you want a picture on your page, you gotta snag it and save it to a disk or your HD. And here's how to do it: find a picture on the Internet you want to use (make sure it's from a free graphic site or a digital picture or get permission from the site)
For MAC users (yea! go iMac!) follow these steps:

How to save graphic images/Mac:

  • Put your cursor on the graphic you want to download
  • Click and hold - a box will pop up
  • Choose Open this Image to isolate the image, is this what you want? if so,
  • Choose Save this Image as
  • Now save this image to your folder with your .html document
  • Don't change the name, or take of the .jpeg or .gif ending -that will make it break
  • Remember, every part of your web page when you are done, including and especially images must be uploaded to the server for your page to work online.

How to save graphic images/WIN:

  • Put your cursor on the graphic you want to download
  • RIGHT click and hold - a box will pop up
  • Choose Save Image As from the menu.
  • Select the directory/folder you want to save it in, and click Save.

Insert Image: How to place the image on a page:

When you want to add a saved graphic to your page, place your cursor where you wish the graphic to go and click on the tool bar button: Insert Image

Now you will get a dialog box that looks like the one below. Choose File to 
find the image saved in your folder on your disk/HD, click Open. Now you have some choices about how that image should look.

From this point you can add a solid border (1 or 2 pixels is nice) around the image, or you can custom wrap the text (it will only show up in the View in Navigator window) you can reduce the image by changing the height and width in the custom size window.. all kinds of stuff! When you are done, click Apply and then OK.

Background Images: How to Borrow a Background- with permission of course!

If you find a background on a web site that you really like , it is easy to “borrow” it and put it on your page.  However, you must get permission to do so first if you plan to publish it online. The easiest way to do this is to Email the web master of the site, explain that you are a teacher and wish to use the background or graphic with a class, and assure that full credit will be given on your page.
9 times out of 10 they are thrilled to loan you what you want.  Make sure to thank them, give them the credit, and add their link to your page. So when you see a background that you like do the following:

  • Go up to VIEW on the toolbar and choose Page Info
  • Click on the image URL to isolate it lower on the dialog box (see below)
  • From here you can see what the background image really looks like
  • Highlight and copy the URL (http://etc.) of that background image, and paste it in the location box of another navigator page
  • Click and hold, choose Save this Image as
  • Now save this background image to your folder with your .html document
  • Don't change the name, or take of the .jpeg or .gif ending
  • Remember, every part of your web page when you are done, including and especially background images must be uploaded to the server for your page to work online

How to insert this background image onto your page:

  • Go up to Format and choose Page Properties

  • Choose Colors and Background
  • Choose Use Custom Colors
  • Click Image in the box for Page Background
  • Click Choose File to browse for your saved background
  • Find your saved background .jpeg or .gif and click Open
  • Click Apply then OK
  • Then click Save (disk image on toolbar)

How to view/preview your page:
Before you can View your Page in Navigator (using the ship's wheel Preview button) 
you must save it first. click the disk button to save. Make sure to save the page in the folder where you had stored all your graphic elements. Now you can preview by clicking View in Navigator.

How to Title your page:

To title your page you need to go up to Format and choose Page Properties or Title

Now choose General and type in the name of your page where it says Title. Click Apply and Ok
that's it!~

Inserting Extra Hot Links
and Making Images Hot Links

How to make a word or a line of text a hot link:

Sometimes, even though you started this page with hotlinks already active (thanks to the old save bookmarks as a .html file trick!) you may want to add more links or make a graphic image a link.
to do this:

  • Go up to Communicator on the main tool bar and select the second page you have open in Communicator on your desktop (remember, always double (or triple, etc.) browse when designing a web page)
  • Go to a page that you want to link to
  • Highlight the URL and copy it. (either by OpenApple and C/ or Control and C or by going up to Edit and Copy
  • Go back up to Communicator and go back to your Netscape Composer page
  • Highlight the word/line of text you wish to make a link
  • Now click the link button 
  • The text you highlighted should be in gray in the top box where it says Linked Text
  • Paste the url (http://www,etc.) in the box where it says Link To: URL (Page Location) or File
  • Click OK

