Goodies To Go! Newsletter #335

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
May 2, 2005 -- Newsletter # 335
This newsletter is part of the network.


Featured this week:
*   Goodies Thoughts - Meta Magic
*   Q & A Goodies
*   News Goodies
*   Feedback Goodies
*   Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
*   And Remember This...

Meta Magic

It would appear that it's time for a Meta refresher!  Ther have been several questions about these little marvels recently and since they are so important for those who wish to gain good search engine replacement, here goes:
Simply stated, META tags contain information about the page on which they appear.  They can also contain certain directives -- more about that later.  There are two types of META tag: HTTP-EQUIV and NAME.
A META tag with a NAME attribute provides information about the document (web page) that contains it.  The NAME attribute specifies the type of information, and the CONTENT attribute specifies the information itself.  For example, <META NAME="Ice Cream Flavor" CONTENT="Vanilla"> defines information about an Ice Cream Flavor and specifies Vanilla (my personal favorite - please don't ever call it "just plain"!!)
The syntax allows for just about anything you could dream up, there are certain values for the NAME attribute that have well known, or generally accepted meanings.  These values include AUTHOR, DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS.  The meanings of these META tags are most important to the search engines.
Many of the search engine robots use the information contained in your pages' META tags for placement of your page in the engines listings.  If you are trying to promote a website, this could be very important.  Suppose we have a web page for Ice Cream Inc., a manufacturer of Chocolate, Strawberry and, of course, Vanilla ice cream, and we wish to have our page well placed for anybody looking for these flavors of ice cream to find. we would add the following META tags to the page for the search engine robots to read:
<META NAME="AUTHOR" CONTENT="Ice Cream, Inc., IT Dept.">
<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="The manufacturer of the best Chocolate, Strawberry and, of course, Vanilla Ice Cream in the known universe.">
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="Ice, Cream, Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Manufacturer, Gourmet, Dessert, Delicious"
This should provide an appropriate set of information to the robots!  Notice that you can add a variety of different aspects to your KEYWORD list.  Be careful not to violate any copyright or patent laws, however -- you may not use someone else's name to advertise your products or services without their permission.
You can also use META tags to direct (most) search engine robots to skip your page if you wish to.  This is equivalent to placing a "robots.txt" file in your web site directory.  The META tag has a NAME="ROBOT" attribute, and a CONTENT attribute with value choices of: "ALL | NONE | INDEX | NOINDEX | FOLLOW | NOFOLLOW".  The default value "ALL" indicates that this page should be indexed and all links on this page may be followed to other pages.  "INDEX, NOFOLLOW" indicates that this page is to be indexed, but links should not be followed to other pages.  "NONE" would indicate don't index and don't follow links.  You can see the possible combinations!
"robots.txt?" you ask?  I heard! a file with the name "robots.txt" (lower case, without the quotes) provides a similar control mechanism.  The format is as follows:
User-agent: *
Disallow /
This example prevents everything from the web site's root on down from being indexed by any (robots.txt aware) search engine agent (robot).  "Disallow: /herenondx" would prevent everything in the "herenondx" directory from being indexed.  Only one "User-agent:" line may appear.  It can use a wildcard as in this example or specific user agents may be named.  There may not be any blank lines in the file, and if the file contains errors it will most likely be ignored.
HTTP-EQUIV META tags allow the web page developer to add the equivalent of HTTP header information into the web page itself.  The browser can then access this information at the time the page is read.  The server may also use it when the document is being sent.  The format of this tag involves the HTTP-EQUIV attribute being set to the header type, while the CONTENT value provides the header information itself.  As an example: <META HTTP-EQUIV="Expires" CONTENT="Tue, 31 Dec 2002 23:59:59 GMT"> sets the expiration date for the document to be the last second of this year, GMT (Greenwich, London.) 
Some of the header equivalents available are as follows:
As in the example provided above, this tag provides an expiration date for a document.  If a browser has a copy of a requested page in its cache, it will show that copy unless it has expired.  If you, for example, update your page every day and want your visitors always to see the new version, you could set the expiration to midnight each night.  The next day, their browser would request a fresh copy of your page.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">
This tells the browser not to store this page in cache in the first place.  If you are doing this for security purposes, please remember that just because you have sent the instruction to the browser, does not mea it will follow it.  There may be browsers that don't implement all the rules.  Providing this tag may help, but is not a guarantee.
Known as Client-Pull, this tag instructs the browser to fetch another page after a specified number of seconds.  In this example, the browser will go to after displaying the current page for 10 seconds.  A value of zero for the seconds will send the browser to the second page right away.  Used creatively, this could provide a means for changing displayed content every few seconds.  You might, for example, have a frame or iframe in which a series of pages invoke each other every five seconds, somewhat like a banner rotation.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Window-target" CONTENT="_top">
This specifies the named window for the page and is most commonly used, as in this example, to prevent a page from being displayed within another framed page.  Using JavaScript for this purpose may actually be a better way of accomplishing this.  There is a discussion of the necessary code at .
<META http-equiv="PICS-Label" content='(PICS-1.1 "" l gen true comment "VWP1.0" by "" on "2002.12.16T12:34-0800" for "" r (P 2 S 0 SF -2 V 0 Tol -2 Com 0 Env -2 MC -3 Gam -1 Can 0 Edu -1 ))'>
Did you get that?  The PICS-Label, Platform for Internet Content Selection, is a mechanism for rating pages for content filtering purposes.  It involves a labeling system that can be identified by content filtering software to ensure that only suitable content finds its way, for example, into the classroom of a children's school.  There is too much involved with this tag for discussion in this newsletter, but I can point you at for more information.  There's also a free PICS-Label generator service at .
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. My page has a background that is green down the left side, much like HTML Goodies has a curvy brown strip down the side. I'd like my links that are situated in the green area to show white, and the links that are situated in the white area to be green. This is much like your HTML Goodies page, and I've looked at your source but can't figure out how to do it.
A. You can do it using style sheet commands like so:
In between the head tags define your commands:
  <STYLE TYPE="text/css">
    A:LINK {COLOR: white;}
    A.TWO:LINK {COLOR:green;}
Code the links in the green background like you normally do:
<A HREF="">Link</A>
In the white area use the two class like so:
<A CLASS="TWO" HREF="">Link</A>
Q. Is there an equivalent of ASP for Apache servers?
A.  There is a third-party package that works with Apache. Check out
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. My server supports CGI, PERL, PHP & MySQL, but not ASP.  What is the easiest way to add a shopping cart capability with credit card processing capability?
A. You can buy a shopping cart that will run on what your host supports. First check with your host to make sure that they allow uploading a shopping cart. Then take a look at this site:
It has a lot of pre-built carts that will run on a server that supports PHP. They seem fairly inexpensive. Before you buy one, make sure it has everything you are looking for and if possible, see if they offer a demo for you to try.

