In this chapter we are going to briefly go through all the little extras that you can add to your web site. These are the kinds of things that can make your web site stand out from the crowd. There is a lot of hype about the world wide web when for the most part it is just a lot of writing. What people are striving to make the web is a fully interactive media and we already have a lot of tools to help us do this. We will go through them in this chapter, we will also go through other features of the web like sound and video.
Multimedia has become a buzzword in computing recently so why not let those with sound cards listen to some background music while they view your page. These mostly take the form of WAV files, you must be careful that they are not too large. To make your page play some background music you add the following tags
<EMBED SRC="music.wav" AUTOSTART="true" HIDDEN="true"></EMBED>
Although at the moment the closest you can get to displaying a video on your page is to use an
animated gif you can add download links to movie files just like you can to any kind of file using
<A HREF="any_file.*">A file of any type.</A>
This relies on the person downloading the file having the application needed to run the file, you could always give links to download these as well. In the case of video there are 3 formats. The most popular is QuickTime, which was developed by Apple. Mpeg is a sophisticated format that compresses the images, this makes it ideal for the internet but they need fast machines to run them. On my 50 MHz machine they are very slow. Avi I think was developed by Microsoft, these run fine on my machine but I don't think they compress the image.
Java is a programming language that creates programs that can run on any computer and that can be embedded in web pages. They can be used to make your site truly interactive. If you want to create your own Java programs you need to learn the language which requires a certain amount of skill. You can however download a compiler for free from sun who developed the language. This beats other languages where the compiler can set you back over £100 and that's if you've found a bargain. I'm hoping to write a Garsonix Guide to Java as soon as I fully get the hang of the language. If you can't program to save your life there are many places on the web where you can find java applets up for grabs. An applet is the name of a java program that embeds into a web page.
These like java let you embed programs into your web page but you don't need a compiler, you just write it straight into your page. Java Script works in all the latest browsers where as VB Script only works on Microsoft's browser. There are lots of resources on the web where you can find java and VB scripts.
Microsoft slipped up in the internet market because they failed to develop an internet programming language before java beat them to the post. They're fighting back with ActiveX although I'm not an expert and I don't know how it betters java if it does. It does only run on Microsoft Internet Explorer 3. You need to be able to program to do it.
That about sums it up for most of the extra bits the web has to offer. As for future developments, who knows and I'm not sure how you keep track of it all, just do your best and read about the net.