April 29, 2002-- Newsletter #178

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
April 29, 2002--Newsletter #178

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Goodies Thoughts - Charney Who?

Have you heard of Scott Charney yet? Well, Microsoft hopes that you will be hearing lots of good things about him soon. He is Microsoft's new Security Czar that is supposed to combat and squash all of the evil hackers that have been plaguing Microsoft's IIS for more than a year now.


IIS has been unfortunate victim of some of the nastiest viruses ever conceived like Nimda and Code Red which caused major loss of time and data all across the nation and the world. With such high profile cases and a less than stellar reputation on security, does Microsoft really believe that most folks are going to be anything more than skeptical about their new Czar improving things in the near future?


So, who is this Charney guy and what is he supposed to be doing?


I'll bet your first guess would be that Mr. Charney is a certified computer geek that has been programming and managing since he was old enough to walk and type on his TRS-80. Well, actually he's a lawyer, a prosecutor to be exact. Not what you expected?


He does have a background in cybercrime, however. From 1991 to 1999 he was the chief of computer crime and intellectual property unit at the Department of Justice. So, at least he has had some experience catching the people spawn the viruses. Microsoft hopes that this background will give them an edge in catching new cybercriminals and preventing them from doing any damage in the first place.


In a recent interview Mr. Charney said "My job has two parts, one is the technical stuff and the other is the policy stuff. I'm surrounded by technical people. Where I am weak, there are many others who are strong." Let's hope so.


Microsoft has said that they have moved security up to their number one priority which I guess must be better than the top priority slot it used to be in. Security, in fact, is now so important that it will possibly take priority over some product enhancements and upgrades.


As an ASP developer I am periodically annoyed by not only the viruses but by the patches and updates that have to be installed on the servers. My thought is that better planning and preparation on security issues BEFORE a product is released is a much better approach than plugging the dike after it has already sprung a leak. I must say I was glad to hear Mr. Charney have the same point of view. Simply stated, he declared that Microsoft needs to reduce the number of patches that are released and improve the patching process.


Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the improvements in technology that Microsoft has provided over the years. However, I truly hope that Microsoft is sincere about their new and improved renewed commitment to security. I hope to never see another virus make the headlines like Nimda and Code Red did.


Thanks for reading!


Quiz Goodies

Each week we get all kinds of questions about creating and using forms. So, this week we'll test your knowledge of forms.


What do you know about Radio Buttons? How are they created, organized and what are their basic elements?


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. I just recently created my first form. I made a formmail.pl.

If I was to make another form for something else, would I have to call it formmail1.pl or anything I like like ben.pl or is there something else that I would have to call it?


A. A Perl file can work for multiple forms. The question is whether fields will have the same name in different forms and need to do different things. For example, make sure fields called "address" don't refer to e-mail addresses in one form and mailing addresses in another. Think ahead to how many forms you might have and how similar they are, and what will make the most sense for ongoing maintenance.


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



Q. I'm using a form to capture the user's name and other details and storing them in a cookie -- which works -- for the purpose of making the site more "personal": so the site displays their name when they revisit etc. But the only way of displaying strings in the HTML document that I've been able to find is displaying it through form elements (such as a text box) -- is there a way of displaying JavaScript variables in HTML pages as plain text?


A.  You can use document.write to write out the variables. You would place the script in the body section of your document where you want it to appear.

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="javascript">

document.write("Hello "+name_variable+" how are you today")



The document.close is needed for Netscape 4 version browsers.


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Jim Young, one of our JavaScript Mentors.


Q.  I divided my page into two frame columns. My one problem is when I try to return to my start up page, it reloads the navigation bar (the first frame) again. How can this be avoided?


A. Try putting a target in that link of target="_top" this will reload the whole page and avoid a frame within a frame!


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

News Goodies

A new bill regarding online privacy rules could cause many e-commerce companies a great many headaches in the near future.

Click here to read the article


Apparently Microsoft is not the only target of hackers. It seems the nations #1 ISP, AOL, was also hit recently.

Click here to read the article


Microsoft has XP, now Macromedia has MX. Read about Macromedia's newest integrated collection of tool, server, and client technologies; the first fruits of their merger with Allaire.

Click here to read the article

Quiz Answer

With the trend towards more and more interaction between the web surfer and the web site, forms have become a very common and necessary component in web development.


With that said we'll answer the question above by starting with an example:


<FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="ProcessPage.asp">
  <P><INPUT TYPE="radio" NAME="ButtonGroup"

           VALUE="Choice1" CHECKED > Choice 1</P>
  <P><INPUT TYPE="radio" NAME="ButtonGroup"

           VALUE="Choice2"> Choice 2</P>
  <P><INPUT TYPE="submit" value="Submit" name="B1"></P>


Each HTML form that you create must begin and end with a <FORM> tag. This let's the browser know that this section of code will be accepting input from the user.


Within the form is where you will create any form elements that you need which, in our case, will just be radio buttons. Now, radio buttons have a very unique quality among form elements in that they function as a group. Here's how that works:


First, each form element begins with <INPUT>. This is true of all form elements like text boxes, check boxes, etc. Then you will declare the TYPE which let's the browser know what element to display; "radio" for radio buttons.


Next you will need to give the group of radio buttons a common name. In the example above we used "ButtonGroup" as our name. This means that each radio button with the NAME "ButtonGroup" will all be grouped together allowing the user to only select one of the buttons in the group. This is the radio button's unique quality. You can also have multiple groups of buttons within a form by simply using different NAMEs for each grouping.


Now you will need to give each button a unique name so that you will be able to effectively use the information the user has input. You use the VALUE attribute to give each button its own unique name.


Lastly, there's the CHECKED attribute. This tells the browser to make this button the default button and go ahead and check it.


There are many more attributes available to you such as the ONBLUR, ONFOCUS and ONCLICK attributes which are used in specialized circumstances. The example above, however, should give you the necessary basics to create and use radio buttons.


And Remember This . . .

Do you know what great fashion event occurred today in history?


Today marks the anniversary of a revolutionary fashion patent given to Gideon Sundback from Hoboken, New jersey in 1913. He invented a wonderful new fastener intended to "replace" the button which came to be known as the zipper. Unlike many other inventions, the zipper was aptly named for the sound that it made when opening and closing instead of being named after its inventor. Could you imagine calling the zipper the sundback?

Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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