Q. I'd like to do is create a template (basically a header and footer) so that I can update the top and bottom of all my webpages by only altering one file for each.
A. You can use SSI to include a page at the top and a page at the bottom, if your server supports this.  Take a look at this tutorial:
About half way down the page it explains SSI and include pages.
News Goodies
U.S. Ups Pressure on China Over IP Rights
[May 2, 2005] Washington says Beijing's infringement levels remain unacceptably high.
Read the article:

Avaya Joins Web Services, VoIP
[May 2, 2005] Officials want companies thinking intelligently about integration.
Read the article:

Microsoft Joins WiMedia
[May 2, 2005] The folks in Redmond have tossed their backing behind an ultrawideband contender.
Read the article:

MCI Returns to Verizon
[May 2, 2005] After a brief flirtation with Qwest, the telecom's board endorses Verizon's new $8.4B takeover bid.
Read the article:

China's Lenovo Takes Over IBM PCs
[May 2, 2005] The company signals that it will ship new products in a few weeks.
Read the article:

New Globus Toolkit 'Enterprise Ready'
[April 29, 2005] The latest version of the Globus Toolkit, the de facto standard for grid computing, appears to be aimed squarely at growing commercial and enterprise interest in grid technology.
Read the article:

Lawsuit Could Cage Apple's Tiger
[April 29, 2005] Tiger Direct balks at the Macintosh-maker's marketing campaign.
Read the article:

Microsoft Wants Everybody Talking
[April 29, 2005] FEATURE: Microsoft wants everything from printers to cameras to cell phones communicate via Web services.
Read the article:

Investors Reward Microsoft
[April 29, 2005] The market was volatile on Friday, but Microsoft spent the whole day in the green.
Read the article:

Novell Takes Linux to China
[April 27, 2005] The company hopes to accelerate Linux adoption with the new partnership.
Read the article:

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 helps 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
Thanks for all your feedback!

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
New Files and Folders in ASP.NET 2.0
With the release of ASP.NET 2.0, Microsoft has greatly increased the power of ASP.NET by introducing a suite of new features and functionalities. As part of this release, ASP.NET 2.0 also comes with a host of new special files and folders that are meant to be used to implement a specific functionality. This article examines these new files and folders in detail and provides examples that demonstrate how to utilize them to create ASP.NET 2.0 applications.

*** AND ***

Update: Validating Email Addresses with ASP
We've all been faced with the problem of validating an email address that a user has entered into one of our web forms. Too often the email validation stops at simply checking that the text submitted contains the "@" and "."
characters, but for many applications this really isn't good enough. This article starts by breifly explaining the situation and then walks you through building a page that takes an email address and checks its validity by performing a MX lookup on the address's domain.

*** AND ***

A Look Forward at Microsoft's Visual Web Developer 2005
While you, me, and other countless developers around the world have been learning and working with version 1.x of the .NET Framework over the last several years, the developers inside Microsoft have been hard at work on version 2.0. In this article we'll examine the express version Web developers will find most useful, Visual Web Developer 2005 Express. Read on to learn more!
And Remember This ...
On this day in...
1519 artist Leonardo Da Vinci died; 1670 King Charles II of England chartered the Hudson Bay Company; 1878 the US stopped minting the twenty cent coin; 1885 the first "Good Housekeeping" magazine was published; 1887 Hannibal W Goodwin patented celluloid photographic film; 1932 Jack Benny's radio sow premiered on NBC radio; 1938 Ella Fitzgerald recorded "A Tisket, A Tasket"; 1946 five died in a prisoners' revolt at Alcatraz; 1952 The first scheduled jet airliner passenger service began with a BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) Comet; 1969 The ocean liner (Cunard Line) Queen Elizabeth II set sail on her maiden voyage (to New York city); 1975 Apple Records closed down; 1994 Michael Bolton was found to have plagiarized Isley Brothers' "Love is Wonderful Thing"; 1997 Police arrested transsexual hooker Atisone Seiuli with Eddie Murphy;

Born today were: in 1837 writer of parliamentary Rules of Order, General Henry Martyn Robert; 1869 English actor Tyrone Power Sr.; 1892 German WWI air ace "the Red Baron"  Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen; 1903 pediatrician/author Dr. Benjamin Spock; 1925 actor John Neville; 1945 former wife of Mick, Bianca Pirez Morena de Macias Jagger; 1945 English musician Robert Henrit (the Kinks, Argent); 1947 actress Jo Ann Pflug; 1952 actress Christine Baranski; 1955 musician Jay Osmond; 1959 actor Brian Tochi; 1962 actress Elizabeth Berridge;

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