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This area is where filtered questions will be answered.
These messages originate from our teams daily discussions.
If you know any of this information to be incorrect please point it out.


when GIF when JPG?

Q - 1103003 - Should my background be in GIF of JPEG?

A1 - the question about gif or jpg should be answered not by anyone, the
image should answer this.  GIF images are best suites to an image filled with line
art or very few colors.  JPG images are best for many colors and subtle
differences such as a portrait.  These are only general guidelines so play with
each format and you'll start to see why it works. Try making a GIF from a
portrait and reduce the colors...you'll see why GIF is more for line drawings.
Kert Kley  kgk@MyCreation.com  MyCreation.com


What would You Teach?

Q - 1103002 - I'm involved in putting together a grant application for a
vocational-technical center (high-school students in a 4 year program) that would
change a straight-forward data-processing curriculum to one that focuses on
network administration and programming for the web. As part of the networking
side, they'll be learning to set up and administer an NT Server (NT because the
teachers are both certified in NT and able to test and certify their students) and do
PC field trouble-shooting (swap out boards, add memory, etc.) The curriculum
will also include having the students/class operate their own web server
-- NT/Microsoft Internet Information Server. We also want the students to be
able to produce web pages and both web-side and client-side programming. To
do that we've been discussing teaching the following: HTML, Perl, Active Server
Pages (ASP), VB Script, Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop and Illustrator.
For those of you who are into the programming side of the web, how does this
sound to you? Are we on target with the curriculum? If you could create your
dream secondary curriculum in this area, what would you include?

A1 - Since it sounds like you are going to be focussing mostly on the Microsoft
side of things, I don't know if Perl is appropriate. If you will have a Unix server,
and wish to teach that side, though, I would suggest PHP instead of Perl. It
seems to be what is in vogue these days, and seems to be replacing Perl as the
CGI scripting language of choice. Three more things you may wish to include:
Fireworks should really be used alongside Dreamweaver; JavaScript, which
could be taught in conjunction with Dreamweaver and Fireworks, and how to
use databases with ASP. You can choose either MS-Access, or
MS-SQL Server, depending on what your resources are.
David Jacobs  davidj@skywalker.com  http://www.skywalker.com

A2 and a comment to A1 - PHP is not a replacement for PERL so
much as it is a replacement for SSI. PERL runs on Microsoft OSes as readily as
it does on Unix/Linux. The biggest single reason why so many PERL scripts
don't run well on NT/W2k is that Microsoft doesn't have SENDMAIL. I write
virtually all my CGI applications in C. PHP just isn't capable enough. PERL is
capable, but it's slow, and it takes too big a footprint in memory; if you're getting
15,000 hits a day, you can bring a server to its knees by executing PERL for
every page. But I end up doing more stuff in PERL than in C - because I use it
all the time for *offline* work. I may write 30-50 scripts a month, throwing each
away an hour after it's run, because it's done its job. That was the original intent of
PERL - a replacement for the AWK and SED utilities. You'd write your applications
that have to be fast and robust in C, and use PERL to handle quick-and-dirty jobs.
deacon B. web@master.gen.in.us

A3 - I might suggest Frontpage 98-2000 if you're doing the Microsoft side of
things. A Microsoft Access & Web class about how to create an access
database that takes commands from the webpage like adding people and
information that they send subtracting inventory when things are bought, etc.
Thomas S  MrRaisedaroof@yahoo.com

A4 - I think the choice of curriculum will depend on who you are trying to
educate and what the goals are. Do you want them to become good web
designers/software engineers in the future? Or, since it's a 4-year program, do
you want your students to be employable from year 2? Then teach them the
buzzword technology of the day. Talk to a few recruiters in your area and ask
them what most employers are looking for (right now it seems to be ASP). The
problem is, 4 years is 2 generations of technology these days. 4 years ago, none
heard of Dreamweaver. 4 years from now, none will remember what
Dreamweaver was. For education to be relevant 4 years from now, it has to
include some "classical" elements. Here are a couple of things that may be
helpful to the students in the future:
- how computer networks work (TCP, UDP, HTTP, SMTP, etc.)
- fundamentals of programming. Perl or Basic is a bad choice for first language. PHP
or ASP is much worse. Although this may sound archaic, I think that the best choices
for first programming language are Lisp and Pascal. They won't make your students
as employable as C++ or Java, but they will pay off in the long run.
- Unix (especially Linux) system administration. Linux is gaining momentum and many
traditional Unix vendors are stopping developing their proprietary OSes and switching
to Linux. My guess is, in 4 years there will be very few Unixes left besides Linux.
Alex  alex@linuxconsulting.org


Templates? What's Best?

