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March 1, 2004-- Newsletter #274
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Goodies to Go (tm)
March 1, 2004--Newsletter #274
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
Featured this week:
* Goodies Thoughts - Color Safety
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* And Remember This...
The new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!
Goodies Thoughts - Color Safety
A few years ago (a long, long time on the net!!) there was a
great concern among conscientious web designers with regard to the colors they
chose to use on a website. The concern centered on color choices that would
prove to be inconsistent and would consequently not always display the color the
designer intended, or worse yet, would "dither" and render an unsightly blotch
instead of a smooth color. The question still crops up all the time, so I
thought I'd say a few words about it here.
Here's a really simplistic overview. The problem originates with an eight-bit color system's limit of 256 colors. The palette of colors can contain any 256 colors, meaning that the designer's palette is not necessarily the same as the site visitor's palette. Basically, different operating systems and different browsers would not always make the same choice when substituting an available color for a requested color. Sometime the colors would be "dithered", which is a sort of blending of two available colors to give something that supposedly looks like the requested color. In fact, it just looks horrible!
To avoid the problem, designers would choose from 216 "websafe" colors that are supposed to be consistently rendered. There's a table of these colors on the HTML Goodies site at http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/non_dithering_colors.html
Then along came 16 bit and 24 bit color schemes (there's also 32, but it's essentially 24 bit color plus some efficiencies.)
16 bit (a.k.a. "high-color", a.k.a. "Thousands of colors") introduces a new set of problems. It turns out that 16 bit color isn't even consistent in rendering the websafe colors. The folks at WebMonkey came up with a set of "Reallysafe" colors, but, as they say, I hope you like green!
24 bit color (a.k.a. "True Color", a.k.a. "Millions of colors") seems to pretty much solve the problem. The good news is that this is the scheme in use on pretty much every computer sold today.
The question now is, in the net world as it is today, should a designer still concern themselves with the websafe palette, or are they safe now in forgetting about that problem and relying on the technology of their visitor's computers to circumvent the issue.
The answer is: quite possibly! It is a controversial point -- there are plenty of designers on each side of the argument. I have some good friends, highly respected web designers; who adamantly argue that the websafe palette should be strictly adhered to. Personally, I don't concern myself too much about it on the sites I design. I depend on the client's technology to render my pages as they should -- and when they don't, perhaps my visitor will be inspired to upgrade! I should point out that most of the design work I do would not be greatly affected one way or the other, because of the type of site I work mostly on. Only you can make the call for your site.
If you would like to get some more information on this topic, there's also a nice page on WebReference at http://www.webreference.com/html/reference/color/websafe.html and for an in depth look at it, check out the article I mentioned on WebMonkey at http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/00/37/index2a.html?tw=design
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 would like to be able to create clickable buttons at the top of my page to link to different places further down the page.
A. Add this link code to your button image:
<a href="#link1"><img src="yourbuttonname.gif"></a>
Then where you want it to link to, add this anchor code:
When you click the button it will jump down on the same page to the anchor.
Q. I have a folder, and inside that folder is a webpage and images used on the webpage. There is another folder inside that folder, and inside this folder is another webpage. I want to use the images from the previous folder. Is it possible to link them in locally? Or do I have to use an absolute link?
A. You can link to documents in other directories by specifying the relative path from the current document to the linked document. For example, a link to a file "my_file.html" located in the subdirectory "files" would be:
<A HREF="files/my_file.html">My File</A>
If you wanted to reference an image in another folder you can use relative paths also. For instance your page resides in a folder named "pages" and you want to reference the image that is in another folder named "images". Both folders reside on the site in the same level. The reference would look like this: <img src="../images/my_image.jpg">
This tells the browser to look up into another folder named "images" [The two dots mean "my parent folder" - Ed].
If the page were in a folder named "folder2" and this folder was in the folder named "pages" the reference could look like this:
This tells the browser to look two folders up for another folder named "iamges".
These are called relative links because you are specifying the path to the linked file relative to the location of the current file. You can also use the absolute pathname (the complete URL) of the file, but relative links are more efficient in accessing a server. By using relative links you make your site more portable. You can do all of your work building your website on your local computer and when you upload the entire site to the server, all of the links will work. If you use absolute links then you run into the problem of having the files still linked to your local computer.
Q. How do I move stuff where I want it on my website? I put the html in the scripts area but when I go to my site everything is in the top left corner.
A. By default, text and images will be placed at the top and to the left. There are tags for positioning, and stylesheets give more control. Sometimes tables are used for precise layout. I suspect tables would be the most useful thing for you right now, so have a look at the tables tutorials. http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/tbl.htm l
Q. How do I make animated GIFs?.
A. Basically, you make each frame as a separate image, and your graphics application combines them into one file. Imageready can do this. Shareware sites may have Microsoft GIF Animator, which I've used and works adequately. There will be other applications for animating GIFs. Probably shareware sites like Nonags and Tucows are your best bet. If you're willing to learn Flash or Livemotion, they make animations which are smoother and smaller.
