Web Graphics for Dummies

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Great graphics make all the difference when it comes to successful Web pages. At the same time, unattractive, slow-loading graphics earn you the scorn of Net surfers everywhere. Now, thanks to Web Graphics For Dummies, you can beautify your Web site while remaining a Netizen in good standing.

In this easy-to-understand reference, Internet expert and professional designer Linda Richards not only explains what you need to know about GIFs, JPEGs, ...

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Overview

Great graphics make all the difference when it comes to successful Web pages. At the same time, unattractive, slow-loading graphics earn you the scorn of Net surfers everywhere. Now, thanks to Web Graphics For Dummies, you can beautify your Web site while remaining a Netizen in good standing.

In this easy-to-understand reference, Internet expert and professional designer Linda Richards not only explains what you need to know about GIFs, JPEGs, and other graphic formats but also shows you how to

  • Create Web graphics by using professional tools (like Adobe Photoshop) or surprisingly sophisticated shareware tools (like Paint Shop Pro)
  • Locate graphics online that you can use with impunity
  • Make clickable image-map graphics for creative navigation
  • Use transparent backgrounds and interlacing effectively
  • Produce animated graphics easily

Plus, Web Graphics For Dummies comes complete with a bonus CD-ROM containing demo and shareware programs, such as Adobe PageMill, TextureMill, Mapedit, and WebPainter.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764502118
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Doing It for Dummies
You, wonderful you
How this book works
What's between the covers
The stuff you can skip
How This Book Is Set Up
Part I: For the Web Newbie
Part II: Formats for Everyone
Part III: The Sky Is the Limit
Part IV: Things That Make You Say "Hmmmmm"
Part V: The Part of Tens
Part VI: Appendix
Icons
Where to Go from Here

Part I: For the Web Newbie

Chapter 1: The Anatomy of a Web Graphic
Web Graphics Defined
What's a Web graphic?
Popular formats
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
It's about limitations
Different platforms
Bandwidth considerations
When limitations turn into challenges
Your Web Graphics Can Look As Good As Anyone's
Chapter 2: Getting Right to Work
Preparing Graphics for the Web
A Quick Take On HTML
What is HTML?
What's it made outta?
Why not use a WYSIWYG editor?
HTML Crunched Down
A closer look
Weaving images into HTML
Tools you'll need
Chapter 3: When Your Web Graphics Become Image Maps
The Image Map Demystified
What's an image map good for?
How to make an image map
Client-side and server-side image maps
The Old-Fashioned Way: Creating a Simple Clickable Graphic
What you need
Making that clickable graphic
The Old-Fashioned Way II: Making an Image Map
What you need
Making that image map
Working with the mapped image
Image Mapping with a Newfangled Web-Weaving Tool
Chapter 4: Platforms
Setting Formats
What is Gamma?
Gamma on the Web
Gamma begins at home
Majority Rules
Correcting gamma
Shooting the gamma gap
The fast track
PC tricks
Macintosh tricks
Browsers
An Acrobatic attempt
There's no solution!
Setting the boundaries
All things to all people
Chapter 5: Frames and Tables
Just What Am I Talking About?
The frame boiled down
How many is too many?
Frames Help No One When Everyone Can't See Them
The table boiled down
Building a graphical table
A table is a table is a . . .
Checking your work
Building the Background for the Table
Building the Table for the Background
Why use percentages?

Part II: Formats for Everyone

Chapter 6: Giffing It Up
Making a GIF File
Creating a GIF file with an image editor
GIF and GIF89a
Transparent GIFs
When the name isn't on the label
Image Converters
Dithering is a good and important thing
Converting an image
Chapter 7: Animated GIF Files
The Low-Down Dirty on Animation
What's the point?
It's fun!
What's Animation?
Adding animation to your Web site
Making a simple animation
Making an animation with your eyes closed
Beyond Simple Animations
A simple WebPainter animation
Programmers Need Love, Too
Chapter 8: Making and Using JPEGs
Going Back and Forth
When is JPEG better?
When is JPEG wrong?
JPEG in action
Creating a JPEG File
Tools you need
Creating a JPEG file with an image editor
A Word on Conversions
Converting an image to JPEG
Chapter 9: Sum-ping for Everyone
Can You Hear the "But" Coming?
Making a PNG File
Tools you need
Creating PNG files
Converting to PNG
Converting an image
Pros and Cons of PNG
The downside of PNG
How animated can PNG get?
Ready for PNG?
Chapter 10: Beyond Basics
Why Do I Wanna Know This Stuff?
No, Not Vermin!
Java Break
What is Java?
The pieces of Java
Brewing Java on your Web pages
Multimedia Web Sites
Looking Sharp with PDF
There's good news and bad news
The case for PDF

