Goodies to Go (tm)
December 29, 2003-- Newsletter #265

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
December 29, 2003--Newsletter #265

This newsletter is part of the network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - The Finest Choice
* 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 - The Finest Choice

Who am I to ignore synchronicity when it jumps up in my face? Nobody -- that's who! So when I suddenly get a series of questions all about the same topic, it tells me it's time to talk about it again in the newsletter.

The series of questions in question have been about choices. Basically, what is the best way to provide a choice for my visitor, such that they choose one, and only one of a series of options? There are several ways to code this type of choice offering. You could provide a text box in which your visitor types their choice. That's a bit tough to validate, though. You could provide a drop down (also known as a pop-up) list box. The options in the selection list would begin with "Choose One" and continue with the three required choices. You would then write a little JavaScript to verify that a selection has been made and that the first option ("Choose One") is not the selected option. In this particular case, this would be a good method. Alternatively, you could provide some checkboxes. Then you would write some JavaScript to ensure that one, and only one, of the checkboxes has been checked. These are all reasonable options but there's another one which may be the simplest and most elegant of all. It's the radio button.

Named for the buttons on a car radio that choose a station to listen to (and, obviously, move you off the previous selection) "radio buttons" are a group of buttons such that when you click on any one, all the others in the group are automatically unclicked. This means that one and only one of the buttons can be clicked. Technically, they're called an "option group", but "radio buttons" is the name used commonly by the aficionado. If you set one of the options as the default, or pre-selected, option, then you wouldn't need any further validation on the selections. Your site visitor would automatically select one and only one of your options.

Let's take a look at a couple of samples (remember to check our note under "Q&A" below about code samples in this newsletter):

<TITLE>Radio Button Example</TITLE>
<FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="ouraction.cgi">

<input type="radio" name="color" value="red" checked>Red&nbsp;
<input type="radio" name="color" value="yellow">Yellow&nbsp;
<input type="radio" name="color" value="green">Green</p>

<input type="radio" name="number" value="one" checked>One&nbsp;
<input type="radio" name="number" value="two">Two&nbsp;&nbsp;
<input type="radio" name="number" value="three">Three</p>

<input type=submit VALUE="Submit">
<input type=reset VALUE="Reset">

This example is a complete page that will accept the users input and send it to a CGI script called "ouraction.cgi". (For more about CGI see and for more about forms, see
Now let's take a look at those radio buttons.

There are two groups shown here, which will help to illustrate how one group is differentiated from another. The first group looks like the choice I was talking about earlier. There are three buttons defined by -- input type="radio" -- as radio buttons. They are collected into a group by the fact that they all have the same name. In our example, they all appear on the same line on the form. This is for our convenience only. It doesn't matter where on the form the members of the group are placed, only that they all have the same name. When passed to the CGI script, there will be a data item named "color" having a value of "red", "yellow" or "green". In this example, the first option for color has been marked as "checked". This means that this option will be filled in on the form when the form is presented to the browser, and makes this the default. Thus "color" has been given a default value of "red".

The second group is similar to the first, except that it is called "number", has options for "one", "two" or "three" and has a default value of "one".

Simple! And when it comes to a variety of options, the simplest is usually the finest choice!

In closing, I want to wish all of you a "Happy New Year!" I hope this is a great one for you, and I hope that you continue to add your gems to the web that has become my source for answers to all my questions.

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

I'm having trouble with adding spaces on my website. I usually use Internet Explorer 6.0 for the internet. As was suggested, I also downloaded Netscape Navigator 7.0. When I view my site in Internet Explorer the space code "&nbsp" doesn't show up as those letters, but as a space. But, in Netscape the space code "&nbsp" doesn't show up until the very last time it is used.

A. The space codes in the problem area are not followed by a semicolon, whereas the spaces in the areas that are working have the required semicolon -- "&nbsp;". Add the missing semicolons and you'll get spaces instead of code.

Q. I want to add a link on my pages that would allow my visitors to go back to the last page they were looking at, no matter which page it was (like the "Back" button, but a hyperlink). How do I code this?

A. You can use a piece of JavaScript that works just like the browsers back button. Code it like so:
<a href="javascript:history.go(-1)">Go Back</a>

Q. Do you use href to open a link in a new window?

A. Yes you do. You add the target="blank" for a new window. Code it like so:
<a href="" target="_blank">Somewhere</a>

Q. I'm having problems getting my style sheets to work in Netscape, they work beautifully in IE. The version I'm running is Netscape communicator 4.7.

A. Netscape 4.7 has major problems coping with the complicated CSS. So welcome to the club! The best thing you can do is to keep trying workarounds to make the site look OK for both browsers.

Q. I am trying to set up a form. Is there a way to force the "To:" address? I've set up the action="mailto:###", but when I test the form my email keeps opening with all the text filled in, but the "To:" space is blank.

A. The problem is the newer browsers don't support e-mail forms. You have to use a server side script. Your web host may have something you can use. Also, take a look at: and

Q. Is there a way to create a menu of hyperlinks over an image? I want a text menu over my left margin images without having to create image links.

