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The Basics

There are a few basic terms you should know before being trained in updating webpages at Upstate. If you feel comfortable with these terms, you'll feel comfortable in our Cascade training class.

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A URL is the address or path to a page or file on the web. Here are examples of a URL:

A URL leads you through folders on a site to a specific page or file. You'll see a similar structure when you have a folder open on your desktop. Eg. you may have a folder called "Screen Shots" within the folder "GCH" within the folder "Hospital" which is on your "Desktop". The path would show up as Desktop/Hospital/GCH/ScreenShots.  If there's a file called "1.jpg" the path to that file would be Desktop/Hospital/GCH/ScreenShots/1.jpg.

The web works the same way. Above, the first link is to the page "index.php" that is within the "com" site that is part of our "upstate.edu" website.  The second link is to an image called "facebook-rwd.gif" that is within the "images" folder that is within the "assets" site on upstate.edu.

URLs are lowercase with no spaces

If you check your browser history, chances are 99% of the URLs you visit do not have capitalization or spaces in them. This is a web standard that we use at Upstate for folders, files, and pages within our site. Why?

  • Spaces can break a url. Example, if I send an email, it will automatically create a correct link for http://www.upstate.edu/cascade-training but will create an incorrect link to http://www.upstate.edu/cascade training.
  • Spaces, typed into a url are replaced with "%20" which can mess with the readability of a URL, which is why we prefer using "-" or "_" instead.
  • Capitalization can break a url. URLs on Upstate are case sensitive in most cases, which means you'll get a "404: File Not Found" when you type in "http://www.upstate.edu/COM" even though "http://www.upstate.edu/com" works fine. To keep things to a standard, we try to keep most URLS lowercase.

Index pages

An index page is the default page of a folder. It opens when the URL of a folder is accessed.

When you visit a page without a ".php" extension (eg. http://www.upstate.edu/com/curriculum or http://www.upstate.edu), the path you are writing is to a folder, not a page. In the first URL, you are visiting the "curriculum" folder within the "com" site within "upstate.edu". But, as you notice if you click, you get a page. That's because that folder has an "index" page within it. An index page in a folder tells that folder, "instead of showing the contents of this folder, you should show this page instead."

To see this in action, let's go back to the curriculum link. That link actually takes you to the "index.php" page within that folder. That means the "index.php" page can be accessed by typing in two different URLS:

Aside: actually because "www" is optional and the "/" is optional if you are writing the path of a folder, there's more ways to write this url. Also in most browsers you can even skip the "http://".

Examples of folders on our site do not have index pages associated are the "pdf" and "images" folders within sites. Eg. http://www.upstate.edu/com/images/ is a folder that exists, but since there's no index.php, it instead shows "Restricted Access."

Common file extensions

Here are popular file extensions we use on our site:

  • php (eg. "index.php) is the extension we use for pages on Upstate.edu. In the Cascade CMS, this extension is hidden until it's published.
  • jpg (eg. "slideshow.jpg") is a popular image extension.
  • gif (eg. "file.gif") is another image extension.
  • png (eg. "logo.png") is yet another image extension.
  • pdf is the extension for Adobe Acrobat Reader documents. We prefer documents on Upstate to be PDFs if possible.
  • doc is the extension for Word Documents.
  • xls is the extension for Excel Documents.


Do not use underline to emphasize text. Ever.

You can use Heading 2 for new sections

You can use Heading 3 too

You can use bold to emphasize

You can use italics too

YOU CAN EVEN GO ALL CAPS (all though only as a last resort)

But don't use underline, because underline, in browsers, means "this is a link" that will take you away from this page.