Mt. San Jacinto College Computer Information Systems
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Internet Authoring (IA) Tutorials

URLs

Introduction to URLs

A Uniform Resource Locater or URL is just a fancy way of saying "Web address." So a URL is no different than any address you have ever typed into a Web browser, i.e. http://www.msjc.edu. URLs are not case-sensitive, so you can type them in all upper-case, all lower-case, or mixed case - it makes no difference. For the purposes of this tutorial we can break a URL into five main components:

  1. Protocol (Scheme)
  2. Web Server Name
  3. Student Folder Name
  4. Assignment Folder Name
  5. File Name
5 components of a URL.

The sections that follow provide a more detailed explanation of each component of the URL.

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1. Protocol

The protocol, officially defined as "scheme" in RFC 3986, tells your Web browser what "data communication language" to use when sending and receiving messages to and from the server identified after the :// (URL component #2). Web browsers actually support many different data communication languages (protocols), however in your MSJC CIS Internet Authoring (IA) classes it will always be the HyperText Transfer Protocol "HTTP" that you will use. The protocol letters e.g. "http", should always be followed by a colon ":" and two forward slashes "//". So for the protocol (URL component #1) always type "HTTP://" for your IA assignment submisisons and you'll have it correct. If your IA assignment URL begins with "FTP" or "File" it WILL NOT WORK, for IA course purposes it must ALWAYS begin with HTTP://.

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2. Web Server Name

Technically what is labeled "Web Server Name (2)" in the image, is the hostname of a an Internet accessible server combined with the name of the second-level and top-level domains where the server is located in the Internet "phone book;" officially  this "phone book" is a collection of relational database management systems (RDBMS) known as the Domain Name System or DNS. DNS is nothing more than a mechanism which searches its collection of data tables for the server.domain.tld name combination and returns the IP address of that server to the application which requested the information. It's kind of like looking in a phone book for your last name + first name + street address combination to find your phone number (for those that are familiar with phone books; for those that aren't, think of DNS like the "contacts" on your mobile device if it contained all of the IP addresses of all of the publicly accessible Internet-connected servers in the world).

In the case of the Student Web server, "IA" is its name (short for Internet Authoring), and it is a member of a secondary level domain named "MSJC" which is a member of the Top Level Domain (TLD) "EDU". Put it all together and you have a way of uniquely referencing the Student Web server by name amongst the millions of servers that make up the Internet; in our case it's IA.MSJC.EDU.

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3. Student Folder Name

After the Web server name add a forward slash and then type your student folder name. Your student folder name is a combination of your first initial + last name. As you can see in the example graphic, my name is Bill Bennett, I type a forward-slash then my first initial "B" followed by my last name "Bennett" or /BBennett for my student folder name.

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4. Assignment Folder Name

All of the files you will use to complete your Review assignments are organized into folders based on the chapters (tutorials) in your textbook, i.e. RA1, RA2, etc. The "RA" folder will contain supporting files like images, text files, audio files, videos files, etc. that you will use to complete the Review assignment. As far as your URL is concerned, it is important to type in the right assignment folder name in your URL so that you and your instructor will be viewing and evaluating the correct Review assignment. Also, remember to put a forward slash between your Student Folder name and your Assignment Folder name like this: /BBennett/RA1, assuming I want the instructor to view the Review assignment for Tutorial.01.

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5. File Names

File Name is the name of the HTML file that is the starting page or "Home Page" for the assignment. Some Review assignments, like RA1, only have one HTML page, e.g. the name of the Tutorial.01 Review assignment's HTML file is mp_index.html, so that is the name of the file you add to your URL. In some Review assignments there will be more than one HTML page, in that case add the name of the file that is the starting page or "Home Page" for the assignment to your URL. This is the Web browser's way of telling the Web server "here is the specific page I want you to retrieve and return to my Web browser."

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How to Submit Your Assignment URL for Scoring

In order to receive credit for assignments you have published to the Student Web server, you need to submit the Web address (a.k.a. URL) of your assignment using the Submit an Assignment URL link on the course home page in Canvas.

Once you understand how URLs work, submitting your assignment URL for grading should be simple. Each time you have completed an assignment and published it to the Student Web server using your IDE do the following:

  1. Click on the Submit an Assignment URL link in your Canvas course menu.
  2. On the Submit an Assignment URL page, locate the link for the assignment URL you want to submit and click or tap it.
  3. Click or tap the Submit Assignment button on the screen that appears.
  4. Then type or paste the URL for your assignment in the Website URL textbox provided.
  5. Click or tap the Submit Assignment button - and you're done!

TIP: Before posting your URL for scoring you should ALWAYS TEST YOUR URL to see if it works in your Web browser first. Just open your Web browser and type in the URL as described in this tutorial, if it works, then just copy and paste the URL you typed in your Web browser into the Website URL textbox in Canvas. If it doesn't work in your Web browser, it won't work in your instructor's Web browser either - in that case email your instructor for help and be sure to ALWAYS type your Course number and Section number into the subject field of ALL emails you send to your instructor.

That's it! Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done and then, when your ready, move on to the next tutorial.

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Links of Interest

RFC 3986 Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax

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