The Thrifty Beginner’s Guide to Webpublishing

Posted by Hans Zbinden on January 16, 1999 at 09:35:11:

Bulletin Board Post Number: 276

Posted from Host: (

Hello Timezoners

Many incredibly informative text-only articles have been written for the Timezone forums over the years and they’re always welcomed and enjoyed. But personally, I’ve found that including pictures to a post greatly adds to the fun of writing it. This article will show you the easiest and cheapest way to get your pictures on the web and post articles that include one or more pictures and links. I’ve tried to keep the information as basic as possible so hopefully, even the computer-novice with the itch to picture-publish will be able to follow. I don’t discuss topics like jpeg compression or fancy HTML, but you are all very much invited to follow-up this post with your own tips and tricks.



Getting your picture into a digital format

There are numerous digital formats for pictures, think of these formats as being different ways to store the same information, just like different word-processors store the documents differently. On the Web, two such formats are common, the “File Interchange Format” that adds the extension .jpg to the filename and the Graphics Interchange Format (.gif). The easiest way to make a digital copy of a picture is to use a scanner. I bought the cheapest one I could find (Mustek 600 CP, approx. 50 US-$ including all required software), the quality of the scans is more than sufficient for publishing on the web although it scans considerably slower than the more expensive ones. The cheaper models are usually hooked up to your computer via the printer port so you don’t have to install any additional hardware. If you don’t have access to a scanner, many copy shops and cybercafes offer the use of theirs for a fee.

To get digital pictures of 3-dimensional objects, for example a watch, a scanner rarely produces great results. A digital camera is ideal for this as they already store the picture in the required .jpg format mentioned above. After taking a picture, all you have to do is transfer it to your PC. Unfortunately, even the most basic model costs considerably more than a no-frills scanner. But if you already have a 35 mm camera, many photo labs will transfer a digital copy of your pictures from film to CD-ROM or floppy disk.

When viewing the picture for the first time, you’ll notice that it’s much larger than you’ll probably want. I load the picture into Microsoft Photo Editor, a program that is included with Windows and use the “change-size” function until the picture more or less fits my screen, experiment ! Most picture-edit programs offer a number of effects that can greatly enhance the quality of the graphics, for example, “sharpen or “lighten”, again experiment.

As the readers viewing your pictures will have to download them, you should try to keep the size of the file within certain limits, I like to keep them under 70 KB or so and store them in the .jpg format. For useful tips on this subject, search the web with keywords “jpg compression”

Getting your picture on the Web and locating it

To include your pictures in a post, they have to be stored on a server that is connected to the Internet. Many ISPs will include space on their servers for your homepage or scans with your subscription. Uploading files to these areas usually requires the use of special software and will take a bit of reading to grasp. Much easier is the use of one of the many free services that offer webspace on the Internet, for example or . You’ll find instructions on how to sign up on their homepage. Once you have an account, you can easily upload your pictures from your harddisk to your account with your browser.

Once this is done, you’ll have to find out the picture’s URL (its exact location on the Internet). For example, my account at GeoCities stores all files in the directory , thus, the URL of a file called rolex.jpg in that directory would be

On newer browser versions, move your mouse over a picture and press the right mouse button, a menu will pop up and you can choose the option “Copy Image Location”. This will store the URL of the photo into your clipboard and you can later paste it from there when required.

Adding a picture to a post

When you want to add a single picture to your post, all you have to do is write or paste the URL of the picture into the box “Optional Image URL” located under the message box.

Writing articles with minimal HTML

If you browse through the Bulletin Board, you’ll come across many articles with great layout, formatting and loads of pictures. If you’d like to publish in the same way, you’ll need to know a minimal amount of the programming-language HTML. HTML is a set of words and tags that instructs the browser to show you post in a certain way. Many free and commercial HTML editors are available and most newer word-processors let you save your file in this format too. I usually just use the Windows Notepad and add the HTML tags by hand because it’s very quick.

With the following examples, you’ll be able to write an article in HTML that includes formatting, links and pictures. Important: To post examples of HTML tags, I had to add an asterisk (*) after the first character of the tag, otherwise your browser would interpret it and the code wouldn’t be visible, the asterisks (*) should not be included:

Basic text

Write your text, if you want to start at a new line, add <*br>

Inserting a picture

<*img src=”“> for example <*img src=””>

add <*br> if you want to continue on a new line after the picture.

Inserting a link

<*a href=”“>text_of_the_link<*/a> for example

<*a href=””>Click here for the Timezone website<*/a> without the two * this command would appear like this in your post:

Click here for the Timezone website

Basic formatting

<*b> bold face on

<*/b> bold face off

<*i> italics on

<*/i> italics off

<*u> underline on

<*/u> underline off

<*p> paragraph begin

<*/p> paragraph end

<*br> new line

For more examples use the option of viewing a web-page’s HTML code in your browser. In Netscape, chose “Page Source” from the “View” menu and all HTML tags will become visible, very useful when you want to copy the layout of a page.

I hope this article will inspire one or the other great picture reports !