Goodies To Go! Newsletter #358

By Vince Barnes

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Goodies to Go (tm)
October 11, 2005 -- Newsletter # 358
 
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
http://www.internet.com
 

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Featured this week:
 
*   Goodies Thoughts - Future Computing

*   Q & A Goodies
*   News Goodies
*   Feedback Goodies
*   Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
*   And Remember This...
 
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Future Computing
 
As I mentioned last week, today finds me in a hotel room in Las Vegas.  It's great to be here, and if you have never been here I would highly recommend that you add it to your "to visit" list -- somewhere near the top (right after Central Florida, perhaps!!)  I went last night to see one the Cirque Du Soleil shows here and you have never seen one of these sensory spectaculars then that's another thing to add to your to do list!!  Amazing!!
 
Apart from the fun, I am actually here for the Citrix iForum conference.  Last week I also talked about the future of the web and how it could be used to deliver information in ever more complex, complete and convenient ways.  Citrix is all about access - access to information and to software.  They talk about access anywhere, on any device -- and they can deliver it!  Take a look at http://www.citrix.com if you'd like to know more about their product lines.
 
In his Keynote speech, Citrix CEO Marc Templeton talked about the increase in the use of web applications versus traditional client-server application for delivering information in the corporate world.  He cited a report that predicts that by 2008 more people in that world will be relying on web applications than client-server applications.  And what does that mean for you?  It means that if you are studying the skills of web development, you are studying one of the most in-demand areas of the programming world!  That means you're on the right track -- and we at HTML Goodies will be here to help you in that endeavor.
 
One of Citrix' products is Go To My PC, which they acquired a couple of years or so ago.  The have developed this into a highly secure, easy to use remote access solution.  It has quite a wide variety of applications, but one which stands out as a possibly very useful tool for you is the simple ability to connect to and take control of your computer from just about anywhere.  No big deal, you might say, there are lots of solutions for that.  Consider, however, that Go To My PC works without requiring any special software to be installed on the computer you are using to access your machine, and it will work just fine even if your computer is behind a firewall/router which in turn is sitting on a dynamic IP address connection (such as most broadband connections.)  Add to that all the security Citrix has built in and you can start to see what sets this product apart.
 
I will be writing some more about some of the tools I have seen here -- Ill keep you posted!
 
 
 
Thanks for reading!
 
 
 
 
 
- Vince Barnes
 
 
 
 
 
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Q & A Goodies
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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 stuck on having a page containing a drop-down with options, but I want to click on my option and go to that place.
 
A. Here is an example that you can use,
<html>
 <head>
  <title>Drop Down</title>
  <script language="JavaScript">
    function LinkUp(selopt)
     {
      if(selopt!="") // if variable is not empty (they selected the first
option)
        {
         location.href=selopt
        }
     }
  </script>
 </head>
 <body>
  <form name="DropDown">
    <select name="DDlinks"
onchange="LinkUp(this.options[this.selectedIndex].value)">
     <option value="">Select One</option>
     <option value="http://www.siteone.com">Site One</option>
     <option value="http://www.sitetwo.com">Site Two</option>
     <option value="http://www.sitethree.com">Site Three</option>
    </select>
 </form>
 </body>
</html>
 
 
 
 

Q. When I have a user enter a number to be used for math it is treated as a string.  Then when I do math with it the number is added to the end which makes the answer incorrect.  Can you please give me a method for the user to be able to enter a number and have it treated like a value instead of a string?  Or if not, is there a way to convert strings into values?
 
A. JavaScript interprets a default value given to a text area as a string.  The workaround is to use the eval() function when processing that value as a number.  If your user inputs a number to a text area in a form, and that number is to be added, subtracted, mutiplied, ... etc, process the number within the eval() function. From your previous example, suppose the user inputs to the variables a and b via text boxes in a form, you can then add a to b to return c with this:
c = eval(a+b)
This way, the values in both a and b will be treated as numbers instead of strings.
 