A. Use the image as the background of a table cell and place the links in the table cell.

Q. When making an ordered list, is there a way to make the numbers of the ordered list bold without making the entire content of the ordered list bold?

A. Yes, put bold tags around the li tags. <b><li></b>






News Goodies

PCTEL, MSI Seek Wi-Fi End-around
[December 29, 2003] UPDATE A joint offering promises to turn the PC into a Wi-Fi access point for other home or office computers.

Click here to read the article



Open Source Part of Clark Campaign's 'Platform'
[December 29, 2003] Tech volunteers for Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark will release open source applications this week as politics and the Internet continue to grow.

Click here to read the article



2003 a Big Year for Small Businesses
[December 29, 2003] As you gear up for 2004 and attempt to forecast how technology will impact your business, we thought it would be helpful to take look back at the stories that topped the charts in 2003.

Click here to read the article



Infosys Maps RFID Plan
[December 29, 2003] The Indian IT consultant launches a new supply chain management service.

Click here to read the article



US Airways, Expedia Settle Dispute
[December 29, 2003] Online travel site and the airline apparently resolve differences over booking fees.

Click here to read the article



Mini Storage Drives Poised to Make Waves
[December 26, 2003] FEATURE: Already a favorite in Asia, USB flash drives are becoming a consumer favorite in the U.S., but explosive growth is stymied by a lack of awareness and security concerns.

Click here to read the article



Toshiba Tweaks Ailing PC Division
[December 26, 2003] Sink-or-swim time for the electronics company's troubled computer division.

Click here to read the article


Outlook: Paid Inclusion Needs to Change its Ways
[December 26, 2003] Jupiter Research looks at the market outlook for the paid inclusion search model, and finds plenty that needs fixing before growth returns to the sector.

Click here to read the article



Sun's Cobalt Line Officially Gone
[December 26, 2003] The last of the low-priced Cobalt line has been phased out in favor of its flagship Sun Fire line.

Click here to read the article



2003: Back From the Brink
[December 24, 2003] Two years after the dot-com fallout, IT began to claw its way back in 2003. Our editors present the Top 10 stories/trends that shaped the year and will influence the year to come. 

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!!

Thanks for all the feedback about the home town pictures that I mentioned in GTG#264. Judging by the number of responses it seems as though there's a little project brewing here! More to come!

Thanks again for all your feedback!



Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:


Tell A Friend ASP.NET Sample Code

Here's an ASP.NET version of our classic "Tell a Friend" script. It not only illustrates sending an email, but also includes some interesting ASP.NET form validation and even some basic regular expression usage.




And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1845 Texas Became 28th State

Having accepted annexation six months previously, the Republic of Texas entered the Union on this day in 1845. Americans led by Stephen F Austin had settled in the thinly populated territory of Texas after Mexico gained independence from Spain. When the number of Americans exceeded the number of Mexicans in Texas, it declared its independence from Mexico electing Sam Houston president of the new republic. Texas also sought entry into the Union, but formal action was delayed because of disputes concerning slavery. When Congress finally agreed to the annexation and Texas entered the Union as a slave state, the action caused a deepening of the disagreement over slavery and also set off the Mexican-American war.

Today was also the day that: in 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was assassinated by four knights of King Henry II; 1852 the first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) opened in Boston; 1885 Gotleib Daimler patented the bicycle; 1937 the Irish Free State became Eire; 1940 Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London; 1955 Barbara Streisand, at age 13, made her first recording ("You'll Never Know"); 1975 11 killed and 75 injured by a terrorist bomb in La Guardia Airport, New York; 1982 Jamaica issued a Bob Marley postage stamp; 1983 US withdrew from UNESCO; 1991 China Airlines Boeing 747 crashed into a mountain at Taipei; 1997 Hong Kong began chicken slaughter to prevent bird flu; 1997 Russia agreed to build a nuclear power plant in China for $3Bn;

Born today were: in 1721 mistress of French King Louis 15th, Madame Pompadour; 1800 inventor of the vulcanization process for rubber Charles Goodyear; 1809 British PM William Gladstone; 1876 Spanish musician Pablo Casals; 1908 actress Claire Dodd; 1920 Swedish actress Viveca Lindfors; 1928 English actor Bernard Cribbins; 1931 English actress Barbara Steele; 1936 actress Mary Tyler Moore; 1938 actor John Voight; 1941 English musician Ray Thomas (Moody Blues); 1946 singer Marianne Faithful; 1947 actor Ted Danson; 1951 actress Yvonne Elliman; 1959 comedienne Paula Poundstone; 1967 son of Elliot Gould and Barbara Streisand Jason Gould; 1968 son of Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren Carlo H.L. Ponti Jr.


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


Archive Home Page.

Make a Comment

Loading Comments...

  • Web Development Newsletter Signup

    Invalid email
    You have successfuly registered to our newsletter.
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date