Q - 1103001 - My site has some features that remain the same on every
page (i.e. the heading, menu bar, etc.).  Is there an easy way that I change
all of these particular elements at once?

A1 - Use ASP...Active Server Pages and code the header, menu bar,
etc. as include files.  Do an internet search on ASP and you will get
some very good sites that will teach you how to do this.
Jeff   divorced_male@hotmail.com

A2 - get it the way you want it, then do a save as, call it
"webpage template" (or whatever), and use it as a template.
Sherdyl Motz  sherdyl@sinewave.com

A3 - you might try genpage:  http://www.freddyfrog.com/hacks/genpage/
Genpage is a simple Perl script that can build web pages from templates to
give them a consistent "look and feel". It does not need SSI, but it does
need Perl installed. It should run under Unix, NT or Win9x.
Alex  alex@linuxconsulting.org

A4 - My first website, I didn't know anything about SSI,   I ended up creating a
set of "include" template files and made a batch file to assemble the template files
with the content into pages I could upload. Batch files are *not* the way to go,
though. Among other things, COMMAND.COM tends to uppercase stuff if you
aren't really careful. And then I tried to do something with Delphi, but the report
writer was too hard to figure out. The best thing is PERL (it's free, and for
Windows PCs, it's already compiled), and use it to assemble your pages using
individual content files and standard template files.
deacon B.  web@master.gen.in.us

A5 - are you familiar with css and java dom? I think if I interpret you
correctly this article can probably enlighten you better than I can....
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/authoring/stylesheets/
Harry Winterholer  harrywinterholer@digitelone.com

A6 - Developing web sites is a lot of work. Making small changes to dozen of
web pages by hand will take forever. Your site may grow from 10 to 50 pages
in a month. So every small change will take 5 times longer to make. Before long,
making changes will become the biggest chore. Learning Perl and command line
may seem like a lot of work, but it will save you time in the long run. Give the
repetitive tasks to Perl scripts and concentrate on making a dynamite web site.
Alex  alex@linuxconsulting.org

A7 - It is not the style and look/layout of each page he wanted to be able to
change.  He needs to be able to change text links and/or graphics within the
header, menu, navigation, footer sections, etc. of a web page.  Basically taking
the static sections and making them dynamic.  So the "Save As" method is really
useless for doing this.  The only way is to use a scripting language such as those
mentioned by the group so far.  I feel that asp is the easiest way to accomplish
this feat.  All you would do when you need to make a change is open up the
correct include file (header, menu, footer, etc) and make your change and
re-save the page.  Then the change would appear on every page even if you
had 1000 pages.  There are many many great tutorials online to learn ASP...even
some mailing lists which are very helpful such as this list here that we are on.
Jeff   divorced_male@hotmail.com

A8 - use Front Page , you can make your menu , graphics , in something called
a BOT.  By using Shared Border ,select the menu ( the navigation Graphics )
and then use it in Shared Border.  Keep it in some of the pages or all the pages
at once. Once you make a change in the Shared Border file it will changed for
all pages that are sharing those borders.
Mohamed Ashour  ashour71@yahoo.com  Ditnet.co/Mehrab

A9 - well you have opened a great subject judging from all the feedback. If you
have FrontPage, it does several things to save time. You can tell FP to make any
page look like another simply by checking  the box and pointing to the page you
want it to look like.  Make a page  with the colors (background,text,links,visited
links and active links). You can have an image as the background also.Save this
page and then  when you want a new page to look like it simply tell FP to use
that page  as a guide.......Here's how:
Go to page properties of your new page...
Make sure the "Get Background and Colors from Page" is checked.
Browse to the page you want this new page to look like...click ok.
Kert Kley  kgk@MyCreation.com  MyCreation.com


