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The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and the World Wide Web altered the face of the Internet and of personal computing forever. At one time regarded as the province of universities and government organizations, the Internet has grown to touch more and more lives every day. In addition, the multimedia content that can be provided via HTML and other Web technologies such as JavaScript, Java, XML, CGI, and others makes the Web an exciting place to be.

Through the efforts of standards organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium, and those of companies such as Netscape, Microsoft, Macromedia, and Sun Microsystems, HTML and the other languages and technologies used to present information over the Web have continued to develop and evolve. The number of possibilities for providing information content over the Web is astounding, and it's growing every day.

That is where Platinum Edition, Using HTML 4, XML, and Java 1.2 steps in to help. This book is the single source you need to quickly get up to speed and greatly enhance your skill and productivity in providing information on the World Wide Web.

How to Use This Book

This book was designed and written from the ground up with two important purposes:

  • First, Platinum Edition Using HTML 4, XML, and Java 1.2 makes it easy for you to find the most effective means to accomplish any task or present almost any kind of information on the Web.

  • Second, this book covers the major Web technologies—not only HTML, XML, and Java, but also JavaScript, Microsoft's VBScript scripting language, CGI, and both Microsoft and Netscape's implementations of Dynamic HTML—in a depth and breadth that you won't find anywhere else. It also includes a CD-ROM filled with Web software, helpful documentation, and code from the examples in this book.

With these goals in mind, how do you use this book?

If you are familiar with HTML and with setting up Web pages and Web sites, you may be able to skim through the first couple of chapters to see what some of the issues in page and site design are, and you can glance through the basic HTML elements discussed in the first two or three parts. Even if you are familiar with HTML, some information in those parts may be new to you, especially some of the new HTML 4.0 information. You can then read the advanced sections on HTML, as well as the sections on other Web technologies, such as JavaScript and Java, XML, CGI, and Dynamic HTML, to determine which of those elements you want to include in your Web pages.

Platinum Edition, Using HTML 4, XML, and Java 1.2 was written with the experienced HTML programmer in mind. Your experience may be limited to a simple Web home page you threw together, or you may be designing and programming professional Web sites. Either way, you will find comprehensive coverage of HTML and other Web technologies. Throughout the book, techniques are described for creating quality, effective Web pages and Web sites.

How This Book Is Organized

Part I: Design

Chapter 1, "Web Site Design," discusses the issues concerned with how to establish a consistent look-and-feel and how to organize your Web pages so that they come together to form a coherent whole.

Chapter 2, "Web Page Design," gives you an overview of some of the issues that need to be considered when designing and laying out your Web pages.

Part II: HTML and Graphics

Chapter 3, "HTML 4.0 Tag Reference," gives you a quick reference to all the HTML 4.0 tags in a format that is easy to understand and use.

Chapter 4, "Imagemaps," shows how graphics can be used as imagemaps-graphic navigation aids formatted to enable the user to link to other URLs by clicking sections of the graphic. The chapter discusses both server-side and client-side imagemaps.

Chapter 5, "Advanced Graphics," talks about the basic HTML tags used to include graphics in an HTML document and discusses the graphics formats and display options supported. The chapter also discusses some of the many uses of graphics.

Chapter 6, "Tables," discusses the use of HTML tables, both to present data and information in a tabular format and also to achieve great control of the relative placement and alignment of HTML text, images, and other objects.

Chapter 7, "Frames," shows you how to split the Web browser window into frames and how to use each to display a different HTML document. Some of the potential uses of frames are also shown and discussed.

Chapter 8, "Forms," discusses HTML forms-the primary way that user input and interactivity are currently supported in Web pages.

Chapter 9, "Style Sheets," takes a look at a recommended and increasingly popular formatting option available in HTML: Cascading Style Sheets. Style sheets are a way of setting up a custom document template that gives the Web page author a great deal more control over how Web pages will look to those viewing the pages.

Chapter 10, "Microsoft FrontPage Components," discusses the additional capabilities you can add to your Web pages by using Microsoft's FrontPage components (formerly known as Web bots) and a Web server with the FrontPage Extensions installed.


Chapter 11, "Introduction to XML," introduces you to XML-a new markup language that has the potential to provide increased capabilities for formatting information for the Web, the Internet, and beyond.

