((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) March 23, 2000
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1. CONTESTS: Submit & Win: Director 8 Shockwave Studio! 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Web Editing Anywhere 3. NET NEWS: * Authorities Target Online Scammers * Windows Source Code Leaked? * New Tool Offers Privacy Without Crippling Browser * Master Your Domain for Free
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. CONTESTS:
>Submit & Win: Director 8 Shockwave Studio!
Every Thursday, the Update features a new article contributed by our readers through our Open Publishing Initiative. We encourage you to submit your own article ideas - your words could be here, being read by thousands of other subscribers. And now, writers that get published in the newsletter will earn themselves a copy of Macromedia's brand new Director 8 Shockwave Studio! To learn more about this great multimedia Web authoring suite and how to submit your article idea, just head to:
This week, writer Ken Boucher clues us in on some free new tools that allow you to edit and maintain your Web site from any browser in the world. Thanks Ken, and enjoy your copy of the Director 8 Shockwave Studio!
Attn: service/content providers, applications developers! Want to drive revenue, broaden markets, offer new services? You need open networks to support next-generation services. Lucent Technologies Full Circle Vision 360 Conference. Attend March 27-30 in Phoenix, Arizona. Register on-line at: http://www.lucent.com/full_circle
\--------------------------------------------------------------adv.-/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Web Editing Anywhere
The Internet has changed rapidly in a few short years. It used to be difficult to get your own Web page, but now it's possible to have a decent domain name at very little cost. As magazines, tools, and books proliferate however, it seems that the cost for maintaining your site hasn't shrunk, and if you're one of the millions of people just getting into Web publishing, that cost can be prohibitive.
If you're like many people, you've already discovered the joy of shareware and freeware. There's a good chance that you've downloaded shareware and freeware editors, FTP clients, and graphics packages. But can you imagine being able to use the same Web page editor and graphics package regardless of whose computer you were using? There are tools that will work on any computer with any operating system connected to the Internet, simply because they accessed directly from the Internet.
>Edit Anywhere with Blogger
Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) is a free weblog editor. Using Blogger you can create and update a Web page on the fly, using only your browser window. Regardless of where you are, if you have a connection to the Internet, you can keep maintaining your page. The best thing about Blogger is that it's actually intuitive enough that you may find that it takes less time to create a page with it than it normally does using the tools you know and love.
Blogger is a free online service that allows you to create a weblog or "blog." A weblog is the descendant of the old .plan and .project files that are still used by people to give updates on their projects. A weblog however looks a lot more like an online news site than it does anything else. It's designed to let you add comments, notes, messages, or any other content to the page on a regular basis, and this it where it excels. You have full control over the entire page from within Blogger's editor, which means you can update your HTML from any browser without needing to install an editor or use an FTP client on that machine. The file is actually sent directly from Blogger to your server for you.
First, you'll need to sign into Blogger and create an account. Once you have done that, you are ready to create a weblog. Simply click on "create new blog>>". The page that comes up will be a forms page. You'll need to enter a title and description for your weblog, the URL where your project will end up, the FTP server and path, and the filename of the weblog. When creating a weblog for the first time, the path should already exist but the file itself should not. It's easy enough to put the weblog in your top level and call it blogger.html. You can always change it later.
Once you hit create, you'll be taken to a split screen. You can enter your Web content (in HTML) much as you would if you were using HTML to reply to an online message board or e-mail. Read the instructions in the lower half of the screen, enter some random text or HTML (don't worry if you make a mistake, you can change it later), and click on the post button at the top of the screen. The screen will update with your message appearing on the bottom half and you are given the opportunity to publish now. Don't worry, we'll make it look nice later. Once it's published you can click on "view web page" to see your creation. It's not great art, but it will be soon.
Let's go back to the editor and click on template. Here's where the real power is. This template controls the entire look of your page. The more HTML you know, the more you can spruce up your page and make it jump through hoops. Whenever you want to test it out, just click the "save changes" button and then republish the page. There are no limitations to what you can enter here, so feel free to go hog wild.
Blogger is more than just an HTML editor and publisher though. By using the template and settings functions, you can easily control the look and feel of your page. You can create regular archives and control when they update. You can also give other people permission to change the page by using Pyra (http://www.pyra.com). By setting various permissions, you not only give someone access to update your Web page, but you can also limit those permissions to specific functions. This allows multiple people to update a single page without worrying about stepping on each other's code.
With Blogger, we have the ability to work anywhere without our precious HTML editors and FTP programs. To really make a site shine however, you still need a good graphics program. Personally, I'm graphically inept and cannot afford to purchase the programs that allow me to make the beautiful banners I need to spruce up my Web site. Luckily, I don't need to.
