CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Win a Full Year Subscription To Community MX!

Create a site from any of our JumpStarts and submit its URL to JScontest@communitymx.com. Anyone can enter to win. Of course, non-members can use any JumpStart they like, but if you want to do it on the cheap, they can use either Santorini or our other free JumpStart, North Pole. You can enter with either a newly created or previously created JumpStart site.

A panel of CMX partners will judge the entries by the following criteria:

  • Adaptation of the JumpStart design
  • Suitability of design to the site content
  • Validity of all CSS/XHTML code
  • Accessibility

The winner will receive a one year subscription to CMX and have the design featured on the front page of Community MX. We will also display the design of a runner up on our front page.

You can read a Santorini/contest article with the contest rules and deadlines, a rubric that clarifies the judging criteria, a Santorini modification, and valuable tips on adapting Santorini for your own designs.

Head over to our CMX JumpStarts chart to see all of the great designs that are available to you. JumpStarts range in price from $19.99 to $45.00 and whether or not you win the contest, you'll have a winning JumpStart on your next website! Since announcing this last week, we've received quite a few entries, and we're looking forward to having even more to choose from.

Still Time To Get In On Max 2006

Adobe's MAX 2006 conference is coming up later this month, but there's still time to register. MAX is a fantastic resource for developers, as well as an opportunity to meet like-minded people to learn from. Three Community MX authors are scheduled to speak so far: Tom Green, Stephanie Sullivan and Sheri German - so clearly it's going to be excellent. For more reasons to go, watch this video on Adobe's site about why people like MAX. Coincidentally, CMX author Danilo Celic is first up in the video.

Flash 9 Beta Is Out

You can try out the Flash 9 Beta by downloading from the Adobe Labs section. This version allows you to throw your Flash movie into full screen mode via ActionScript or through object and embed tags within your html. You can choose to maintain proportional ratios using the Scalemode parameter, so your movie won't look skewed on the user's monitor. As Tom Green says, "This is a doozy!"

Tom Green Likes Flashing

Tom Green, Community MX author, is a force that cannot be contained simply within the walls of CMX. Sometimes he needs to get his angst out through other avenues. In this article at Digital-Web.com, Tom talks about the rise of Flash Video, and how it has left Quicktime and Media Player in the dust when it comes to displaying video on the web. Tom starts his article by recounting the story about when he told a bunch of avid Apple geeks that Quicktime was obsolete. That was in 2003, and it looks like Tom has been proven correct. If you agree, please don't tell him, because we'll have to rent another office for his ego... Don't believe us? Since writing that article at Digital-Web, he's already told us how some websites like Poynter.org and TechMeme.com have linked to his article. Great. Now he's going to want a raise...

Do You Want Small, Medium or Portly Windows?

The price scheme for Windows Vista have been announced. What are those prices? It depends on what flavor of Windows you want. Are you looking for basic Windows, business Windows, premium Windows, or maybe even Ultimate Windows? Each version comes at a different cost, so the cash coming out of your wallet depends on what your needs are as a Windows user. The full versions of each product will run anywhere from $385 (Home) to $751 (Ultimate). Upgrade prices have not yet been announced, so we'll have to stay tuned for that. Check out further explanation of the pricing at Australianit.news.com.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "I've been a member for a couple of weeks now and I'm just blown away by CMX. This is absolutely the best value in web instruction I've ever seen. I've got a pile of books on top of my desk and I wish I'd spent that money joining CMX months ago! I'm particularly impressed with Adrian Senior and have gone through a couple of his multi-part tutorials (I'm a newbie!). Thanks for your help. You guys rock!"

    - Jim H., CMX Subscriber, commenting on Adrian Senior's ,
    From Concept to Cross-Media Compatibility series.

    Whether you're just starting out or need advanced support, Community MX will give you answers and ideas to work through your tough issues. Don't miss out. Learn more about CMX or sign up for a free trial today!

