April 1, 2002-- Newsletter #174

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
April 1, 2002--Newsletter #174

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Announcement Goodies

This week we would like to introduce to you one of our JavaScript Mentors, C.L. Smith. Here is what he had to say about himself:

 

I have a BSCIS (1999) and AASE (1994) from DeVry Institute of Technology. Self taught in HTML and JavaScript using Joe's books and the HTML Goodies website. Took a course in CGI Programming for the Web from Georgia Perimeter College Online (2000). I currently work with computer systems and networking and maintain an internal web server using HTML, JavaScript and CGI. I have worked with HTML for over 5 years, over 4 years with JavaScript and about 1 year with Perl/CGI. I enjoy a good challenge and get great satisfaction from teaching/helping others.

 

Thanks for being a Mentor!

 

 

Goodies Thoughts - Movie Making for You and Me

So, did you enjoy the film Shrek? Have you thought about making your own animated movie some day? Would you like to get your hands on the cool software that places like DreamWorks and Pixar use?

 

Well, it seems that might actually be a possibility now. Apparently many of the companies that produce the tools designers use to create such fantastic films as Shrek and Monsters, Inc. are looking to broaden their sales base by lowering prices and providing free demos.

 

The idea is to get the software tools into the hands of people that are interested in learning the technologies and exploring their artistic potential. Once people begin to get comfortable with the technologies the software companies hope people will come up with some great ideas for movies, movie shorts, games, etc.

 

So, how do they plan to make any money if they are giving away the software for free? Well, free comes with restrictions, of course. While the free downloads are practically the full version of the software they do come with a catch. All output is watermarked to prevent commercial production of any work. For that you will have to fork out the cash for the full registered version.

 

Sound like fun? Can you imagine creating your own movie short like was found at the beginning of Monsters Inc. with the birds on the telephone wire? (I'm going to be very disappointed if that doesn't appear on the DVD) It could be the start to a whole new career and what a career it could be.

 

So, are there any negatives to trying out the demos? Not really, but there are some things to consider. The resources required to run the software can be monstrous. (get it?) You will probably want to have your machine prepped with all the memory you can muster and the best graphics card you can afford. Also, you might want to have quite a bit of free time blocked off for the learning curve.

 

So, where can I get some of these downloads?

 

Check out a company called Alias/Wavefront. They have a series of products named Maya and their software has been used to create some of the fantastic films you might have seen recently like Ice Age, Monsters, Inc. and even Titanic. If you go to their website at http://www.aliaswavefront.com/en/Home/homepage.shtml and click on the Maya Personal Learning Edition button you can get details on downloading. There are both Mac and Windows versions available.

 

And here's another one for you. A company called SoftImage produces a more moderately priced animation tool and, just like Maya, you can download a free working copy complete with video tutorials. Like Maya, they also use the same watermark method to force you to purchase a registered version. Check out their website at http://www.softimage.com/.

 

So, what if you like what you see? Well, the good news is that these high end packages have come down in price lately to make them more affordable to smaller businesses, studios and individuals. The bad news is that you can still expect to pay between $1,600 and $7,000 (they used to range from $2,500 to $15,000). Ouch!

 

If you've ever considered doing professional grade animations and didn't know where to start this may be your opportunity. Who knows, you may find yourself working on the next big film from DreamWorks or Pixar. You never know.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

How do you make a bulleted list in HTML and how do you define the style of bullets?

 

Read answer below.



Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/.

 

Q. There are sites I go to that work on just about any resolution. How is that done? Stylesheets? Perfect attributes for each item on the page?

 

A. The problem that usually trips up designers when it comes to screen resolutions is they design the page to exactly fit the resolution they're used to working in. Thus they'll work in 800x600 and make the top graphics 800 pixels, with the result that people with larger resolutions see space to the right of the graphics while people going smaller have to scroll horizontally. Some times the same problem is caused by tables with absolute widths. Vertically, sometimes a frame is set to no scrolling but it's too long for the screen. Ways make the site more flexible include making graphics no more than 640 wide, using text and background colors so the site adjusts, avoiding tables with absolute widths and making frames scrollable.

 

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

 

Q. My question is, is it possible to have a site that is part frames and part not? And if so, how do you link back to the page that is not a frame and get it to open up normally?

 

A.  Add this to your link: target="_top"

e.g. <a href="page.html" target="_top"><img src="pic.gif"></a>

This will open up the page without opening a new window. The target="_top" attribute is what tells the browser to put the page you are linking to "on top" of the current framed page.

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

 

Q.  Alright, I did everything the site said about having more than one image flip on a page and it doesn't work. Only one image flip works while the other stays one image. This is the exact code I put in. Is there anything wrong with it?