Part III: The Sky Is the Limit

Chapter 11: Heads Up with the Big Kids
Build It and They Will Come
Think big
Going overboard
Polishing Your Graphics
Color
Size
Planning
Gimmicks
White space
Type
Chapter 12: Cleanliness Is Next to Cleanliness
Don't Sweat It
The Layers of the Onion
Don't Want to Make Graphics?
http://www.jiffyart.com/
http://www.ender-design.com/rg/
http://www.net-user.com/counter/
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/6603/index.html
Preparing a Graphic for Conversion
Creating tight, clean graphics
Before conversion
Individualizing the Steps
Chapter 13: Building Graphics Around Type
Web Graphics and Type
Creating Type-Based Graphics for the Web
Setting type as an image
Using type in HTML
What's Antialiasing?
What to do?
Back to the drawing board
Checking it out
Setting Graphic Type Tips
When Type Is an Image
Setting type in HTML
Using the FACE tag
Specifying fonts with the FACE tag
Some tips on using the FACE tag in HTML
Working with Preformatted Text
Using the PRE tag
Chapter 14: Background Beautiful!
The Background on Web Backgrounds
Plain color or all the trimmings
Including a background image
Making it happen step-by-step
The simple part is the HTML code
Setting Background Color
Background Images
Just like any image file
Creating a background
When you want someone else to do it
Making a background from scratch
A variation on the same theme
Applying the tiling procedure to your own images
Connecting Images to Your Background
Background Check List
Chapter 15: Crazy Color
How Computers See Color on the Web
Controlling what you can
Using the color palette
While creating the graphic
Like an interior designer
Like an architect
Working without a Net
Hex color
Hex colors broken down
The difference between 0 and O
Alternatives to Hex color
WYSIWYG HTML editor color spec'ing
Using Color to Make Teenier Files
Reducing a GIF file
Your Mileage Will Vary
Chapter 16: WYSIWOG = What You See Isn't (Always!) What Others Get
Seeing as They See
How surfers see you
Platforms
Monitor size and quality
Software
Minimizing the differences
Monitors
Software
Fonts
Checking your work in multiple browsers
Gamma Correction
PC users
Mac users

Part IV: Things That Make You Say "Hmmmmm"

Chapter 17: I Want My WebTV!
A Little Movement with Those Graphics
Real WebTV
But what is WebTV?
What does this all mean to the designer?
Monitors aren't televisions
Big, bold graphics
Terminal realities
Inside Designing for WebTV
Designing for WebTV
Monitors
Download time
Fixed terminal size
Color
Image maps
Limited stuff
Forms
Chapter 18: Sites and Sounds
Hear the Graphics?
For our home audience
Physical limitations
Curves Ahead
What has taken so long?
Where is sound useful?
Who uses sound?
Background Sounds
Netscape Doesn't Freak on This Tag
A background sound for both Internet Explorer and Navigator will play
Finding Sounds
RealAudio
Organizing your sounds
Chapter 19: The Day after Tomorrow
Information Appliances
Stuff That Looks Like It Did Before
The Automated Browser
Cyberspace Rip-Offs
Is an image copyrighted?
What about its source?
There's a lesson in this