Great Quotes:

"My main reason for adopting literature as a profession was that, as the author is never seen by his clients, he need not dress respectably." - George Bernard Shaw

Google May Have Its Hands Full With YouTube

You probably heard that Google bought YouTube.com for a cool $1.65 billion. As we mentioned in last week's newsletter, some people are speculating that whoever decided to buy Google would probably be faced with copyright litigation from media organizations that don't want their content on YouTube's website. Although Google is huge, and getting huger all the time, they have yet to be a profitable company, and one big lawsuit could do some damage. WSJ.com brought together a law professor and an economist together to discuss the ramifications involved with Google's latest purchase. Very interesting reading.

We Might See a Lot More Spam Soon. But We Might Not.

Spamhaus is an anti-spam organization that many internet providers and web hosts use to prevent spam from entering their network. They're in danger of having their domain name suspended due to their failure to comply with an 11.5 million dollar judgement against them for incorrectly identifying a particular domain as spammers. Spamhaus contends that if their domain is suspended, the result will be a significant increase in the amount of spam in your inbox. Experts beg to differ, but you can go to IBTimes.com and judge for yourself. Since the judgement took place in the US and Spamhaus is based in the UK, it's likely that Spamhaus can squeeze out of this situation.

Google Links-a-Plenty

Zoe Gillenwater, CMX author, submitted a whole bunch of Google links for the newsletter. Among there are: Google Code Search, where you can search for code on websites. Here's a funny thing: Type in "I hate IE" and see what people have commented out of their page... You can also type in "Holly Hack" to see people paying homage to the hack created by our own Holly Bergevin. Over at Builder.com, you can read about all of the gadgets that Google has released recently that you can use on your own websites. Oh- and don't forget about Google's web-based Doc and Spreadsheets, which you can read about at TechCrunch.com.

Are Your Flash Filters Unmanageable?

Manage your Flash filter settings with PixelStyles, similar to how you would manage styles in Photoshop. PixelStyles Pro will also allow you to take any PixelStyle that you have saved and export it for use in ActionScript. Joseph Balderson, CMX author and Flash Dude extraordinaire, says this is an essential tool for the Flash 8 Developer. By the way, if you're reading this, you might be interested in knowing that Colin Moock's Essential ActionScript 3.0 pre-release is available, which you can read about on Colin's blog.

Divine Intervention or Protection?

If Ivar Wenster is telling the truth, it's possible that Mother Nature has an opinion about file sharing. Ivar, who makes his home in Sweden, was being sued by Swedish authorities for file-sharing. Ivar readily admitted to having downloaded files, and in fact, he had turned himself into the authorities in the hopes that it would start a discussion about file sharing. But the case against him had to be dropped. It turns out that his computer was struck by lightening, effectively obliterating any evidence against him. Story found at TheRegister.co.uk.

CMX Image Preview 2 For Dreamweaver

  • Previewing an image in Dreamweaver can be a chore, you can waste some time firing up Fireworks or Photoshop to see what it looks like, or try using Insert Image and then browsing to the image you're interested in. Not any more...Image Preview 2, adds a menu item to the context menu of the Site panel, allowing you to easily preview an image. The updated version of Preview Image 2 adds multi-image preview as well as open in image editor functionality.

    Take a look at this Extension by CMX Partner Danilo Celic

Fun and Freebies!

Useless Link of the Day

Maybe not useless. It depends on whether or not you need a link to a whole bunch of old phone books. If you do, then we apologize and offer this link to OldTelephoneBooks.com to make amends.

Miss Those Old Video Arcades?

A lot of us grew up in video arcades. It was like a whole other world, complete with its own sounds. The sounds of Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Caterpillar, Frogger were all over and they'd stay with you long after you left the arcade. Thanks to the Arcade Ambience Project Page, you can download mps3s that will let you experience those sounds over and over. Sounds pretty neat - and it is at first - but after a while it's kind of like finding yourself on the third level of hell.

