Week 1

Part 1 — Getting Set Up

Welcome to CSCI 2900: Web Programming! As usual, there are a few housekeeping details we need to take care of before we jump into the real nuts and bolts of the course:

  1. Email me at Julia.Benson-Slaughter AT gpc DOT edu to let me know that you’re ready for the class.
  2. Read the syllabus and course information here at the course website.
  3. Make sure you have your iCollege login and password, and that you can log in to the system.
    I only use iCollege for giving you your grades, but we do have to have it available.
  4. If you haven’t done so already, visit the GPC Computer Science Forum and register.
    Once you’ve done that and I’ve activated your registration,
    log in, go to the CSCI 2800/2900 section, and post an introduction in the “Introduce Yourself” thread.
    Note that we’ll be using the forum rather than the iCollege discussion section for our discussions.
  5. Do you have a web server available for use, with access to MySQL and PHP5?
    If so, you’re ready to rock and roll.
    If not, you’ll need to set one up.
    Fear not, you don’t need to go out and find a web hosting service and all that —
    you can run a local server on your own computer.
    In fact, even if you already do have a web host, you’ll probably want to do this so you don’t break any production sites you already have.There are several ways to set up a fully-functional web server on your own computer.
    The simplest way is to pay a visit to the ApacheFriends web site and download the proper version of the XAMPP package for your operating system.
    XAMPP is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, so it should work for everyone.
    Follow the instructions at the ApacheFriends site and in the readme files for setting up.
    They are pretty self-explanatory, but if you have problems post in the forum.

    If you prefer, you can set up your computer (either as a dual-boot system or a dedicated Linux system) to run the server version of Ubuntu Linux.
    There’s a step-by-step article on how to do this at Ubuntu Geek.

  6. Once you have XAMPP up and running, you need to secure it — it’s inherently a rather insecure system until you tweak it.
    There are instructions for doing so when you do the recommended security check the first time you access http://localhost.
    You’ll probably be asked for a username and password after doing this — the username it’s looking for is “lampp”!
  7. If you’re using Linux, you have one last step to do.
    Create a new directory named public_html in your /home/username/ directory.
    Now link it to the .htdocs directory in your XAMPP installation by
    opening a terminal window and typing the following command: sudo ln -s ~/html /opt/lampp/htdocs/$USER
    (Ubuntu distro assumed, if you use a different one log into your terminal as root and type the command without sudo).
  8. All set? You might want to spend a little time just playing with the examples provided, just to get a feel for how things work.
  9. Oh, there’s one more thing you need to check. What web browser(s) do you have installed on your computer?
    If all you have is Internet Explorer, that’s not going to cut it.

    1. Go to the Mozilla web site and download and install Firefox.
      Once you do that, visit the AddOns page and locate, download, and install the Web Developer’s Toolbar extension and the Firebug extension.
    2. Go to Google and download and install Chrome.
      Then click on the Wrench in the upper right corner, choose Tools->Extensions, and install Web Developer and Firebug Lite.

    These two items will provide invaluable help as you debug your web site.
    If you’ve never used these two tools, check the course library for information and links to tutorials.
    You may also want to check Noupe’s list of 20 Firefox Add-ons to Enhance your Web Development for some additional Firefox add-ons that you may find helpful.

Once you’ve gotten everything set up, move on to Web Site Design.