Goodies to Go (tm)
October 28, 2002-- Newsletter #204

By Vince Barnes



Goodies to Go (tm)
October 28, 2002--Newsletter #204

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


Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts  - W3C? Who or What are they?
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Feedback Goodies  
* And Remember This...

 


 

Goodies Announcement

Just in case you missed it before, 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 - W3C? Who or What are they?

If you spend much time in the developer circles on the web then sooner or later you'll hear about "W3C" -- The W3 Consortium. In case you wonder who or what they are and whether or not it matters to you, I thought I'd offer a little clarification.

In a sense, the Internet is like an anarchy. There is no governing authority that can pass laws over what happens on the net. Certainly governments can pass laws to restrict the things that the people they govern can do with the Internet, by they do not have authority over the Internet as a whole. While such unrestricted freedom is great in some ways, it could carry with it a price. If everybody who designed things for the Internet went about things in their own way, the value of the net as a whole would be greatly reduced because thing would not work together as one. To unify the mechanisms of the net requires a set of standards that everybody can work to. Standards have to be defined. Not everybody is going to agree on what a standard should be, so somebody, somewhere, has to be given the task of selecting and defining those standards. That somebody (actually, some bodies) is the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C.

Founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-lee (the "Inventor" of the Web -- see http://www.htmlgoodies.com/articles/whatis.html ) the World Wide Web Consortium is the group that defines what HTML tags there will be, what XML is, etc. Essentially, the languages of the Web are defined by W3C. This is how their Mission Statement begins:

"By promoting interoperability and encouraging an open forum for discussion, W3C commits to leading the technical evolution of the Web. In just over seven years, W3C has developed more than forty technical specifications for the Web's infrastructure. However, the Web is still young and there is still a lot of work to do, especially as computers, telecommunications, and multimedia technologies converge. To meet the growing expectations of users and the increasing power of machines, W3C is already laying the foundations for the next generation of the Web. W3C's technologies will help make the Web a robust, scalable, and adaptive infrastructure for a world of information. To understand how W3C pursues this mission, it is useful to understand the Consortium's goals and driving principles."

If you would like to read the whole thing, it can be found at: http://www.w3.org/Consortium/ Their website is http://www.w3.org and you can find out everything they do or have done somewhere on that site.

The Consortium puts out "recommendations" -- laws are not their style! These recommendations are, effectively, the standards for the Internet. When you write code you are, or should ideally be, writing code that adheres to these standards. An example of these recommendations can be found here: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/cover.html -- this is the specification for HTML 4 (actually 4.01.) When programmers sit down to write or enhance a web browser such as Opera, Internet Explorer or Netscape (see http://cws.internet.com/web.html ) they are, or should be, writing programs that can handle web pages designed according to these recommendations. This means that if you design your pages to follow these same recommendations, your pages should work just fine in their browser. This could be important to you!

There are a couple of items on their website that you might find particularly useful. First is a program that you can use to clean up little errors in your HTML code. This is called HTML Tidy (see http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett/tidy/ for details.) The second is their HTML Validator. The validator checks your web page's HTML code to see if it complies with the W3C recommendations. Remember that if your code complies, there is the highest probability that it will work well in any browser that has also been written to conform, as most have.

The W3C web site contains a lot of useful information. Although it is very dry and often confusing for all except the die-hard programmer types, it is definitely a hugely valuable reference tool.


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'm so lost. I would like to center a table on the page but I think all I'm reading is how to center the text in table.


A. Try the tag <div align="center"> before the table tag and then </div> after the table

 


Q. I need a well designed homepage that will attract people. Can f any one of you give me good ideas to make a good homepage?

A. Good home page design lesson. Make a flow chart of the information you want to give your visitors and list topics in order of importance such as what you offer, contact, etc..  You want a homepage that gives the most important information in a heading to catch the readers eye and then directs them to sub information. This sub-information can be located on another page that the home page links to.  Design the home page so the user does not have to scroll to see the main content.  The page should load fast, so keep the large graphic images down.  When you get the web surfer farther into your site and interested enough,  they will wait to see an image download.  There are ways you can break up the "squareness" of a page so everything is just not in square blocks.  You can create a banner or a side bar with a graphics program such as Adobe ImageReady or Paintshop Pro. Optimize it for the web.  The whole site should have easy navigation and a familiar theme such as the same navigation on all pages, company logo catch fraise etc.. Put your navigation links where they can be easily seen, on the side or top of the page. Your page should have a descriptive Title that reflects words used in the heading and first paragraph on the page.  Search engines pick up these heading, titles and keywords when they spider your page.  That brings up the subject of meta tags. learn what they are and how to use them. Hope this helps.

 



Q.  I keep getting back the message 'such and such attribute is extended markup (use "-x <extension>" to allow this).' Where should I put this "-x <extension>"? What is that? I'm also getting a lot of "illegal value for COLOR attribute of font" messages.



