Goodies to Go (tm)
December 8, 2003-- Newsletter #262

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
December 8, 2003--Newsletter #262

This newsletter is part of the network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - Three Golden Rules
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* Feedback Goodies  
* Windows Tech 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.



Goodies Thoughts - Three Golden Rules

Intriguing title, don't you think? We'll get to them in just a second. First, let's take a quick look at the "coming to life" of your website.

Imagine if you will, all the thought that goes into a website; then the work involved in it's actual creation; the care with which its various elements are interconnected; and the pride with which it is placed onto a web server and published for the world to see.

Next, a little time goes by and the site evolves with a tweak here, add a page there, put a database link in this, and so on. Pretty soon the site has grown a lot and represents its developer's blood, sweat and tears.

Then the server crashes and the call comes in from hosting company to say "sorry, you'll have to upload your pages again." Pages? PAGES? WHAT PAGES? The horror dawns on you that your only copy is that original set that you first created. All that extra work was done after that upload and was added piece by piece to the live site. Only the live site had it all. And that database of contact information you've been collecting -- it was up there too!

Now to those golden rules. They apply to everything to do with computers, but we're especially interested in how they apply to website creation and maintenance. I'm sure you've guessed the first part by now. That's right -- Backup!

Rule number one is backup your stuff! When you make a copy, however, things can go wrong with the copy process. It's a good idea to make a copy of your existing backup before you start to copy over it -- just in case! Now you have a one generation old copy and a current copy.

Then there's Murphy's Law. "If it can go wrong it will. If it can't go wrong, it'll go wrong quicker." (If that's not actually Murphy's Law, I'm sure he'd be pretty proud of it anyway!) Here's the scene (it's based on the last one): as your hanging up the phone after the call from the hosting company a knowing smile stretches itself across your face; "I have those two copies in the other room - let me get one and send it up," you think to yourself. As you do, and as if in direct response to your smirk, a bolt of lightning comes out of the blue, smashes its way through your roof, through the back room, through your computer and melts your CDs and floppies as it goes.

Oops! (Thank goodness it missed the cat - this is, after all, a family style newsletter!)

Yes, that's right -- you should have made another copy and kept it at work or in your safe deposit box. An off-site copy is another very reasonable backup. Of course, its possible that the call comes from the hosting company, a bolt takes out your PC and a flash flood washes away the bank. If this happens to you, you might want to examine your life a little - the universe seems to be exceptionally mad at you.

So, more correctly stated, rule one would be "backup your backups." That would leave rule two as "backup your stuff" and rule three as "backup your stuff again and keep the backup off-site." The short form of the three golden rules is:

Backup backup; backup; and backup again.

Say that to yourself a few times. Now ask yourself "did I just say that, or have I actually done it?"

You're still here?

Thanks for Reading!

- Vince Barnes



Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to

Q. How do I design my webpages so they fill the screen on all monitor sizes?

A. If you want to make sure that your site will look well in all resolutions you should first decide what your lowest screen resolution should be. According to statistics, most people are viewing the web at 800 X 600 or above and very few are actually viewing at 640 X 480. So you can safely design a page for the lowest resolution being 800 X 600. When you design for 800 X 600 make sure that all of your images are optimized for that resolution. Use percentages for your table instead of pixel widths. If you use a fixed pixel width you are setting your table to an absolute measurement. If the table is set to percentages it will expand as needed. I use a bit of JavaScript to check to see what my sites look like in various resolutions. Copy and paste this into your browser address:
Hit enter and then save to your favorites. Do the same with the following:
Your browser will resize itself to the resolutions and you can get an idea of what the page is going to look like.

Q. Where is the tutorial on mouse over for "click here"?

A. You should be able to find one in the JavaScript Primers on the HTML Goodies site. Here is a link to the Table of Contents:
[If you're looking for a particular piece of JavaScript code, check out  -- Ed.]