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">
<!-- hide from none JavaScript Browsers
Image1= new Image(225,150)
Image1.src = "iloveamy1.jpg"
Image2 = new Image(225,150)
Image2.src = "iloveamy2.jpg"

function SwapOut() {
document.imageflip.src = Image2.src; return true;
}

function SwapBack() {
document.imageflip.src = Image1.src; return true;
}

// - stop hiding -->
</SCRIPT>
<A HREF="index.html" onMouseOver="SwapOut()" onMouseOut="SwapBack()">
<IMG NAME="imageflip" SRC="iloveamy2.jpg" WIDTH=225 HEIGHT=150 BORDER=0></A>

<br><br>

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">
<!-- hide from none JavaScript Browsers
Image3= new Image(225,150)
Image3.src = "kellypoo1.jpg"
Image4 = new Image(225,150)
Image4.src = "kellypoo2.jpg"

function SwapOut() {
document.image.src = Image4.src; return true;
}

function SwapBack() {
document.image.src = Image3.src; return true;
}

// - stop hiding -->
</SCRIPT>
<A HREF="index.html" onMouseOver="SwapOut()" onMouseOut="SwapBack()">
<IMG NAME="image" SRC="kellypoo2.jpg" WIDTH=225 HEIGHT=150 BORDER=0></A>

 

A. I too had some problems when I used a script similar to this one in the past. The trouble with this script is that the more flips you want, the more images you have to create in the script. I have since developed my own script that will work much better - and there is no setup required. Here it is:

function FlipIt(imgname,newimg)
{
if (document.getElementById)
imgname.src=newimg;
}

Your image in HTML would then look like this to use it:

<IMG NAME="IMG1" SRC="SomePic.jpg" onMouseOver="FlipIt(this,'SomeNewPic.jpg')" onMouseOut="FlipIt(this,'SomePic.jpg')">

This will provide you with the effect you want, without all the overhead in maintenance.


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by C.L. Smith, one of our JavaScript Mentors.


News Goodies

In the battle of the browsers is the gap widening or closing between Netscape and IE?

Click here to read the article

 

Apache wins a battle of press releases by securing the right to use Sun Microsystems' Java in open source code.

Click here to read the article

 

Have you heard of that spiffy new invention that was on the news recently called the Segway? Would you be surprised to hear that three have already been sold on Amazon.com?

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

You will need to know 2 different tags for this, <UL> and <LI>.

 

The <UL> tag defines you list as an unordered list which simply means it's not numbered. The <UL> tag also comes with a handy little feature called TYPE which allows you to define the type of bullets you want. And if you don't like any of the predefined bullet styles you can always use the IMAGESRC attribute to define your own bullet.

 

The <LI> tag is not nearly as complicated. It defines each item in your list.

 

Here's an example of a list with circles:

 

<UL TYPE="circle">
  <LI>Item 1</LI>
  <LI>Item 2</LI>
  <LI>Item 3</LI>
</UL>

 

If you want to use your custom made bullet change the <UL> tag to look like this:

 

<UL IMAGESRC="http://www.yourdomain.com/bullet.gif">

 

 

And Remember This . . .

Do you know where the April Fool's Day tradition originated?

 

The truth is no really knows for sure where the tradition came from but the most popular theory has its beginnings in France in the mid 16th century with King Charles IX. The story goes something like this:

 

In the early 16th century the people of France celebrated the New Year on March 25, the beginning of Spring. The celebration lasted for a week and ended with parties, feasts and formal dances on April 1. In 1564, however, when King Charles IX proclaimed the adoption of the Gregorian calendar he moved New Years Day to January 1.

 

Many Frenchmen resisted this change. As a result, the conservative Frenchmen became the butt of many a joke and prank. They would be invited to phantom parties and receive all sorts of "foolish" gifts. Most of the jokes and pranks would occur on the last day of the traditional New Years celebration that ended on, you guessed it, April 1.

 

Anyone that ended up the butt of a joke on April 1 was called a "poisson d'Avril" or "April fish". (The "fish" comes from the sun leaving the zodiacal sign of Pisces the fish, just in case you were wondering.)

 

Once the people of France became accustomed to New Years Day being on January 1, "April Fish" slowly turned to "April Fool's Day" as the first of April became its own tradition of jokes and pranks. Apparently, the French were not willing to give up their national day of poking fun at one another.

 

From these beginnings it took almost 200 hundred years for the tradition of April Fool's Day to leave France take root in England and then ultimately moved to the United States as well.

 

That's the theory. Believe it or not.

 

 Happy April Fool's Day!

 


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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