March 11, 2002-- Newsletter #171

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
March 11, 2002--Newsletter #171

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


 
Announcement Goodies

I just wanted to let you know that last week's article about ASP.NET and the subsequent email regarding the ASP.NET conference was purely coincidental. Contrary to what some of you might have surmised, Internet.com has not been purchased by Microsoft and you will not see Microsoft logos popping up on every site. <g> I just happened to have been designing a site with ASP.NET over the past several weeks and I wanted to share some of my experiences.

 

As you know, you will receive email announcements from time to time by paid advertisers. The advertisers allow this newsletter and HTMLGoodies.com to be a free service.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Goodies Thoughts - Got Broadband?

You hear a lot of talk about the benefits of broadband and how it will revolutionize how we use the web. So, what exactly is broadband and how is it going to impact how we live?

 

Broadband services offer download speeds that are between 10 and 50 times faster that a 56k dial-up connection. Broadband is a sort of catch-all phrase used to describe high speed access which would include cable and DSL service.

 

Faster download times open up a wide range of possibilities to the consumer like renting streaming DVD quality movies via the internet, viewing live video feeds from around the world or playing high quality interactive games with your friends. It also opens up a number of possibilities to business making it easier for business to offer information and software that doesn't take all day to download plus streaming video of products and/or services.

 

So, why aren't there more services like that available? Even though broadband access grew at a rate of almost 70% last year, the fact remains that about 80% of all U.S. subscribers still access using a dial-up service. Until the percentage of broadband users climbs up closer to 50%, don't expect a lot of companies start catering to broadband subscribers.

 

Right now the computer gaming industry is the only industry truly taking advantage of broadband's capabilities. It can cost a nice little chunk of change to upgrade software and produce broadband content. Companies in other industries are simply waiting until the number of users climbs to a level they feel would provide them with a good return on their investment.

 

So why aren't more people getting broadband service? There are a few reasons.

 

Broadband service can be much more expensive. Typically dial-up ISP's charge anywhere from $10 to $25 per month but DSL and cable subscribers can typically expect to pay $40 to $60 per month. There are benefits to the extra cost besides the time saving issue of faster downloads. You don't need to have an extra telephone line or tie up a line when you are accessing the internet because DSL and cable are always on. It also makes it easier and more efficient to share a connection between multiple computers in a home or small business.

 

Availability is the second and probably the most important issue. Right now, service is simply not available to many smaller towns, cities and rural areas.

 

So, if I get broadband service does that mean I will be able to host my own web server? Well, actually, for anything beyond a personal website, probably not. Most broadband service providers discourage individuals from running their own web servers. Some require that you obtain you IP address automatically which makes it impossible to assign your domain name to an IP address. Also, most providers limit your upload to about 128k which means while files download to your machine at 50 times faster than a dial-up, files originating from your computer go back out at about 2 times the speed of a dial-up connection. This limitation alone would make it impossible to host more than a very lightly trafficked site.

 

Well, then what good is it? Personally, I don't think I could live without it now that I have it. To me, the download time savings is worth it alone. If you are a web designer or developer working from home, broadband is a must. Even if you are a casual surfer, you will probably appreciate the lightning fast download rates especially if you are used to waiting 2 hours to download a piece of software only to find out the transmission failed half-way through. Eventually, when DSL service becomes available in my area I will probably switch from cable to DSL with a static IP. This will allow me to host my own personal website.

 

There is no doubt that broadband service subscriptions will increase over the next several years at a rapid rate. The only question is when will companies start investing the capital to take advantage of all of the opportunities that broadband service creates.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

In ASP (and ASP.NET for that matter) how do you pass and receive information from one page to another using the URL?

 

For example, you have a page that has 3 links for different format choices of a report. You want all 3 links to go to the same page to display the report. The report page then determines how it will format the report based on the code it receives in the URL, i.e pageformat=f1, pageformat=f2, etc.



Q & A Goodies

Q. I am trying to implement 2 styles of links on one page and I am getting lost. I can see how to use classes with other tags but the links have multiple attributes such as active link, visited link, hover, etc.

One style is teal links that turn to green and underline on hover. The other is black, no change on hover of visited, but I want the cursor to switch to the "?" (help)

 

A. As you stated, your answer lies in classes. Say you have teal as one style and stat as the other. Needless to say you must have the appropriate (<A HREF="..." class="teal">) class attributes in the appropriate <a> tags.

 

You can use a.class_name:hover syntax to access their attributes. Here's an example that suits your needs.

 

<HTML>

<HEAD>

<STYLE TYPE="TEXT/CSS">

<!-- a.teal:hover {color: green; text-decoration: underline; cursor: question;} a.stat:hover {cursor: question;} a.stat {color: black;} a.teal {text-decoration: none; color: red;} -->

</STYLE>

</HEAD>

<BODY BGCOLOR="#FFFFFF">

<A HREF="#" CLASS="teal">Teal Link</A><BR><BR>

<A HREF="#" CLASS="stat">Static Link</A>

</BODY>

</HTML>

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Igal Nassi, one of our CSS Mentors.

 

Q. I'm trying to construct a way for the owner of the site to remotely update the cart prices & etc and add products. I'm using an Access 2000 database and would like a "log-in" page with a username and password. I'm wondering what the best secure way of doing this is? Is there an encryption I can use to store the passwords?

 

A. Create a table in your access database that stores the username/password combination for each user. Verify the login info against that table. If verified, set a session variable for the user that can be checked from all of the secure pages. This prevents someone from getting the URL of a secure page and accessing it. You HAVE to login to do your work.

Furthermore, if you want the username and/or password to be encrypted (above and beyond SSL), write an encryption script to be used when entering the data, and write the corresponding decryption script to be run whenever the data is accessed.

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Alex Newport, one of our ASP Mentors.

 

Q. What I want to be able to do is to have 2 frames and to allow the user to hide and show the left frame at will. Is there an easy way to do this?

 

A. I accomplish this on my personal site by making the frame border resizable by the visitors. They can drag it to the edge of the window if they want. There's a "noresize" attribute added to frames to make them non-resizable. Just don't include it. You could also provide a link to frames and non-frames versions of the site.

 

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


News Goodies

Sun and Microsoft are at it again. This time Sun is asking for a cool one billion in damages.

Click here to read the article

 

So, what's ahead for the software industry? Will the big guys just keep getting bigger or does the little guy still have a chance?

Click here to read the article

 

And just when you thought spammers couldn't get much lower, here's a site the FTC shut down after bilking people out of over one million dollars in a 9-11 scam.

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

To send information via the URL you just need to use the "?" in your URL to separate the information you are passing along from the actual URL address. Here is an example of a hyperlink:

 

<a href="http://www.test.com/report.asp?pageformat=f2">

Click here to view the report in a centered table format.</a>

 

To retrieve the information from your ASP page you will need to use Request.QueryString. Here's an example of how to put the page format type into a variable named Page_Format:

 

<% Dim Page_Format

      Page_Format = Request.QueryString("pageformat") %>

 

Now the variable Page_Format will hold the type of report we want printed which in the example above is "f2".

 

 

And Remember This . . .

Did you know that in the early 1940's an engineer by the name of James Wright was trying to invent a rubber substitute that would help in the war effort. What he ended up with was a moldable blob that was slightly sticky and bounced when you dropped it.

 

Several years later Peter Hodgson thought the little rubber-like blob might be fun to play with. So, in 1949 he featured his new product named "Silly Putty" in a toy catalog. It quickly became one of the most popular toys in history and is still sold today.

 


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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