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How to use HTML 3.2

Chapter 18 -- The Future of HTML

Chapter 18

The Future of HTML


The Internet moves rapidly, and the World Wide Web is the fastest growing segment. It is evolving so quickly, in fact, that several significant changes to the Web and HTML were announced during the development of this book.

In this chapter, you'll get a sneak peek at some of the future directions of the World Wide Web. These include exciting advances such as Shockwave, the Adobe Acrobat Amber reader, and the Java programming language. You'll also learn how HTML plays a crucial role in bringing all these new technologies together on the World Wide Web.

Finally, because the Web is a constantly changing landscape, you'll learn the best places to turn for keeping updated with the newest and coolest Internet technology.


Java is a very exciting new development on the World Wide Web. It is a complete programming language, developed by Sun Microsystems and designed specifically for creating interactive applications on the Internet. Java has the potential to revolutionize the ways in which the World Wide Web is used.

Java is a simple, platform-independent, object-oriented language. That means Java applets-minature applications-can be run on any machine with a Java-capable browser. In other words, the same Java application can be run on a PC, Mac, or UNIX workstation. Java is based on C++, and experienced programmers can learn it very quickly. Java also includes many security features designed to protect end-user systems and data.

Java is still in its early stages, and its full potential probably won't be realized for at least a few months. In the meantime, here are some examples of cool things that Java can do.

Tip Sheet

  1. Java allows you to create both simple and complex animations. You can even create interactive animated 3-D models. For a list of 3-D Java applets, visit Gamelan, the directory and registry of Java resources at http:\\
  2. With Java, you can create complex interactive graphical applications, such as this Impressionist paint program. Java's interpreted language, modeled after C++, gives programmers very powerful tools for designing Web-based interactive applications.

    Figure 18.1 :

  3. You can build real-time interactive games on the Web. Although Java is not well suited for graphics-intensive games, you can create a number of simple games with this language.

    Figure 18.2 :

  4. You can create a scrolling text billboard, much like a stock quote ticker. This works on the same principle as Microsoft's Internet Explorer <MARQUEE> HTML extension, but with considerably more flexibility.

    Figure 18.3 :

  5. You can use Java applets as educational tools. Fully interactive and animated tutorials can be placed on the Web using Java.

    Figure 18.4 :

  6. You can easily embed a Java applet inside your HTML document. Simply place an <APPLET> and </APPPLET> tag pair in your document. The <APPLET> tag requires the URL of the Java applet, which is specified using the CODE attribute.

    Figure 18.5 :


New technologies are finding their way onto the World Wide Web at an unprecedented rate. Popular Web browsers, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, allow third-party plug-ins that enable different file formats, including interactive movies, which can be viewed from inside Web browsers, instead of downloaded and viewed with external applications.

The wide array of available plug-ins provides many new opportunities for HTML authors, but it can also cause headaches. Although most of the plug-ins are freely available, only a limited number of browsers support them. Also, there's no guarantee tht those visiting your Web page have installed the necessary plug-in modules to view the contents of your HTML documents. If you plan to use content that requires a plug-in module, be sure to explain what's needed to fully view your document and provide the necessary links to the plug-in downloads.

Here's a brief look at some of the more popular plug-ins available for Netscape.

Tip Sheet

  1. VRML, which is short for Virtual Reality Modeling Language, is a standard scripting language for building interactive 3-D worlds on the World Wide Web. VRML worlds work like HTML pages, except that instead of relying on static links to move from page to page, users of VRML navigate through a site in real time. WebFX from Paper Software is a VRML plug-in for Netscape browsers. It is available at

    Figure 18.6 :

  2. The Amber plug-in for Netscape allows users to read Adobe Acrobat .PDF files from inside the Netscape browser. PDF, which is short for Portable Document Format, is a popular cross-platform document format on the Internet. It allows authors to create a very specific layout for their documents, complete with fonts and graphics. This type of document previously required a separate external viewer, but the Amber plug-in now makes .PDF files viewable directly from Netscape. You can download the Amber plug-in from Adobe's Web site at

    Figure 18.7 :

  3. The Corel CMX plug-in allows the Netscape browser to view Corel CMX format vector graphics files directly in the Netscape browser window. Vector graphics files are resizable without image quality loss. The plug-in allows you to view CMX files separately or inside an HTML document with the <EMBED> tag. For example, to include a reference to a CMX vector file in your document, you would type <EMBED SRC="filename.cmx" width=100 height=100>, replacing the height and width attributes with your desired values. Users would need to have the CMX viewer plug-in installed to see the image in your document. You can download the CMX viewer from the Corel Web site at

    Figure 18.8 :

  4. Macromedia's Shockwave plug-in is one of the most exciting add-ons available for Netscape. Shockwave allows HTML authors to incorporate Macromedia Director movies into their HTML documents. Anyone with the Shockwave plug-in can automatically view the movies, which allow for interactive feedback from the user. To download the Shockwave plug-in or learn more about incorporating Director movies into your HTML documents, visit Macromedia's Web site at
  5. You can incorporate video into your HTML documents with VDOLive, which compresses video images without compromising quality on the receiving end. VDOLive automatically determines the quality of the video, measured in frames per second, based on the speed of the reader's Internet connection.

    Figure 18.9 :