Concepts in Computing
CS4 - Winter 2007
Instructor: Fabio Pellacini

Homework 2, due Friday, Jan 19


Remember to submit paper copies of your documents, as described in the intro page. You should print out the HTML code itself, from your text editor, rather than from the browser. Also write (or print) the URLs for the electronic versions uploaded to your private folder in your personal Dartmouth web space. Homework is due at the start of class. All web pages must be timestamped. Name your files with descriptive names, e.g., hw2_1.html, and hw2_2.html.

You must write HTML by hand, and not generate it by Word, FrontPage, DreamWeaver, or some other HTML editor. Use a text-editing program (as discussed in HW 1), and save as plain text. To check your progress, you can save the file and open it with Firefox. You can switch back and forth between Firefox and your editor, using the "Reload" button to make your changes show up in the browser. Do this until you have modified the HTML source to your satisfaction.

As you write your HTML, take a little extra time to format things neatly -- use reasonable and consistent indentation and whitespace to make the source clear and comprehensible for another human reader (i.e., both you and your grader). Maximum credit is given for nicely readable HTML source.


  1. HTML and the Web [30 points]
    1. Briefly describe what happens when you have your web browser "go" to the URL Include in your answer a description of where the requested document "resides" and how your browser obtains it, and what else your browser must do (in addition to obtaining the HTML) in order to display the page as you see it.

    2. What's the difference between the <strong> tag and the <b> tag? When should you use one or the other, and why?

  2. Describing information [30 points]

    Make up your own markup language. Use it to tell me a few things about yourself that will help me remember who you are, beyond just your name in the course roster. Use meaningful tags and good structure, demonstrating the use of nested tags. For example, you could decribe formally your hobbies, food and tv shows you like, your friends, your music library, etc. A markup with roughly 100 lines will be fine, but go crazy if you want. Here's an example description of your textbook. Your markup will look terrible if you simply stick it in an HTML document (why?).

    The easiest thing to do is to put it in a separate text file, e.g., hw2_markup.txt, as I did here. Since it is named .txt, the browser will know to display it as "raw" text, rather than interpreting the HTML. (As an alternative, if you really want to put it in HTML, you can convert the < and > signs to their special escape codes, and wrap your answer within the <pre><code> ... </code></pre> tags.)

  3. Writing a document [40 points]

    Do some research on an interesting topic related to the history of computing or how computers and the Internet are changing our lives (like email addiciction, blogging). You can find lots of information on online papers (e.g. New York Times), enciclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia), or the local library.

    On your own, write a short report in HTML on what you found and some of your own thoughts on the issue/history. The report should be roughly the length of this page. While this report is short, it should have interesting material, as a portion of your grade will be about the content (did you show that you learned something about the history of computing or social implications of computing). Follow the practices you have learned in your Dartmouth career regarding appropriate use of materials and citations (synthesize and put in your own words, quote where appropriate, cite your sources, etc.).

    Your report should include the following elements:

    • a title
    • an HTML comment about the structure of the document
    • some paragraphs
    • an image
    • a list of references
    • headings at different levels, one for the report, one for the references, and internal headings if appropriate
    • links from within the text to the corresponding references, wherever appropriate
    • two other elements of your choice (but not from the above list). You may choose these either from the examples we went over in class, or from the various HTML documentation that can be found online.

    One more reminder on policy. This is report. Do not cut and paste from some webpage you find (we will check against it using google). Cite your sourses carefully, and present a summary of what you found and your reflections on it.