Part V: The Part of Tens

Chapter 20: Ten Technologies to Watch
How Hot Is Hot?
Languages
Java
Dynamic HTML
VRML
PDF
Cougar
Frontier
Technology on the March
Site management tools
Amaya
Cascading Style Sheets
Disabilities awareness
Chapter 21: Ten Pieces of Software You Need
Share the Wealth
Image Editors
Adobe Photoshop
PaintShop Pro
Graphics Utilities
DeBabelizer and DeBabelizer Pro image converters
WebPainter animation tool
WebMap and Mapedit image mapping utilities
ColorFinder color utility
Image Alchemy imaging utility
HTML Editors
Adobe PageMill 2.0
BBEdit
CMed
Chapter 22: Ten Tools for Better Web Graphics
Gobs of RAM
A Big Hard Drive
Back Up to Beat the Band
Fast Internet Connection
Big Monitor
Scanner
Faster CPU
CD-ROM Player
Unlimited Power
Digital Camera
Chapter 23: Ten Online Resources for Web Graphics
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The HTML Writer's Guild
Yahoo!
Techbabes
GifWizard
A Couple of Cows and a Place Just for Downloads
Download.com
Tucows.com
The Internet Design & Publishing Center
The Pixel Foundry
The Bandwidth Conservation Society
The Newbie's Net Guide
Chapter 24: Ten Common Problems
My Web Page Looks Different on Someone Else's Computer
I Don't Have Time or Resources to Check My Page on a Lot of Machines and Platforms
I Keep Trying to Zip (or Stuff) a JPEG File, and It Just Doesn't Get Smaller
I've Seen "Natural Size Flag" in Some Source Code
Decoding WYSIWYG coding
I Want to Use a Thumbnail of a Large JPEG, but It Looks Really Yucky Small
I Really, Really Want to Use a Large Graphic on My Web Page
My Mondo Kewl Background Images Look Gross on My Friend's Computer
I Want to Make My Page Transmit As Quickly As Possible
I Built an Image onto a Background Tile and It Worked Fine Until I Resized It
How Can I Protect My Ideas and Images from Being Stolen after They're on the Web?
Chapter 25: Ten Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Graphics
The Case of the Disappearing Web Graphic
JPEG or GIF?
Photograph
Photo-illustration
Bitmap
Animation
Transparency
View while downloading
File size
Flatten?
Experiment?
Resize Before You Upload
Include ALT Tags
Using the ALT tag
Another good reason to include the ALT tag
Use Your Cache
Watch Your Colormaps
Interlace
Understand HTML Tags
Chapter 26: Ten More Useful Programs
TextureMill
Corel WebMaster
Adobe Illustrator
CorelDraw 7
GIF Construction Set
FontFX
Microsoft FrontPage
ClarisWorks 4.0: Internet Edition
Claris Home Page 2.0
HotMetal Pro 3.0

Part VI: Appendixes

Glossary
Appendix: What's on the CD-ROM
Index
License Agreement
Installation Instructions
IDG Books Worldwide Registration Card
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First Chapter

Chapter 3
When Your Web Graphics Become Image Maps

In This Chapter

  • What's an image map?
  • Client-side and server-side image maps
  • Creating clickable graphics

Image maps -- and their cousins, clickable graphics -- are one of the reasons the Web is such a delight to navigate and negotiate. What could be simpler than arriving at a site and discovering that all you have to do to find your way around is click on the pretty picture?

At some point you'll find yourself wanting to add some of this clicking ease to your own Web work. While the technique for creating this type of graphic is precisely the same as for other types of Web graphics, what you actually do with that graphic once you've made it is quite different.

The Image Map Demystified

When you're surfing, image maps look horribly complex to create. How could they not be? What you see as a surfer is a single, elegant graphic that somehow links you through to a number of areas in a site. How could something that makes things that easy for you as a Web surfer not be difficult to create? The old axiom holds true here, though: Everything is easy when you know how. And while this may not hold up for astrophysics, it's pretty much true for image maps.

What's an image map good for?

There are several things that an image map is useful for. The most simple type of image map is one that takes you from one location -- in this case, a Web graphic -- to another location on a Web site. In this instance, it's not so much an image map as a clickable Web graphic.

The image map that links to a single location can be helpful in just moving things along effortlessly on a Web site. A single button on a Web site moves surfers from one place to the next, as shown in Figure 3-1. The one illustrated is, of course, from the first page of my own Web site. Clicking on it bypasses a whole bunch of business stuff and takes visitors straight to my own area on the site.

However, when someone says "image map," we most often think of a larger graphic that directs a Web site's traffic to several different locations, either on or off the site. The classic example would, of course, be an actual area map where the site visitor can click on an area of interest and get zoomed there easily, without having to read text that says, "For Southern California, click here" and so on.

