March 4, 2002-- Newsletter #170

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
March 4, 2002--Newsletter #170

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
http://www.internet.com
 


 
Announcement Goodies

Mentor Spotlight - Ryan Flynn - HTML Mentor

 

I have a Computer Science degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. I have worked for several companies as a web site/application developer. I currently live and work in Rapid City, SD as a Data Processing Assistant and Systems Administrator at Behavior Management Systems.

 

I am experienced in HTML, JavaScript and VBScript. I also have good knowledge of programming in C++ and Java. A few sites that I have helped develop are UncleFed.com, http://www.MortgageDataWeb.com and BehaviorManagement.org. I am currently the webmaster of BehaviorManagement.org.

 

 

Goodies Thoughts - ASP.NET - Worth the effort?

Recently I have had a chance to sit down and work with the new ASP.NET technology from Microsoft. So, I thought I would take an issue or two to share some of my experiences and impressions thus far.

 

So, what exactly is .NET? Well, Microsoft says it is a whole new way of thinking and they weren't kidding. The idea behind .NET is that everything works together in a much more cohesive way.

 

How does it work? Whatever language you choose to program in, Visual Basic, COBOL, C++, C# or any other supported language, the code you write gets compiled into an IL (intermediate language). For example, if I wrote an application in C# and you wrote an application with the exact same features in COBOL.NET, the IL that your code and my code gets compiled down to should be virtually identical even though we are using two totally different languages. Once your code is compiled into the IL, that IL is taken and compiled again down to Machine Code (the base language of the computer). Therefore, everything available to you in COBOL.NET is also available to me in C#. The choice of scripting language now is pure preference.

 

So, what does this have to do with the web? Well, if you are writing HTML only and have no desire to add ASP type interactivity to your webs then it really doesn't effect you. However, if you use or plan to use ASP on your sites it has a big impact. With ASP.NET you can now use any .NET language that you are comfortable with like those listed above. This means that ASP.NET is much more powerful now that you aren't limited to the scaled down scripting languages (VBScript and JavaScript).

 

Has ASP itself changed? Yep, it sure has. In creating my new ASP.NET pages I found that many of the things that I had become used to doing in ASP no longer applied. It required a whole lot less coding in ASP.NET to accomplish the same sorts of tasks. On the flip side, it required learning a whole new way of doing and thinking about my common ASP tasks.

 

Many of the tasks that used to require going back and forth from the server to the browser are no longer the case. Now, a great many things run on the server in real time using Web Form Controls instead of using the standard HTML web forms <INPUT ...>.

 

This has some very distinct advantages. For example, when a person is entering information on a form you can check their input as they go giving them immediate feedback on mistakes. You can react to a bunch of different events such as changing the selection in a drop down list box. You can perform immediate calculations every time the user changes the contents of a text box.

 

Can't I do the same kinds of things in JavaScript? I many cases, yes you can but ASP.NET does make it a whole lot simpler and it even automatically adapts to the browser environment it is running in.

 

So, is it worth learning? Absolutley. If you are interested in producing more interactive websites it is definitely worth checking out. Obviously, ASP.NET won't be for everyone but it is worth a look.

 

Will it be difficult to learn? That's going to totally depend on the person. Using ASP.NET is definitely a whole different ballgame, it's almost a different sport altogether. I would suggest picking up an introductory book like ASP.NET for Dummies and reading through at least the first half of the book. If you finish and have a splitting headache and you feel disoriented then ASP.NET is probably not for you. For those of you who are already ASP developers, you may want to check out these books as well: ASP.NET Tips, Tutorials and Code from SAMS and Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 Days also from SAMS.

 

If you are already an ASP developer or have done some ASP work in the past your transition may actually be more difficult than if you started learning ASP.NET from the ground up. With ASP.NET you will have to forget and relearn several common tasks. In the long run, tough, learning ASP.NET will definitely make you more productive even though it may not seem that way as you begin climbing that learning curve.