A. I have no idea what -x extension is. The message about the color attribute would probably mean you have the color attribute in a tag that doesn't use it. I took a quick look at your main frame's code, and the only potential problem I saw is the color attributes in your font tags didn't have the "#" before the color code. Anyway, the real test of your code is whether it works across browsers. If this validator helps track down problems, great, but the important thing is to try as many different browsers and platforms as you can. At a minimum check in Netscape 6 and IE 6 in Windows. If you can check Opera, IE 5, and Netscape 7 and 4 too that's good, and checking IE and Netscape in Macintosh is useful too.

 

 

Q.  WHEN I PUT IN <IMG SCR="LITTLECAT_WILDLIFE.GIF"> A PICTURE DOES NOT DISPLAY, JUST A BOX WITH SOME SORT OF SHAPE THING. CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT I AM DOING WRONG? WHY MY PICTURE IS NOT BEING DISPLAYED?

A. <img src="dada.jpg"> not <img scr="dada.jpg">

 

 

Q.  I have a page with thumbnails for some photos I would like to share. My audience would like to see some page transitions, but when they click on a thumbnail, I like to have the linked photo display in a _new window. Is there any way to place the page transition information [ie. content="revealTrans(Duration=1.0,Transition=23)" ] for a new window in the link to the picture without pre-naming that window?

A.
I wouldn't think so. Those page transition are specified in a meta tag of the page being loaded, and I know no way to put that into a link. If you're trying to avoid adding the transition to each file individually, you can't. Each picture has to be in a HTML file and the transition code has to be in each HTML file. However, you could use a server side include so you go through this process only once. Try this tutorial: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/ssi.html   Use the SSI to add the transition tag to each page, and once you've done this changing them all will just be a matter of changing the include.

 

 

Q. I am doing a form, not a problem except I can't get the response boxes to line up evenly with each other. For example...
Name: Text Box
Address: Text Box
I want all the box edges to be even vertically. Naturally, I thought, "Hey, just slap it in a table with no border and be done with it." Well, didn't work. I kept getting this funky text area box at the top of the form. I couldn't figure out where that was coming from. I moved the table command both before and after the table command and the strange and mysterious text area box stayed. It disappeared when I removed the Table command.

A. In each cell, specify the alignment. The field text gets aligned right, and the field box aligned left.
<tr>
<td align="right">name:</td>
<td align="left"><input></td>
</tr>

 

 

Q. I need to create a page with privileged information. Thus, I would like this page not to be printable. The page is to include text only. Is there any JavaScript code or anything else that would allow me to do this. I am not too worried about them being able to cut and paste the page, but it would be a plus if that was also taken away from the readers.

A. There is no way to keep someone from printing your information. Some people try to display the info in a popup window that has just a title bar, but all someone has to do is save the page to their pc and print it from there. Sorry.



Q. What is the HTML to post a sound or music file in your site?

A. If you want to enable people to download a sound file from your web site, just create a link to it:
<a href="my_sound_file.mid">Click here to download my_sound_file</a> The browser will open the download box after the link is clicked on. You may want to also tell the people that if their browser has a plug-in that plays this file then to download it they have to right click on the link and choose "Save target as..."
If you are looking to have a background playing on your web page: There are two tags for adding sound to your document, Internet Explorer 3.0's <BGSOUND> tag and Netscape's <EMBED> tag. The <BGSOUND> play the background sound from your page. That is when a visitor visits your page, the sound will automatically play. Netscape's <EMBED> tag is slightly different, you can use its attribute to select playing sound when the page is loaded or give the users an option to click whether they would like to hear the sound. The sound console will appear in their page automatically.
Here is how to use an <EMBED> tag:
<EMBED SRC=your_file.mid AUTOSTART=true WIDTH=144 HEIGHT=60 LOOP=1>
AUTOSTART=true means automatically play sound when document is loaded. This way, the sound will play as a background sound. You can also set the value to false. The sound will play when the "play" button is clicked.
LOOP=n This tells browser how many times to play sound. n could be an integer, true, or false. Setting LOOP=true, browser will continue playing your sound until the stop button on the console is clicked.
WIDTH and HEIGHT This is how the sound control (console) will be displayed. Setting them as the given numbers, browsers will display a full console. Setting the width=0 and height=2, the console will not displayed by the browsers. Other values that are too small will cause the browser to display an uncompleted image. You might also hide it by placing HIDDEN=true like this: <EMBED SRC=your_file.mid AUTOSTART=true HIDDEN=true LOOP=1>
It's a good idea to give an alternative to people who using browsers that do not support the embedded sound:
<embed src="bgsound.mid" hidden="true" autostart="true" loop="1"> <noembed>Your browser doesn't support EMBED, but you can still listen to the background sound of this page by<a href="bgsound.mid"> clicking here.</a></noembed>
Browsers that do not support EMBED will display the link inside <noembed> tag.
Here is how to use <BGSOUND> tag:
<BGSOUND SRC=your_file.mid LOOP=1>
LOOP can be specified as any positive number, infinite, or -1 which equals infinite. I recommend using both tags to make sure that your most if not all of your visitors hear background sound.