Another useful example would be of a floor plan, or locations in a mall -- either a virtual mall, or a real one. An image map where the surfer can easily click through to the desired location makes things easier for a Web visitor to negotiate.

Lots of people surf the Web without graphics enabled in order to speed things up. And many people use browsers -- like Lynx, for example -- that don't have the capacity to view graphics. For both groups it's important to:

  • Make sure the graphics in your image map are small, so that people who make a choice about what graphics they view will want to view yours.
  • Use ALT (alternate) tags to give a type label for every graphic you use. This should be true not only of your image maps, but of all the graphics you embed into HTML.

A common use for image maps is routing traffic easily to other areas. For instance, in the example shown in Figure 3-2, visitors to my Web site can click on pictures of some of my friends to find out more about them. The Web graphic was created in Photoshop using several different images and backgrounds and then saved as a single file. The resulting file channels visitors to pages that talk about these friends and to their own Web sites. All in all, it's a very fun use of a whole lot of technology.

How to make an image map

There are two ways to make all this happen.

  • You can hand-code the image map's instructions in the editor you commonly use for HTML coding.
  • You can use an image mapping program.

While the second way is the easiest if you use one of the powerful mapping programs out there, it's good to know how to do it the old-fashioned way -- that is, by hand -- so you know what it is you're actually doing.

Having said that, there are some really powerful image mapping aids out there -- some of which are included on the Web Graphics For Dummies CD-ROM that comes with this book -- that take all the tedium out of calculating image maps. There's no real reason not to use one of them. Mapedit for Windows and WebMap for Macintosh (both included on the CD-ROM) are good examples of shareware image-map editors designed by others to make your life easier. There doesn't seem to be a good reason to wander around in the forest when other people have already made a path.

In addition, an increasing number of WYSIWYG HTML editors include some type of image mapping facility. Adobe PageMill, for example, includes a good one.

I discuss both options later in the chapter.

Client-side and server-side image maps

At the technical end of things, image maps can be specified in one of two ways: as server-side or client-side. The server-side image map is the only type that was available in the bad ol' days, before image map-supporting browsers added extra fun.

All the current and recent releases of the more popular browsers (Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, Cyberdog, Spyglass Mosaic, and others) support client-side image maps.

Specifically, in a server-side image map, instructions for the locations of the hot spots, or links, on your graphics are stored on the remote server, in a file separate from the HTML or graphics files the map relates to.

Client-side image maps look exactly the same to the innocent surfer, but they are created quite differently. On a client-side image map, the instructions for the hot spots on the graphics are contained within the HTML coding.

While both methods have something to recommend them in certain situations, client-side image maps are the most popular at present, for a couple of reasons:

  • Server-side image maps demand more of the server's time and attention because the person viewing your file pulls down not only your graphic and HTML files, but the additional CGI (Common Gateway Interface) file as well. That means additional trips to the server and more demand on the bandwidth.
  • Client-side image maps are easier for the Web designer to control and edit. This is because the coding for the map resides inside the page's regular HTML coding. No special thought needs to go into storage and maintenance for the map to work.

Because coding in CGI and all things to do with it are outside the scope of this book, I leave discussions of server-side image maps right there. The balance of image mapping discussions is around client-side maps.

The Old-Fashioned Way: Creating a Simple Clickable Graphic

While not, strictly speaking, an image map, this seems like a logical place to talk about straight-up clickable graphics. While the techniques behind creating the single graphic that is clickable and creating an image map are completely different, the results look very similar to the Web surfer.

What you need

For this exercise, you need:

  • An HTML editor. One that lets you get in there and muck with the code yourself.
  • A graphic to make clickable. If you don't have one handy that you'd like to use, open SINGLEHOTSPOT.GIF from the CD-ROM that's included with this book.

Making that clickable graphic

  1. Open your text editor.

    For this example, I used BBEdit for Macintosh, which is a very simple, shareware Macintosh HTML editor. You can use anything that will let you get in and mess with the text. An example of what not to use would be Adobe PageMill 1.0 because it doesn't allow the user to actually see the resulting code. (Version 2.0 of PageMill corrects this oversight.)

