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May 10, 2004-- Newsletter #284
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Goodies to Go (tm)
May 10, 2004--Newsletter #284
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
Featured this week:
* Goodies Thoughts - Content Rules
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* And Remember This...
The new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!
Goodies Thoughts - Content Rules
There are so many things that are so important for making a
great website that sometimes it just isn't possible or practical to make sure
that every aspect is at its peak. When this happens, and something has to be
left out or not given all the attention it deserves, are there some aspects
which can be more safely skipped or skimmed over than others?
It's not possible to answer with one rule for all sites. Neither is it possible to answer without treading on somebody's toes -- there is always an exception and some things a re more important to some people than others. There are, however, a few thoughts than can help to guide those who find that something is going to have to give.
A frequent reason for needing to skip some of the work is time. Since time = money, we'll say that a lack of time and a lack of money are the same thing in the developer's world! If you don't have time to do something, you could always pay someone else to do it, unless......
I'm not the world's greatest graphic artist. I have a hard time coming up with ideas that actually work (i.e. look good) when I put them into practice. I have seen graphic artists take a concept, work with it for a few minutes, and come up with a great looking graphic that depicts the concept perfectly. That's not me. So when I have to cut time, one of the first things to go will be graphics. I don't want to make the site dull or unappealing, so I'll use photos or clip art to brighten things up, but that's not quite the same as a good graphic piece. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good graphic is worth a thousand specific words. However, a lot of time can be saved by reducing the amount of graphical work needed in the site's creation, and careful use of photos and/or clipart can replace the more labor intensive work.
Fancy navigation systems are also very useful, but may not be entirely necessary. While a nice hierarchical menu system can be a great way to organize the ideas being presented in a site, there may also be quicker, simpler solutions. (BTW - if you need a hierarchical menu system, check out http://www.hiermenuscentral.com) A well organized list of links with one or two space indents can accomplish the same thing. True, it won't have quite the pizzazz, neither will it be so condensed, but it will get the job done and it's quick and easy to do. There is a discussion of methods to make maintenance easier when using the simpler menu techniques in an earlier issue of Goodies To Go (find it here: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/231.html)
Bells and whistles, music, flash (or Flash!), pizzazz, all are features that can be (and in many cases, should be) reduced. Simpler and easier both lead to quicker and cheaper!
Ultimately, when a visitor arrives at a website, they are there because the site has something to say that they want to hear. They are there for the substance of the site, not the fluff. The substance of the site is its content. Content should not be removed! Obviously, if the site is about graphics, then graphics are the substance and so graphics could not be eliminated, but this is not the common occurrence. Spend the majority of available time on content, and only add the extras if time permits.
Two weeks ago (see http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/282.html) I mentioned the Chernobyl accident and last week (see http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/283.html) I mentioned a site created by a girl who rides her motorcycle through the Chernobyl "Dead Zone". If ever there was a site that illustrates my point that site is it (see http://www.kiddofspeed.com) The site tells a story in just a few words with a series of photographs. The site has the simplest of navigation systems, no graphics and the most basic of website structures. It is also one of the most powerful websites I have seen in a long time, and if you read it, the story it tells will haunt you for a long time. It completely exemplifies my point that content rules.
Take away anything you like, except the content. Make it the best it can be and your site will be a winner. It's not how you say it; it's what you have to say.
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. (Code sample attached) I would like about 10-20% of the blank area (the top of it) to be used for a banner that I have created already. The bottom 90-80% of the blank space I am using for my main area - the links I will be using are on the right. Right now, it is a lot of tables. I would like to keep the format, but how can I get my links on the right to open on the main area (the 90-80%)? I'm pretty sure I should use a frame - whether it be normal or an inline frame - but how would I set it up?
A. You are on the right track. You would use an INLINE FRAME. I believe what you are missing is using the TARGET attribute to tell the link where to open in.
<IFRAME src="firts_page.htm" width="350" height="200" frameborder="10">
alternative content for browsers which do not
The <IFRAME> tag that tells the browser an inline frame will go here.
src="first_page.htm" lets you specify the url of the document in the frame that will open when the user enters your site.
width="350" lets you give the frame a width, in pixels.
height="200" lets you give the frame its height, in pixels.
frameborder="10" allows you to give the frame a border.
The alternative content would be for browsers that do not support IFRAMES. You can add this or not, but if someone entering your page without an updated web browser they will see nothing because those browsers would ignore the IFRAME tags.
Also, this frame uses links just like any other frame. You can give the inline frame a name, and target the frame with a link on your page outside the frame.
First, add the name command to your IFRAME tag:
<IFRAME src="first_page.htm" name="my_frame" width="350" height="200" frameborder="10"> </IFRAME>
Now, target a link on your page to show up in the frame:
<A HREF="my_page_one.htm" target="my_frame">Link One</A>
<A HREF="my_page_two.htm" target="my_frame">Link Two</A>
<A HREF="my_page_three.htm" target="my_frame">Link Three</A>
Now you have to create the other pages to show in the IFRAME when the user clicks on the links.