Freeware or Shareware HTML Editor

Q - 0803001 - Can anyone recommend an easy to use html editor for the
MAC that is freeware or shareware?  My level of web page construction
expertise: beginner to intermediate. Full featured is not an issue here. I'm
looking for easy user interface, slow learning curve

A1 - this site should handle what your looking for
hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/authoring/html_basics
Harry Winterholer  harrywinterholer@digitelone.com

A2 - You should be able to find something here:
go-concepts.mac.tucows.com
Jeff  divorced_male@hotmail.com


META Tag Remover

Q - 0703001 - Can someone recommend a program that removes
the GENERATOR meta tag on multiple files automatically?

A - This is the sort of thing that PERL was invented for. You can
download precompiled 32-bit Windows versions, or download
source and compile it for any other platform........

      $dirname = 'C:\\webstuff\\';
      opendir (DIR, $dirname) or die "can't open $dirname: $!";
local (@filenames) = readdir (DIR);
closedir (DIR);

$items = 0;
      foreach $filename (@filenames)
{
$items++;
if ($items > 2) # skip the . and .. directories
{
open (FILE, $filename) || (warn "Can't open $filename
for input\n", die);
            @LINES = <FILE>;
            lose (FILE);
open (FILE, "> $filename") || (warn "Can't open
$filename for output\n", die);
     foreach $line (@LINES)
{
if ( $line =~ m/GENERATOR/)
{$line = "";}
print FILE $line;
}
            close (FILE);
}
}

deacon B. web@master.gen.in.us


Mouseover Pop-up Messages

Q - 0403001 - I want to do an event calendar on a site. I need an approximately
200 pixel box with the word "march" in verdana family, then numbered days of
the month 1-31.   Ideally this would be text and layers rather than photo image (so
the download time is lower). As user runs mouse over each number, a box pops
up with scheduled events and description of that days workshops.  This can either
be a mouseover graphic or html small window pop-up.

A - I went ahead and made a basic example for what you need (Dreamweaver
makes this easy). Check out  http://skywalker.com/tests/calendar.htm.
I added mouseovers for the first two days. Feel free to snag the code and modify
it to your purposes.  It may be difficult to mouseOver text that small. Another way
of doing it is assigning the mouseover action to the td tag, e.g.
<td onMouseOver="MM_showHideLayers(parameters)">
This only works in IE though. You can also assign it both ways, so Netscape
users can still mouseover the text, and IE users will have an expanded "hot" area.
David Jacobs  davidj@skywalker.com  http://www.skywalker.com


Clip from Movie

Q1a - 0303004 - I was wondering how to get video clips off a movie. I  have
a DVDROM on my computer and I can get pictures from DVD's however I
am looking for a way to get a little video clip...anyone know how to do this?

Q1b - 0303005 - Do I need a camera for this? And
where can I download it?

A-1a - Using a screen capture program such as hypercam is about the easiest
way to capture  a clip in avi.  ZDnet has a free trial download of the  program.

A-1b - no camera needed you  simply  select the screen area you  will
view the dvd  with ...i.e.  media player, movie viewer what ever you use
to view your dvd  click  F1 to start capture and escape to  end it.
susan k mclaughlin  simon01@athenet.net


Secure Fields Required

Q1a - 0303002 -  How can I make a form with the following criteria: to make
all fields required, so that I get all the information requested, otherwise the form
can't be submitted, and this case the form page would come back to the person
with * in red, so the person would know which field is not completed.

Q1b - 0303003 - The Form page must be combined with the Secure
Payment Info page, so when it's sent it will be as one page. This
Form must go on the secure service ( a specified link ).