  2. You need to create a working file so that you can view the results when you're done, so mark it up the way you would any new HTML file: with open HTML tags, a title, and so on, like this:

    <HTML>
    <TITLE>Clickable Graphic Exercise</TITLE>
    <BODY>
    <P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE=+4>Clickable Graphic Exercise<BR><BR></FONT></P>

    So you're creating a file -- I saved mine as CLICK.HTML, to demonstrate a clickable graphic. If you're following along so far, you have something that looks like Figure 3-3 if viewed in an Internet browser.

  3. Now the graphical stuff. The coding is not a lot different from the coding for any graphic, with the big difference being that you're giving a "target" URL -- where you want the click to be. Like so:

    <P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE=+4>Clickable Graphic Exercise<BR><BR>
    </FONT><A HREF="clickthru.html">

CLICKTHRU.HTML is what I named the target file for this exercise and the ones that are to come. But notice, I specified a font size for my little headline and then gave the HREF as the name of the target file.

On the same line -- though I broke it up here just to tell you about it -- are the specifications for the image on this page: your clickable graphic. SINGLEHOTSPOT.GIF (what a mouthful) is the graphic you're making clickable. Note the material that's behind the ALT command. This stuff is important. Like it says in the tag, it lets people without graphics capabilities, or those who surf with graphics turned off, know what is supposed to be in this spot. In some cases, you want to use ALT to tell people what to do if they don't see any graphics.

Another possibility: Should your graphic be broken, for some reason, surfers will still see something useful besides an empty old box.

<IMG SRC="singlehotspot.gif" ALIGN="BOTTOM"
NATURALSIZEFLAG="3" ALT="It's important to indicate what

the function of this graphic is, in writing.
That way, someone without a graphics-enabled
browser will still be able to negotiate your
site."
BORDER="0"></A> <BR>

</P>
<P ALIGN=CENTER><TT><FONT SIZE=+1>This is a single
clickable graphic. Accomplished, you will have
noticed, very simply.</FONT></TT>
</BODY>
</HTML>

And that's it -- a clickable graphic that looks just like Figure 3-4 when downloaded by an Internet browser.

Note the BORDER="0" portion of the coding above. If you choose not to leave it at 0 -- say if you choose "1" instead -- you get a visible border around the graphic, in the color chosen for links.

Now that you've made a clickable graphic, jump straight into the image map.

The Old-Fashioned Way II: Making an Image Map

All preamble aside, get your hands right into a for-real, client-side image map.

What you need

For this exercise, you need:

  • An HTML editor. One with the same specifications as found in the last exercise: One that lets you get right into the code yourself.
  • An image mapping utility. Several are included on the CD-ROM that comes with this book. For this exercise, I used the shareware program WebMap for the Macintosh. You'll find that all image mapping utilities work very similarly and on the same principle.
  • A graphic to turn into an image map. If you don't have one of your own that you'd like to use, open HOTSPOT.GIF from the Web Graphics For Dummies CD-ROM.

Making that image map

  1. In your HTML editor, create four target files that you'll be linking your image map to.

    These files need only be very simple files, but name them carefully so you can remember which is which. In this example, they're TARGET1.HTML, TARGET2. HTML, and so on:

    <HTML>
    <HEAD>
    <TITLE>The target of all our exercises!</TITLE>
    </HEAD>
    <BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff">
    <H1><CENTER><TT>This is Target One </TT></CENTER></H1>
    <H1><CENTER><IMG SRC="target.gif" WIDTH="212"
    HEIGHT="260"
    ALIGN="BOTTOM"
    NATURALSIZEFLAG="3"></CENTER></H1>
    </BODY>
    </HTML>

  2. Open HOTSPOT.GIF in your image mapping package, as shown in Figure 3-5.

    What you'll be doing in the image mapping utility is specifying areas to be defined as coordinates for a Web surfer to click to when on a Web site. So remember the names of the four target HTML files you create.

  3. With the circle tool selected, define a circle in the Hot Spot circle icon on the graphic as shown in Figure 3-6.

    Don't worry if you don't get the circle in exactly the right place right away. When you stop drawing the circle, you'll notice a little handle on the bottom-right of the shape that you can grab to reshape the circle.

