University of Minnesota
School of Mathematics
School of Mathematics         Part of a three-valent tree made fractal-ish.   Seminars Using UMConnect for Distance Communication / systems_guide / www

Web Home Pages Guide

Basic Page Setup
Web Services Besides Home Pages
Learning HTML
Arcane Topics
  Server Side Includes
  File Permissions

Everyone is given a department profile page by default as a part of the Math Website Directory. If you would like your own personal page, follow the instructions below to create the proper HTML files in your home directory. To include a link to your personal webpage in the Directory, please email

Basic Page Setup

Accounts are made with a basic index page.

A basic index page

The docs directory with one file added

File and Web addresses

Below are the directories (www, docs), the symbolic link (html) and the file (index.shtml) created by the homepage script. Listed URLs are relative to the web server The tilde (~) character is shorthand for an account's home directory.

File Location Web Address Note
~/www N/AReserved for non http web services
~/www/ /~johndoe
~/www/index.shtml/~johndoe/index.shtml, but can also use the shorter /~johndoe URL too.Can be edited with a programming editor (emacs, pico, vi, etc.) though proficiency will take a while.
~/www/docs /~johndoe/docsFor documents you want to share with the internet

Adding Files to Your Web Site

The quickest way to add content to your website is to put PDF versions of papers into the ~/www/docs directory. The docs directory has no index page so the web server lists any file in the docs directory. The stock page has a link from index.shtml to docs, without the link search-engines wouldn't know to index the files inside (but someone could guess).

Use a mouse to drag and drop files (on dept. linux or macs). From any other machine use software that supports ssh and scp to copy files to one of the lab unix machines in the School of Mathematics. Graphical file transfer programs like CyberDuck, gftp, and WinSCP will make a connection, and you'll need to change into the ~/www/html directory, then drag and drop files from your local machine to the remote server.

From a terminal (on Linux or Mac OS X) and copy the files locally with cp or between computers using scp:

cp preprint.pdf ~/www/html/docs/preprint.pdf
scp preprint.pdf

Converting Documents to HTML

Some document formats can be converted to HTML using software like latex2html, texi2html, makeinfo, docbook, openoffice, MS-Office, and gThumb. Pandoc can convert between dozens of formats.

If HTML conversion is not possible, try converting to pdf. Try using pdflatex from the teTeX software package.

Web Services Besides Home Pages

Before creating a snazzy new web page, consider if the U of M web services below have the features you want. Each one offers collaboration and possible access restrictions.

  1. Drupal - If you would like a University supported site for yourself or your research group please contact us at for more information regarding branding, domain names, and possible themes you can use.
  2. - Online course management system. Instructors can request a site and get it auto-populated with their class list. Gradebooks can be exported to different spreadsheet formats.
  3. - The "Sites" web app is part of the GoogleApps suite at the U of M

Other web services beyond creating pages.

  1. - URL shortener and clickthrough tracker based on yourls
  2. - Web conference which could be used for collaboration or office hours
  3. - Video transcoding to make derivative copies for portable electronics
  4. - Take surveys in a class using the web or text messages
  5. - Only for courses using CSE Labs
  6. - Class rosters and list of email addresses.

HTML Resources

Tutorials on HTML from the W3C Consortium.

HTML Tutorial from the textbook Software Engineering for Internet Applications

The University of Minnesota has a Web Depot and a Creative Standards Guide for University Web Templates.

The University of Minnesota includes Dreamweaver MX in the Faculty Toolkit software bundle for faculty and staff of the U of M. Dreamweaver is available natively for Macintosh and Windows, and the windows version is reported to run with Wine on unix.


The University of Minnesota Academic/Administrative Policy 2.9.1 requires the following statement on personal and student organization pages: "The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota."

One way to list files without the disclaimer is with the following command...

cd ~johndoe/www/html
find . -name \*htm\* -exec grep -L "The views and opinions expressed in this " \{} \;

If the disclaimer is in a server-side included footer, then the find command above should search for the footer string instead...

cd ~johndoe/www/html
find . -name \*htm\* -exec grep -L '<!--#include virtual="/~johndoe/_footer.shtml" -->' \{} \;

To match files with the disclaimer, use the grep -l command instead.

Arcane Topics

Server Side Includes

Server Side Includes (SSI) are a special form of HTML comment tags that are substituted when served. The user permission bit must be set to execute (x), or the file must be named with a .shtml extension. See Apache SSI Documentation for more details.

File Permissions

All web accessible permissions should be 0644 (owner write) or 0444 (read-only), unless they are executable scripts, which should be set to 0755 (owner-write) or 0555 (read-only). Web accessible directories should be set to 0755 (owner-write) or 0555 (read-only). Other write permissions are removed every hour.


Text abbr, acronym, address, blockquote, br, cite, code, dfn, div, em, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, kbd, p, pre, q, samp, span, strong, var

Structure body, head, html, title

Hypertext a

List dd, dl, dt, li, ol, ul

Basic Forms form, input, label, option, select, textarea

Basic Tables caption, table, td, th, tr

Image img

Object object, param

Metainformation meta

Link link

Base base