 

In the next issue we will look as some specific examples of how ASP and ASP.NET are different.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

Let's say you have a second window that you want to pop-up but you want it to pop-up one minute after the home page loads. How would you set the delay in JavaScript?



Q & A Goodies

Q. Do you know of anywhere where I could find an easy tutorial for PHP?

 

A. Here's a couple of sites you might want to check out:

hotwired.lycos.com -- excellent beginner's tutorial, read this first. hotwired.lycos.com  -- pretty good intro tutorial on PHP & MySQL.

www.onlamp.com -- O'Reilly publishers' PHP section, always
high quality tutorials and articles here. www.devshed.com -- mostly, but not exclusively, advanced tutorials.

www.php.net - the manual page is indispensable, so I thought I'd
mention that too.

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Rich Barton, one of our PHP Mentors.

 

Q. I have defined the frames like this:
 <frameset cols="20%,80%" frameborder="0" framespacing="0" border="0">
 <frame src="left.html" name="left" marginwidth=0 border=0 noresize>
 <frame src="home.html" name="right" marginwidth=0> </frameset>


 Since I added (w3c recommendation) the following information to my right
 frame (IE6.0):

 <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
 "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

 I have the problem that the vertical scrolling bar of the right frame
 doesn't disappear, even if the content isn't larger than the available
 space.(for exampe 60 lines of blah<br>blah) It only disappears if the
 content does also fit the frame in height.

 How can I make the vertical scroll bar appear only if the content is
 larger than the frame?

 

A. Try setting the scrolling attribute as such:

<frame src="left.html" name="left" marginwidth=0 border=0 noresize scrolling="no"> <frame src="home.html" name="right" marginwidth=0 scrolling="auto">

You can set it to yes, no, or auto. Auto will put the scrollbar on the page only if the content goes off the page.

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Ryan Flynn, one of our HTML Mentors.

 

Q. You may remember the one of the questions in the Q & A section in issue 165. You said that you used server side includes to handle different parts of your site that are common to pages. However, the extensions of the pages in your website are .html, not .asp. So, how can they work? I know that they only work if the page extensions are asp. The html pages are discarded for processing. So, the question is, how do you make it work in pages with html extension.

 

A. You can include pages like this:

 

<!--#include virtual="yourfolder/yourpage.html" -->

 

This works only if your web server is configured to recognize the #include. Basically what happens is the server has to read through your page and look for any instances of #include, get the appropriate files and insert them into your page. Because ASP pages are interpreted, the server effectively "reads" every page before it sends the page to the browser. With HTML that's not necessarily the case. In the case of HTML pages the server usually just finds the page and then sends it on its merry way not caring what its contents are. You will have to check with your host provider or server administrator to see if #include is available to you in HTML pages.

 

Also, be careful when including pages. If you try to combine pages and end up with multiple <head> and <body> tags, for example, you will confuse the heck out of the browser.


News Goodies

Have you been wondering whether learning to program in a scripting language is right for you and where to begin?

Click here to read the article

 

We talked about ASP.NET in this issue of the newsletter. Do a little comparison shopping with Java 2 in this article.

Click here to read the article

 

Alright, for all you Mac fans out there Apple has just released its first 1GHz machine. With the newly designed iMac and more powerful G4, Apple is working hard to make you want to be a Mac owner.

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

You would use SetTimeout(). This allows you to set a delay (in milliseconds) before a function is called.

 

For example:

 

SetTimeout(OpenWindowFunction(),60000);

 

The above example would delay calling OpenWindowFunction for 60000 milliseconds which is the equivalent of 1 minute.

 

 

And Remember This . . .

Have you ever heard of the name Fibonacci? In the early 13th century he invented a number sequence that goes like this - 1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc. It is simply a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers, except for the first two of course. He originally came up with the sequence to explain the breeding rate of rabbits but found that the sequence applied to a great many other things in nature. For example, if you count the clockwise and counterclockwise spirals of seeds in the head of a sunflower you will find the Fibonacci numbers.


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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