 
 
 

Q.
I have one more problem with JavaScript programs.  A lot of times I create variables and then when I try to use them I get an error saying that they are undefined.  Why is this?  Here is an example of when this happens:
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">
function part1()
{
var a = 1;
}
function part2()
{
if (a == 1)
{
document.form.textbox.value = "The variable worked, finally!!!";
}
}
</SCRIPT>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<FORM NAME="form">
<INPUT TYPE="RADIO" NAME="why_doesnt" VALUE="the_variable_work" onClick="part1();">
<INPUT TYPE="BUTTON" VALUE="Variable work?" onClick="part2();">
<INPUT TYPE="TEXT" NAME="textbox" VALUE="If the variable worked, a message would appear here.">
</FORM>
If I write this in a document and click the button, an error message comes up saying that it is undefined.  I've tried creating the variable directly from the event handler, renaming the variable, using checkboxes instead of radio buttons, and nothing works.  I have tried putting an alert box in the function and it comes up so I know the function is executing.  It just won't remember the variable.
 
A. You are declaring a as a variable from within a function. This makes it a local variable that is only accessable by that function.  You can make it a global variable that is accessable by any function by declaring it from outside any functions, but still between the script tags. Usually global variables are declared before the first function for the sake of clarity, but they can be declared from anywhere between the script tags, just not inside a function. Here's your script with a as a global variable:
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">
var a = 0; // declares a as a global variable and initializes it to 0
function part1()
{
a = 1; // the function sets the global variable a to equal 1
}
function part2()
{
if (a == 1)
{
document.form.textbox.value = "The variable worked, finally!!!";
}
}
</SCRIPT>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<FORM NAME="form">
<INPUT TYPE="RADIO" NAME="why_doesnt" VALUE="the_variable_work" onClick="part1();">
<INPUT TYPE="BUTTON" VALUE="Variable work?" onClick="part2();">
<INPUT TYPE="TEXT" NAME="textbox" VALUE="If the variable worked, a message would appear here.">
</FORM>
 
 
 
 

    
Q. I'm making a website with a "fixed" background.  I can't figure out how to make the picture fit the browser perfectly on everybody's system.  Is there a code I can place inside my document to alter the fixed background to fit the browser?  My site content will go into a smaller screen/box within the background so there is no need for scrollers on my outside browser and my background image doesn't need to be tiled because it basically is my site.
 
A. You can use Cascading Style Sheets to fix a background image. The code would have to be edited for your particular situation and image but here is the code:
<style type="text/css">
body {
background-image: url("/images/your_image_name.gif");
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-attachment: fixed
}
</style>
 
 
 
 

    
Q. I am trying to figure out how to make a check box on an HTML form checked by default.
 
A. If you want a check box to be checked when the page opens you can do it without JavaScript like this:
<input type="checkbox" id="ckbox" checked>
With JavaScript you can set the checked property to true when the page loads like this:
<script type="text/javascript">
  document.form_name.check_box_name.checked=true
</script>
The above will work if there is only one checkbox.  If you have multiple checkbox's with the same name then you have to specify itslocation in the array like this:
<script type="text/javascript">
  document.form_name.check_box_name[0].checked=true
</script>
The above would set the first checkbox's checked property to true.
 
 
 
 
 
    
Q. I am looking for JavaScript help in order to pre-select a option in a select field inside a form.  I am using server-side scripting (PHP) in order to provide the selected value.
 
A. You could use PHP to create your option tag and select the option you want that way.  I have a small Help Desk application written in PHP that I have set up dropdowns to select the date.  I have them default to the current date.  Here is an example of the dropdown for the
month:
<select name="beg_req_month">
   <?php
   for($i=1;$i<=12;$i++)
        {
         if($i==$prob_month)
           {print "<option value='" . $i . "' selected>" . $i .
"</option>\n";}
         else
           {print "<option value='" . $i . "'>" . $i . "</option>\n";}
        }
   ?>
   </select>
The variable $prob_month is set to the current month in some previous code.  For Javascript to set the selected option you would use a statement like this (which sets the first option tag to selected):
document.form_name.select_name.options[0].selected=true
[Beware of the period following the less than symbol in the "for" statement above -- this is one of the periods inserted as a part of the technique mentioned in the note at the beginning of this section & does not belong in the code you execute -- Ed.]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Goodies

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Microsoft, RealNetworks End Legal Battle
[October 11, 2005] One of the most bitter legal battles in the technology industry is ending today.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3555311
 

Microsoft Addresses Tardy Patch
[October 11, 2005] The company releases three critical, four important and two moderate security bulletins, including one held from last month.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3555431
 

When Applications And Databases Collide
[October 11, 2005] You get loosely coupled data services, according to Microsoft officials during the VSLive keynote.  
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3555386
 

Are SMBs Unhappy With Remote Access?
[October 11, 2005] A new study claims 80 percent of SMBs think SSL-VPN is too expensive for them.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/stats/article.php/3555356
 

