Goodies to Go (tm)
November 17, 2003-- Newsletter #259

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
November 17, 2003--Newsletter #259

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - Table Tuning Time
* 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 - Table Tuning Time

Tables are always a hot topic in the HTML development arena. And why wouldn't they be?! They are an immensely powerful tool in the design arsenal, providing one of the easiest ways to lay out information in an easy to read and easy to understand format. They also provide a great way to place different items relative to each other on the page. There's a huge amount that can be said about them, and it's certainly not the intent to give a description of all their capabilities in this newsletter! Instead, I want to take a quick look at some particular features that solve a lot of the problems I am presented.

I've got a sample table here and I'd like to point out that it is a sample for illustration purposes only - the numbers in it were invented in my household and have no basis in anything to do with reality (unless by extreme coincidence or divine providence!)

First, here's the table code:

<table border="1" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="300">
<td width="25%" rowspan="2">&nbsp;</td>
<td width="50%" colspan="2">
<p align="center">Sometimes Drink</td>
<td width="25%" rowspan="2">
<p align="center">Add<br>
<td width="25%" align="center">Coffee</td>
<td width="25%" align="center">Tea</td>
<td width="25%" align="center">Males</td>
<td width="25%">70%</td>
<td width="25%">15%</td>
<td width="25%">35%</td>
<td width="25%" align="center">Females</td>
<td width="25%">60%</td>
<td width="25%">40%</td>
<td width="25%">40%</td>

For your convenience, there's a copy of it in a sample page here:
If you're not familiar with html tables, you can get to know them through the tutorial series here:

In this sample table you'll notice that I have set the table's width to 300 pixels with width="300" in the <table> tag. From that point on I use percentages to specify the width of the cells, etc., so that should I choose to change to overall size of the table, the cells would continue to occupy the same proportion of the available space within the table.

The table has four rows defined (that's the four <tr> </tr> tag pairs.) Looking at rows three and four you can see that there are also four table data columns defined (the <td> </td> tag pairs.) Each of the columns is defined as 25% of the available width (which, as previously mentioned, was set in the <table> tag.)

The first two rows illustrate one of the really useful features of table formatting. This is the ability to define a cell that occupies more than one row, or more than one column by use of the rowspan and colspan attributes. You could also similarly span both multiple rows and multiple columns with a single cell.

In the first row, the first and last cells are each defined as spanning two rows. The second cell is defined as spanning the two center columns. When it comes to the third row, the outer two cell spaces have already been taken by the double row cells in the first row. Consequently, there are only two cells defined, being those that occupy the two central columns.

Personally, I find it very useful to sketch out a table on squared paper before I write its code. That way I can see where the cells will span multiple rows and/or columns, as well as where there are fewer cells specifications needed. If you put an extra cell into your table, all kinds of strange things can happen to it! It sometimes can lead to a real headache when trying to find such an error! That's when the sketch comes in really handy!

Do you know what "deprecated" means? Find out next week as we look at a newer and better definition for this table.


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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors.

Q.  I am trying to set up a clock that will count down from 72 hours : minutes : seconds over and over again. Can you tell me how I might do that?

A. Joe Burns' book "Javascript Goodies" referred to a count down script on the web site. Its still on the server here:
It only counts minutes and seconds, but with a little tweaking it could be set to do what it appears you want it to do.

Q. How do I lose the blue line that appears round an image when I make it a link?

A. In the IMG SRC tag add this:

Q. Is there any way to place text on top of pictures?

A. Here is the link to see how that's done: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/textonimages.html

Q. I am constantly creating files (pdf or word) files that I need to show to many co-workers. Instead of having to email everyone everytime I finish a file, I would like to upload the file to my server and have them view the list of files online and download the ones they want. These files need to be password protected as different people in different departments should only see files pertaining to them. Here was my idea, create a bunch of password protected folders on a server - one for each department, and I will upload the file to any folder that should be allowed to view these files. Two questions: 1) I put the files in a folder, but when I try to view the folder in a browser it tells me I don't have permission to access this folder (I assume because I never created an index file). How can I set it up that I should be able to view a list of files that are in the folder? 2) how can I create a page that will allow me to upload files to folders using a browser?

A. I believe you are correct in that you do not have an INDEX file for the server to show when you try to access the folder. You could create an INDEX file with the links to the documents for downloading. I am assuming that you have already password protected the folder? An even easier way would be to use a password log in feature for your pages. The application would allow users to sign up themselves and you would control which group the user should be in and only the documents or files you allow each group or person to view. There is a nice web application called ASPLogin. It has to run on a server that supports ASP. For example, to make a document available to all users in a group called 'management', members of a group called 'administrators' and a user called 'fred' (who may or may not be in either of the groups), you would add the following code to the top of the document:
<%@ LANGUAGE=VBScript %>
Set asplObj=Server.CreateObject("ASPL.Login")
Set asplObj=Nothing
Any other group or person trying to see that document will not be allowed to see it. It is a pretty slick application You can take a look here: http://www.asplogin.com
To create a page to allow you to upload documents would call for some scripting. This all depends on what type of server you site is hosted on. If it is a Windows server then it will support Active Server Pages (ASP).