  4. After you've drawn the circle, notice the word [undefined] pop up in gray in the right portion of the screen. This is the place where you input your target HTML file. Simply move your mouse to the grayed-out word and double-click.

    A dialog box like the one shown in Figure 3-7 appears, prompting you for the name of your target file.

  5. The oddly shaped boxes created by the overlapping circle could be handled in a couple of ways. You could use the polygon tool, seen in Figure 3-8, to define the area accurately. Or you could use the rectangle tool shown in Figure 3-9 to define the area roughly.
  6. Select the rectangle tool to define the space within the largest box at the bottom. Click on the fourth highlighted area to define the space within this rectangle as TARGET4.HTML.

    That's pretty much it for the mapping part of image mapping -- easy enough to make early trepidation seem silly. Just two steps remain. You have to perform both a Save As and an Export As Text command for the image mapping to work once you actually have it in an HTML file, so . . .

  7. Choose Save As from the file menu. You can safely save over the original version.
  8. Then choose Export As Text from the file menu. You get a dialog box like the one shown in Figure 3-10, asking you for the name. Take out the extra dot (.) that the program sticks in until you have a name that's acceptable in HTML, as shown in Figure 3-11.

Working with the mapped image

Now that you have your image mapped, it's time to do something with it.

Your image mapping utility -- WebMap or Mapedit -- will have saved a map file that includes all the calculations it saved you from doing. In the case of my hot spot file, it saved it to my HTML editor -- BBEdit -- by creating a text file that really could be opened in any text editor, such as a word processor or any type of text handling program. The resulting file looks like this:

#
# Created by WebMap 1.0.1
# Wednesday, April 30, 1997 at 7:36 PM
# Format: NCSA
#

default hotspot.html
circ target1.html 56,16 223,93
poly target2.html 9,92 7,170 130,173 132,120 83,104 50,91 9,92
rect target3.html 148,107 271,175
rect target4.html 6,187 275,280
rect hotspot.html 0,0 0,0

Of course, the first part is pretty much just the job output -- WebMap's way of telling me what it is, when it was done, and by what. Details like this are ultimately important to geeks. You don't need it at all.

The second -- and last -- chunk is the business end of the whole production. These are the precise mathematical locations of the maps you specified. Aren't you glad you didn't have to figure that out yourself? Now that you've got them, you can plug them into an HTML file.

  1. In your HTML program, start a normal file. Open HTML and specify a head and title:

    <HTML>
    <HEAD>
    <TITLE>Image Mapping Exercise</TITLE>
    </HEAD>

  2. In my example I specified a white background because I like the way the colors I chose look on that color:

    <BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff">

  3. Tell the file what the GIF is that is to be mapped:

    <P><CENTER><AREA><MAP NAME="hotspotgif.map">

  4. Here's where you get to the business part of the image map. Plug in the coordinates established for you in WebMap or Mapedit (or whatever utility you used) so that the file knows which click produces what result.

    Don't let the algebraic look of the coding give you heartburn. It looks a lot ickier than it is. And broken down, it's really pretty simple. Here's the first one broken down to look at its components:

    < AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="56,16 223,93"
    HREF="target4.html">
    • The AREA SHAPE defines the shape chosen. In this case, it's a rectangle.
    • The COORDS and then the appropriate numbers specify exactly where the image is clickable. Where, in other words, the live areas are to be found.
    • The HREF specifies what a click in the live area will produce -- where on the map a click will take you. In this case, it's a file named "target4.html."
    • Then you deal individually with the balance of the shapes in the map:
      < AREA SHAPE="polygon" COORDS="9,92 7,170 130,173
      132,120 83,104 50,91 9,92 "
      HREF="target3.html">
      < AREA SHAPE="polygon" COORDS="148,107 271,175"
      HREF="target2.html">
      <AREA SHAPE="circle" COORDS="6,187 275,280"
      HREF="target1.html">
      • Establish that you've dealt with all aspects of the map </MAP> and that there will be no visible border around the whole map itself or any of its components. USEMAP tells the file that the map information is here (remember, you just did that) and not on a remote server in a CGI file:

        </MAP><IMG SRC="hotspot.gif" BORDER="0"

        USEMAP="hotspotgif.map"
        • As with almost any image-wielding HTML file, specify the size of the total map.