Q. When you open a new window is it possible to close the original window? When I run this code I just get an error message after the new window opens."page.html", "whatever", config="height=500,width=500") self.close;
I've tried replacing self.close with main.close and window.close but I always get errors. main.close only works for closing new windows.

A. The reason you are getting the errors is that you have the wrong syntax for your window close. The correct syntax should be:
to close the original window. The other problem that you will have is that when you use JavaScript to close the original or main window an alert will popup asking you whether you want to close it or not. This is a security feature that keeps someone from closing the window without the viewer's permission. JavaScript is not allowed to close the main window.

Q. I cannot figure out how to get the submit button to work. I need the information from the order form to go to my email address. If this is not possible, please advise me on how to retrieve information from a form that is submitted. Anyway, the form is there and each text box is coded within the form frame. I would also like to be able to add a confirmation page when they submit the order. (Code sample supplied)

A. The reason your form is not working is because the SUBMIT button has no place to send it to. The line that starts the FORM needs an ACTION attribute.
This line:
<FORM name=" " enctype="text/plain">
Should read something like this:
<FORM name=" " enctype="text/plain" action="page_to_send _the_info_to.shtml">
The page that the form sends the information to should contain all of the needed coding to send the information to an email. If you are using the script to send to an email application, I would suggest you find another script as some browsers do not support that.
[See also these articles for more information:
- Ed.]

Q. I would like if anybody of you could help me. I am very new in creating web sites. I know little about java script. What I want to do is to create pop-up window like this:
<script language="javascript">
function nesto()
{ alert ("IZABERITE NO"); return}
Ok, so I did it. But it is an alert message. Can I change it so it would be some other kind of pop-up. Like with ? or something else. Hope you understand me!

A. I think it would help if you first went through Joe Burns JavaScript Primers here:
They are very good at explaining JavaScript to the beginner.






News Goodies

PayPal Slashes Micropayments Fees
[December 8, 2003] The online payments platform announces a major fee reduction for digital download music merchants.

Click here to read the article



C&W Moves to Exit U.S. Market
[December 8, 2003] The British telecom's U.S. subsidiary agrees to sell hosting and IP assets for $125M and file for Ch. 11.

Click here to read the article



Sun Lights Up U.K. Servers, Desktops
[December 8, 2003] UPDATE: System vendor's low-cost office software line makes more headway against rivals as the company signs Britain's Office of Government Commerce to a five-year deal.

Click here to read the article



CA Gets Wise About Web Services Management
[December 8, 2003] Computer Associates enters a promising market but will have to elbow out startups.

Click here to read the article



Intel's New Bid to Downplay 'RISC'
[December 8, 2003] The chip maker challenges top companies to come on over to the Itanium side.

Click here to read the article



House Set to Finish Can Spam Act
[December 8, 2003] Landmark legislation sets first national standards for regulating unsolicited commercial e-mail.

Click here to read the article



SCO Forced To Show Evidence
[December 5, 2003] UPDATE: SCO has 30 days to comply with a judge's ruling that it show details to back up its contract dispute claims against IBM.

Click here to read the article


Oracle Warns of 'High Risk' Product Flaws
[December 5, 2003] Oracle server products are at risk of system access and DoS attacks.

Click here to read the article



Google Asks Judge to Lay Down Trademark Law
[December 5, 2003] Faced with the prospect of an ever-dwindling supply of sellable keywords, Google tries to draw a line in the shifting sands of trademark infringement.

Click here to read the article



Wireless Mesh Standard Coming
[December 5, 2003] Intel and Cisco say they'll throw their weight behind a new criterion to make sure cellular and 802.11 network equipment can talk to each other.

Click here to read the article






Goodies Peer Reviews


Every week a site is selected for review. Each week, reviews of the previous week's selected site are chosen for publication on the HTML Goodies website.


The current week's selected site is published in Goodies To Go and in the Peer Reviews section of the website.  Current contact email addresses for submitting your site and for submitting reviews are published in Goodies To Go.

