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July 19, 2004-- Newsletter #294
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Goodies to Go (tm)
July 19, 2004--Newsletter #294
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
Featured this week:
* Goodies Thoughts - The Pro Complex
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* And Remember This...
The new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!
Goodies Thoughts - The Pro Complex
There are those who seem to believe that when something is done
"professionally" it is somehow intrinsically more complicated or more difficult
than its amateur counterpart. Conversely, "amateurish" is taken to mean simple,
unskilled or even child-like in nature. I'm here to say that nothing could be
further from the truth!
In my humble opinion, "professional" means that it was (probably) paid for, "amateur" means it probably wasn't! A real estate specialist by profession, a good friend of mine considers himself to be an amateur woodworker. It's his hobby. It relaxes him after a stressful day. He makes furniture pieces in the Amish style, of a quality that the finest of Pennsylvania's craftspeople would be proud to produce. He makes them, and uses them in his house. Every now and then, he'll give one to a friend. He's not a professional woodworker at all, but you'd never know by looking at his product.
This issue comes into play a lot related to the world of website design. "It's a great, very professional looking design" or "it's far too amateurish for a company's website" you may hear. The question is, what does that really mean?
A friend of mine has a website that was designed and built for him by a media and advertising company at considerable expense. That's professional. It's what they advertise is their profession; it's what they charge for. The problem is that I recently went to his site to get his address so that I could mail something to him, and.... yup! -- Youve guessed it! -- I searched through the entire site, more than once and it simply isn't there! How "professional" can a site be if it cannot meet such a simple and basic requirement of a visitor?
Neither is the professionalism of a site bound up in its use of technology. There are some advantages to the careful and clever use of technologies; a site may be a little quicker to load, for example, or it may have a better appearance in a wider range of browsers. The use of server side languages and database connection can enable increased functionality in the site, while keeping it manageable and easy to use. Knowledge of these is not, however, restricted to those who develop websites for a profession. Far from it; there are amateurs out there with highly developed skill sets.
To my way of thinking, the quality of a site depends entirely on how easy it is to use, how easy it is to look at and how easily it meets the requirements I have as its visitor.
For example, take ABC Widgets. Everybody knows ABC Widgets are the best you can get. For that reason, there is little need for their website to inundate me with convincing information about them the moment I arrive at their site. Instead, there should be links right in front of me to the things I am most likely to need. Contact information, reference materials, product specs, a support knowledge base (the granddaddy of the FAQ family) and things of that sort. A gentle "welcome" and perhaps "click here if you would like to know more about ABC Widgets" are fine, but I don't want stuff forced down my throat.
Simplicity and ease of use usually go hand in hand. Complexity, on the other hand, is usually part of the "professional" complex. Good designs are simple and easy to use. When it come to the quality of a website, "professional" and "amateur" are meaningless words. "It's great!" and "it stinks!", however, get right to the point.
When someone calls your newly designed site "amateurish", point out to them that's only because they didn't pay you for it. When they call it "professional" say "I hardly think so -- you haven't paid me for it yet!"
Thanks for Reading!
- Vince Barnes
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 am creating a form and I would like the
mailTo for the form to be determined by selecting from a list. I'm trying to use
radio buttons with the e-mail address as the Value, but I don't know how to tell
it to use this as the mailTo. Could you tell me how to do this, or whether there
is another way that would be better?
A. Here is an example of one that I put together a long time ago that might
fit the bill.
var chk = 'n'
alert('Please enter your name!')
document.myform.email.value.indexOf(" ")!=-1 ||
alert('Your Email address must have a @ sign,\r a period and be
at least 6 characters long.')
alert('must check at least one')
<form name="myform" method="post" action="" enctype="text/plain"
Name: <input type="text" size="30" name="name" maxlength="30">
Email: <input type="text" size="30" name="email" maxlength="30">
<textarea name="txta" cols="30" rows="4" WRAP="hard"
onfocus="document.myform.txta.select()">Please keep your message 70 characters
<input type="radio" name="eMail" value="email@example.com">Email Me
<input type="radio" name="eMail" value="firstname.lastname@example.org">Email Me
<input type="submit" value="Submit">  <input type="reset"
Q. I'm puzzled: - the text on my web pages changes size for user preferences, but the
headings don't. Why is this?
A. Are you viewing your site with Internet Explorer? IE doesn't allow for absolute font sizes (pt or px) to change with user preferences -- Netscape 6+ and Mozilla do allow it. If you want IE to recognize the font-size user change, you'll need to use % or em instead of pt.
Q. I have a web site done in tables and am trying to convert it to CSS. Everything seems to work fine except for my problems of aligning tables within tables. I finally got everything to work, but don't know if the coding is correct. (sample provided)
A. Aligning inside tables can take some experimentation, but you should be able to get something working by using the text-align and vertical-align css properties.
Q. I have a piece of Java script I got off the HTML goodies page to open a new window. It works well enough but what I want it to do is to run from an onClick event handler. How do I get it to do this.?
