IMS Web Tips ******** ISSUE 4 July 27 1999 *********
"Free Tips and Tricks for getting the most out of your Web Site.
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In this issue:

1. Special Effects
2. Search Engine Spiders
3. IMS tip: Font Size
4. Reader Questions.
-Drop Menus
5. In next weeks issue.

1. Special Effects.

As most of you know, Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape Navigator 4
introduced Dynamic HTML capabilities to the two major Browsers.
Dynamic HTML along with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) makes
Animation and Interactive input capabilities possible on your Web
Site. These advanced capabilities are being defined by the WC3
consortium to hopefully ensure that they are compatible across all
Browsers (they still have a long way to go). We will discuss the
capabilities, limitations, problems and opportunities presented by
Dynamic HTML in a series of articles starting in the near future.

In addition to the Dynamic HTML capabilities supported by both
major Browsers, there are several additional Special Effects that are
only supported by one or the other Browsers but which may still be
appropriate to your needs. Implementing these Special Effects can
be quick and easy provided you are aware that they may not work for
all visitors to your site. The following Effects are available for
Internet Explorer only and may be viewed at is4fig

Fixed Background: Internet Explorer only.
This effect will fix the background in place as you scroll the
Enter BGProperties="Fixed" into the <BODY> tag.

Dynamic Scrolling: Internet Explorer only.
This effect will automatically scroll the screen to keep an Object in
Call the script function 'object.ScrollintoView()' using the name of
the Object.

Transition Effects: Internet Explorer only.
This effect will use a transition as you enter and exit a page.
Add the Meta Tags:
<META http-equiv="Page-Enter" content="RevealTrans
(Duration=5, Transition=0)">
<META http-equiv="Page-Exit" content="RevealTrans
(Duration=5, Transition=1)">
Duration= transition time in seconds.
Tansition= a transition effect from 0 through 23. Possible effects
0 box in,1 box out, 2 circle in, 3 circle out, 4 wipe up, 5 wipe down,
6 wipe left, 7 wipe right, 8 vertical blinds, 9 horizontal blinds,10
checkerboard across,11 checkerboard down,12 random dissolve,13
split vertical in,14 split vertical out,15 split horizontal in,16 split
horizontal out,17 stripes left down,18 stripes left up,19 stripes right
down,20 stripes right up,21 random bars horizontal,22 random bars
vertical,23 random

2. Search Engine Spiders

Over the last several issues I have talked about setting up your Meta
Tags and submitting your site to the major search engines. Once this
has been done successfully you can expect to start receiving visits
from some of the search engine spiders.

What is a spider? Search engine spiders are small programs that are
sent out by the search engines to scurrying around the web looking
at and cataloging web sits. They go by such cryptic names as
Mozilla, Slurp, Gulliver, ArchitextSpider and so on. You can expect
these spiders to visit monthly, weekly and daily and if you are using
a good Stats program you will see them listed. It has been reported
that some search engines will give a web page that has been
"spidered" or "crawled." a higher ranking than one that has been
submitted. Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most from
these arachnid visitors.

1. Submit your two most important pages to the major search
engines on a timely basis, usually every two weeks. Many
spiders will not visit until your site has been submitted. See last
weeks news letter for more information.
2. Ensure that all your pages are within three clicks of your home
page since many spiders will not index any further than that.
3. Update your pages often. It gives the spiders a reason to
continue indexing your site.
4. Be certain all your pages have Meta Tags and that they are
properly set up. See our previous news letters at: WebTips for
additional information on setting up your Meta Tags.
5. Avoid spam-dexing. This includes excessive repetition of
keywords, hidden text, tiny text etc.

Once you site has been catalogued, it can still take up to several
weeks before it is listed by the search engine.

3. IMS tip: Font Size

In traditional HTML you can select only one of 8 Font Sizes with
the FONT Size Tag. You have less control over the location of your
text strings; they simply follow one after the other. With the
introduction of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in version 3.2 and
later Browsers, we suddenly acquired complete control of our Font
Size and Text String location down to the pixel level. This is
accomplished by embedding a text string within a DIV or SPAN tag
and applying a style. An example would look like:

<div id=OObj1
A text example using CSS.