 

 

 

*** Mentor Spotlight ***

 Jay Hadley

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.
Jay is another of our terrific HTML Mentors who responds diligently to our readers questions. About Jay:
Jay and his wife of 27 years, Kathy, were sheepherders in the American west for 25 years. They had to retrain for a new career at age 47. Sheepherding was just getting too hard and too cold for his aging body. Before sheepherding Jay was an auto mechanic, a foreign car specialist. He went back to school, obtained his GED and started college. He took to computers like a duck takes to water. In the next 2 years he would learn how they work, how to repair and upgrade them and how to use software such as M/S word, M/S Publisher, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. After college he continued to study on his own and has studied Joe Burns HTML goodies and JavaScript goodies books, among others, from cover to cover. He can also make animated pages writing JavaScript with HTML. Macromedia Flash is another favorite program for creating Web pages. It integrates with Macromedia DreamWeaver Ultra Dev and Adobe Go Live. It also integrates with Adobe Illustrator 9.0. Jay can work back and forth among these programs to create top of the line web graphics
 

 

 

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News Goodies


Spam Law Foe Reverses Direction
[October 28, 2002] After testifying against anti-spam legislation, Direct Marketing Association now wants help from Washington.
Read the article:
http://dc.internet.com/news/article.php/1489211


Verizon Settles with Spammer
[October 28, 2002] Verizon settles a lawsuit against a commercial e-mail company with a permanent injunction and monetary damages.

Click here to read the article



Dell Wants to Free Up Your Cubicle
[October 28, 2002] Hot on the heels of Apple and Gateway, Dell comes out with a dictionary-sized PC aimed at the workstation market.

Click here to read the article
 



Blog Site Blogger.com Clogged
[October 25, 2002] A hacker shut down one of the more popular Web blogging sites today, changing everyone's FTP and passwords and email addresses. Service was restored later in the day.

Click here to read the article


(Never heard the expression "blogging" before? Check out http://www.webopedia.com/)
 



Dealing With Massive Attack: DNS Protection
[October 23, 2002] CORRECTED: The crude, yet effective, ping flooding attack on the 13 root servers underscores the need for every company to support a robust infrastructure to meet a truly sophisticated attack.

Click here to read the article

 

 


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Feedback Goodies



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.


Everybody seems to be very attached to their Text Editors! The piece in last week's newsletter mentioned a couple of my favorites and those of a couple of readers. We have received dozens of additional suggestions, including these:

From Michael Gorsich:
The most configurable, powerful editor I have ever heard of is Vedit, put out by Greenview in Ann Arbor, MI. As far as I can tell this editor can emulate any other editor out there. It comes with its own macro language. It also has the additional feather in its cap of being the leader in huge file editing. Once you have Vedit, you don't need any other text editor - it'll do it all.


From Dwight Wheeler:
I want to recommend another html text editor, "Arachnophelia". I have used this software since I became involved in web pages five years ago. It was designed by Paul Lutus Try a visit to his web site http://www.arachnoid.com/  It is an interesting place to visit. Arachnopheila and a number of other "Careware" programs are available. They cost no money, but, in his explanation of the concept of "Careware" he notes that they are not free. Even if you don't like the software, you might enjoy his philosophy.


From Charlie Green:
I have been using 40tude HTML for years. It is available from http://www.40tude.com/html/index.htm  It is reasonably priced and fully functional.


From Peter C.S. Adams:
The PC/Windows focus of your newsletter is annoying. You spent all that time talking about text editors and never mentioned BBEdit, the brilliant, top of the line text editor for the Mac?? And how can you lump DreamWeaver in with FrontPage and those other "I'm smarter than you are" editors? In code view mode, DreamWeaver is a terrific text editor with all the features you bragged about, with the advantage that you can go work on, say, a table in WYSIWYG mode confident that -- unlike FrontPage -- it won't rewrite your
carefully tweaked code.
(We don't want to forget our Unix, Apple and other platform friends; the "focus" is only because that is where the vast majority of our questions and other input comes from. FrontPage, btw also has a very nice code view mode, and releases over the past few years no longer rewrite your code. See http://www.htmlgoodies.com/articles/frontpagep1.html for more information. Dreamweaver and FrontPage are both valuable development tools. -- Ed.)


And reading our Mentor Spotlight on Eric Fergusson, "Just Jeni" asks: "Please, what is the KISS principal?"
The KISS principle (a principal heads up a school <g>) is: Keep It Simple Sunshine! Some people say that the last word should be "stupid" but I see no need to be nasty. Everything in the world of Information Technology works better and better the closer it gets to this principle.


 

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And Remember This . . .


On this day in...

1886 The Statue of Liberty is Dedicated
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28th 1886 by President Grover Cleveland. It was a gift from the people of France to the United States to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. It was designed by Eughne-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the same Eiffel famous for his tower in Paris.

1965 Gateway Arch Completed
The Gateway To The West arch on the waterside in St. Louis Missouri was completed on this day in 1965. This 630 foot tall monument to Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was designed by designed by Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen who died before the structure was completed. It is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.




Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 




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