>Instant Buttons and Logos with Cooltext
Cooltext (http://www.cooltext.com) is a wonderful tool that allows me to make logos, buttons, and bullets on the fly. I can quickly create all the graphics my page will need online, save the ones I like, and upload them later at my convenience. What impresses me most about Cooltext is that the graphics it generates are of an equal (or higher!) quality to those you can make from most affordable graphics programs.
Cooltext operates entirely off of form-based entries. While a number of free graphics programs exist on the Net, Cooltext requires the least about of effort on your part to create a superior graphic. You simply type in your desired text, set some options and it generates the rest. The interface is very intuitive and easy to learn.
When you first go to Cooltext, you're presented with a variety of choices. Logo styles are on the left, with the options for buttons and bullets below them.
Bullets are great when you want a small clickable graphic with a simple shape of a very specific color. All of the options needed to create a bullet are on one screen. You simply choose a shape, a size, two colors, and a mixture pattern including surface and lighting effects and presto - instant .gif file.
Buttons are perfect for navigation bars. There are six different button shapes to choose from, and each one is easy to customize. Because the button is always the same shape and size, it makes it easy to create 10 buttons that are interchangeable without causing problems with your web page.
The options for the buttons are the same regardless of the style of button you chose. You simply decide on the text, the font, the font size, and four colors (including text and background colors). Cooltext does all the hard work for you. Once you have a button just the way you like it, it's a simple matter to create a dozen just by changing the text. No other work is necessary.
Logos are where Cooltext really shines. You have a large number of styles to choose from and all of them look great. Experiment with all of them and decide which ones you like the best.
One of the best logo choices is "Crystal." The stained glass effect can be applied to any texture. Cooltext offers just over 100 different textures and it can also import a texture from anywhere else on the Web. This allows you to make graphics using background textures from any of the numerous graphic archives on the Net.
To create a logo, all you have to do is type in your text, pick a font and a font size, and set your options. These options vary depending on the type of logo you're attempting to create. For Crystal, you only need to select a background graphic and use the default for "chrome". No graphics are required for "Blended"; instead you choose four different colors to mix together. "Nova" is perhaps the simplest of them all - the only thing you need to choose is the color of the glow around the letters. The effects of each of these logo tools, however, are spectacular.
The tools to use the Internet are changing. It used to be that the best tools were the most expensive but Blogger and Cooltext are serious competition to the best software available. Between these two tools, you can make your Web site shine. What's best is that they're always available on any machine and from any browser.
[Ed Note - There's many additional free tools for creating Web sites and graphics available - if this has sparked your interest, check out http://www.mediabuilder.com, and WDVL.com's series on "Building Web Sites with Free Stuff" at http://wdvl.com/Authoring/Design/FreeStuff/]
About the Author:
Ken Boucher is a makeup artist for a haunted house, an accomplished juggler and theremin player, and the Webthing behind VirtualSurreality.com. Since his income from all of the above is less than zero, he is forced to do COBOL analysis and project management in a cubicle for 40 hours a week.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Authorities Target Online Scammers, Windows Source Code Leaked?, New Tool Offers Privacy Without Crippling Browser, Master Your Domain for Free
>Authorities Target Online Scammers
Law enforcement officials from 27 countries and 45 states have conducted a massive sweep of the Internet searching for "get-rich- quick" schemes and scams, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Thursday. http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2472547,00.html ZDNet.com, 000323
>Windows Source Code Leaked?
Microsoft's next version of Windows may be open source, but not by design. The company is investigating whether the source code for the planned 2001 version of Windows was posted on several Web sites. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,35135,00.html Wired.com, 000322
>New Tool Offers Privacy Without Crippling Browser
IDcide has developed a cure for the privacy blues in the form of a browser plug-in that discriminates between first-party (coming from the site you're visiting) and third-party (coming from other servers) cookies. The tool, called the Privacy Companion, can provide varying levels of security - either blocking no cookies, just third-party cookies, or all cookies, as well as providing detailed information on who is trying to track you. http://www.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/03/21/idcide/index.html CNN.com, 000321
>Master Your Domain for Free
To help promote their belief that the registration of Internet domain names should be free, the folks at ICANN accredited registrar RegisterFREE.com are offering Free Domain Registration Hour on March 23 from 9 to 10 p.m. EST. We'll see you in line... http://www.internetnews.com/rumblings/0,1145,81,00.html InternetNews.com, 000322
That's it for this week, see you next time.
Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com email@example.com
Eric Cook Assistant Editor, WebReference.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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