Goodies to Go ™
October 28, 2002–Newsletter #204
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
Just in case you missed
it before, 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
different features readers can add to their existing Web pages using HTML and
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.
|W3C? Who or What are they?|
If you spend much time in the developer circles on the web then
sooner or later you’ll hear about “W3C” — The W3 Consortium. In case you
wonder who or what they are and whether or not it matters to you, I thought I’d
offer a little clarification.
In a sense, the Internet is like an anarchy. There is no governing
authority that can pass laws over what happens on the net. Certainly
governments can pass laws to restrict the things that the people they govern
can do with the Internet, by they do not have authority over the Internet as a
whole. While such unrestricted freedom is great in some ways, it could carry
with it a price. If everybody who designed things for the Internet went about
things in their own way, the value of the net as a whole would be greatly
reduced because thing would not work together as one. To unify the mechanisms
of the net requires a set of standards that everybody can work to. Standards
have to be defined. Not everybody is going to agree on what a standard should
be, so somebody, somewhere, has to be given the task of selecting and defining
those standards. That somebody (actually, some bodies) is the World Wide Web
Consortium, or W3C.
Founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-lee (the “Inventor” of the Web —
see http://www.htmlgoodies.com/articles/whatis.html ) the World Wide Web
Consortium is the group that defines what HTML tags there will be, what XML is,
etc. Essentially, the languages of the Web are defined by W3C. This is how
their Mission Statement begins:
“By promoting interoperability and encouraging an open forum for
discussion, W3C commits to leading the technical evolution of the Web. In just
over seven years, W3C has developed more than forty technical specifications
for the Web’s infrastructure. However, the Web is still young and there is
still a lot of work to do, especially as computers, telecommunications, and
multimedia technologies converge. To meet the growing expectations of users and
the increasing power of machines, W3C is already laying the foundations for the
next generation of the Web. W3C’s technologies will help make the Web a robust,
scalable, and adaptive infrastructure for a world of information. To understand
how W3C pursues this mission, it is useful to understand the Consortium’s goals
and driving principles.”
If you would like to read the whole thing, it can be found at:
http://www.w3.org/Consortium/ Their website is
http://www.w3.org and you can find out everything they do or have done
somewhere on that site.
The Consortium puts out “recommendations” — laws are not their
style! These recommendations are, effectively, the standards for the Internet.
When you write code you are, or should ideally be, writing code that adheres to
these standards. An example of these recommendations can be found here:
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/cover.html — this is the specification
for HTML 4 (actually 4.01.) When programmers sit down to write or enhance a web
browser such as Opera, Internet Explorer or Netscape (see
http://cws.internet.com/web.html ) they are, or should be, writing
programs that can handle web pages designed according to these recommendations.
This means that if you design your pages to follow these same recommendations,
your pages should work just fine in their browser. This could be important to
There are a couple of items on their website that you might find
particularly useful. First is a program that you can use to clean up little
errors in your HTML code. This is called HTML Tidy (see
http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett/tidy/ for details.) The second is
their HTML Validator. The validator checks your web page’s HTML code to see if
it complies with the W3C recommendations. Remember that if your code complies,
there is the highest probability that it will work well in any browser that has
also been written to conform, as most have.
The W3C web site contains a lot of useful information. Although it
is very dry and often confusing for all except the die-hard programmer types,
it is definitely a hugely valuable reference tool.
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’m so lost. I would like to center a table on the page but I think
all I’m reading is how to center the text in table.
A. Try the tag <div align="center">
before the table tag and then </div> after the
Q. I need a well designed homepage
that will attract people. Can f any one of you
give me good ideas to make a good homepage?
A. Good home page design lesson. Make
a flow chart of the information you want to give
your visitors and list topics in order of
importance such as what you offer, contact,
etc.. You want a homepage that gives the
most important information in a heading to catch
the readers eye and then directs them to sub
information. This sub-information can be located
on another page that the home page links to.
Design the home page so the user does not have
to scroll to see the main content. The
page should load fast, so keep the large graphic
images down. When you get the web surfer
farther into your site and interested enough,
they will wait to see an image download.
There are ways you can break up the "squareness"
of a page so everything is just not in square
blocks. You can create a banner or a side
bar with a graphics program such as Adobe
ImageReady or Paintshop Pro. Optimize it for the
web. The whole site should have easy
navigation and a familiar theme such as the same
navigation on all pages, company logo catch
fraise etc.. Put your navigation links where
they can be easily seen, on the side or top of
the page. Your page should have a descriptive
Title that reflects words used in the heading
and first paragraph on the page. Search
engines pick up these heading, titles and
keywords when they spider your page. That
brings up the subject of meta tags. learn what
they are and how to use them. Hope this helps.
Q. I keep getting back the
message ‘such and such attribute is extended
markup (use "-x <extension>" to allow this).’
Where should I put this "-x <extension>"? What
is that? I’m also getting a lot of "illegal
value for COLOR attribute of font" messages.
