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With the advent of the internet comes an opportunity to easily publicize language materials to a large audience. If speakers are comfortable having their language data available on such a resource, building a website is a great way to make data and even pedagogical materials available to linguists and community members alike. While putting data onto a web server for a website does not qualify as archiving it, a website can make presentation and working formats of data available to a wide audience.

This section of the School is dedicated to guiding you through the process of building a website. We do not intend to be a definitive guide, and recommend consulting other resources for information on building a complicated site. Our aim is to present you with some of the technologies that are useful in the process and give you the tools to get started.

Find a server

The first step to setting up a website is finding server space to host it. A web server is where the files for a website are stored so that they can be accessed on the internet. All files that are used on the website, including all webpages, images, sounds files, etc., must be on this server. It is important to remember that putting files on a server for display on the web is NOT archiving the data. No matter where you find your server space, there is no guarantee that the website will last forever. Submitting your data to a reputable archive is the best way to guarantee its longevity. Creating a website is a good way of making presentation, not archival, copies available to a large audience.

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Display content

The primary benefit of a language website is the ability to display content to a large audience. In order to make a small, simple site to display language data and materials, XHTML is the least you need to know. XHTML (EXtensible HyperText Markup Language) is a simple tag language for marking up text to be displayed on the web. It differs from its better known predecessor HTML (HyperText Markup Language) in its use of closing tags, which make it more compatible with CSS than HTML is.

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Format pages

The easiest way to format a large number of web pages is to use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS enables you to streamline the look of all the pages on your website, and easily make changes to every page the calls the stylesheet by making the change to the stylesheet (rather than making it to each page individually). By using CSS, you can make the same color scheme, font styles and general layout apply to every page on your site. By using multiple stylesheets, you can easily make print-friendly versions of every page on the site, or easily display content in a variety of ways.

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Make functional pages

Javascript, the most popular scripting language on the internet, is used in tandem with HTML and XHTML to improve interactivity on a webpage. It can detect and react to events in a browser, and is useful for verifying the correctness of input from the user. The major advantage that javascript offers is that it runs right inside of your browser as part of the webpage, so javascript in your page is fast and can provide seamless interaction.

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