A1-1a - For the first part of your question, insert the following
code between your <head> </head> tags:

<script language="JavaScript">

function MM_validateForm() { file://v2.0
  var i,objStr,field,theCheck,atPos,theNum,colonPos,min,max,errors='';
  for (i=0; i<(MM_validateForm.arguments.length-2); i+=3) {
    objStr = MM_validateForm.arguments[(navigator.appName ==
'Netscape')?i:i+1];
    if ((objStr.indexOf('document.layers[')==0 && document.layers==null) ||
        (objStr.indexOf('document.all[')    ==0 && document.all   ==null))
      objStr =
'document'+objStr.substring(objStr.substring(0,objStr.lastIndexOf('.')).
                 lastIndexOf('.'),objStr.length);   file://fix layer ref if not
supp
    field = eval(objStr);
    field.name = (field.name)?field.name:objStr;
    theCheck = MM_validateForm.arguments[i+2];
    if (field.value) { file://IF NOT EMPTY FIELD
      if (theCheck.indexOf('isEmail') != -1) { file://CHECK EMAIL
        atPos = field.value.indexOf('@');
        if (atPos < 1 || atPos == (field.value.length - 1))
          errors += '- '+field.name+' must contain an e-mail address.\n';
      } else if (theCheck != 'R') { file://START NUM CHECKS
        theNum = parseFloat(field.value);
        if (field.value != ''+theNum) errors += '- '+field.name+' must
contain a number.\n';
        if (theCheck.indexOf('inRange') != -1) { file://CHECK RANGE
          colonPos = theCheck.indexOf(':');
          min = theCheck.substring(8,colonPos);
          max = theCheck.substring(colonPos+1,theCheck.length);
          if (theNum < min || max < theNum) file://bad range
            errors += '- '+field.name+' must contain a number between
'+min+' and '+max+'.\n';
    } } }
    else if (theCheck.charAt(0) == 'R') errors += '- '+field.name+' is
required.\n';
  }
  if (errors) alert('The following error(s) occurred:\n'+
                    errors);
  document.MM_returnValue = (errors == '')
}

</script>


In your submit button tag add this: (all on one line)

<input type="submit" name="Action" value="Submit"
onClick="MM_validateForm('document.form1.FirstName','document.form1.FirstNam
e','R','document.form1.Company','document.form1.Company','R','document.form1
.LastName','document.form1.LastName','R','document.form1.Email','document.fo
rm1.Email','R','document.form1.comments','document.form1.comments','R');retu
rn document.MM_returnValue">

Change the document.form1.Firstname etc. to what your form elements,
with the names you gave them (e.g. document.form1.YourTextField).

A1-1b - For the second part of your question (if I'm understanding you),
you need to point your form action (where it goes when the user clicks
submit) to a secure site using https, such as
https://www.yourdomain.com/YourScriptProcessingPage.

The page your form is on also need to be linked to with https in front of it
so it will be secure as well.
David Jacobs  davidj@skywalker.com     http://www.skywalker.com

A2 - Use FP and go to "validate" in each of your forms fields.
Set the criteria as desired.
Kert Kley  kgk@MyCreation.com  MyCreation.com


Save Me

Q - 0303001  - This logo that I have needed to be cleaned up quite a bit.
Now I've magnified it in Paint Shop Pro and have fixed it all up.  When I
demagnify it to it's original size and save it, none of the fixing I did is saved.
I've tried to save it as both a .jpg and a .gif and neither one works.

A1 - You may want to check the file attributes for this logo   (right  click on
image file go to properties) if it is read only none of the changes will save.
You will  need to change it to archives  and that would solve this problem.
susan k mclaughlin  simon01@athenet.net

A2 - Try downloading IrfanView (freeware) and use it to resize. It uses an
algorithm to resize images that I've never heard of before, and it works better
than anything I've seen. That and slideshows are the only reason that I use that
program, and at those two things, it really kicks.
Frank Looper  frankl2@home.com


Transparency in GIF

Q - 2702001  - I am in the process of making a web page and I have taken a
picture and made it transparent for the background. I also have an existing logo
with a white background.  When I put the logo on the background I want the
background to show through and get rid of the white.  Is it possible to do this?
Besides Paint Shop Pro I also have PhotoImpact and Adobe PhotoDeluxe.

