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Preloading Images for Speed

The code in Figure 19.2 works flawlessly with both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator (versions 3 and later of both browsers). There is only one minor problem: The lit images won't be downloaded from your Web site until someone actually moves the mouse over the image. This can cause a significant delay before the highlighted image appears, possibly lowering the all-important Gee Whiz Factor (GWF).

You can avoid this annoyance by including some JavaScript telling the browser to preload the images as soon as possible when the page is displayed. That way, by the time the slow human reader gets around to passing his or her mouse over the link, those images will usually be ready to pop onto the screen. This makes the animations seem to appear without any download delay, giving the page a snappy feel and pumping the GWF back up to truly nerdly levels. Figure 19.5 shows how it's done.


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