Q. When I made my site, I viewed it through IE with the view/text size set to "smaller". When someone views my page with it set to another size, it displays my site wrong. Is there an HTML or CSS code to combat this problem?
A. Set your desired text size in the using CSS(Cascading Style Sheet).
It might look something like this:
If the text is in a table you may not get the desired size. You would need to create a class and apply it to the <TD> tag.
Q. I have html pages that are run from the local hard drive and interact with a backend SCO Unix server. In some pages I store filenames to be used as bookmarks. Just for reference, here is the code that stores the bookmark...
var totalscore = "0";
var lesson = "AP_LES";
var filename = document.location.href;
filename = filename.substr(filename.lastIndexOf("/") + 1);
filename = "lessons/ap_les/" + filename;
I have a link to take the end user back to that bookmark. Unfortunately, the page that is saved is contained within a frameset. Here is my code that opens up a bookmarked page...
if (lessonlink == "")
document.write("Try out our self-paced lessons to get up to speed quickly on your software.");
document.write(sUser + ", would you like to <a
Here is my problem...the page opens just fine using the filename I am saving, but I need it to open up within the main frame of my frameset. How can I open up a frame set and target one of the frames with a variable that stores a filename as it opens?
A. To target a frame in a frameset you will need to reference the name of the frame you want to affect. Try this and see if it works:
parent.mainframe.document.write("Try out our self-paced lessons to get up to speed quickly on your software.");
"mainframe" would be the name of the frame you want to target. You can also perform a function in the other frame by doing this:
You can also populate a variable in the other frame this way:
Or a form element this way:
Q. I am trying to find a script that will resize the page in a web from one size to another! I designed the site in an 800X600 Resolution and when someone with a 640X480 Resolution views it, the frames page creates 2 scroll bars instead of just one. I need the web Page to resize the window/web page/browser depending the user's resolution.
Q. I was wondering if there is anyway to place text on top of pictures with html.
A. Here is the link to see how its done:
Q. Is it possible to change the link color with the onMouseOver command?
<title>Change Link Color</title>
/* Set colors for IE5.0+ and Netscape 6.0 */
/* Set colors for Netscape 4.0+ */
/* No underline on link for all browsers */
/* This script was written by Jim Young of www.requestcode.com and has been tested in Internet Explorer 5.0+, Netscape 4.0+ and Netscape 6.0. I use the statement (this.className) to change the class for the links in NS6 and IE5.0+ . The scripts below are strictly for NS4.0+ . Add links below that are in the same order as your links in the body section. the format for the array is:
page to link to, the link name(what is displayed on your page), div id, class(color) for the mouseover, and class(color) for the mouseout.
make sure you separate them by a comma (,).
var links = new Array()
// Unless you absolutely have to DO NOT change the functions below.
if(document.layers) // Check for NS4.0+
linkval=links[linknum].split(",") // split out the values
var linkd="<A HREF="+linkpage+" CLASS="+linkclass+"
var linkd="<A HREF="+linkpage+" CLASS="+linkclass+"
/* If you add more links here make sure you update the links array with the same url and other required information. Make sure they are entered in the array in the same order as they appear on your page. Also remember to change the value being passed on the mouseover and mouseout to the functions to match the entry in the array. Make sure you use different names for each div. In the mouseover for IE and NS6 you can change the class name specified by the statement this.className to a color you have setup in the styles area in your head section above. You should leave the class(color) for the mouseout the same as when your link is displayed when the page is first loaded. I currently have them set to blue which is the class normal.
<H1>Link Effect Example</H1>
Run your mouse over the links to see them change color </CENTER> <div id="divLink0" style="left:15; position:absolute; top:90;
<a href="http://www.wsabstract.com" onMouseOver="change ('0');this.className='textRed'" class="normal" onMouseOut="changeb ('0');this.className='textBlue'">Website Abstraction</a> </div> <div id="divLink1" style="left:15; position:absolute; top:120;
<a href="http://www.requestcode.com" onMouseOver="change ('1');this.className='textLgreen'" class="normal" onMouseOut="changeb ('1');this.className='textBlue'">Requestcode</a>
Teen Busted For Sasser Worm as New One Hits
[May 10, 2004] A new mutant emerges even as Microsoft announces the arrest of a German high school student in connection with the creation of the Sasser worm.
Intel Ships Pentium M 'Dothan'
[May 10, 2004] The company offers three new Centrino cores with double the cache and faster speeds, but will enterprise customers take the bait initially?
IBM Puts Lotus On The Server
[May 10, 2004] Software from any device is Big Blue's new mantra for enterprise application computing.
