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Where You Can Post Your Web Portfolio

Where You Can Post Your Web Portfolio

We have talked about Internet service providers and securing a domain or subdomain. Let’s cover some of the real-world options that you will be making decisions about during the Web portfolio upload process. When it comes to posting your Web portfolio to a server, you have choices. The choices are based on price, flexibility, and hard disk space on the server. As hard disk space and flexibility go up so does price.


As price comes down, server space dwindles and flexibility becomes stricter and stricter. Let’s discuss a few examples. There are many places where you can get free Web portfolio space. Your institution may provide free space to students and faculty for the purpose of posting a Web portfolio or the instructor’s case, course materials. The server space allowed by most institutions is typically unlimited. Obviously, there is a limit to everything. But, most academic information technology departments do not put stringent limits on server space for individual Web portfolio accounts. The only problem with the free Web server space is that it resides on the school server.


The performances of academic servers are typically acceptable. However, what becomes a bit unacceptable are the long Web addresses that are given out to faculty and students. In the case of faculty, this is less of an issue. Faculty members already have positions in the professional world. Students, on the other hand, need the most effective promotional tools they can get to compete successfully in the knowledge age and in an age where technology rules the roost in marketable skill sets.


Long addresses with ~ (tildes) and a lengthy line of subdirectory folders make academic Web portfolio addresses difficult to remember and less than impressive to give out in a professional scenario. A typical academic Web address may look something like this (www.myWeb.xyxcollege.edu/students/~jdimarco). Notice the deep subdirectories and the less than attractive tilde. Some employers with less computer savvy may not even know what a tilde is will be able to navigate to the address to see the Web portfolio. What a scary thought. You can only spend money if you want to upgrade from an academic Web portfolio situation. There are many Web sites that provide portfolios for pay. These sites range from inexpensive to ridiculously expensive. Typical costs are anywhere from $20 to $40 per month for 15 to 30 megabytes of space on the most expensive Web portfolio sites. Yearly costs are in the hundreds.


I have found that most portfolios for pay Web sites that are expensive provide a wide range of administrative, maintenance, and template tools. Basically, you are paying for more than just Web space when you use Web portfolio sites such as www.portfolio.com and www.bigblackbag.com. With these pay sites, you are paying for value-added services that you may or may not need. One potential disadvantage to these sites, besides the cost, is that some require you to work within their shell when creating a Web portfolio.


This may also be seen as an advantage due to the fact that less development has to be done and artifacts can be simply uploaded for presentation. I think these sites take some of the learning value out of the Web portfolio process. Unfortunately, because they are so proprietary, they do not emulate real-world Web development environments that someone may use on a professional level in a work for hire situation. By creating a Web portfolio from scratch, you learn how to develop a Web site. The process of learning how to develop a Web site can be carried over to any Web site project. A lower-cost, flexible solution such as my brain child, www.portfoliovillage.com.


This site may suit you if you have a small, limited budget and you are willing to create your Web portfolio without templates. Focusing on helping faculty and students secure affordable Web portfolio space, this site provides 25 mega- bytes of space for $12 per year. The site provides limited tools and a relatively easy to remember subdirectory address standard (www.portfoliovillage/ johndimarco), or a subdomain (jdimarco.portfoliovillage.com) for an extra charge. When making a decision on Web portfolio; look at your personal budget and assess how important having a professional address on your résumé.


If you do not feel that the address is important or the megabyte size provided by the host is adequate, by all means try to secure free Web portfolio space. But beware; free sites such as GeoCities had been known to have slow connections as well as a large number of annoying pop-up windows and ads. Now let’s look further at the components you’ll need to understand to begin to upload your Web portfolio and get it on the Internet for all to see.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Once you have a domain name, server space and have the ability to get on to the Web, you can begin to upload your files to the server using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). FTP allows a client to post files to a host computer or for a client to get files from a host computer. Accessing ftp requires software or FTP access from your host.


All Web development software has FTP capabilities built in. These capabilities allow you to set up a local site on you r personal computer as well as see the host computer from a file transfer interface. The concept here is as you work locally you can edit your Web pages and publish them on-the-fly. This allows you to make changes quickly and easily to Web pages after a site is uploaded and posted to the host server. File transfer interfaces within Web development software allow drag-and-drop uploading and downloading of files to and from a Web server.


Setting up local Web files within your Web development file transfer interface is a good way to manage all the files used in a Web site during development and editing. What’s great about managing the files within the Web development application file window is that if you move files around within the window the application will ask you if you would like it to update any links affected by the file movement. If you move files around within the root folder on your desktop or hard drive you risk breaking links and image locations.


This will show up on the final site as an image with a gray box and a red X and pop up error messages stating file not found. We absolutely do not want either of those items to be in our Web portfolio. So be sure to move files only within the transfer area of your Web development application. If you move files outside of the application, you may have to replace broken images with the same images from the new location. If you move Web pages that are linked, you’ll have to update the links.


Since we’ve been using professional tools throughout this text, we will continue to do so in explaining in detail how to use the file transfer interface within Macromedia Dreamweaver. Within Dreamweaver, the file transfer interface is called the Site Panel. Dreamweaver provides FTP support and an easy to use interface to upload files. The Site panel allows you to manage all the Dreamweaver sites on your hard drive. Also of great value, Dreamweaver automatically updates moved files in the site panel so that links and image locations are kept operational. In a site panel you’ll be able to view any files within the site folder you select.


To Create a New Site in Dreamweaver Go to Site>Manage Sites. This will open up the Manage Sites window and allow you to set up the ftp information for your host and the local site that resides on your hard drive. For the local site choose your site folder which contains all of your site files including you are raw assets or choose only your root directory which is your first initial and last name. If you choose only your root directory you will not have access to any of the folders above it. You will have access to all the HTML files and the image files that reside in the images folder within the root directory. What’s nice about having access to the files above the root directory is that you can see the names and then double-click to open the files within Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia fireworks.


Once opened in the image-editing applications you can change the files and then re-export them. Once re-exported, the files will update any associated graphics within the Web pages. Again, all you really need to do in the site panel is focus on the root directory so that you can have access to the site files that will be uploaded. To set up a local site all you need to do is select the folder where the site resides on your hard drive. To get files up on the Internet you’ll have to add host information to the site management section of the site files. The host information gets supplied by the host upon purchase of Web space.


The host information is needed to set up FTP access and upload site files. The host information supplied will have:

• Host

• Directory

• Login

• Password


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