Don't Fool With Mother Nature

There's something about pictures of tornadoes that are so compelling. These pictures at Nature's Mighty Pictures are no exception. It's hard to believe that something so beautiful can be so destructive, but it doesn't stop us from looking. While we're at it, here's some amazing footage from NationalGeographic.com.

Create Pages that Fill the Browser with CSS

  • A frequently asked question in CSS forums is how to create pages that stretch vertically to fill the browser window, regardless of the amount of content. With tables, you would nest your entire design in a table with a single cell and set both the cell and table's height to be 100 percent. With CSS, it's also quite simple and easy. In this tutorial, you will learn the basic CSS technique for making pages fill the browser window, which you can also use any time you have a div that you want to stretch to fill its parent. Please note, however, that this is not a tutorial about making a footer stick to the bottom of the browser viewport or about emulating frames. These are more complicated layout requirements that may be covered in further tutorials, building on the 100 percent height technique introduced here.

    This free article by CMX Partner Zoe Gillenwater can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

dotnet

Atlas: UpdatePanel - Part 1

Heidi Bautista

The UpdatePanel class, available in Atlas, enables partial page updates. That means that you can specify the portion of the page that needs updating, based on some event being fired. For example, let's say you have a paged GridView along with all sorts of text, graphics, and nav links on your page. When the user clicks one of the GridView's page links the page posts back to get the data. The ideal situation would be for the GridView to be updated but everything else on the page to stay exactly the same and not be repainted or flicker or change in the least. The Atlas UpdatePanel control provides this functionality. And, it's remarkably easy to use, too.

cf

A Simple Multi-language ColdFusion Content Management System - Part 1 [FREE]

Tom Muck

There are various ways to create a data-driven multi-language site, but the method I will show in this article series uses an underused technique involving ColdFusion custom tags. Basically, the technique shown will turn any simple, well-formed HTML or XHTML page into a content management system with only one tag required on the page.

This first part will show the principles behind the custom tag technique. The next part will show how to implement the multi-language aspect. The third part will create an administrative interface to administer the system.

fl

Building an Animated Drop-Down Menu: Part 2

Derrick Ypenburg

We will take our basic animated menu arcchitecture we created in Part 1 and add to it it make our menu fully dynamic.

In Part 2, we are going to create a button class to populate our menu with, a data provider to specify how many buttons the menu will have, the labels for the buttons, and where the buttons will link to when pressed. We will also create some "smart" code that will size the menu mask, and calculate the animated mouse-over and mouse-off positions depending on the height of the menu.

Part 3 will wrap things up with populating our menu data from XML and some dynamic menu backgorund drawing using the drawing API.

The Building an Animated Drop-Down Menu Series:
Building an Animated Drop-Down Menu: Part 1
Building an Animated Drop-Down Menu: Part 2
Building an Animated Drop-Down Menu: Part 3 Coming Soon

css

Layout Building Blocks

Paul Davis

Create a base CSS layout structure that you can use again and again to quickly begin your web site creation. Don't re-invent the wheel each time!

js

JavaScript 202: Native Code

Rob Williams

In JavaScript 201 Paul Davis introduced the concept of a function and demonstrated how it could be used to make your code more managable and efficient. More importantly he also demonstrated how you could use a function to actually make JavaScript do something practical. This time around we're going to continue to build on that idea, but rather than creating our own functions all the time we're going to start exploring some of the functions that are included as part of the JavaScript language itself.

dw

Using Snippets Effectively in Dreamweaver 8

Zoe Gillenwater

This article builds on the introduction to snippets in Exploring the Snippets Panel in Dreamweaver by Bill Horvath. Although that article was written before the release of Dreamweaver 8, the Snippets panel remain largely unchanged, and snippets are still incredibly useful, time-saving development tools. If you've never used snippets before, please read Bill's previous article before this one. If you have used snippets, but want to learn more ways to put them to use in your development process, read this article to learn how to create your own snippets, organize them, insert them into your pages, back them up, and share them with other Dreamweaver users.

