April 22, 2002-- Newsletter #177

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
April 22, 2002--Newsletter #177

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


 

Goodies Announcements

Regarding last week's article on Bluetooth, I just wanted to clear up any confusion about who produces the product. Bluetooth, like USB and other innovations, was not actually invented by Apple but rather first adopted by Apple. The point was that Apple is often a good bellwether of things to come in the PC world, not that Apple is the end-all-be-all of computer manufacturers.

 
 
Goodies Thoughts - PayPal MasterCard Woes

Recently, there has been news from MasterCard is that they will be discontinuing service with third-party credit card payment services like PayPal.

 

For those of you that don't know what PayPal is all about here is a brief description. PayPal and other services like it offer individuals and businesses the ability to process credit card transactions without having to work through a financial institution and acquire a merchant account. It's easy to see how credit card fees of 3% to 7% and monthly minimums could quickly eat up profits for someone that processes credit cards infrequently. Those are the types of people that services like PayPal target by offering a much more reasonably priced service.

 

The chief reason that MasterCard is citing for pulling back from third-party payment services is a lack of information on credit cards being processed which contributes to a higher default and fraud rates. If you have ever used PayPal before, you know that there isn't a whole lot of information that is required. It is just the basics like name, telephone number, credit card number, etc.

 

Currently, PayPal is attempting to secure an exemption from MasterCard's new rule and it is expected, but not certain, that they will get it. It is also expected that it will come at a cost. MasterCard will most likely require more information for transactions like address, city, state, maiden name, your first born's full name, your pet's name, etc. Well, maybe not that much but you get the idea.

 

PayPal has some pretty big affiliations that may help them with their negotiations with MasterCard with the most notable being eBay. Their affiliations and shear number of daily transactions should give PayPal the leverage necessary to get MasterCard to grant their exemption.

 

The changes that MasterCard could require is what will be of the most concern for web developers. For those of you that have web pages/sites tied to PayPal, you may find yourselves going back to those sites and reworking them to support the new requirements.

 

As you may know, PayPal allows you to link to their payment processing pages directly from your pages. You can send them certain information like the customer's name and telephone number via a HTML form. This ensures that the customer doesn't have to double enter any information once they get to PayPal's payment processing page. This also allows you, the developer, to obtain customer information on your site and store that information in a database before sending the customer on to payment processing.

 

If you use or intend to use PayPal's services, you may want to keep an eye on their website to see what changes may be coming down the pipe. MasterCard intends to discontinue service to third-party services at the beginning of May, so a decision will obviously have to be reached very soon.

 

If you are wondering about other services like Yahoo PayDirect or eBay Payment, those services are tied to financial institutions and won't be affected by MasterCard's new policies.

 

If you are curious about PayPal and the pros and cons of their service you can get more information on the HTMLGoodies webiste at http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/paypal.html.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

To follow along with our PayPal theme for the day, I ran across this problem several months ago when attempting to use PayPal from an ASP page. I wanted to gather and store all of the customer's information in my database before sending it on to PayPal. The problem was that once I retrieved all of the information from the form and saved it to my database I still had to be able to create a new form with the PayPal required fields to send on to PayPal.

 

Creating the new form was easy enough, however, I had the problem of triggering the form submission from the code. I didn't want the customer to have to push an extra submit button to move on to the next step.

 

So, the question is this: How do you automatically trigger a form submission using JavaScript?

 

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. How do I get the "fuzziness" to go away from around my images?...

 

I used FrontPage and Microsoft's Paint program that came with my computer to make the site.

 

A. Microsoft's Paint program is not the best product to use when making graphical images. Don't get me wrong, it is a great tool for the general purpose user, however, it leaves a much to be desired for the serious graphic designer/artist.

 

There are many other packages available out there that will give you a much better result for your graphical work. You can choose from high end products like Adobe's PhotoShop or Illustrator or mid-range products like PhotoImpact or even some decent freeware. Whatever you choose, be sure you feel comfortable using it and look for some of these key elements in the product:

  • The ability to export to different file types, i.e. .gif, .jpeg, .png, .tif, etc.

  • The ability to adjust the quality of the file.

  • The ability to optimize the file. (recommended but not required)

Most graphical products have demo versions available to try out, so be sure to take advantage of the demos whenever possible.

