Word Count Total ~   ___1791___

How article actually appeared in Net4TV Voice
Vox Populi, Vox Dei - Vol 2, Issue 8 (#34) - July 4, 1999

ADH-HH Tips & Tools

Customizing Backgrounds and Enhancing "Mailto"

edited by:eric b. krigger

Greetings!! This issue I thought I'd briefly introduce myself to the readers and explain a little about our articles. I've been editing the previous ADH-HH Tips & Tools articles. From research done by one or more members of the committe, and/or my own research and/or knowledge on a particlular tip, we put together what we hope is a fairly broad background and/or further info on a tip. We now include a hyperlink byline. You may want to use this to offer any feedback in case any of the information we provide is erroneous in some way. Occasionally, when the well runs dry of submitted tips, I delve into my own limited knowledge of webmastering to fill out the remainder of an article.

....If you know of any helpful web page building methods, or have any tip, shortcut, tool, etc. that you'd like featured in a future article, use this form to submit it. Any level of tip is sought since our readers cover a wide range of experience.

In the mean time, giving the rest of the committee a break for the holiday, & wishing all of you a safe & sane Fourth of July, here's a tip from one of our readers about background modification. Below that is another tip from my "vast" :~)) vault of knowledge, also on background modification. And another from my "vault."

Intermediate Tip : Modifying Backgrounds
   ~submitted by: 
Linda  [ email ]~
"I have found a lot of border backgrounds that are pretty but do not like the color of the main page. You can take it to Image Magick and change the color quickly and easily. (To do this) enter the url then click view. Click where it says method. Click on replace. Enter the color you would like where it says color. Click on the part of the border background you want to change. Click output. Where it says format: click gif or jpg. Click single file, then output. Then transload. I hope I explained that well enough. :-) "

Advanced Tip : Customizing Backgrounds
   ~submitted by: 
ericB  [ email ]~
Tuann's Anchorback.gif You've found a background "image" you like. When you use it, it "tiles" to fill out your background (as it is supposed to do). Unfortunately, it looks a bit crowded or "busy," to you at least. Okay, you could try to contact the creator of the background tile and have them make a customized tile for you so it fills your background to your desire. Many WebTVers who create backgrounds may welcome this. Even so, they could become overwhelmed by requests, and then what do you do? Well, I'd like to share a "simple" edit/customization tip that can be done over the web, without a computer.

I believe most backgrounds are initially created by a computer. Unless the background is specifically made to fill the screen, it will "tile" when you use it. Basically this means that it will repeat itself or place copies of the image side-by-side and row-by-row until it fills up the background. This tip basically involves specifying a particular placement &/or spacing of the tiles by creating a full page background. It's a bit like baking a cake, quite a few steps, but it can be done. First, the ingredients: 1. blank/transparent full page background (about 544 x 1000); 2. background tile like those found at Tuanna's backgrounds or on Draac's web site; 3. Star Blvd Transloader (or a similar tool); and 4. The WebTV Utility (or a similar utility) or this Image Magick page & Net Mechanic. Before starting, make sure you transload the transparent background and backgrond tile to your own site. In doing so, make sure you (1) name it something easy to remember (e.g. "blankbg.gif," "bgtile.gif," etc.) and optionally (2) save them to the same directory on your web site. You should assign the transloader and the utility (or Image Magick & Net Mechanic) to f-keys for easier use & to follow how I present it here.

If I had just used the <body background="http://...bgtile.gif" ....> I would have gotten about six instances of my image in a row & each row starting right below the previous row. I only wanted four images per row, & a space equal to 1/2 the height of the bgtile.gif between rows.

You now have one complete row of your background. Select "output" tab [format=gif checkbox; storage type=single file radio button; then click "output" button] & Transload/Save this to bgrow.gif on your directory. You might want to run bgrow.gif through the optimizer to see if it can be optimized more, just in case. VOILA!!

ADDITIONAL INFO   If I'm correct, 544 is the maximum background width to use for WebTV viewing without it causing unfortunate glitches. 1500 is the maximum height Image Magick will accept.

For a more customized background, you could create a staggered bgtile.gif effect. In the above example, initially resize your blankbg.gif to 600 x 300, for example, so you can make a 2-row bgrow.gif. Use Image Magick's "crop" to create 1/2 of bgtile.gif which will start at the left edge of the second row & one to end at the right edge. The next image will start @ 100,150. Your last rows will still be entered @ 0,900.

Intermediate Tip : Setting "Mailto" Subject Line
   ~submitted by: 
ericB  [ email ]~
"Did you ever get mail from someone you didn't know and you accidentally deleted it but it was from one of your "mailto" links on one of your pages? This tip helps you determine exactly which section of your site or which of your several sites a person clicked on to e-mail you. You can add a subject line to your "mailto" code that specifies what section or site that particular "mailto" code was located. The format is <a href="mailto:yourname@webtv.net?subject=Net4TV_Voice_Tip=Mailto_tip"> <img src=http://URL_of_image> </a>. You can use text in place of the image, of course.

Due to the way the code works, there can be no spaces between the ?subject= and the closing quotes. I've used underscores in the above example in place of spaces, but I believe any character except quotation marks can be used (Net4TV.Voice.Tip ... Net4TV+Voice+Tip ... Net4TV~Voice~Tip ... Net4TV.Voice.Tip=Mailto_tip ...etc.) based on your personal preference. When the person clicks on your "e-mail me" link, the e-mail "write message" screen will pop up with the subject line already filled in as you specified. The sender can still change the subject line if they wish, but this may alleviate a lot those "(no subject)" e-mails."

About Alt.Discuss.Homepage-Homepage Helpers

The alt.discuss.homepage newsgroup is a great source of help if you are just beginning or run into a snag when creating your home page. Each issue, we will focus on one or more tips that will help your home page design. You can visit our home page at http://members.tripod.com/adhhh/ & request more one-on-one assistance. Our Help Teams include: Tutor Team; Construction Crew [if you have a particularly complex design problem]; & Image Researchers.