If you would like to have your site reviewed, sign up for the Goodies To Go newsletter in the Navigation Bar on the left side of this page. 

For full details about this program, see




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:

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. Please don't send your questions to this address. They should be sent to our mentors: see

For those who are missing Peer reviews: we are once again revising the Peer review program in the hopes of creating a workable solution. The current plan is to move the new Peer Review pages into place in the new year. All those who have been selected for reviews in the past will be featured in the new pages. The new method will make it much easier for your peers to provide feedback and much easier for us to handle the publication side of things. "Watch this space!" It's coming soon!!

Based on all the response to my piece about including contact information on websites (see I'd have to say that if your site is a business site and is missing that information, there are a lot of people upset at you right now!! Glad to see that I'm not the only one that is bothered by the trend.

Thanks again for all your feedback!



Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:


Consuming Asynchronous Web Services

Thiru Thangarathinam shows how to use asynchronous Web services, Windows
Service applications, server-based timer components and .NET XML API
classes to create high-performance, scalable, and flexible applications.

*** And ***

Using the Google APIs to Spell Check

Based on the popularity of last week's article on using Google's free web
service to gather search results, this week we've got a script that
implements another feature...spell checking.



And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1980 John Lennon Shot Dead

At the age of forty, former Beatle John Lennon was shot four times at close range as he returned home to his apartment building on this day in 1980. The most outspoken of the Beatles, John Lennon, through his partnership with Paul McCartney and the Beatles, not only transformed the world of popular music, but inspired social changes that have influenced the world ever since. His killer was sentenced to twenty years to life. He was denied parole being told his "vicious and violent act was apparently fuelled by your need to be acknowledged." This writer chooses not to publish his name. He remains in Attica prison in New York State.

Today was also the day that: in 1776 George Washington and his army retreated across the Delaware River from New Jersey; 1777 Captain Cook left the Society Islands; 1813 Ludwig van Beethoven's 7th Symphony premiered; 1863 Abraham Lincoln announced his plan for the reconstruction of the South; 1874 Jesse James gang robbed a train at Muncie, Kansas; 1902 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr became Associate Justice in the US Supreme Court; 1923 US-German Friendship treaty was signed; 1941 British, Dutch and US governments declare war on Japan; 1952 Lucy is pregnant in "I Love Lucy" (1st time pregnancy was acknowledged on TV); 1967 the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" was released in the UK; 1969 Police launched a surprise attack on the Black Panthers in Los Angeles; 1974 the Greek Monarchy was rejected by a referendum; 1976 US performed a nuclear test; 1981 France performed a nuclear test; 1982 Norman Mayer held the Washington Monument hostage for ten hours demanding a end to nuclear weapons - killed by police, it turned out he had no explosives; 1984 Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) appeared on Saturday Night Live; 1989 UK performed a nuclear test; 1997 the Spice Girls and Lee Ann Rimes win at the 8th Billboard Music Awards;

Born today were: in 65 BC lyric poet Horace; 1626 Queen Christina of Sweden; 1765 inventor Eli Whitney (cotton gin); 1832 Norwegian novelist Bjvrnstjerne Bjvrnsen; 1861 General Motors founder William Crapo Durant; 1865 Finnish composer Jean Sibelius; 1872 writer JC Powys; 1886 Mexican painter Diego Rivera; 1894 humorist James Grover Thurber; 1906 Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn; 1911 actor Lee J. Cobb; 1921 English actor Terence Morgan (Francis Drake); 1925 singer/dancer/actor Sammy Davis Jr.; 1930 Austrian actor Maxemillian Schell; 1936 actor David Carradine; 1943 singer Jim Morrison (Doors); 1947 guitarist/singer Gregg Allman; 1952 drummer Richie Morales (Spyrogyra); 1953 actress Kim Bassinger; 1964 actress Teri Hatcher; 1966 Irish singer Sinead O'Connor;



Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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