A1 - Yes...use PhotoImpact.  Open your logo image and then click on 'web' on
the top toolbar, then click on image optimizer from the drop down box that appears.
On the Image Optimizer box, click the 'Mask Options' tab.  Then select 'pick
colors' , hold down the control key and move your mouse cursor over the image on
the left side of the Image Optimizer box.  When it changes to an eye dropper, click
on the color you want to be transparent (in this case that would be the white
background).  Just click once on the white color and then click save as and save
your graphic.  This gives it a transparent background. Make sure there is not any
other white on the graphic though or it will turn transparent also.
Jeff  divorced_male@hotmail.com

A2  - Or.....use the best program ever made (Photoshop 5)
It even has a wizard for making transparent pictures...
Anders Ringfelter  smooda@home.se

A3  - I learned how to make transparent gifs this past fall by using this url
and PaintShop Pro:
http://users.andara.com/~mlindsay/ntrans.html
You have to play around w/the images sometimes, setting the transparency
twice on occasion - at least I have - but we've created some lovely
transparent gifs using this method.
Laurie Gold  laurie@likesbooks.com


WAV  to  MIDI

Q - 2402001  - I was wondering if anyone knows of a program that can
reasonably turn a wav file into a midi file. I understand the limitations of midi with
voices, but is there anything on the market that will even attempt this?

A1 - I've heard some people talk about a program called DigitalEar.
It's supposed to be very good, but I've never actually used it
Jenn  SWPsweete@aol.com.

A2 - Take a look at this product  cubase/pc/vst24   it will convert wave to a midi
but it is a  classic case of overkill for that one application along with a pretty steep
learning curve. However there are a lot of products this company puts out and you
may find your needs met with another less  involved program. Free downloads are
available for trial but most are disabled from saving your  work.
Susan  simon01@athenet.net


GIF Repeat    GIF Repeat

Q - 2302001  - I'd like to have animation on my splash page but
if I do it in GIF format it restarts and I don't want  it to.
Is there a way I can play a GIF once and stop??

A - The GIF itself has a header that says how long the individual
frames appear, and how many times it loops.
The old standard for editing animated GIFs was GIFCON32.
deacon B.  web@master.gen.in.us


New Window

Q - 2202001  - how do I open a separate window from a link?
I want to assign the links to associate programs in separate windows so
visitors don't actually leave my site when they visit the associate site.
Can I do this without using frames?

A-1 - Here is what my html looks like.
<a href="http://whateverpageyouwant" target="_blank"> View my web site.</a>
Louise  fireylady@videotron.ca

A-2 - <A HREF="URL" TARGET="_blank">  </A>
RC  NetLocale@hotmail.com

Note - Frames will have no effect on the "_blank" command.
Yes this can be used with frames.


Database / PERL

Q - 2102003  - I've got a database (tab delimited). I need a way to import the
fields contents in different HTML table cells automatically. I need to generate
static pages of my database content in preformatted tables. I cannot take the
time to drag and drop all my database information one by one in my tables. I
also need my "importation" not to change the text formatting of my tables of
course. Anyone knows a way, an application, anything that could help?

A - HTML isn't an application; what you are actually doing is
*exporting* data from your database software. Once you look at it
in *that* perspective, then the solution becomes a little easier.
1. Chances are fairly good that you have a report writer in your database software
that will do what you want done. This is likely to be the easiest, because you
probably know (or need to know) how to use the report writer for your DBMS.
2. If not, you can import your data into a spreadsheet, and use a macro to
format the data in each cell to a different range. This isn't as "clean" because you
probably will lose the formatting of each datum. However, since it is all in
columns, it should be fairly easy to *restore* the formatting.
3. What *I* would do is to format the data with PERL. It's easier for me to use
PERL for everything than to try to keep current with all those report writers, etc.,
that I use rarely. PERL was originally invented as a programmer's quick-and-dirty
scripting tool for massaging data. And while that means I have to write the code to
format each field in HTML codes, it's not *that* big a deal in PERL.

If you have continuing interest in webmastery, you already know that learning
PERL is something you probably ought to do, but PERL is even more useful for
this kind of work than it is for writing CGI applications. You can download a
precompiled 32-bit copy of PERL that will run on Windows. (And it's freeware.)
Deacon B  web@master.gen.in.us


3 Letter Extensions

Q - 2102002  - why do 3 letters matter?

