Edmund A. Hajim  School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Web Page Access and Development in HSEAS

We are frequently asked

"OK, I have a web site area provided to me, but how do I access it, how do I put my web pages in there?"

How you upload materials depends on how you wish to work, and where you are working.

Samba/CIFS - File Sharing Access

Samba (or CIFS) is a file sharing method which allows a UNIX/Linux server to share files in the same manner as a Windows file server. This is very handy for those of us working in a Windows or MacOS environment. If you are working on a MacOS or Windows PC within HSEAS and on the production network, or are outside of the UR but have established a UR VPN connection), you can use the Windows-style file sharing to access the web area.

The particulars of access vary from OS revision to OS revision, although there are similarities. Examples are available for a few of the more common OS varieties (in PDF format):

More information about Samba in HSEAS can be found at our page that describes HSEAS Samba Service.

Local (from UNIX/Linux) Access

If you are working on a HSEAS UNIX/Linux host (either central HSEAS or your department) on the production network, the directory you need to access is /usr/dept/www/; your materials will be located under there (e.g. for your personal web page, add the suffix users/your_login_name, e.g., users/gort, or for a course you are teaching, courses/coures_id, e.g., courses/ME123).

All HSEAS departments (seas, bme, che, ece, me, optics and ceis) can access their web pages at /usr/dept/www on Nova. Simple UNIX copy (cp) and move (mv) commands can then be used to updates materials in the subdirectories for which you have been granted access. Likewise, direct editing is available with UNIX text editors (vi, emacs, etc.) when you are working directly within UNIX. We do recommend though that you not edit live web pages directly.

Access via File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

If you are working locally (within the UR wired network, including VPN) or remotely(outside the UR from a wireless conection, from home, etc.) you can use an ftp (File Transfer Protocal) client program to deposit and retrieve materials from that same directory, using nova.seas.rochester.edu as the ftp host, and the same directory (e.g., /usr/me/www/courses/ME225) as the target directory.

While plain ftp works, we strongly recommend (and this may become a requirement) that you use the sftp (SecureSHell FTP) method.

If you are working on Windows, consider either adding the free sftp client CoreFTP Lite or from www.download.com, or if you use the firefox web browser, adding the extension 'fireFTP'. Either provides a very nice GUI drag-and-drop ftp interface (I don't believe fireFTP does sftp transfers, and in general, I would discourge the use of browser plugins as a primary means of performing ftp/sftp transfers). The ftp client that comes with Windows is a bit difficult to work with and does not do sftp. If you are using Linux, the 'gftp' ftp client provides a nice graphical interface to ftp.

MacOS includes a nice implementation of i the command line sftp and scp (secure shell copy) programs, as do most Linux systems. MacOS also has several GUI ftp/sftp clients (CyberDuck and Fetch are two such programs).

Our examples have focused on course web pages; however, the same access methods apply to all HSEAS web pages. You just need to know the path - the directory/folder layout that exists below the top-level of your department's web pages. Fortunately, the course web pages are fairly consistent across HSEAS departments, as is the personal web page area for each department (located in /usr/deptwww/users/your_login_name, e.g., /usr/optics/www/users/mcintyre). The location of research group (etc.) pages are not as consistent across departments, but you wil be told the pathname when assigned an area and if you're still not sure, you can always ask problem@seas.rochester.edu for assistance.


Do make sure that

  1. Your primary html file is named either index.html or index.htm in your main directory and any sub-directories you create.
  2. No files or directories should be world writable. Group-writable files and directories are permitted in some instances, but you should discuss this with CNG staff before creating group-writable objects.
  3. Important! - Please do not create files, directories etc., with spaces, tabs or odd characters in the names. These work for some operating systems, but not all. Stick with the characters 'A-Z', 'a-z' (remember, the web is case-sensitive and so is UNIX), '0-9', '.', '-', '_' and '+'. Please do not use a dot ('.') as the first character in a file or directory name. Avoid completely any whitespace (spaces, tabs), equals sign ('=') ampersand ('&') questionmark ('?'), colon (':'), semi-colon (';') and other punctuation and none-alphanumeric characters.
  4. In most cases, dirs/files should be group and world readable. The web is for publishing materials, not for storing materials.
  5. Web pages need to be plain text (or perhaps PDF - but that should be reserved only for certain types of documents). If you use a word-processing program (e.g., MS-Word, WordPerfect) to create a file that will be a web page, make sure you either (a) save it as plain text (txt) or (b) save it as a web page (html). Word documents for example are full of non-text formatting and other information that will result in your web page being a complete mess.
  6. If you need to protect some areas (e.g., solutions to homeworks, materials you want only the class to see), send email to problem and we'll help you set it up. Remember that protection from web browsers and protection from local users are two different things.
  7. Be aware that anything you place in your web page area may be available to anyone, anywhere on the Internet. Make sure you keep private material out of your web page area unless that area is protected by passwords. If you place copyrighted material in the web page area and make it available to others (intentionally or by accident) you and the department and the UR will be held legally responsible and susceptible to severe legal and financial problems.
  8. When you use a Mac or Windows-based program (e.g., DreamWeaver, Word, etc.) to create your web page, be careful that the resulting html does not include references to local objects. We often see problems with html that includes URL/links that point to something like file:\\C:\:Documents and Settings\bubba\My Documents\buzz.html. This unfortunately won't work anywhere but on the originating computer.

Special Considerations

Remember that cgi-bin and PHP code are not allowed in personal web pages. PHP code may be allowed in certain circumstances for departmental web pages and for research group in departmental or group pages with the approval and supervision of the CNG.

Research groups, journal editors, seminar groups, special interest and projects groups (e.g., Mini-Baja) may - and in many cases should - have web page areas for their group. These pages, like course pages (and every course is entitled to a web page area) should not be in the "personal" web page area.

Course web pages belong to the course, and not a particular instructor. At the end of the course, the instructor should archive their web site if they feel they will want those materials in the future, so that that course's web site can be cleaned out and made ready for the next instructor.

The use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and/or SSI (Server-Side Includes, non-executable) is encouraged to make your web pages more manageable. While php/cgi-bin technology is not normally allowed, javascript and java may be used, and for most of our web page writers, preferred.

We do have MySQL database capability, and this can be made available to departments (and to groups authorized to use php).

We also have some standard cgi-bin programs in place for your use. Specifically we have a version of FormMail installed, which allows you to created web forms for gathering information. We also have a web "hit-counter", one of those odometer-like counters, that provides a record of each visit with a variety of graphic displays. See our hit-counter web page for more information.

We can also provide demo/test web servers with restricted access for special needs (e.g., when a department is preparing to deploy a completely revised departmental web site).

While you do not need a fancy GUI webpage-authoring program (these pages were created with nothing more than a simple text editor), they can make life easier.

The University of Rochester has a very good deal on the web-authoring software package DreamWeaver . This package can be obtained from UR Computer Sales and Service at a very low price. We recommend this package over FrontPage and most other competitors.

Last modifed: Thursday, 02-Feb-2012 11:21:18 EST