How to make a graphic image a hot link:

  • Go up to Communicator main tool bar and select the second page you have open in Communicator on your desktop (remember, always double (or triple, etc.) browse when designing a web page)
  • Go to a page that you want to link to
  • Highlight the URL and copy it. (either by OpenApple and C/ or Control and C or by going up to Edit and Copy
  • Go back up to Communicator and go back to your Netscape Composer page
  • Highlight the image you wish to link to by clicking once to select then going up to the Insert Image button on the tool bar
  • When the dialog box opens, look for the file tab at the top that says link, click once on it
  • Paste the url (http://www,etc.) in the box where it says Link To: URL (Page Location) or File
  • Click OK
  • Publishing Your Page:

    "If your page exists only on your local hard drive, you can browse the page, but no one else can. Once you have finished making your web page and have tested the links, you need to publish your page on the Internet.
    Generally, you can publish your web page on the server run by the same Internet service provider (ISP), company, college, or school system that you use to access the Internet. When you publish your page on a server, you copy your page to a computer that lets other people see it.
    Ask your systems administrator or ISP about publishing your web pages; you may need to pay a few more dollars a month to have a web publishing account".

    In other words, with your saved .html document and your folder full of supporting graphic images you can upload this page to any server. Follow the directions of that server to do this (each one is a little different) but basically you have most of the work done!
    To read more about this visit the Netscape Communicator Tutorial.
    Good Job!

    Credits and Links:

    • Big thanks go out to Netscape for the use of several graphic images and quotes from their online Composer tutorial  which can be found here
    • Also, their web guide, New to the Net is very helpful.
    • But not as good, IMHO,  as Internet Integration: a Jump Start which is intended "to assist educators in the pursuit of integrating the Internet into their classrooms quickly, easily and effectively" (ok, ok, i will admit, this was the page i did for the MPT/NTTI conference, but it's pretty cool!)
    • Lights, Camera, Action!Technology Integration Through Television Production -Created by Dianne P. Wells, Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher, this page introduces and gives excellent links on how to produce a "professional, research-based, live daily television broadcast in addition to producing pre-recorded research-based news magazine segments and public service announcements"
    • Get More from the Web -This page chock full of great links to assist the educator in getting more from the web! Constructed by tech guru Doug Fireside, this page is nicely made, frankly and amusingly annotated, and easily navigated. Some of the links are duplicates of the ones on this page, but there is a lot of really great information there.
    • The HyperPowered Curriculum -page was designed for those teachers who use Hyper-Studio and other slide show/presentation software in their classrooms. You can find clip art, scoring rubrics and all sorts of other goodies here. Created by Amado "Sonny" Narvaez, Media Specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools.
    • Another helpful place to find really great resources is the MPT Learning Works site on the MPT home page.
    • Cynde Mutryn and Sarah Blattner from MPT have also compiled an excellent collection of sites called Treasures of the Internet: A Sampling of Quality Sites and Resources that you might want to take a look at.
    • Eduhound: Everything for Education K-12 - a really great source for lessons, sources, sites in just about ever curricular area!
    • FREE web hosting with Angelfire ... i've used them for years, and even though they have that annoying pop-up window (which i click on to get rid of *right* away!) they are very easy to use and reliable when accessing.
    • - a really good site to store and access your bookmarks.

    this page was created on a MacintoshG3 by: gwyneth anne bronwynne jones
    murray hill middle school, howard county public schools, maryland
    feel free to email me if you have any questions/suggestions or links to share! thanks for stopping by!

    last updated: 3.27.2000

    i support and recommend the following sites:

    FastCounter by bCentral

    Partial funding for MPT's National Teacher Training Institute for Math, Science, and Technology provided by the generous support of: Graphic provided by Amado Narvaez author of the awesome page entitled: The Hyper-Powered Curriculum

    created: 3.6.2000
    last updated: 10.23.2002

    * disclaimer: now to all you wonderful brilliant Java/JavaScript and HTML experts out there.. we appreciate and admire you!.. but some of us just don't have *time* to learn to do what you do!