A. You will have to place the window.open into a function and then You can call the function either by using the onClick or by placing the function call in the "href". Here is an example:
<title>Open new window</title>
MessageWin=window.open ("http://www.wsabstract.com", "newwin",config="location=no,status=no,directories
You can do it this way:
<a href="#" onClick="OpenWin()">Click here</a>
This is but one example. You can also set up the function to accept a variable that contains the link you want to open up in the new window like this:
<title>Open new window</title>
You can do it this way:
<br>Or you can use the onClick event:
<a href="#" onClick="OpenWin('http://www.htmlgoodies.com')">Click here</a> </center> </body> </html>
This will allow you to use the same function for multiple links.
Q. I'm looking for a redirect script that works by months. I've seen scripts that redirect based on the day of the week but not this. I have a simple event calendar, one page per month, and I'd like the current month's calendar to open when someone clicks the "Calendar" link in the main navigation menu on any page.
A. Here is an example of one way you could accomplish this:
<title>Calendar of Events</title>
ICANN Moves Toward Self-Rule
[July 19, 2004] Executives say they have completed nearly one-third of the requirements necessary to break off from the Department of Commerce and self-govern.
'Deceptive Duo' Hacker Charged
[July 19, 2004] One half of the high-profile hacking team is indicted, faces up to 10 years in prison.
Macromedia Bundles Up
[July 19, 2004] Take one part Studio MX, one part Contribute, and one part Flash Paper, shake well and serve.
J2EE 1.4 OKs Open Source App Server
[July 19, 2004] Once a staunch foe of Sun's J2EE licensing requirements, JBoss is now embracing certification.
IBM Takes on Flood of RFID Data
[July 19, 2004] IBM says its WebSphere Product Center can make sense of the gush of data from RFID and the Internet of Things.
Intel, Oracle Join Liberty Alliance
[July 19, 2004] The chipmaker and database software provider opt to support Liberty's single sign-on services work over Microsoft Passport.
iTV: The Next Killer App?
[July 16, 2004] The next generation of the interactive TV goes way beyond DVRs and enhanced TV guides. But will it take?
Red Hat Rebuffed on Restatement
[July 16, 2004] The company gets taken to task as investors launch seven different class action lawsuits.
IBM, Dell Can't Halt Slide
[July 16, 2004] Neither strong earnings from IBM and Dell nor tame inflation data could stop investors from another day of selling on Friday.
Bill Fills Phishing Holes
[July 16, 2004] Proposed legislation would criminalize phishing from beginning to end.
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.
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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:
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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 again for all your feedback!
Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:
Using IE's Web Service Behavior To Create Rich ASP.NET Applications
This article explains the features of the IE Web service behavior and shows how to asynchronously communicate with an ASP.NET Web service directly from the client.
*** AND ***
Server-Side Printing from ASP
Most talk of printing and ASP is from people who are confused about what ASP actually does. Nevertheless, there actually are times when printing from an ASP script makes sense. This simple little script provides an easy way to print to a printer connected to your web server from an ASP page.
And Remember This . . .
On this day in...
1799 The Rosetta Stone was Discovered
About thirty-five miles north of Alexandria, near a town called Rosetta, a French soldier found a slab of black basalt covered in ancient carvings. The carvings were writings in three different languages, Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian Demotic. The Greek portion told that the stone had been carved by Ptolemy V in the second century BC and that the three different language portions all said the same thing. As such, the stone held the key to unlocking the ancient hieroglyphic language that had been dead for almost two thousand years. With his knowledge of Greek, French Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion was able to decipher the hieroglyphic writings in twenty years, thereby exposing the language and culture of the ancient world to the rest of us.
Today was also the day that in: 1553 15 year old Lady Jane Grey was deposed as England's Queen after only nine days; 1870 France declared war on Prussia (Franco-Prussian war); 1877 the first Wimbledon Tennis Championship was held; 1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign; 1957 the first rocket with a nuclear warhead was fired at Yucca Flat, Nevada; 1957 Don Bowden became the first American to break the four minute mile; 1961 the first in-flight movie was shown (on a TWA flight); 1969 Apollo 11 went into Lunar orbit; 1975 Apollo and Soyuz linked up in space for two days; 1979 two supertankers collided off Tobago, spilling 260,000 tons of oil; 1979 Nicaraguan Liberation Day -- the Sandinistas took over from Somoza; 1984 Geraldine Ferraro won the Democratic Vice Presidential Nomination; 1985 Christa McAuliffe was chosen as the first schoolteacher to fly in the shuttle; 1991 Miss Black America contestant accused Mike Tyson of rape;
Born today were: in 1814 revolver inventor Samuel Colt; 1834 French impressionist painter Edgar Degas; 1860 murderer Lizzie Borden; 1865 surgeon and cofounder of the Mayo Clinic Charles Horace Mayo; 1896 English author A.J. Cronin; 1922 US presidential candidate George McGovern; 1923 actor Pat Hingle; 1926 actress Helen Galagher; 1937 actor George Hamilton IV; 1940 actor Dennis Cole; 1946 Romanian tennis player Ilie Nastase; 1947 musician Bernie Leadon (Eagles); 1947 musician Brian May (Queen); 1948 actress Beverly Archer; 1948 musician Keith Godchaux (Grateful Dead); 1952 musician Alan Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd); 1954 actress Kathleen Turner; 1976 actor RJ Williams;
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