October 21, 2002-- Newsletter #203

By Vince Barnes



Goodies to Go (tm)
October 21, 2002--Newsletter #203

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


Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts  - Text Editors: The Hand-Coder's Friend
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Feedback Goodies  
* And Remember This...

 


 

Goodies Announcement

The new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!

 

Go beyond the basics and learn how the pros add and use dynamic HTML features and advanced JavaScript techniques. Beyond HTML Goodies demonstrates dozens of new and different features readers can add to their existing Web pages using HTML and JavaScript. The book starts with simple text and image tips, such as adding a clock to a Web page or causing text to appear when the mouse moves over an image. It gradually builds to more complex tricks, including manipulating forms or working with cookies behind the scenes. Throughout the book, readers enjoy Joe's snappy style and "to the point" discussion of each "goody" in the book.

 

http://books.internet.com/books/0789727803

 

 

Goodies Thoughts - Text Editors: The Hand-Coder's Friend

Essentially, there are two ways you can put web pages together. They can either be hand-coded, meaning that the writer/programmer writes out all the HTML code, JavaScript, etc. by hand, or generated, whereby a generator program of some sort is used, such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage. The latter, by the way, also includes all the "WYSIWYG" (What You See Is What You Get) editors like Microsoft Word or Publisher along with the various "wizard" type generators that generate a finished page based on a series of questions (these are often "features" buried in other programs, though they can also be stand-along programs.)

The task of creating pages by hand coding can become quite complex. Hard core hand-coders develop working techniques to assist them in this endeavor (if you take a look at Feedback Goodies below, you will see an example explained by Wolfgang Wohlkinger) that frequently involve the use of advanced text editors. If you've tried to use Notepad for this you'll know that it requires remembering the fine points of the syntax you need and having a very keen eye to spot those typos. Today I thought I'd share with you a little about my own favorite text editor, point you at a couple of others (as have both Wolfgang and Keith Marshall in the Feedback Goodies, below) and give a couple of tips about text editors in general.

My particular favorite editor comes from Ian Mead at IDM Computer Solutions. inc. (see http://www.idmcomp.com ) and is known as UltraEdit. My good friend Scott Clark, a very accomplished webmeister, favors Notetab Pro from Fookes Software (as does Keith Marshall, below) (see http://www.notetab.com ) These are both terrific products and sold at bargain prices. Which one to choose is strictly a matter of personal preference. I suggest you download and try out both, then buy the one you favor.

What sets these products apart, for our purposes, is that they recognize web programming language formats, syntax, tags, etc. and display code in a variety of colors to depict the nature of the code elements. Simply stated, HTML code is in one color, JavaScript in another, comments another and so on. They have tag lists that enable you to select a tag by name and insert the code where you need it. For example, if I look at the HTML tag list and select Table, I get <TABLE></TABLE> inserted where my cursor was when I clicked. The list serves also as a reminder or prompt of the tags that are available to you.

UltraEdit recognizes a lot of different programming languages and can easily be extended to understand more. I find this to be an advantage as I use quite a variety myself, but can continue to use the same tool. UltraEdit and Notetab both have excellent global search and replace capabilities that con work on a single or on multiple files. This is very convenient when you have to track down all references to a URL which has just changed, for example.

There are many, many features in these programs -- far too many for me to mention here. We may add a software tools section to the HTML Goodies site soon. When we do, that would be the place for a more comprehensive review.

Text Editors allow you to "Save As" using a variety of filename extensions. While exact mechanisms vary from editor to editor, the basic principle is that you choose File / Save As and type in a filename and extension or type the filename and select the extension from a drop down list. Notepad assumes you want to save a text file (filename.txt) unless you put double quotes around the name ("filename.html") Recent versions of Notepad also allow you to Save As, select All Files from the file type drop down and type in any extension you want (without the double quotes.)

Also note that you can configure which text editors to use in your browser. In the Internet Explorer (v 5 or 6) you go to Tools / Internet Options / Programs and select which program you want to use for an editor. The same applies to FrontPage (Tools / Options / Configure Editors) and most site management products.

A good text editor will save you a great deal of time and heartache!


Thanks for Reading!
- Vince Barnes

 

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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 know that it is possible to use external JavaScripts on a webpage by using the SRC attribute in the <SCRIPT> flag. Is there anyway to use an external HTML document on a webpage?


A. Yes, you use a server side include. This tutorial explains it. http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/ssi.html




Q. My "submit" button says "SUBMIT QUERY". How can I make it say "SUBMIT"?


A. You'll see this in the submit button tag: value="submit query". Change submit query to whatever you want on the button.

 



Q.  My question deals with how to integrate our website with our Merchant Account "Authorize.Net". As a relative newbie to html programming and e-commerce the instructions provided by Authorize.Net have me swimming in total confusion. They do provide some examples which I am able to decipher but they do not exactly show me how to integrate the code into the webpage. Also, I will have multiple products to sell and I do not understand how to differentiate the products from each other by description and price so that the credit card processor will know how to process!
My web host provides a free CGI shopping cart script download. Is this the answer to my problems or will this create more problems? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated as I am under deadline pressure from the credit card companies to present a working website for their review and approval.



