May 13, 2002-- Newsletter #180

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
May 13, 2002--Newsletter #180

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Goodies Thoughts - Design Challenges

Designing your website, let alone implementing your design, can be quite a challenge. Whether you are a beginner or advanced web developer you probably already realize that the canvas on which you create your masterpieces can be incredibly variable.


Designing a good looking and functional web site is probably one of the most difficult jobs in the design field. Other design fields such as print or even video all have a fairly uniform canvas on which your end design will appear. With print you know that the end product will be a business card or brochure or post card but with web design you know only that it will be viewed in a browser. The type of browser, its capabilities, the resolution at which your design is viewed all remain variable.


Those of you that have been doing web design for several years  have witnessed vast improvements in the web designer's canvas, however. The diversity between browsers seems to be growing smaller and smaller with each passing version and there seems to be fewer and fewer browsers to contend with all the time. Anymore most designers only worry about conforming their designs to the two major browsers, Internet Explorer and Netscape, which encompass upwards of 95% of all web surfers depending on whose survey you read. Some designers even opt to just design for Internet Explorer which is estimated at around 80%, again depending on whose survey you read.


With all of the improvements that have been coming down the pike you would think that web design would be a simple process by now. That's simply not the case. While technology advances are making the designer's job easier by giving her a more standardized medium, there still are many issues that web designers must tackle that are not directly related to the technologies. Here are a few:


Navigability - If you want people to hang out at your websites, one of the most important features you could add is easy navigation. There is no faster way on Earth to drive away viewers than to frustrate them by hiding what they are looking for.


Consistency - Don't confuse your viewers by radically changing your design from page to page. Consistency of design lets the user get familiar with the features of your site and "burns" the look of your site into their minds. There is a lot to be said for "branding".


Speed - Since broadband is becoming more prevalent you might think that download size is not really a concern anymore. Not true ... yet. With about 80% of all users still using a 56K or slower connection, download speed is still a very real concern. Keep your graphics optimized and don't go overboard with your imagery. File size is still important.


These are just a few of the contemporary concerns of today's web designer. In future issues of Goodies to Go we will explore some of the different parts of creating and optimizing web designs. Being creative, consistent and functional all at the same time can be a challenge for most anyone.


Thanks for reading!


Quiz Goodies

Can you name the 4 most commonly used attributes of the <A> element when you are creating a hover button?


Read answer below.

Q & A Goodies

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. As I am a novice in general terms, I've chosen to build my site by means of frames and CSS. For these reasons I have incorporated five separate frames. The problem is that, I am trying to use CSS to avoid background tiling, but CSS will only permit -no-repeat- for only one frame. Please help me find a reasonable solution to this.

I have used the following logic and failed to stop the tiling:

P { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background1.gif) }
P { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background2.gif) }
P { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background3.gif) }
P { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background4.gif) }


A. First of all you're not hopeless for this case:) What you must do is give some class names to your P's. For example:

<P class="para1">Text1</P>
<P class="para2">Text2</P>
<P class="para3">Text3</P>
<P class="para4">Text4</P>

and alter your StyleSheet as follows:

P.para1 { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background1.gif) }
P.para2 { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background2.gif) }
P.para3 { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background3.gif) }
P.para4 { background-repeat: no-repeat; background-image: url(background4.gif) }

Otherwise the StyleSheet cannot understand which style to apply to each paragraph. You must point at them.


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Igal Nassi, one of our CSS Mentors.



Q. What I want to do is to have content from part of one page that I own/operate show up in a table cell (maybe frame...but only if I have to) on another page.

Is there an easy way to block out portions of content (in this case plain old text) on one page so that I can reference it to be loaded in a particular spot on another?


A.  What you're looking for is a server side include. It's actually simpler than accomplishing the same thing with a frame, though I've done that. You could also have a linked JavaScript that writes the HTML, but the SSI is simpler and I use them on almost every site I build. The SSI is a file that includes a fragment of HTML. You tell each page to grab that code. That way, you can update just the one file to change every page on the site. Exactly how it works depends on how your particular server is set up. You'll have to ask your administrator about that.

Try this tutorial: http://htmlgoodies.earthweb.com/beyond/ssi.html


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Eric Ferguson, one of our HTML Mentors.


Q.  I need to be able have a visitor click a link, have that link activated, but then send the user not at all to that page, but to a different one. It is most important that the user does not find out the URL of the link being activated. Do you think you can help me with this?


A. Yes, its easy to solve. It's called a redirect script. If you know the URL you want to send them to it's just one line in your Perl program. Here is an example:

print "Location: http://www.websavvysolutions.com\n\n;

You don't need any other lines in the program - that's it. Put in the script the URL of where you want to send them. In your html you just put the CGI script (perl program) in the link HREF and no one will know where it will really take them until the script runs.


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Tim Arrowsmith, one of our Perl Mentors.

News Goodies

Cyber-criminals will be spending a great deal more time in jail if the new Cyber Security Enhancement Act gets made into law. It has already made it past its first hurdle.

Click here to read the article


AOL and VeriSign are working together on coming up with an encrypted messaging system.

Click here to read the article


Been looking for your own personal can of SPAM Raid? Well then, it's McAfee to the rescue.

Click here to read the article

Quiz Answer

The most commonly used elements are:


OnMouseOver - Use this attribute to change your button when someone hovers the mouse pointer over it.


OnMouseDown - Use this attribute to make changes to your button or trigger a sound when the user clicks the button.


OnMouseUp - Use this attribute to trigger a different sound or make changes to your button when the user releases from a button click.


OnMouseOut - This attribute is used to restore the button to its original state after the user moves the mouse pointer away.


The attributes above are what are considered to be the most common attributes involved in making hover buttons. They are not the only attributes you could use, though. There are many other attributes that you may find useful as well such as OnClick, OnKeyDown, OnKeyPress, etc.


If you are interested in learning how to use some of the attributes listed above, you can check out one of our JavaScript tutorials at http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/jsp/hgjsp_15.html.



And Remember This . . .

In honor of Mother's Day yesterday here in the United States, I thought it would be interesting to explore the origin of the holiday.


While you may think that Mother's Day might be one of the oldest holidays that we celebrate, you might be surprised to learn that Mother's Day is less than a century old.


The modern Mother's Day celebration was actually started by a schoolteacher from West Virginia named Anna Jarvis. Miss Jarvis was very close to her Mother and by all accounts was an exemplary daughter. However, when Anna's mother passed away on May 9, 1905 she felt an over-whelming sense of guilt about all the things she felt like she should have done for her mother but never did.


The over-whelming sense of guilt was the driving force behind Miss Jarvis' idea to honor her Mother. So, on May 10, 1908, three years after her Mother's death, the first unofficial Mother's Day celebration was held at the church where Anna's Mother had taught.


Spurred by the positive response to the celebration Miss Jarvis started what some say is one of the most successful letter writing campaigns in history. She wrote authors, ministers, politicians and business leaders, anyone that could aid in getting her message out. 


Soon after her letter writing campaign was in full swing the House of Representatives passed a Mother's Day resolution. However, it took several more years of campaigning before the resolution finally made it through the Senate in 1914. On May 8, 1914 Miss Jarvis' campaign finally came to a conclusion as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Mother's Day proclamation which set aside the second Sunday of May as the official holiday.


While Mother's Day in the United States was certainly not the first holiday dedicated to honoring mothers (Great Britain's Mothering Day was actually the first nationwide holiday), it was the catalyst that caused most countries around the world to adopt their own Mother's Day celebrations. 

Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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