A. I have no idea what -x extension
is. The message about the color attribute would
probably mean you have the color attribute in a
tag that doesn’t use it. I took a quick look at
your main frame’s code, and the only potential
problem I saw is the color attributes in your
font tags didn’t have the "#" before the color
code. Anyway, the real test of your code is
whether it works across browsers. If this
validator helps track down problems, great, but
the important thing is to try as many different
browsers and platforms as you can. At a minimum
check in Netscape 6 and IE 6 in Windows. If you
can check Opera, IE 5, and Netscape 7 and 4 too
that’s good, and checking IE and Netscape in
Macintosh is useful too.
WHEN I PUT IN <IMG SCR="LITTLECAT_WILDLIFE.GIF">
A PICTURE DOES NOT DISPLAY, JUST A BOX WITH SOME
SORT OF SHAPE THING. CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT I AM
DOING WRONG? WHY MY PICTURE IS NOT BEING
A. <img src="dada.jpg"> not <img scr="dada.jpg">
I have a page with thumbnails for some photos I
would like to share. My audience would like to
see some page transitions, but when they click
on a thumbnail, I like to have the linked photo
display in a _new window. Is there any way to
place the page transition information [ie.
] for a new window in the link to the picture
without pre-naming that window?
I wouldn’t think so.
Those page transition are specified in a meta
tag of the page being loaded, and I know no way
to put that into a link. If you’re trying to
avoid adding the transition to each file
individually, you can’t. Each picture has to be
in a HTML file and the transition code has to be
in each HTML file. However, you could use a
server side include so you go through this
process only once. Try this tutorial:
Use the SSI to add the transition tag to each
page, and once you’ve done this changing them
all will just be a matter of changing the
I am doing a form, not a problem except I can’t get
the response boxes to line up evenly with each
other. For example…
Name: Text Box
Address: Text Box
I want all the box edges to be even vertically.
Naturally, I thought, "Hey, just slap it in a table
with no border and be done with it." Well, didn’t
work. I kept getting this funky text area box at the
top of the form. I couldn’t figure out where that
was coming from. I moved the table command both
before and after the table command and the strange
and mysterious text area box stayed. It disappeared
when I removed the Table command.
A. In each cell, specify the alignment.
The field text gets aligned right, and the field box
Q. I need to create a page with privileged
information. Thus, I would like this page not to be
printable. The page is to include text only. Is
would allow me to do this. I am not too worried
about them being able to cut and paste the page, but
it would be a plus if that was also taken away from
A. There is no way to keep someone from
printing your information. Some people try to
display the info in a popup window that has just a
title bar, but all someone has to do is save the
page to their pc and print it from there. Sorry.
Q. What is the HTML to post a sound or music
file in your site?
A. If you want to enable people to download a
sound file from your web site, just create a link to
<a href="my_sound_file.mid">Click here to download
my_sound_file</a> The browser will open the download
box after the link is clicked on. You may want to
also tell the people that if their browser has a
plug-in that plays this file then to download it
they have to right click on the link and choose
"Save target as…"
If you are looking to have a background playing on
your web page: There are two tags for adding sound
to your document, Internet Explorer 3.0’s <BGSOUND>
tag and Netscape’s <EMBED> tag. The <BGSOUND> play
the background sound from your page. That is when a
visitor visits your page, the sound will
automatically play. Netscape’s <EMBED> tag is
slightly different, you can use its attribute to
select playing sound when the page is loaded or give
the users an option to click whether they would like
to hear the sound. The sound console will appear in
their page automatically.
Here is how to use an <EMBED> tag:
<EMBED SRC=your_file.mid AUTOSTART=true WIDTH=144
AUTOSTART=true means automatically play sound when
document is loaded. This way, the sound will play as
a background sound. You can also set the value to
false. The sound will play when the "play" button is
LOOP=n This tells browser how many times to play
sound. n could be an integer, true, or false.
Setting LOOP=true, browser will continue playing
your sound until the stop button on the console is
WIDTH and HEIGHT This is how the sound control
(console) will be displayed. Setting them as the
given numbers, browsers will display a full console.
Setting the width=0 and height=2, the console will
not displayed by the browsers. Other values that are
too small will cause the browser to display an
uncompleted image. You might also hide it by placing
HIDDEN=true like this: <EMBED SRC=your_file.mid
AUTOSTART=true HIDDEN=true LOOP=1>
It’s a good idea to give an alternative to people
who using browsers that do not support the embedded
<embed src="bgsound.mid" hidden="true" autostart="true"
loop="1"> <noembed>Your browser doesn’t support
EMBED, but you can still listen to the background
sound of this page by<a href="bgsound.mid"> clicking
Browsers that do not support EMBED will display the
link inside <noembed> tag.
Here is how to use <BGSOUND> tag:
<BGSOUND SRC=your_file.mid LOOP=1>
LOOP can be specified as any positive number,
infinite, or -1 which equals infinite. I recommend
using both tags to make sure that your most if not
all of your visitors hear background sound.
*** Mentor Spotlight ***
At HTML Goodies we wish to express our sincere gratitude to our mentors.