Chapter 12, "Anatomy of an XML Document," takes you through the different parts of an XML document and gives you a feel for the purpose of the parts.

Chapter 13, "Creating XML Documents," goes into greater depth in the creation of XML content and gives you some simple examples of what you can achieve using XML.

Chapter 14, "Creating XML Document Type Definitions," discusses the syntax of an XML Document Type Definition (DTD), which enables you to define your own tags for marking up XML content.

Chapter 15, "XML Characters, Notations, and Entities," describes the XML notions of characters, notations, and entities and shows you how you can use them to make it easier to create XML documents.

Chapter 16, "XML DTD and Document Validation," shows you how to use some of the existing XML software tools to validate your XML documents and DTDs.

Chapter 17, "CDF and Active Desktop Components," describes Microsoft's Channel Definition Format standard and its relation to XML. This standard enables you to configure an HTML document or other Web browser object to become a live, dynamic component right on a user's desktop.

Part IV: JavaScript

Chapter 18, "Introduction to JavaScripting," discusses Netscape's JavaScript Web browser scripting language and shows some of the uses to which you can put it in a Web page.

Chapter 19, "The Web Browser Object Model," discusses the object model included with Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. That object model enables you to use scripting languages to interact with HTML documents.

Chapter 20, "Manipulating Windows and Frames with JavaScript," shows you how to use JavaScript to create and use Web browser windows, dynamically generate HTML documents, and manipulate and cross-communicate between multiple windows and frames.

Chapter 21, "Using JavaScript to Create Smart Forms," shows you how you can use JavaScript to pre-process information entered into HTML forms and thus ensure that only valid data is submitted to the Web server.

Chapter 22, "Cookies and State Maintenance," shows you how to interface with and manipulate Web browser cookies with JavaScript. This enables you to remember information from one page to another in a Web site and across multiple visits to a Web site from a single user.

Chapter 23, "Using JavaScript to Control Web Browser Objects," shows you how you can use Netscape's LiveConnect and Microsoft's ActiveX technologies to access and manipulate Java applets, plug-in content, ActiveX Controls, and other objects through JavaScript.

Part V: Dynamic HTML

Chapter 24, "Introduction to Dynamic HTML," introduces you to the Dynamic HTML implementations of Netscape and Microsoft-two very different ways of adding increased animation and interactivity to Web pages.

Chapter 25, "Advanced Netscape Dynamic HTML," goes into greater depth to show you more of Netscape's version of Dynamic HTML, centered around Netscape's use of manipulating style sheet attributes, the nonstandard <LAYER> tag, and Netscape's downloadable font technology.

Chapter 26, "Advanced Microsoft Dynamic HTML," explores the set of Web technologies that Microsoft has dubbed Dynamic HTML, including extensions to Microsoft's Web Browser Object Model and the use of ActiveX Controls and other Web browser objects to implement new capabilities to Microsoft's Web browser.

Chapter 27, "Cross-Browser Dynamic HTML," discusses techniques to create Dynamic HTML Web pages that can be successfully viewed using either Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Part VI: CGI and Server-Side Processing

Chapter 28, "Programming CGI Scripts," describes the basics of the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and how you can use programs, scripts, and processes that can be run on the Web server with Web browsers.

Chapter 29, "Custom Database Query Scripts," discusses database processing that can be done at the server to provide an interactive user interface over the Internet between someone using a Web browser and a central store of information.

Chapter 30, "Web Database Tools," discusses some of the tools and utilities you can use to set up databases for access over the Web.

Chapter 31, "Indexing and Adding an Online Search Engine," goes through the steps and software necessary to add an online search engine to your Web site that will give your users quick and ready access to anything on your site.

Chapter 32, "Server-Side Includes," explains server-side includes (SSI)—what they are, how they are used, and some sample applications that show them in action.

Chapter 33, "Active Server Pages and VBScript," discusses the Active Server Pages component of Microsoft's Internet Information Server Web server, and how you can use it to dynamically configure and tailor the output of your Web site according to the capabilities of your clients. It also discusses Microsoft's VBScript scripting language, which can be used with the ASP technology.

