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Setting your project for optimum loading

A few weeks ago I presented a topic on designing your web pages so
that they will load in an interesting and meaningful way for your
visitors. In other words, think of the loading process as a
presentation and not simply as a hurdle that needs to be overcome as
quickly as possible. If successful, the visitor should hardly notice
how long it takes to load your page and should in fact end up less
impatient with a larger page than a faster loading page that presents
nothing of interest until it is finished.

IMS Web Dwarf, Spinner and Engine are ideal tools for
accomplishing this task. Their use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
means that your web elements can be positioned anywhere on a page
and set to load in any sequence. The principle tools for
accomplishing this task are the Z-order commands in the Arrange
menu and Arrange toolbar. When you select an Object, these
operations will be highlighted on the Arrange toolbar so that you
can move the Object 'In Front' of all other Objects, 'Behind' all
others Objects or 'Forward' and 'Back' one position in the Z-order.

In pre CSS Browsers, elements on the web page were simply
displayed in the order they were listed in the HTML file. This was
normally from left to right and top to bottom. CSS enabled elements
to be displayed at any location on the page. This can present a
problem however, since two Objects can be assigned the same
location. Which should be in front and which should be behind? The
simplest answer is to display the second Object in the HTML file
over the first.

A more flexible solution conducive to Dynamic HTML was selected.
This was to assign each 'Style' element a Z position. The element
with the smallest Z value is consequently displayed at the back, the
element with the largest Z value is displayed at the front, and all the
other elements are displayed according to their respective Z value. If
you look at the HTML source of an IMS produced page you will see
that every Object is assigned a unique z-index value in the style
property of the <DIV> tag.

Even though web page elements are displayed on the finished page
according to their Z value, they are still loaded in the order that they
appear in the HTML document.

IMS will by default assign each Object a Z value according to the
order that it is created. This Z value can be changed with the Z order
commands in the Arrange menu and toolbar as mentioned above.
IMS programs go one step further. They will also adjust the order
that the elements will be listed in the HTML file according to their Z
value. What this means is that the Object with the smallest Z value
will be listed first in the HTML document even though it may not
have been the first Object you created. As mentioned previously, the
first Object in the document will be the first Object displayed to the

Knowing this, it is possible to organize the elements on your web
page using the Z order commands according to the order you wish
them to be displayed to your Web Site visitors. Select the Object you
wish to appear last and move it to the 'Front'. Move the Object to
appear first to the 'Back'. Move the other Objects Forward or Back
according to the order you wish them to appear. If you are not sure
of the order, you can move every Object to the 'Back' in sequence
starting with the 'Front' object and ending with the 'Back' Object.

As I mentioned in the design article on loading your web page
http://www.imswebtips.com/issue15top1.htm you should try to load
your most informative text first. Not only will this load fast and
provide your visitors with meaningful information to read, it will
also help to index your web site with the search engines that often
give more relevance to the first text they find.

By using the Z operations to adjust the load order of your page, you
will be able to both design your pages in an intuitive manor and yet
be able to adjust them later to a fashion that is most interesting to
your visitors.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on
creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.

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