A - When Digital Research developed DOS (Disk Operating System) they used
three letter file extensions to describe file types. Micro$oft's "clone" M$DOS
naturally did the same. The result was that the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)
which work on top of M$DOS, that is all versions of Windows up to and
including Windows95, can only handle three letter extensions. This is what Mr.
Gates calls innovation! Windows98 can handle longer extensions, but this would
make problems for people who have not upgraded. Many users still use
Windows3.11. The only 'long' file extension I've seen in common use is .html.
Earlier versions of Windows can handle this because they ignore the final letter.

I think you'll find 95 can handle long extensions, my copy can, and as long as
you keep the first three letters of the extension standard you can use up to, I
think, 255 letters total for name+extension and 3.11/DOS etc. just truncate it.
You can't create files with long names/extensions on these older OSs but you
can read them no prob.
GarryW  garrywa@cwcom.net 


Frame Breaker

Q - 2102001  - Does anyone have a frame breaker?

A - I found this in a great book called Web Design in a Nutshell, published by
O'Reilly: If you don't want to see your site squished into someone else's frame,
you can add JavaScript to the <HEAD> of your document which will make
your page always load into the top level of the browser window.

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT"><!-- Hide from old browsers
if (top != self)
top.location.href = location.href;
// Stop hiding from old browsers -->
</SCRIPT>

Bill McClaren <mcclaren@sirius.com  sirius.com/~mcclaren


Push the Buttons

Q   2002003  - My 13 year old nephew is starting beginning HTML today!
I am so proud! The school he is in won't allow him to take Photoshop
classes until he is older! Any good links to tutorials for beginning
Photoshop that would be appropriate for a 13 year old? He is a pretty
talented guy and I want to support his progress and education.

A - This isn't going to be the best answer by far, but it's the best one, and by far
the most economical...  Set him loose.  Young men and women have by far an
exponentially greater aptitude for learning than we do.  Playing with the buttons is
the best way to learn that program.  Not having the instructions for nearly every
application that I used, or muddled around with, helped me far more than anything
else in the early stages of my computer life, because I was able to build the
confidence to 'rely on my own learning curve' when it came to figuring out a
program.  Plenty of people probably think I'm nuts for saying "Let the child learn
a professional editing tool on his own," but I guarantee, what he learns between
now, and being old enough to take a class on it, is that it doesn't make a bit of
difference what an alpha channel is, or a particular filter does, as long as it makes
the 'cool effect' that he desires. I think in the long run, self reliance is far more
valuable than teaching someone how to read the instructions.
Dave Whitney  neplusultra@sybercom.net


Speed

Q  2002002 - I've recently inserted several features into a page.
There's a good chunk of script behind there plus it's a SHTML
page. Let me know what kind of wait you have.

A - Even on a slow server, it's hard for an end user to detect a speed
difference in SHTML pages. The bottleneck on the internet is bandwidth, not
CPU cycles. You're serving everything from the same HTTPD, and only 32KB
altogether, which makes it a fairly fast page.  Incompatibility? Netscape doesn't
support the CLASS or ID attributes for DIV. It doesn't support the CLASS
attribute for A, P, or TD, either. And MSIE doesn't support attribute REV for
LINK.  You might also take a look at the SCHEME attribute for META tags,
the MEDIA attribute for LINK, and the TYPE attribute for SCRIPT. 
Deke  web@master.gen.in.us


Slice

Q  2002001 - could someone explain to me (in simple language)
what a slice is in a graphics program and how to use it?

A - Basically, slicing a graphic means cutting it up into smaller pieces, generally so
that parts may have OnMouseOver effects. It also allows you to do things like cut
the middle out of a graphic, and later insert text, or multimedia right into that space.

If your question relates to Macromedia's Fireworks, it would be well worth
the time to learn how to use this tool. It automates many tedious aspects,
even creating the HTML with your sliced up graphic pieces arranged just how
you had them in the program.
David Jacobs  DavidJ@Skywalker.com   Skywalker.com


page created by Kert Kley
kgk@MyCreation.com    MyCreation.com