All the time our mentor
spend reading, researching and answering questions sent in to our Mentor
Community is provided voluntarily by our mentors. On
occasions, we like to
throw a spotlight on a mentor so that you can get to know more about them and
so that we can all show our appreciation.
Jay is another of our terrific HTML Mentors who
responds diligently to our readers questions. About
Jay and his wife of 27 years, Kathy, were
sheepherders in the American west for 25 years. They
had to retrain for a new career at age 47.
Sheepherding was just getting too hard and too cold
for his aging body. Before sheepherding Jay was an
auto mechanic, a foreign car specialist. He went
back to school, obtained his GED and started
college. He took to computers like a duck takes to
water. In the next 2 years he would learn how they
work, how to repair and upgrade them and how to use
software such as M/S word, M/S Publisher, Adobe
Photoshop and Illustrator. After college he
continued to study on his own and has studied Joe
among others, from cover to cover. He can also make
Macromedia Flash is another favorite program for
creating Web pages. It integrates with Macromedia
DreamWeaver Ultra Dev and Adobe Go Live. It also
integrates with Adobe Illustrator 9.0. Jay can work
back and forth among these programs to create top of
the line web graphics
Spam Law Foe Reverses Direction
[October 28, 2002] After testifying against
anti-spam legislation, Direct Marketing Association
now wants help from Washington.
Read the article:
Verizon Settles with Spammer
[October 28, 2002] Verizon settles a lawsuit against
a commercial e-mail company with a permanent
injunction and monetary damages.
Dell Wants to Free Up Your Cubicle
[October 28, 2002] Hot on the heels of Apple and
Gateway, Dell comes out with a dictionary-sized PC
aimed at the workstation market.
Blog Site Blogger.com Clogged
[October 25, 2002] A hacker shut down one of the
more popular Web blogging sites today, changing
everyone’s FTP and passwords and email addresses.
Service was restored later in the day.
(Never heard the expression "blogging" before? Check
Dealing With Massive Attack: DNS Protection
[October 23, 2002] CORRECTED: The crude, yet
effective, ping flooding attack on the 13 root
servers underscores the need for every company to
support a robust infrastructure to meet a truly
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newsletter, to be shared with your fellow readers.
Everybody seems to be very attached to their Text
Editors! The piece in last week’s newsletter
mentioned a couple of my favorites and those of a
couple of readers. We have received dozens of
additional suggestions, including these:
From Michael Gorsich:
The most configurable, powerful editor I have ever
heard of is Vedit, put out by Greenview in Ann
Arbor, MI. As far as I can tell this editor can
emulate any other editor out there. It comes with
its own macro language. It also has the additional
feather in its cap of being the leader in huge file
editing. Once you have Vedit, you don’t need any
other text editor – it’ll do it all.
From Dwight Wheeler:
I want to recommend another html text editor, "Arachnophelia".
I have used this software since I became involved in
web pages five years ago. It was designed by Paul
Lutus Try a visit to his web site
http://www.arachnoid.com/ It is an
interesting place to visit. Arachnopheila and a
number of other "Careware" programs are available.
They cost no money, but, in his explanation of the
concept of "Careware" he notes that they are not
free. Even if you don’t like the software, you might
enjoy his philosophy.
From Charlie Green:
I have been using 40tude HTML for years. It is
http://www.40tude.com/html/index.htm It is
reasonably priced and fully functional.
From Peter C.S. Adams:
The PC/Windows focus of your newsletter is annoying.
You spent all that time talking about text editors
and never mentioned BBEdit, the brilliant, top of
the line text editor for the Mac?? And how can you
lump DreamWeaver in with FrontPage and those other
"I’m smarter than you are" editors? In code view
mode, DreamWeaver is a terrific text editor with all
the features you bragged about, with the advantage
that you can go work on, say, a table in WYSIWYG
mode confident that — unlike FrontPage — it won’t
carefully tweaked code.
(We don’t want to forget our Unix, Apple and other
platform friends; the "focus" is only because that
is where the vast majority of our questions and
other input comes from. FrontPage, btw also has a
very nice code view mode, and releases over the past
few years no longer rewrite your code. See
for more information. Dreamweaver and FrontPage are
both valuable development tools. — Ed.)
And reading our Mentor Spotlight on Eric Fergusson,
"Just Jeni" asks: "Please, what is the KISS
The KISS principle (a principal heads up a school
<g>) is: Keep It Simple Sunshine! Some people say
that the last word should be "stupid" but I see no
need to be nasty. Everything in the world of
Information Technology works better and better the
closer it gets to this principle.
Remember This . . .
On this day in…
1886 The Statue of Liberty is Dedicated
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28th
1886 by President Grover Cleveland. It was a gift
from the people of France to the United States to
commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the
American Revolution. It was designed by Eughne-Emmanuel
Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the
same Eiffel famous for his tower in Paris.
1965 Gateway Arch Completed
The Gateway To The West arch on the waterside in St.
Louis Missouri was completed on this day in 1965.
This 630 foot tall monument to Thomas Jefferson’s
Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was designed by designed
by Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen who died
before the structure was completed. It is part of
the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
Thanks for reading
Goodies to Go!