Chapter 34, "Using ColdFusion," covers Allaire's ColdFusion, a development tool for writing Web-based applications that communicate with server-side, ODBC-compliant databases.

Chapter 35, "Server-Side Security Issues," discusses in much greater depth the security issues involved with running and using server-side processing. The discussion also examines what to do with bad data and how to help ensure the safety of your server against malevolent attacks.

Part VII: Java

Chapter 36, "Introduction to Java," gives you an overview of the latest on Java and the technologies that support it. It includes a discussion of all the new features in Java 1.2, as well as security and performance enhancements.

Chapter 37, "Developing Java Applets," discusses the basics of designing, writing, and debugging Java applets by using a variety of software development tools.

Chapter 38, "User Input and Interactivity with Java," examines how you can use Java applets to add another way of soliciting user input and adding interactivity between Web pages and users.

Chapter 39, "Graphics and Animation," shows some of the graphics capabilities of Java and how you can use Java to create both static and dynamic images within a Web page.

Chapter 40, "Network Programming," explains how you can use Java sockets to interface Java applets with other sources of data and information anywhere on the Internet.

Chapter 41, "Security," explains some of the special security issues related to writing, providing, and running Java applets over the Web.


Appendix A, "JavaScript 1.2 Language Reference," provides a reference to the properties, functions, and statements included in the JavaScript language.

Appendix B, "What's on the CD-ROM," describes the software, utilities, code, and documentation available on the CD-ROM that accompanies this book.

Special Features in the Book

Que has more than a decade of experience in writing and developing the most successful computer books available. With that experience, we've learned what special features help readers most. Look for the following special features throughout the book to enhance your learning experience:


Notes present interesting or useful information that isn't necessarily essential to the discussion. This secondary track of information enhances your understanding of Windows, but you can safely skip Notes and not be in danger of missing crucial information. Notes look like the following:


Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 supports the inline display of Windows Bitmap (.BMP) graphics in addition to GIFs and JPEGs.


Tips present advice on quick or often overlooked procedures. These include shortcuts that save you time. A Tip looks like the following:


Using an asterisk (*) as the value of your ALT attribute gives users with nongraphical browsers a bulletlike character in front of each list item.


Cautions serve to warn you about potential problems that a procedure may cause, about unexpected results and mistakes to avoid. Cautions look like the following:


Don't let an animation run indefinitely. An animation that's running constantly can be a distraction from the rest of the content on your page.


No matter how carefully you follow the steps in the book, you eventually come across something that just doesn't work the way you think it should. Troubleshooting sections anticipate these common errors or hidden pitfalls and present solutions. A Troubleshooting section looks like the following:


A small, hyperlinked line appeared at the bottom right of my linked images. How do I get rid of it?

Your problem most likely stems from HTML code such as the following:

<A HREF="author.html">
<IMG SRC="ericzack.jpg" WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=400 ALT="Eric and Zack">

By having a carriage return after the <IMG> tag but before the </A> tag, you often get an extraneous line at the bottom-right corner of the linked image (see Figure 5.10). By placing the </A> tag immediately after the <IMG> tag

<A HREF="author.html">
<IMG SRC="ericzack.jpg" WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=400 ALT="Eric and Zack">

it should take care of that annoying little line.

On the Web References

Throughout this book, you will find On the Web references that point you to World Wide Web addresses where you can find additional information about topics. On the Web references look like the following:

On the Web

http://hoohoo.ncsa.uiuc. edu/ This site is the home of the NCSA Web server, providing complete documentation that will help you configure the NCSA server.

Cross References

Throughout the book, you will see references to other sections, chapters, and pages in the book. These cross references point you to related topics and discussion in other parts of the book. Cross references look like the following:


See "Web Browser Object Model," p. 461.

Other Features

In addition to the previous special features, several conventions are used in this book to make it easier to read and understand.

Shortcut Key Combinations In this book, shortcut key combinations are joined with plus signs. Ctrl+V, for example, means hold down the Ctrl key while you press the V key.

Typefaces This book also has the following typeface enhancements to indicate special text, as shown in the following table:

italicItalic is used to indicate new terms.
computer typeThis typeface is used for onscreen messages, commands, and code. It is also used to indicate text you type and locators in the online world.computer italic typeThis typeface is used to indicate placeholders in code and commands.

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