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Special Edition Using Jscript

chapter 18 -- Development Tools for JScript and Live Content

Chapter 18

Development Tools for JScript and Live Content


CONTENTS

In Chapter 11, "More About Java," you learned about some of the tools you can use to develop Java applets. And in Chapter 13, "More About ActiveX," you learned about the ActiveX SDK. This chapter expands on those tools by introducing you to the tools you need in order to develop great Web pages with HTML, ActiveX, JScript, and Java.

Some of these tools are absolutely free; others are shareware programs that you can try free for a while. You pay for them only if you decide to keep and use them. Other tools described in this chapter are commercial products that you can get through commercial channels such as your corner computer superstore.

JavaScript Examples

The Internet is loaded with JavaScript (Microsoft calls it JScript) examples. In many cases, you can use those examples without worrying too much about copyright infringement. If in doubt at all, however, check with the original authors before you use their script in your Web page. If nothing else, you can rely on the scripts that you find on the Internet for inspiration when writing your own scripts. The following are some suggestions for finding scripts you can use:

Microsoft Technologies

Most of the truly useful ActiveX and JScript development tools are from Microsoft. This section describes some of those tools, including the following:

ActiveX Control Pad
Microsoft FrontPage
Microsoft Visual J++
Microsoft Visual Source Safe
Microsoft Visual C++

ActiveX Control Pad

The ActiveX Control Pad is a must-have utility if you're using ActiveX controls and JScript. It's an authoring tool that lets you automatically add ActiveX controls to your Web page-no hand-coding OBJECT tags, no hand-coding PARAM tags, just point and click, that's all. Take a look at Figure 18.1.

Figure 18.1 : The ActiveX Control Pad makes creating ActiveX Web pages much, much easier.

The ActiveX Control Pad also helps you easily create JScript language scripts. In the Script Wizard, you associate an object's events with an object's properties and methods. Figure 18.2 shows you an example of associating a button's Click event with the Window object's alert method.

Figure 18.2 : You choose the properties and methods from the right pane that you want to associate with the events in the left pane.

You'll learn everything you want to know about the ActiveX Control Pad in Chapter 19, "The ActiveX Control Pad." You'll learn how to download a free copy. You'll also learn how to use it to insert controls into your Web pages, create scripts using the Script Wizard, and use the HTML Layout control to create two-dimensional regions in your Web page.

Microsoft FrontPage

Microsoft FrontPage is the ultimate HTML editor. The best part is that you don't have to know one lick of HTML in order to use it for creating great Web sites. It's much more than just a pretty HTML editor, though; it's a tool you can use to manage your entire Web site. FrontPage contains the following two components:

You can purchase Microsoft FrontPage at any computer retailer. You can get more information about FrontPage at Microsoft's Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage.

Figure 18.3 : With FrontPage's server extensions, you can automatically stage and post your HTML files onto your Web server.

Note
A good alternative to Microsoft FrontPage is Adobe PageMill. It's a similar product that makes creating Web pages easy for those who are not programmers. For example, it works just like a word processor, so you'll be immediately familiar with many of its features. You create links by dragging an icon representing an URL and dropping it on an anchor. You even use a WYSIWYG editor to create tables. You can find more information about Adobe PageMill at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/pagemill/main.html.

Microsoft Visual J++

Microsoft has thrown its hat into the Java ring with Visual J++. This is Microsoft's first-rate development environment for Java Developers. Visual J++ is a comprehensive development tool you can use to build software components for the Internet. Following are some of the highlights of Microsoft J++:

You can purchase Visual J++ at most computer stores. You can also learn more about Microsoft Visual J++ at their Web site. Open http://www.microsoft.com/visualj in your Web browser.

Microsoft Visual SourceSafe

If you've built a Web site of any magnitude, you probably have dozens or hundreds of HTML files. Not to mention hundreds of graphics files. What's worse, you probably have more than one person working on those files, too. You need something to help you manage all those files. Keep all the different versions straight and manage conflicts between the different developers, artists, and the like. Take a look at Figure 18.4.

Figure 18.4 : Visual SourceSafe's user interface looks very similar to Windows Explorer.

Visual SourceSafe is precisely the right tool. It's a project-oriented version control system that manages your source files and the activities of the developers who work on them. When you want to work on a file, you check it out. This locks the file so that no one else can change it. Then, when you're finished with the file, you check it back in-unlocking the file. Visual SourceSafe keeps track of all the different versions so that you can keep a history of what's changed in the file. You can even roll back to a different version of the file if you make a mistake.

Note
Visual SourceSafe makes sharing files between multiple Web sites easy. You have one copy of a file that you share between multiple sites. Then, when you make a change to the file, that change is automatically reflected in all of the sites that share the file.

You can get more information about Visual SourceSafe from Microsoft's Web site. Open http://www.microsoft.com/ssafe in your Web browser.

