IMS Studio (Web Engine, Web Spinner) uses an Object component
model. This means that components such as text geometry, shading,
sound effects and more, can be shared by more than one Object. If
you changed a shared component such as an Object's background
color, it will also change in every Object that shares the component.
Last week I introduced the method behind this unique IMS
capability and how it can be used to 'Clone' an Object. I highly
recommend you read this article at issue9 if you have not
already done so.
An advantage of this system is that it only requires a component to
be created once. For example, if you wish to assign a uniform
background color to your text and picture Objects, create a shading
component then use the Object Editor to add it to your Objects. Then
if you wish to change the color, you can do so by simply changing
the shading component to change it in all Objects that use it.
Using this technique it is possible to create project wide design
criteria that can easily be assigned to the Objects on your web pages.
An especially useful example of this is to create a drop menu or
mouse over effect then use the same Behavior and Action
components to quickly create similar Objects that can be globally
One of the most powerful and time saving operations is the
"Include" command in the Edit menu. This command is easy to
overlook since it may appear that it is always disabled and not
available. The Include command is used to add the currently
selected Object to additional pages. Since a selected Object is
already included on the page it is selected, the Include command
will not be available to include it again on this page.
To Include an Object on additional pages, select and copy the
Object. Once copied, use the Page select drop box to select another
page in your project. If you select the Edit menu you will now see
that the Include command is highlighted. Select it to add the Object
to this page. You can also use the Ctrl-I shortcut to include a
selected Object on a page that it is not already a member of. If you
wish to quickly add an Object to multiple pages, copy the Object
then select a page with the Page drop menu and press Ctrl-I.
Without doing anything else use the Up or Down arrow keys to
move to another page and then press Ctrl-I again. You can move
between all pages in your project by using the Up/Down arrows
while the focus is on the Page Drop menu.
So why "Include" an Object instead of just using the "Paste -Copy"
or "Paste -Clone" commands?
An Included Object, like a cloned component, is the same Object.
What this means is that any changes you make to an Included Object
will be made on every page it is included. This makes Including an
Object an especially useful means for creating a common style or
navigation capability throughout your entire project.
Consider this example. Create a navigation bar with drop menus
then "Include" the Objects on every page in your project. As you
make a change to a link, correct a spelling error, add new links
change colors, etc., your changes will automatically be made on
every page the Object is included. Positioning and Scaling changes
to an Included Object will also be reflected on every page the
Objects are Included. This makes page layout and design operations
of a common theme element on your web site a breeze. Take a look
at the Virtual Mechanics web site.
Most of the pages created under each main menu topic belong to the
same project and share Included Objects.
In the article on HTML, I discussed the method behind creating
frames. Including an Object on multiple pages can provide many of
these same advantages without the disadvantages. Some Browsers
still don't support Frames. Of greater value is the fact that some
search engines do not crawl frame pages but will have no problem
with Included Objects.
As you gain experience in the use of Cloned and Included Objects,
you will find many additional time saving capabilities. Give them a
try and let me know if you need more clarification or examples.