BEA Buys RFID Software Maker
[October 11, 2005] UPDATED: The company will build business processes based on ConnecTerra's RFID offerings.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3555326
 

A Hardware Sentinel to Watch Over Databases
[October 11, 2005] Firewall vendor Imperva is set to roll out a hardware solution to a database problem: policing database queries.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3555231
 

Dual-Core Xeon Looks to Catch AMD
[October 10, 2005] Some thirty OEMs plan systems based on latest Intel dual-core offering, but next year's Bensley platform is more significant rollout.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3555211
 

A Faster Path to 802.11n?
[October 10, 2005] A new vendor consortium hopes to ram through its own high-speed Wi-Fi standard, maybe in less than a year... and perhaps at the cost of the open standards process.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/wireless/article.php/3555141
 

Yahoo Launches Podcast Search
[October 11, 2005] Audio discovery tool comes as study shows RSS becoming mainstream.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/3555226
 

Microsoft, IBM Give Back to The Little Guy
[October 10, 2005] The companies release service offerings for small businesses. 
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3555131
 
 
 

 
 
 
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 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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/
 
 
 
Thanks for all your feedback!
 
 
 
 
 

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
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Displaying Browser-Friendly RSS Feeds
 
Over the past several years the popularity of website syndication through XML syndication standards like RSS and ATOM has flourished.  Unfortunately, the raw XML feeds aren't the most visually appealing things and, when clicked on by the less tech-savvy user, they can be confusing.  Fortunately this confusion can be alleviated through the simple use of an XSL stylesheet.
 
 

*** AND ***
 

A Quick Look at Xamlon Web
 
Have you ever wanted to deploy a WinForms application to the web or wished you could build fancy Flash-based user interfaces easily?  If so, then Xamlon Web might just be the product for you.  Xamlon Web allows you to create WinForms applications in C# or VB.NET and deploy them anywhere on the web using Macromedia Flash without any previous Flash experience.
 
 

*** AND ***
 

Basic Authentication at its Most Basic
 
Basic authentication has gotten a bad reputation over the years.  So it's not as flexible as forms authentication and not as secure as NT Challenge Response, it has something going for it that neither of these does - it's basic - as in simple!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And Remember This ...
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1899 Boer War Began
 
On this day in 1899 war began between the British Empire and the Boers, also known as Afrikaners, in the Transvaal and Orange Free State in South Africa.  During the Napoleonic wars, in 1806, Britain took possession of the Dutch Cape colony of Afrikaners, who were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of the area.  The Boers objected to the Anglicization of South Africa and to Britain's anti-slavery policy, and began to move out into tribal territories, where they created the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and for a while, lived in peace with the British.  In 1867 the discovery of gold and diamonds in the area sparked conflicts.  In 1899 full scale war began.  For some time the Boers, using Guerilla tactics, frustrated British efforts.  In 1901 the British began a search and capture campaign, gathering the families of Boer soldiers into concentration camps.  By 1902 the Boer resistance was defeated and on May 31, 1902, the Peace of Vereeniging was signed.  In 1910, the British created the autonomous Union of South Africa, which included the province of the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, the Cape of Good Hope, and Natal.
 

Today was also the day that in: 1737 300,000 were killed by an earthquake in Calcutta, India; 1890 the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded; 1923 the German Mark fell to 4 billion per US$ (the paper was more expensive than its face value); 1945 the Chinese Civil War started (Chiang Kai-Shek v Mao Tse-Tung); 1975 "Saturday Night Live" premiered with guest host George Carlin; 1981 an unknown rocker known only as Prince opened for the Rolling Stones at LA's Coliseum; 1983 Last hand-cranked telephones US went out of service as 440 telephone customers in Bryant Pond, Maine, were switched over to direct-dial; 1986 Reagan & Gorbachev opened talks at a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland; 1987 200,000 gays marched for civil rights in Washington DC; 1990 Center for Urban archaeology opened in NYC at the South Street Seaport Museum; 1991 Anita Hill testified that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her;
 

Born today were: in 1821 YMCA founder Sir George Williams (England); 1844 food company founder Henry John Heinz; 1884 US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; 1925 actress Nancy Guild; 1946 actor Felton Perry; 1948 musician Daryl Hall; 1950 actress Catlin Adams; 1953 actor David Morse; 1962 comedienne Joan Cusak; 1962 Leslie Landon; 1971 actor Luke Perry; 1975 actress Kellie Martin;
 

 


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