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DR. WEBSITE: Tables and Frames For Positioning Text; Java Downloads

By David Fiedler and Scott Clark

Dear Dr. Website®: In the Dec. 15, 1997, issue of Web Week, a writer asks for a way to have the very first line of text closer to the top of the browser. Your recommendation was either absolute positioning (only supported by the latest, greatest browsers), style sheets (only Internet Explorer really supports these well, and not fully), layers (only NS4), or using the <DIV> tag (which has significantly different results in Netscape Navigator and Explorer).

One solution you failed to mention, and I think it's one that deserves a mention, is the use of tables and frames.

By creating one large frame you can set the margins of the page, and by using a table (or nested tables) in that page (with blank images as spacers if necessary) you can control, with precision, the placement of images and other items. Although not all browsers support frames, they are more widely supported than layers or stylesheets, and they open a site up to a wider potential audience.

By adding the <NOFRAMES> tag and simply making a few minor adjustments to that area alone, anyone would have access to the information without having to build different versions of the same site.

I've implemented this successfully (www.infoseniors. com), if you care to view the source and see exactly what I mean. The title graphic on this page is positioned at the top left without the need for 4.0 enhancements. Anyone viewing the site in an older [non-frames- capable] browser simply sees the same image nudged down and over the normal 15 or 16 pixels.

Kim Stosiak webmaster@panacea.axess.com
Panacea Graphix

Thanks, Kim--great tip!

This is indeed a good way to place your images closer to the actual top of the browser window. Remember to use TARGET="_top" on all your links within that page so that the new page will take up the entire window, not just one of the "frames."

While we're waiting for the rest of the world to start using the latest browsers, it's important to remember that often there is a hack that will work in the meantime.

Dear Dr. Website®: I've placed some Java applets on my site for visitors to download and use on their own pages, in much the same manner as you do on your Java Boutique site.

Up until the time the latest release of Netscape's browser came out, I had no problems. I didn't have to set anything up so the server could send the .class files to our visitors. But now I've gotten several complaints from readers telling me that whenever they try to download the .class files to use on their own system, the server inexplicably sends the files to them with an .exe extension. I haven't changed anything on my end, so what's going on?

We've also had some complaints from readers trying to download files from the Java Boutique. The problem seems to lie in the newest release of Netscape's Communicator browser. As you say, when you try to download a file ending in .class, Netscape downloads it with an .exe extension.

What you can do is to notify your readers that if they experience this problem, they should hold down the Shift key, and then click the link to download the .class file. They will then be able to save the file with the correct extension, and they shouldn't have any problems with it.

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Keywords: design, java
Date: 19980112

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