          This saves some time in the download process because the size information is in the code, so the downloading browser doesn't have to wait to see the file to size it. There are fewer surprises.

          The ISMAP command tells the browser that it has an active image coming its way and to look out for it. A simple command, but if you forget it, the whole shebang won't work.

          WIDTH="280"
          HEIGHT="363" NATURALSIZEFLAG="3" ALIGN="BOTTOM" ISMAP>
          <ISMAP="#imagemap"></CENTER></P><P><AREA>

        • Then, as always, you end the HTML nicely, by coding in a finale. In this way, you prevent the browser from cliff-hanging by looking to see just what the heck happened to the end of the file:

          </BODY>
          </HTML>

All that coding produces a pretty simple file, as can be seen in Figure 3-12, but one that will elegantly take surfers deeper into your Web page. And in an entirely graphical way.

Image Mapping with a Newfangled Web-Weaving Tool

If an image mapping utility makes image mapping easy, doing the same chore with one of the latest generation of WYSIWYG Web design tools practically does the job all by itself.

PageMill 2.0 from Adobe and Microsoft FrontPage are just two of the Web-weaving programs that make image mapping a breeze.

If you are thinking about using a WYSIWYG Web design tool, make sure that it lets you view the HTML code easily. Some of them don't. I find that sometimes it's a lot simpler to be able to get into the code and throw in a good ol' <CENTER> command instead of fighting your way through to finding why it's not doing it. Also, future edits to the file are sometimes easier when you can get straight to the code.

The very newest generations of Web-weaving tools all seem to offer easy access to the HTML source code as an option, while some of the earlier versions of the same software did not. Insist on having this capability. That way, it's always there when you need it.

  1. Create a multishape or multicolor document in any image editor that supports one of the Web formats. Or open MAP.GIF from the CD-ROM that comes with this book.

    For this exercise, I created a graphic intended to be clickable in Microsoft Image Composer 1.0, as shown in Figure 3-13. It's a down and dirty graphic: I did it quickly, having fun with shapes and playing with opacity and colors. It was intended only for this exercise. You can do the same.

  2. Select New page from the File menu in FrontPage, and from there select the Normal Page template or wizard, and do a little preliminary housekeeping.

    I gave the file a name and a headline -- a couple of things I always like to do -- as shown in Figure 3-14. If you're not using FrontPage, you'll find that most WYSIWYG HTML creation tools work in a similar way. Of course, Microsoft has brought along those pesky wizards, but they're really just templates with irritating names. Anyway, all WYSIWYG editors on most platforms will easily let you set up a file and start to work.

  3. Import the graphics file you've prepared (or opened from the CD-ROM).

    Most of the WYSIWYG editors let you do this very simply, usually with some type of graphic image that you click to go get your file, as shown in Figure 3-15.

  4. To activate your graphic and prepare it for image mapping in FrontPage, simply double-click on the image itself.

    The tools you need spring into action as shown in Figure 3-16.

  5. Select the tool most appropriate to the first portion of your image map. If you used the image from the CD-ROM, you'll be using the polygon tool (the oddly shaped box, fourth from the left) a lot because even the rectangles are at funny angles. Use the tool to describe the shape, just as you did in the previous exercise.

    You'll notice that as soon as you complete the description, a dialog box like the one in Figure 3-17 appears, prompting you for a target URL. Once again, I prepared a simple HTML file for this purpose. This one is called target.htm and I have all roads end there.

  6. Type the name of the target HTML file in the space asking for it in the dialog box. I created just one target file for this exercise.

You now have a completed image map file ready for testing and uploading. Too easy? I know -- makes you wish you'd done it sooner. If you like, ask FrontPage (or whatever editor you're using) to show you the HTML code. You'll see that the thing you created looks very much like the code in the previous exercise, only it was slightly less labor intensive. Is that a good thing? Sometimes. As good as WYSIWYG editors are, there are certain times where I wouldn't like to be without my hands-on-and-get-your-hands-dirty HTML editor. In the case of image maps, however, the code -- and the result -- look just as pretty. Take a look at Figure 3-18.

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