 

 

Q. I have a (probably) relatively easy question: How do I maximize a window. Or how can I open a window maximized.

 

I have a script to open a window but I have to get the new window maximized.

 

A.  The only way I am aware of doing this is by capturing the users screen size settings and then adjusting them a bit and calling the window.open function and placing the size in the call. Here is an example:

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript" TYPE="text/javascript">
function newWin(page)
{
wHeight = screen.height - 80;
wWidth = screen.width - 20;
window.open(page,'popup','height=' +wHeight+ '

                   ,width=' +wWidth+',locationbar=0,menubar=0

                   ,personalbar=0,scrollbars=1,statusbar=0

                   ,toolbar=0,top=0,left=0');
}
</SCRIPT>

This works off of another script I have. I used popup (you could also use resource) so that the users standard browser settings are not affected by this call. If you leave the section blank, the next window the user opens will be full screen (this usually gets users a little peeved). This type of call, whether as popup or resource, will not allow the user to change the size of the window. If you turn scrollbars off (change to 0 or leave it out), then the user will not be able to scroll a long page. Personalbar is a call for Netscape, but Internet Explorer should ignore it.

 

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

 

Q.  I am not sure that what I want to do is possible. I have been searching the web for 2 weeks now looking for a form code or, JavaScript code that will put the information inputted into the text box in alphabetical order.


I am trying to list all my movies on my computer, (currently over 500 and, climbing!) so I can keep track of them. I can list them alphabetically, but I was looking for a code that would automatically insert them under the proper letter. That way as I accumulate more movies, I can just enter them and click post instead of having to add them in the source code.


Is this possible, and, do you know where I would have to look to learn such a code?

 

A. The most efficient way to do something like storing a list is to use a server-side technology like ASP, PHP or Perl in cooperation with a database or text file. ASP, PHP or Perl will allow you to interact with a database or text file, sort your data and dynamically create your pages.

 

Obviously, this will require some work to learn how to use databases and server-side technologies. If you don't want to make the time and/or effort to learn about the technologies then I would do this:

  1. Contact your website's host and see what server-side technologies are available to you, if any.

  2. Search the web for "Free (ASP, PHP, Perl or whatever) Code" and you may find just what you are looking for.

This process will fulfill many of your basic code needs. You will just need some time to track down the code sample. Then, if you are so inclined, you can take the time to learn more about the technology and start to tweak the code to better suit your purposes.

 

If you are interested in learning about databases you can find a tutorial at http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/database_intro.html.

 

If you are interested in Perl check out this tutorial: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/perl/perl01.html.

 

We will also be starting an ASP tutorial series very soon. Watch the HTMLGoodies site for details.



News Goodies

If you are a serious or professional web developer you may want to take note of this article regarding a standardized privacy policy on P3P from W3C.

Click here to read the article

 

Speaking of W3C, they now have a new office open in Korea.

Click here to read the article

 

Well finally someone other than Microsoft has hit the lawsuit pages. You'll never guess who is suing Yahoo!

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

To solve my problem I set up my form just like I would normally only I made all of my fields hidden and populated fields with information I passed through the URL.

 

Now, here's how I triggered the page to automatically post the form:

 

<script>
function submit_it()
{
document.forms[0].submit()
}
</script>

<body onload="submit_it()">

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" name="PayPal_Forward" method="post">

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="myemail@wherever.com">

...


</form>

</body>
 

The submit_it function is what  actually handles moving the form along. Be sure to include ONLOAD="submit_it" in the BODY tag, otherwise your JavaScript function will never be called.

 

And Remember This . . .

Today, April 22, has a very strange combination of famous birthdays.

 

For example, Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the revolution that removed Czar Nicholas II from power in 1917, was born.

 

Coincidentally, this day is also the birthday of Vladimir Ilyitch Ulyanov who is better known as Nikolai Lenin. After the revolution of 1917 Lenin returned from exile to overthrow Kerensky and establish a Socialist society. Kerensky himself was then exiled.

 

Interestingly, there is another unusual and unrelated birthday today. On this day in 1904 a quiet intelligent son of a textile manufacturer was born in New York City. He grew up to attend Harvard and Cambridge Universities. He excelled in both chemistry and physics and became fascinated with atomic structure. Eventually, while working for the United States government during World War II, he was credited with inventing and testing the world's first Atom Bomb. Today is J. Robert Oppenheimer's birthday.


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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