A. Is it my understanding that you do not have a shopping cart now? If so then you should probably set one up. I am not sure how much you do know about what happens behind the scenes of a web site that can process orders. Authorize.Net takes information from your site and processes it to create an order form so that they can verify credit cards. You select what you want to buy and by clicking a button and the web site remembers what you want by storing the information in cookies. Then when you are finished and want to check out you click another button that takes you to a form to fill out your ording information like name, address and credit card info. When you click on the final button to complete the order, this is where Authorize.Net comes in. That button is coded so that it sends the information to an address that Authorize.Net has supplied you that looks like this:

FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="https://secure.authorize.net/gateway/transact.dll">

This now checks to make sure that the credit card is valid and may even ask for more information. Every time you click a button on a web site, it is programmed to have some kind of action. It may be to send it to another page that will create an email and send it. In this case it sends it to another page on another site that processes the information.

You have to supply the form for all this to happen. A shopping cart will do this for you. When you set up the cart it may even ask you for the link that Authorize.Net supplied you. You enter the address into a form and it may set it up automatically, but I don't know what your host offers for a shopping cart.

 

 

Q.  In going to different web pages trying to learn html better, I found that some are copy write protected.....when I try to right click on it, it won't show you the html. I would love to know that code so when I build my site (I make graphics and don't want others to steal them), I can put that in.

A. They used a JavaScript to disable the right mouse button. They've also irritated their visitors by taking away the whole right mouse button menu, so they also can't go forward or back, add a bookmark, etc. by this method which may be how they prefer. What's more, you can defeat this block just by using menus or keyboard shortcuts to view the code. Annoying your users is always bad. The only way to be sure you've protected your images is to put a copyright mark on in such a way that it's tough to remove, like clear across the middle of the image. Besides, the chances anyone will steal your images for commercial use are almost nil. The likelihood and consequences of getting caught are too great.

 

 

Q.  I would like to know the proper approach to run simultaneous JavaScripts such as in the following scenario. I would like a "rain effect" script (called from a .js file) over top my entire web page with underlying rotating images scripts, sliding texts scripts, other animation scripts, etc. ie. items that appear to be rained on. On top of the raining effect, I would to place other JavaScripts (scripts within or outside of the page coding), animated gifs, pictures, etc. that are "dry" i.e. ...kind of a layering wet/dry scenario.

A. When running multiple scripts on one page you need to insure that the different scripts do not use the same variable and/or function names. If they do then you will have to change those that conflict. If you need to have multiple scripts start when the page loads the best way I have found is to use
the onLoad event in the BODY tag to call both of them making sure you separate them with a semicolon.
Like this:
<BODY onLoad="function_one();function_two()">

 

 

Q. When using a table, is it possible to launch an HTML Document in another cell?

A. Yes, use a server side include to fill in the cell. Try this tutorial:
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/ssi.html.

 

 

Q. What I want to do is put a drop down menu on my website and the choices in the menu will be .wav files that will play on the website like an embedded sound. I know how to make a drop down menu and how to embed a sound in to the background but I don't know how to put these 2 together.

A. There might be a neater way I don't know of, but you could have the form action launch a new window with the page being determined by the user's choice, and embed the WAV in that. Perhaps you could have the new page not open a HTML page, but call for the WAV file directly, and you build the URL from the value of the option list. This is said without having tried these solutions. There is also the problem that it won't work if the user has pop up windows blocked.

 

 


*** Mentor Spotlight ***

Eric Fergusson

At HTML Goodies we wish to express our sincere gratitude to our mentors.

All the time our mentor spend reading, researching and answering questions sent in to our Mentor Community is provided voluntarily by our mentors. On occasions, we like to throw a spotlight on a mentor so that you can get to know more about them and so that we can all show our appreciation.
Eric Fergusson is a prolific responder, providing many, many solutions every week. Says Eric:
"I've been working in web design since 1997. I've worked freelance and as the webmaster for a corporate site. My expertise is first in HTML, but I also use CSS and JavaScript, and I normally make my own graphics. I hand code and believe in the KISS principle. My personal site is at http://www.celticfringe.net

 

 

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News Goodies


IBM Unveils New PowerPC (The Next Mac?) CPU
[October 14, 2002] IBM confirms that its 64-bit Power4 server processor architecture will reach the desktop -- the Apple Mac desktop, according to industry gossip -- in mid-2003, with the new PowerPC 970: a 1.8GHz, single-CPU-core variant boasting native support for both 32- and 64-bit code and a whopping 6.4GB/sec system bus..

Click here to read the article

 

 

.NET Framework SDK 1.1 Beta Goes Public
[October 14, 2002] Microsoft has upgraded the Visual Studio.Net Framework SDK (code-named 'Everett') and converted the program to public beta.

Click here to read the article

 

 

Partners Bet on Microsoft Tablet
[October 11, 2002] A host of IT firms, from chip producers to computer makers to software developers, hope the debut of sleek platform next month will jump-start a stalled market.

