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Advanced Design Tips

Page layout
Generaly you start a web site layout with a table. Then you add the graphic elements that make up the design such as graphics across the top and down the left side of the page. You generally create cells and insert your graphics as cell backgrounds. A tip when adding your graphics to you cell backgrounds is that a graphic added like this repeats itself for the full width of the cell. Therefore, to fill an entire cell with a block of blue color for example, the graphic you create can be much smaller in width than the cell. And, it will still fill the entire cell. The advantage is a smaller graphic, which adds to reducing the time it takes for the page to download in a web browser.

You may wonder why web sites are developed with external graphics that are simply blocks of color, when you can set a cell color within Dreamweaver. I have found that when I want to place a graphic of text into a colored cell, if the cell is colored using Dreamweaver color settings, the colors do not match exactly when viewed with Netscape. (Seems to look ok when viewed with IE). But, if the cell background contains a graphic of the color, the color is seamless when placing text over it.

Colors
If a client has a logo already created for print materials, like letterhead, business cards, etc. and they don't have it in electronic form, you may need to create a logo yourself. In order to figure out the exact colors to use in the online logo so that it matches the company's printed material logo first ask the client if they have the numerical value for the color(s). Such as the "RGB" value or the "HTML" value. They may not have it. In this case, they will probably give you the "Pantone" value. A Pantone value will be something like:
   329 or 302
in the Pantone Matching System.

You can purchase a simple program, PANTONE ColorWeb Pro, from Pantone that will enable you to translate a Pantone Matching System value to RGB and HTML.

Here are the details:

PANTONE ColorWeb Pro
This product consists of two color pickers, the PANTONE Internet Color System picker for the 216 "internet-safe" colors, and the PANTONE Digital Color Picker providing sRGB and HTML values for 938 PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors. The software allows users to reposition PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors for use on web pages. However, recognizing that the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM palette is a full 64-bit color palette, and will dither on lower-end systems, PANTONE ColorWeb Pro also allows cross-reference between the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM and PANTONE Internet Color System. In addition, the full version of PANTONE ColorWeb Pro ships with the PANTONE Internet Color System Guide and PANTONE Digital Color Guide, providing physical printed simulations of the respective color palettes.

Adding downloadable Adobe PDF Files

Links to other sites and to documents in formats other than .html are configured to open in another window. An easy way to configure a link to open in a different window, is to set the "target" property for the link to "_blank".

Here is documentation on the Target types from the Dreamweaver manual:

To make the linked document appear somewhere other than in the current window or frame, select an option from the Target pop-up menu on the Property inspector.

_blank loads the linked document in a new, unnamed browser window.

_parent loads the linked document in the parent frame or parent window of the frame that contains the link. If the frame containing the link is not nested, then the linked document loads in the full browser window.

_self loads the linked document in the same frame or window as the link. This target is the default, so you usually don't have to specify it.

_top loads the linked document in the full browser window, thereby removing all frames.

Map Directions

Here is a tip that you might want to take advantage of in developing your web sites. When you need to provide directions on a web site, you can link directly to a map where the destination is identified in the center. From there you can choose "get directions", and a visitor only has to type in their starting point.

To use mapquest (http://www.mapquest) you can create a link on your web page that links not just to: http://www.mapquest, but rather to a program that you can provide arguments to. For example, this link will give you a map with Bryant College at the center.

http://www.mapquest.com/cgi-bin/ia_free?width=800&height=500&streetaddress=150%20Douglas%20Pike&city=Smithfield
%20&state=RI

Then, you can click the "Get Directions to this Location" button in the upper right corner of the mapquest site.

Forms

I use a free perl script for programming forms. The script saves all form data to:
both a file and an email message. The script is from Matt's script archive at:
http://www.worldwidemart.com/scripts

The script also saves just the email address to a separate file so that you can maintain an email distribution list.

Furthermore, the script will send an email message to the user who submitted the form, which you can customize, for example, thanking the user for filling out the form, etc.

Discussion Groups
I haven't developed one yet. But, I came across a company called Ikonboard that has one that looks easy to use. http://www.ikonboard.com

Hit Statistics
Extreme Tracking
Hitometer
HitsLinks

Free Java Scripts and Applets
http://javaboutique.internet.com
http://www.wsabstract.com
http://www.worldwidemart.com/scripts
http://www.cyberiapc.com/applets.htm

Free Clip Art
http://www.free-clipart.net
http://www.free-graphics.com
http://bestclipart.com/cgi-bin/imagefolio/imageFolio.cgi?direct=office
http://www.fortisgraphix.com/graphics/buttons.html
http://www.webmastergate.com/graphics_sites.html
http://dgl.microsoft.com/


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