Q. Can you use Visual Basic for making banners?
A. Visual Basic is not the program you should be using for creating banners. Take a look at PhotoShop( http://www.adobe.com) or Paint Shop Pro( http://www.jasc.com)
Q. What function returns the square root of a number?
A. That would be Math.sqrt(arg) where arg is your numeric variable. There is a whole list of Math Object methods in Joe's book starting at the bottom of P159.
SCO Snares Linux Licensee
[March 1, 2004] A Web hosting firm is first to publicly sign on for an intellectual property license worth at least $1 million.
Chip Sales Warm Despite Winter Chill
[March 1, 2004] An industry trade group says semiconductors focused on mobile, wireline, and upgrades to IT systems in 2004 will offset January's seasonal dips.
New Worms Mean March Madness for IT Pros
[March 1, 2004] The latest 'Bagle' worm leaves a bad taste, but it's the return of the Netsky worm that has many security experts worried.
Search Engine Strategies: Something For Everyone
[March 1, 2004] The twenty-second presentation of the popular conference and expo about search hits the Big Apple.
Microsoft Sparks Web Services for eBay
[March 1, 2004] Microsoft lets eBay developers use its Office suite to create Web services to manage and automate online auctions.
Publishing Online Very Personal: Study
[March 1, 2004] A new Pew research report says 44 percent of U.S. Internet users are online content contributors.
New Lawsuit Hits VeriSign and ICANN
[February 27, 2004] Registrar group calls VeriSign's waitlisting service 'anti-consumer, anti-competitive and unnecessary.'
An Interim XP For a Delayed Longhorn?
[February 27, 2004] New plans for XP and Longhorn are afoot in Redmond; but exactly what they are isn't all that clear, even to Microsoft, analysts say.
IE Frame Exploit Grabs Keystrokes
[February 27, 2004] iDefense warns of an exploit that can grab login and password information from Web surfers.
Worms Continue to Wriggle, Wreak Havoc
[February 26, 2004] 'Zero-day' exploits and new styles of viruses send security firms scrambling to patch the latest holes in the network.
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
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 to all who wrote in asking for the solution to the
Empire State problem I mentioned last week. Did you see the
article on the HTML Goodies website? Check it out:
Thanks again for all your feedback!
Using PDF Technology To Secure E-mail
Encrypt e-mail using PDF security to overcome limitations in Secure
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME).
*** And ***
Learn ASP.NET: Creating and Using Objects
This lesson gives the beginning ASP.NET developer a basic introduction to
objects and includes some sample code that illustrates creating,
instantiating, and using an object from an ASP.NET web page.
And Remember This . . .
On this day in...
1692 The Salem Witch Hunt started
In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in Salem Village, on this day in 1692, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, an Indian slave from Barbados, were charged with practicing witchcraft. Tituba, perhaps not fully understanding the implications of doing so, confessed to the crime. With a confession in hand, the authorities felt encouraged to hunt for more witches. Suspects were tried in courts where evidence was allowed to include witnesses who went into fits on the stand. A local doctor had diagnosed the "fits" of two young girls, nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams, the daughter and niece of the Reverend Samuel Parris, as the result of witchcraft. The "fits" on the stand were now evidence that the accused was practicing witchcraft. The accusers were mostly young girls, the accused mostly middle-aged women. By October of that year, when Governor William Phipps of Massachusetts intervened, dissolving the local court and moving trials to the superior court, 19 people had been hanged.
Today was also the day that in: 1565 Spanish occupier Estacio de Sa founded Rio de Janeiro; 1711 ""The Spectator" (London) first published; 1790 the first US census was authorized; 1803 Ohio became the 17th State; 1864 Rebecca Lee became the first black woman in the US to receive a medical degree; 1872 Yellowstone became the first National Park; 1913 the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution took effect, creating Federal Income Tax; 1932 20 month old Charles Lindbergh Jr was kidnapped (found dead on May 12th); 1946 the British Government took control of the 252 year old Bank Of England; 1954 four Puerto Rican terrorists opened fire in the US house of Representatives, injuring 5; 1961 President Kennedy established the Peace Corps; 1962 the first K-Mart opened; 1969 after 88 weeks "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" dropped off the charts; 1977 the Bank of America adopted the name "Visa" for their credit cards; 1978 Charlie Chaplin's coffin was stolen from a Swiss cemetery; 1980 snow fell in Florida; 1985 Liza Minelli entered the Betty Ford Drug Center; 1991 US Embassy in Kuwait officially reopened;
Born today were: in 1810 composer Frederic Chopin; 1909 Scottish actor David Niven; 1917 singer Dinah Shore; 1921 English film director Jack Clayton; 1922 MAD Magazine publisher William M Gaines; 1923 actress Bonita Granville; 1927 singer Harry Belafonte; 1929 singer Sonny James; 1934 actress Joan Hackett; 1935 author Judith Rossner; 1935 actor Robert Conrad (Conrad R. Falk); 1944 musician Roger Daltrey; 1947 actor Alan Thicke; 1953 actor/director Ron Howard; 1954 actress Catherine Bach; 1956 actor Tim Daly;
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