Great! you say. Now I have complete control over my page layout.

The example at is4fig2
illustrates a common problem with Cascading Style sheets when a
conflict with system font settings in Windows is introduced. When
viewed with your System Fonts set to small in the Control Panel
Display, this page will appear as designed. When viewed with
System Fonts set to Large, the text Objects on this page will overlap.

The reason is that the Windows Display Font setting will override
the HTML setting. A Font set to Size 2 will appear at size 3 or 4
when large Fonts are set in a viewers Control Panel. Although the
Top Left corner and width of the text string will be correct, the extra
size of the Fonts will increase the number lines in the text block and
increase the size of each line so that the block of text will run further
down the page.

To correct this problem, reduce the number of separate Text Objects
on the page, avoid putting Text Objects adjacent to each other or
design and test your pages with Large Fonts selected in the
Windows Control Panel.

System Fonts can be changed in the Control Panel on Win 95, Win
98 and Win NT operating systems. Select the Display Properties,
Settings, Font Size, Small or Large Fonts. Depending upon your
Graphic Display adapter card, you may need to reboot your
computer before the new font setting will take effect.

4. Reader Questions: Drop Menus

Last week I received a user question on drop menus and answered
with a brief description. I subsequently received e-mails from
several people asking for more precise information. So here goes.

These are instructions for creating a drop menu. I have also posted
these at is4fig3 with an example. When I get a chance
I shall also set up a Tutorial in the Support section of the Virtual
Mechanics web site.

Drop Menus are a feature of IMS Web Engine. IMS Web Spinner
can produce a Mouse Over Effect which is close but not exactly the
same. In either program, create a text Object with your links:

<a href="issue1.htm"a>issue1</a>
<a href="issue2.htm"a>issue2</a>
<a href="issue3.htm"a>issue3</a>

The leading <br> is included to force a blank line at the top of the
list. This first line will be hidden under the Menu Bar. This Object
has also been defined in Rich Text Format. If HTML format is used
a <br> must also be included at the end of each link.

You can assign a background color to this list with the Shading
Dialog. Select the Link List Object. Select the Shading Dialog (red,
green and blue circles), use the sliders to mix a color or select a
color or background picture with the appropriate button. An outline
can be assigned with the Geometry Editor (Peeling Pattern button).
Use the sliders to assign an outline color and thickness.

Create a Trigger Object. This goes on the Menu Bar and will trigger
the drop menu when the mouse moves over it. It can also be a text
object with or without shading or a Picture.

You may wish to give both Objects an easy to remember name.
Right click the trigger Object to display the Object Editor. The
current name of the Object (Obj1 is the default first Object name)
and will already be highlighted in the Object Name Box. Type your
new name with no more than 9 characters. Something like "Trigger"
for example. Exit the editor and right click the list Object. Change
the list Object name to "List" for example.

In IMS Web Engine, select the 'Mouse Trigger Effect' from the
Wizard Menu. On page one, select the "Trigger" Object from the
'Existing' drop menu. On Page two select "List" Object from the
'Existing' drop menu. IMPORTANT, on page three be sure to check
the 'Leave Display Object' check box.

Create a Menu Bar Object. In this example we Imported a small
10x10 blue rectangle then stretched it to create a horizontal menu
bar. Position the "Trigger Object" over the blue Menu Bar and the
"List" Object underneath with the top under the Trigger Object. If
necessary, use the Arrange 'ToFront' command to move the
"Trigger" Object in front of the Menu Bar and the 'ToBack' Arrange
command to move the "List" Object behind the Menu Bar.

Preview the Drop Menu with the DHTML 4.0 Preview command.

IMS Web Spinner can be used to create a similar Drop Menu in the
same way with the Mouse Over Wizard. The primary difference is
the List menu will appear whenever the mouse moves over it and not
over the "Trigger" Object.

5. Next week.

1. What is the Dynamic in DHTML
2. Link Exchanges
3. IMS tip: Drag and Drop
4. Reader Questions.
Send your Questions to tips@VirtualMechanics.com with Question as your Subject. If we don't know the answer, another reader may.

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