Your Web Pages Charming
with a little Java
By Jim Bray
What if you want to add Java
to your Web site, but dont have the know how or desire
to create applets on your own?
Well, you can either befriend
Juan Valdez or buy something like Mainstays "PageCharmer"
($99US, for Windows, Macintosh, and Unix), a nifty little set of "Designer
Java Applets" you can customize and paste into to your site.
With PageCharmer you can make
smart image maps with popup menus, multimedia buttons, animated marquees,
and scrolling tickers and the company says you dont need
to know any HTML coding.
It never hurts to know HTML.
Im always amazed, or perhaps the word is "annoyed," to
find that regardless of the "WYSIWYG-ness" of a Web product
I often have to fall back on the HTML knowledge I gained at my
grandfathers knee way back when Web developers lived in caves
and swapped stories around the fire at night.
And, as usual, this arcane
knowledge came in handy with PageCharmer.
works inside your Browser. After loading the software, youre greeted
with a menu page arranged by project. Clicking on a projects link
zips you to the actual project upon which youre now going to wreak
your own special brand of havoc.
The first project I created
was a "live" navigation bar for TechnoFILE. I customized PageCharmers
"LiveT-Map" project and, when finished, had a nifty navbar the
labels of which changed colour when the cursor moved over them, and with
buttons that depress just like real life push buttons.
Customizing is easy. Atop the
project page is the finished project, with a tabbed box below in which
you can change stuff like the label and URL, text font, colour and size,
and any sound effects you choose to inflict on your surfing public.
To make the changes, you just
type them in and press "Enter." Its important to press
"Enter" with each and every change, or PageCharmer will sit
there inert regardless of how much you cuss at it.
When youre finished,
click "Create HTML," then copy the resulting code and paste
it into your Web page. You also have to visit the "Upload to your
Web Site" folder in the PageCharmer folder on your hard drive and
copy the "classes" folder to your web site to make the applets
The HTML code that PageCharmer
generates assumes all your pages are in the root directory, which is where
my HTML knowledge saved me: the lions share of my pages are in an
"articles" sub-directory, so I had to rewrite the HTML to point
it in the correct direction before my applet would work.
Once I did that, however, it
worked fine and was proudly displayed on TechnoFILE for all to see - till
we got complaints and pulled it off.
Why were there complaints if
the navbar was so nifty?
Unfortunately, not all Browsers
are capable of reading your magical Java applets, and some Web surfers
find java applets a personal affront to them and refuse to wait for them
to load (and refuse to return to the offending site again, too!) so you
may want to duplicate your java masterpieces with "old tech"
versions as well, or youll risk alienating a shrinking (but important)
segment of your audience.
That caveat aside, PageCharmers
a pretty nifty application for people who like to jazz up their Web sites
without going through the tedious process of actually learning how to
do it properly from scratch.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think