HTML Howto, Amiga Computing 87, June 1995

(Editor’s note: this was published in June 1995.  Things have changed a lot!)

By now, you’d have had to be completely cut off from the world not to have noticed that the World Wide Web (hereon known as the Web) has been growing at a rate bigger than exponential. We’re talking explosion proportions, here. Massive does not really come close…

However, you may still be wondering something along the lines of “Yes, but how do I get involved and publish on the Web?” in which case this article should answer your question.

The World Wide Web uses a standard language to transfer it’s hypertext data around the net called HTML, short for Hyper Text Markup Language. HTML is a subset of SGML (that’s Standard General Markup Language) and was brought into being by CERN where they also play with particle accelerators and other expensive toys. You can tell this is new because the acronyms have moved from being three letters to four – must be something special…

The Web is basically a huge example of client/server computing: multiple clients can be furnished by one server. There are many different clients that can be used to interpret the data sent to them by the server, and the Amiga has an excellent one of these.

The most popular client has to be Mosaic, which has been already described as the Internet’s killer application and with good reason – the use of the Web rose by 300,000% in 1993 and is still rising.

AMosaic is a port from the NCSA Mosaic package, originally found in the *NIX world with X Window systems. The beauty of this package is that it will run with practically any protocol stack (such as AmiTCP or DNet) seamlessly, meaning you can use AMosaic on an ethernet network or via your dialup SLIP/PPP link from a service provider.

On the other side of things, publishing Web data means that you need a server to listen for requests for pages to be sent. Again, NCSA’s HTTPdaemon has been ported across to the Amiga but before you start rushing for your copy of httpd, think if you’d really want your Amiga constantly connected; just imagine the phone bills! The only current way to get Web space is to pay a provider to store your data for you which is slowly coming down in cost. Alternatively, if you’re at an academic establishment you may just be able to persuade the powers that be to attach your pages to the WWW. You’d be amazed how much the application of beer to support staff makes them more amenable to this sort of suggestion.

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