Q. Is there was a way to position a background image in the center of a page regardless of screen resolution?

A. This code will position the image in the center:
body {
background-image : url(image.jpg);
background-position : center center;
background-repeat : no-repeat;

To position in the center of a table, try using this (be sure to replace __ with the height and width of the image):
<table height="100%" width="100%">
<tr><td valign="center" align="center">
<table height="__" width="__" background="image.jpg">
Any text on the background




News Goodies

EC Digs Deeper into Oracle-PeopleSoft Fight
[November 17, 2003] UPDATE: The European Commission will open up a 'phase two' inquiry into the $7.5 billion hostile bid even as the U.S. Department of Justice continues to look into it.

Click here to read the article



GSA Severs Ties With PC Connection
[November 17, 2003] Sales of unqualified items and the underpayment of required fees prompts possible Dept. of Justice review. 

Click here to read the article



GAO Report Targets IRS Security Weaknesses
[November 17, 2003] Persistent problems place confidential data at risk of hack attacks and inappropriate disclosure.

Click here to read the article



'SmartScreen' Spam Filter Ready for Exchange
[November 17, 2003] Microsoft's spam-filtering technology will be ready as an add-on for the Exchange message platform early next year.

Click here to read the article



JBoss Indemnifies Its Customers
[November 17, 2003] Following the lead of HP, and creating its own lead in the Java world, the consulting company will indemnify its customers from future patent claims.

Click here to read the article



'Royale' Reborn as Macromedia Flex
[November 17, 2003] The Web graphics software maker tries to make inroads with a J2EE-friendly development tool for application software that sits on the presentation tier.

Click here to read the article



Adobe Rolls Out Acrobat Elements Server
[November 17, 2003] Moving forward in its goal to Web-enable documents, Adobe makes it possible for PDF files to be deployed on servers across enterprises.

Click here to read the article


Shopping.com Spreads "No Buyer's Remorse" Message
[November 17, 2003] Price comparison site tests the power of offline media to drive online behavior.

Click here to read the article



Huawei-3Com Open Joint Venture
[November 17, 2003] Clearing legal and regulatory hurdles, the collaborative effort between network gear makers is reality.

Click here to read the article



SCO Goes After The Father Of Linux
[November 14, 2003] Linus Torvalds and others are being asked to show what they know as part of SCO's lawsuit against IBM. Analysts say it's a smokescreen.

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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/peerreviews




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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/

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:

Implementing Paging and XSLT Extensions Using XSLT in .NET - Part 1


Learn how to transform XML data into HTML by using an XSL stylesheet from within a .NET application, and then implement a paging solution by declaring and supplying paging parameters to the stylesheet.


*** And ***

XSLT Support in the .NET Framework


This article provides an overview of the .NET Framework's support for XSLT and illustrates using the XSLT features present in .NET to perform data transformations.




And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1869 Suez Canal Opened

Not then the major shipping lane that it now is, the Suez was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom, and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface when it opened on this day in 1869. The opening ceremony was attended by French Empress Euginie, wife of Napoleon III. In its first year of operation less than 500 ships sailed its length between the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The Suez Canal has been the subject of many disputes and has been closed several times in its history. In 1875 Britain bought out the Egyptian governor's stock in the canal and as the major stockholder, undertook major improvements to the canal. Today about 50 ships daily navigate the canal, carrying 300 million tons of goods annually.

Today was also the day that: in 1558 Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England; 1800 the US Congress held its first session; 1927 a tornado hit Washington DC; 1948 Britain nationilzed their steel indstry; 1967 Beetles Ltd. and Apple Music Ltd. swapped names; 1973 President Nixon said (to AP) ".. people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."; 1980 John Lennon released "Double Fantasy" album in the UK; 1988 Benzir Bhutto elected in Pakistan; 1993 US Congress voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA);

Born today were: in 1755 King Louis XVIII of France; 1790 mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius; 1925 actor Rock Hudson; 1937 comedian Peter Cook; 1938 folk singer Gordon Lightfoot; 1942 film director Martin Scorsese; 1943 model/actress Lauren Hutton; 1944 actor/director Danny De Vito; 1958 actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; 1964 Cuban video jockey Daisy Fuentes; 1964 US figure skater Marina Tcherkasova; 1980 musician Clarke Isaac Hanson;


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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