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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Advice for Lab Websites

This page contains some notes and recommendations for faculty and graduate students who are just starting to put together a lab website or who are maintaining a website. If you have questions, contact the Biology Webmaster. Other useful resources are:

Not only are courses in HTML, CSS, and software for creating websites helpful, but the courses offered in web design fundamentals and user accessibility are beneficial, too, in creating your website.


Accounts | Templates | Programs | Keep in Mind

Accounts (top)

Recommended option:

Request an IU Webserve account. Webserve is IU's web server that hosts departmental, faculty, course, and official student organization pages. Faculty members may obtain a Webserve account to post information regarding their classes or research areas. There are a few steps to set up the account, but none of them take long.

  • A group username is required in order to request a Webserve account. Request a group username by following the instructions at kb.iu.edu/data/acyi.html. Usernames are limited to 8 characters maximum. We recommend a name that distinguishes it as your lab account (e.g., smithlab or joneslab).
  • Upon notification that your group username request has been approved, set up a group account. Instructions to do this are on the same web page: kb.iu.edu/data/acyi.html.
  • After you've set up your group account, apply for a Webserve account through the Enterprise WebTech Service Management page. Click on the "List Your Accounts" button. Find your group account in the table that appears. Click on the "Apply" link for a web account. Complete the form and click "Apply." (NOTE: The Webserve account is free for department research lab sites; you do not need to supply a billing account number.)

Addresses will take the form: www.indiana.edu/~account.

You may also want to request a Webtest account. Webtest is a test server available to all Webserve account owners to test and develop websites and applications prior to moving them into production on Webserve. See kb.iu.edu/data/azrz.html for instructions on requesting a Webtest account.

Templates (top)

A template is not available at this time, but we do hope to offer one soon. The template will be able to be modified to meet the needs of specific labs. This is primarily the responsibility of individual labs, although the webmaster will be happy to provide pointers or help create templates with other formats by request.

Programs for Making a Website (top)

  • Adobe Dreamweaver is part of the Adobe Creative Suite Design & Web Premium package available as a free download from IUware Online. This program provides a WYSIWYG editor, allowing you to compose your pages visually. It also allows you to create your pages using HTML and CSS. Dreamweaver will keep track of all the links and pages in your site and can update, for example, all links to a page when you change the page's file name. You can then post the changes directly to your web account from a local file you've been editing. UITS IT Training provides Dreamweaver workshops as does Lynda.com Online Training.
  • IU Web Content Management System (WCMS) Site Builder includes a standard template that allows you to create, maintain, and publish your own website to the Webserve and Webtest servers. If you have little or no technical background, the IU Site Builder helps you create pages and folders and upload images to create a fully functioning website without any programming knowledge.  Like Dreamweaver, WCMS Site Builder provides a site editor to keep track of links and a way internally to upload your files to the server.
  • For die-hards, and those who are really interested in learning the nitty-gritty of HTML and CSS, software is available to assist you in composing your web pages. Color coding and content assist tools help your project progress quickly and accurately.
    • Aptana Studio is a popular free web development tool and works in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It aids in authoring HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and more. Aptana Studio supports the latest HTML specifications and includes information about the level of support for each element in the major web browsers. Lynda.com Online Training offers Aptana Studio online courses.
    • BBEdit is a popular, inexpensive HTML and text editor for Macs. You may download a free trial, but must purchase a license to continue using it.
    • TextWrangler (BBEdit's "little brother") is a free text editor for Macs. It features syntax coloring and function navigation for HTML.
    • Windows users might want to try TextPad for Windows. You may download a free trial, but must purchase an inexpensive license to continue using it.
    Some of text and web editors will require separate SFTP software (e.g., Filezilla, Cyberduck, WinSCP, Fugu) to upload files to the server.

Things to keep in mind (top)

  • The Biology webmaster does not maintain lab websites; someone in your lab needs to be assigned this responsibility. The Biology webmaster, however, is available as a resource if you have problems or questions and will also help you set up your site initially.
  • If someone other than the faculty member is actually creating and maintaining the lab website, be sure that you have a record of the username and password used for access to the lab account, so that when that person leaves, someone else can easily take over. Account ownership should be transferred before the person leaves.
  • Don't forget to let the Biology webmaster know that you have a lab website, so that a link can be added to it from your faculty profile page as well as from the list of IU Biology research lab websites.
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