Microsoft Visual C++

Currently, the only tool you can use to develop ActiveX controls is Microsoft's Visual C++, shown in Figure 18.5. You also need the ActiveX SDK, which you learned about in Chapter 13, "More About ActiveX."

Figure 18.5 : Microsoft Visual C++ contains a great editor, debugger, classes browser, resource editor, and more .

There are two ways to build ActiveX controls using Visual C++:

You've learned about some of the shareware HTML editors on the Internet. This section describes some of the shareware Java tools you can download and try out.

CafeBabe

URL: http://members.aol.com/opensolinc/opensolution.html

CafeBabe is a freeware Java tool that you can use to view the revision, super class name, and methods in a class file.

ED

URL: http://www.getsoft.com

This is an evaluation copy of ED, which is an integrated development environment for Java.

Jamba

URL: http://www.aimtech.com/prodjahome.html

This is an evaluation copy of Jamba, which is a Java tool you can use to create Java applets without knowing much about Java programming.

Java JDKDeveloper's Kit

URL: http://java.sun.com/JDK-1.0/index.html

The Java Developer's Kit, from Sun Microsystems, is the standard for Java. It's freeware, too. You can use it with most of the shareware Java environments you see in this chapter or find it on the Internet.

Java IDE for Windows 95

URL: http://www.opennet.com/NetXS/index11.html

Java IDE for Windows 95 is a freeware integrated development environment for creating Java applets.

JavaPad

URL: http://www.csn.net/express

JavaPad is an editor you can use with Sun's Java Development Kit (http://java.sun.com/JDK). You can edit, compile, debug, and run Java applets within JavaPad. Tracking down errors is easy with JavaPad, too.

Shareware HTML Editors

The Web is just crawling with shareware HTML editors. Some of them are high-class, commercial-quality products. Others are kind of junky, but they have features that make them worthwhile anyway. This section describes some of the most popular HTML editors.

Note
I've listed only the most notable HTML editors in this section. You'll find a comprehensive list of editors at Tucows, however. Open http://www.tucows.com in your Web browser for more information.

1-4-All

URL: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/minibbjd

1-4-All is a shareware HTML editor that comes with a wizard for creating frames and a table editor. It also has some predefined JavaScripts.

Almost Reality

URL: http://www.lm.com/~pdixon/index.html

Almost Reality is a freeware HTML editor for Windows 95.

DerekWare HTML Author

URL: http://shell.masterpiece.com:80/derek

DerekWare is a freeware HTML editor that supports all of the Internet Explorer HTML extensions. It has wizards for images, marquees, links, and forms. You can also add your own tags.

Dummy

URL: http://www.sausage.com/dumy.htm

Dummy is a shareware utility published by Sausage Software (see HotDog Professional) that works more like a wizard. It provides step-by-step help for creating your home page from a predetermined style.

FlexED for Windows 95

URL: http://www.infoflex.com.au/flexed.htm

FlexED for Windows 95 is a highly rated shareware HTML editor. You can edit the HTML directly, using dialog boxes to set the attributes for each tag. It also provides a lot of wizards to format your Web page for you automatically, based upon how you answer the questions. You can use this HTML editor even if you don't know one lick of HTML.

HotDog Professional

URL: http://www.sausage.com

HotDog Professional is one of the single best shareware HTML editors available on the Internet. It has an easy-to-use user interface, and provides wizards to simplify your job. It also has features that Microsoft hasn't yet started to dream about, such as a built-in animation editor. It contains JavaScript language scripts that you can use to add special effects to your Web page.

HomeSite

URL: http://www.dexnet.com/homesite.htm

HomeSite is a basic shareware HTML editor that does HTML 3.0. It has some nice features in it, such as multifile search and replace and a Windows Explorer-like view of your HTML files.

HTML Edit

URL: http://www.iac.net/~afi/htmledit/htmledit.html

HTML Edit is an easy-to-use freeware HTML editor. It's a good choice for beginners.

HTML Express

URL: http://www.pe.net/~coolkev/htmlexpress.html

HTML Express is a shareware wizard-type program that creates HTML pages in a snap. If you don't want to mess with a bunch of HTML tags, you should give this one a try.

HTMLPad

URL: http://www.intermania.com/~imania

HTMLPad is a simple shareware HTML editor. It looks a lot like Notepad, but is geared toward editing HTML files.

INP

URL: http://inp.harbinger.net/products/index.htm

INP is a great tool to create a corporate Web page quickly. You answer a questionnaire, which is industry-specific, and INP generates an eight-page Web site as a result. It comes with a bunch of predefined graphics you can use on your Web site, including backgrounds and icons.

WebThing

URL: http://www.arachnoid.com/lutusp/webthing.htm

WebThing is a highly regarded HTML utility. It covers text and tables, and outlines into HTML instantly.