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IMS Studio (Web Engine, Web Spinner, Web Dwarf) 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.
Two weeks ago I discussed 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 issue62top3 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 modified.
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. (Version 2 provides an Include All
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 VirtualMechanics 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. Of greater value is the fact that some
search engines do not crawl frame pages but will have no
problem with Included Objects.
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