cf

Combine Gets and Posts into the Request Scope

Chaz Chumley

Have you ever worked on a large ColdFusion application and had to review previous templates to see whether or not the variables you were trying to process or validate were coming from a FORM submission or from a Query string? We'll don't feel alone, this is a common challenge when developing larger applications. Fortunately we can take advantage of the onRequestStart method within the Application.cfc to eliminate the need to check templates as we explore using the REQUEST scope to process all variables from now on by combining Gets and Posts into the Request scope..

fl

Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 3: Embedding Fonts

Joseph Balderson

Ever tried formatting a text field in flash using ActionScript, only to get all tangled up in a myriad of class properties and methods? In Parts 1 & 2 of this series we looked at how to create a text field and format it completely with code. Part 3 will examine dynamic font embedding, Part 4 will look at how to use HTML formatting, and in Part 5 will show you how to use CSS stylesheets in Flash.

The Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified Series:
Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 1: setTextFormat
Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 2: setNewTextFormat
Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 3: Embedding Fonts
Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 4: HTML Formatting Coming Soon
Dynamic Text Formatting Demystified - Part 5: Stylesheets Coming Soon

dw

CMX JumpStarts: Santorini [FREE]

Heidi Bautista

Welcome to the next design in the CMX JumpStarts series, Santorini, a sun-kissed island in legendary Greece.

View of bay of Caldera, island of Santorini, in Greece.

The Santorini JumpStart is a three-column design that leverages the entire width of the browser. The center (main content) column widens and shrinks as the user resizes his window. But the two outer columns are fixed width so your links and extra info is always visible to the user.

As always, the Santorini CMX JumpStart can be used in any way you wish. commercial or personal, and includes several tutorials and an extension.
CMX JumpStart:Santorini.
Santorini is structured to be as hack-free and straightforward as possible. So, if you've been looking for a relatively painfree way of getting started with CSS layouts this may be just the JumpStart for you.

The source PNG included with Santorini is pretty simple too in that it doesn't have any complicated images that you need to slice up and shoehorn into the design. What you get with Santorini is a starter page that uses valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 3 markup and follows WAI and Section 508 accessibility guidelines making it ready for you to customize to suit your own requirements.

Approximate download size: 2.9MB

dw

CMX Announces a JumpStart Contest and FREE JumpStart [FREE]

Sheri German

The Greek island of Santorini is considered by some to be the location of the legendary Atlantis. Atlantis still fascinates and inspires everything from literature and art to movies and music. Now, as the latest Community MX JumpStart, we hope that Santorini will inspire your Web designs, too.

Santorini is our 18th JumpStart, and we think that this is a nice "coming of age" number. To celebrate, we're going to give Santorini away for free AND hold a JumpStart contest. Read on to learn more about our latest JumpStart and to get all the contest rules.

Building a Daily Stats Page

  • A stat page can be used for an e-store, blog, ad rotater, or any other type of application where you want to track a specific series of "things" that happen each day. For example, on a blog you might track blog hits. In an e-store, you might track daily sales. For an ad rotator you might track click-throughs. This article will show how to write a query to group the daily activity in the first section, and how to display that as a graph using ColdFusion in the second section. The article will use SQL Server syntax, but could be adapted to any database. Also, the SQL code is applicable to any server model—not only ColdFusion. This is part 1 of 2.

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Tom Muck

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Joseph Balderson and Tom Green, CMX Partners.

FLV Keyframe Rate

When working with progressive FLV's, it's best to encode them with a frequent keyframe rate on par with the fps of your FLA so that the seek control in the FLVPlayback component will work smoothly. Another method is to encode them by setting your keyframes exactly one second apart. This way your seek is even more accurate.

Would you like your tip published? Submit it to tips@communitymx.com.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the next CMX newsletter!