Intel Changes Course on Desktop, Server Chips
[May 7, 2004] UPDATE: Production on key Pentium lines will end as chipmaker shifts to dual core processors.
SCO Loses an Angel Investor
[May 7, 2004] Adding to the company's financial woes, Royal Bank of Canada converts a third of its $30 million stake in the company to common shares and sells the rest to BayStar Capital.
.NET Goes Open Source and Catches Mono
[May 7, 2004] Novell's Ximian-led Mono tallies 40,000 downloads in first few hours of beta release.
Microsoft Names New CIO
[May 7, 2004] UPDATE: Ron Markezich talks to internetnews.com about his role in keeping the Redmond, Wash.-based software vendor's own systems up and running.
Putting Together the Longhorn Puzzle
[May 7, 2004] Microsoft released more details and a new alpha build of Longhorn at its hardware show this week.
'Critical' Buffer Overflow Found in Eudora
[May 7, 2004] Users of the venerable e-mail client are at risk of buffer overflows.
Ready or Not, Here Comes AOP
[May 7, 2004] Though considered too complex in many ways, aspect oriented programming is picking up fans in the developer world.
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.
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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!
Creating a Flexible Configuration Section Handler
Jeff Gonzalez demonstrates how to create a flexible configuration section
handler using C#. He provides a summary background of the .NET
configuration system, explains why the system is useful, and shows how it
can be extended.
*** And ***
Using HTTP Handlers to Create a Progress Bar Control
This article covers the basics of creating and using HTTP handlers with
ASP.NET and C#. To help illustrate the process, the article uses the
example of building a progress bar control. This control displays a visual
indication of the progress of a long-running process so that end users have
an idea how long they will need to wait and get status updates as progress
And Remember This . . .
On this day in...
1994 Nelson Mandela Sworn In As S. African President
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa on this day in 1994. Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner of South Africa's government. He was born as the son of the chief of the Tembu, but studied law at university instead of succeeding his father. He was a member of the African National Congress, which was a political organization dedicated to winning back the rights of black South Africans. Those rights were stripped in 1948 when the National Party came to power an instituted the racial segregation and white supremacy of "apartheid". For 18 of his 27 years behind bars, Mandela was confined to a bedless, waterless cell in Robben Island Prison, with forced hard labor in a quarry. He was permitted to write and receive one letter every six months and to speak to a visitor once a year for thirty minutes. F.W. de Klerk became president in 1989. He started to rid the nation of apartheid. He removed the ban on the ANC and released Mandela on February 11, 1990. In the election on April 24, 1994, the country's first free election since 1948, Mandela and the ANC won with an overwhelming majority. In his inaugural speech, Madela said "the time for the healing of the wounds has come." In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Today was also the day that in: 1267 Vienna's church ordered Jews to wear marked clothing; 1278 Jews in England were imprisoned for "coining"; 1427 Jews were expelled from Berne, Switzerland; 1503 Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands; 1652 a free black man, John Johnson, was granted 550 acres in Northampton, Virginia; 1752 Benjamin Franklin first tested the lightning rod; 1869 the "Golden Spike" was driven in, completing the first transcontinental railroad; 1908 the first "Mother's Day" was observed; 1910 the first air show was held at Herndon, England; 1915 a Zeppelin dropped hundreds of bombs on Southend-on-sea, England; 1922 Dr. Ivy Williams became the first English woman barrister; 1933 Paraguay declared war on Bolivia; 1937 London busmen went on strike; 1940 the British Defense Volunteers (the Home Guard) formed; 1940 Nazi armies invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg; 1940 Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister; 1959 Soviet forces arrive in Afghanistan; 1963 based on the advice of Beatle George Harrison, the Decca label sings up The Rolling Stones; 1967 Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones were arrested on drug charges; 1969 Apollo 10 transmitted the first color pictures of Earth from space; 1969 US troops began their attack on Hill 937 - Hamburger Hill; 1983 "Laverne & Shirley" aired its last show on ABC-TV; 1989 losing by a 3-1 margin, Manuel Noriega's government nullified the election; 1995 Britain lifts 23-year ban on ministerial talks with Sinn Fein;
Born today were: in 1536 English Earl Marshall and 4th Duke of Norfolk Thomas Howard; 1838 Abraham Lincoln assassinator John Wilkes Booth; 1850 Scottish tea magnate Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton; 1899 tap dancer Fred Astaire; 1902 "Gone With the Wind" producer David Selznick; 1915 US Samaritans founder Monica Dickens; 1929 musician Fats Domino; 1943 Scottish singer/musician Donovan Leitch; 1948 actress Meg Foster; 1952 Jamaican reggae drummer Sly Dunbar; 1955 John Lennon assassinator Mark David Chapman; 1957 English musician John Beverly (Sid Vicious); 1991 daughter of Tatum O'Neal & John McEnroe, Emily McEnroe;
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