Click here to read the article

 

 

XDocs An Adobe Wake-up Call
[October 10, 2002] Officials need look no further than the Internet Explorer-Netscape Browser War to figure out how hard Microsoft will push its XDocs on a .pdf world.

Click here to read the article

 

 

 


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Feedback Goodies



Here's something new for you......


Did you ever wish your newsletter was an easy two way communications medium? Ploof! It now is!
If you would like to comment on the newsletter or expand/improve on something you have seen in here, you can now send your input to:

mailto:nlfeedback@htmlgoodies.com


We already receive a lot of email every day. This address will help us sort out those relating specifically to this newsletter from all the rest. When you send email to this address it may wind up being included in this section of the newsletter, to be shared with your fellow readers.


** Wolfgang Wohlkinger offers these tips:

Thanks for your newsletter.
Some more tips for creating HTML documents.
1. In Windows Explorer, after navigating to the folder where you want to create your file, you can create an HTML file by either right-mouse clicking in the files pane and selecting New | HTML Document or from the menu bar selecting File | New | HTML Document.
2. I suggest you create a shortcut to Notepad.exe in your SendTo folder (which can be found in the Windows folder). This then allows you to right-mouse click your newly created file in point 1 above. Choosing "Send To" from the resulting menu will show a list of places to send your file to. Notepad will then be one of those listed. Select this and your newly created file will then be opened in Notepad. Now you can just save any work done without any concern for the extension. (Note in Win 2000 or XP this is even easier. Just choose "Open with" when right-mouse clicking the file.)
An alternative method if you use IE: Double click the file and it will open in IE. Now select View | Source and your document will open in Notepad. Just a warning if you do this: Once you have opened a file like this don't repeat this method unless you have closed the file otherwise you will open multiple copies of this file and you could easily wipe out your work.
3. Step 2 could be done with any text editor. There are two excellent free editors available that do (in my humble opinion) a better job than the Notepad supplied by Microsoft. These are:
Notepad+ which you can download from: http://www.mypeecee.org/rogsoft/ or search for "Notepad+" (use the quotes) in Google.
ConTEXT which you can download from: http://www.fixedsys.com/context or search for "ConTEXT" (use the quotes) in Google.
I am sure there are other good editors too. I use these two and have grown to like them both.
Amongst the advantages that these have over normal Notepad are that they can open larger files (restriction not in Win2000 or XP) and that you can see line numbers. Very useful when coding JavaScripts. ConTEXT also color codes the HTML (plus many other languages such as PHP, JavaScript, Style Sheets, etc.). But these are just some of the advantages.
4. Whatever editor you use, a good way to work is to have your HTML file open in both the browser and your favorite editor simultaneously. Using the Alt-Tab key you can flip between the two programs. Using the editor you add or change something in the HTML file. Make sure you save your work and then flip to the browser and click the Refresh button to view your handiwork. Flip back to the editor make more changes, save and flip back to the browser to view (after refreshing) the changed page.
While I realize, not everyone wants to work as above, but I hope my tips are useful to someone. ;-)


And Keith Marshall suggests:

I have a favorite alternative to the traditional Windows Note Pad.
Even though most developers may already know about this, NoteTab has a freebie version and pro versions for download. Its easy to use, yet powerful. You can make it create most common tags for you.
http://www.notetab.com



 

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And Remember This . . .


On this day in...

1948 First High-Speed Fax
In case you thought they only came out a few years ago, the first high speed radio fax transmission occurred on this date in 1948. RCA sent the entire novel "Gone With The Wind" from a radio station to the Library of Congress -- all 1047 pages of it -- in an impressive two minutes twenty-one seconds. The rate is the equivalent of about a million words per minute. And speaking of radio firsts, this date also saw the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission in 1915. They called from Arlington, VA to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

1956 Carrie "Princess Leia Organa" Fisher was born on this date to mother Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Probably best known for her role as Princess Leia (did you know her last name was Organa?) in the Star Wars movies, Carrie has an extensive CV that includes the books "Postcards from the Edge" and "Surrender the Pink" as well as such movies as The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, Austin Powers International Man of Mystery, Drop Dead Fred, Heartbreakers, Scream 3 and many others.

1805 Nelson defeats Napoleon at Trafalgar
Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet under Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Trafalgar off the coast of Spain on this day in 1805. Nelson raised the famous message "England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty" on his own ship, the Victory, as he divided his 27 ships into two divisions against the combined fleet of 33 French and Spanish ships. He won a decisive victory, sinking 19 of the enemy ship without losing any of his own in five hours of fighting. 1,500 of his men were killed, however, and he himself was shot in the chest by a French sniper. He died below decks half an hour before the end of the battle. It was reported that his last words, on hearing that victory was about to be theirs, were "Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty." He was dubbed the "savior of the nation" since it was no longer possible for Bonaparte to invade Britain, and a column topped by his statue was erected, and still stands, in the square renamed "Trafalgar Square" in London's West End.



Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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