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My Javascript Adventures


Web Sites and Javascripts   My adventures with Javascript began immediately after I uploaded my first web page at Geocities and while I was wondering how to make my pages more catchy. I believe it was sometime in September of 1999 when, looking for free web templates in the directory of a free site (I think it was 321Free.Com ) that I chanced upon an advertisement for a Javascript web resource. Since I have seen most of the sites that were offering free templates, I decided to click on the advertisement, wondering what Javascript was all about. The link brought me to The Javafile . Curious, I started to look at their web pages. I thought that they had a lot of dynamic pages -- that was the first time that I saw moving lines, clocks, images that changed upon mouseover-- but I couldn't imagine just how such pages can be useful for the web site I wanted to put up. Anyway, since the scripts were being given away, I downloaded one which showed a clock. I did not realize then that what created the clock were some lines written in the source code of the web page. What I did was to customize the page that I downloaded using a WYSIWYG that I had at my disposal (Frontpage 98). I changed the color of the page, put in a background image, typed a title, and I uploaded it to my website as a new Index page. So I thought it looked good. The clock was at the exact center of the page and on top of it I typed the words "Tempus Fugit", Time Flies .

The Javafile was not the only site I began to visit then. Infohiway's Cut N' Paste Java also became a regular haunt. What I couldn't appreciate then were the tutorials they gave with their scripts. Those just went over my head. I believe I may have downloaded a couple of their scripts then, scripts that I never got to use. Java City 2000 was another place I visited. I thought that it had a lot of entertaining stuff.

I finally understood how javascripts can be used to enhance a website around October and early November. During this time I was able to make use of the following scripts:

To The First Working Script.   I can still remember the kind of scripts I downloaded from the javascript resources I found on the Internet. But what really intrigued me were the HTML Generators I saw at Java City 2000 . They were basically web pages that created other web pages. It was around Christmas 1999 when I started fooling around with HTML generators. At that time, Frontpage 98 was practically my web page generator, and so I really couldn't appreciate the codes being produced by those javascript HTML editors. It was not until February 2000 when I finally figured out the basic HTML tags and how to code a web page using Arachnophilia. By then, I had also customized more than a dozen javascripts. By March, I began tearing down the HTML generators I downloaded from Java City 2000, looking at their source codes, trying to figure out how they worked. By May 2000, when I started my own HTML Tutorial , I already had the Exerciser functioning: an HTML generator with only a preview button.

I guess it took me a long while before I can really start working with javascripts. I started making my own document.write() scripts to update the contents of our school's website which I started working on sometime in August, 2000. The Frames Tutorials at Page Resource.Com was another boon. It taught me how to change two frames at once using javascript. Perhaps I have begun to look beyond the entertainment and decorative value of javascripted web pages, realizing that what is more important is dynamic content. . But then again, I was able to come across books on Javascript and other web-related topics only in February 2000. Those were books that made me realize how web pages were also a serious matter. Anyway, I was able to purchase a copy of Javascript Goodies sometime in September 2000, and from then on, I have been seriously working on the fundamentals of javascripting.

Javascript and Education. When I first uploaded the earliest version of Your SimpleWebPageMaker, (about the end of September) , I opened up to the Internet public all of my experience in customizing javascripts and all that I've learned until that time about form objects . At around that time too, I began giving instructions in HTML using Your SimpleWebPageMaker as a tool. That was my first experience of the power of dynamic content in the field of education. It would have been difficult to make lessons in HTML coding sink into the mind of total newbies (my instructions were for our school's secretarial staff and students who expressed their desire to help me maintain our website with news updates) without the clickable buttons and interactive illustrations that Your SimpleWebPageMaker provided. Example:

  
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With that kind of illustration, teaching the students how to open up the source of their new web page and pointing the Body content tags (which they made) and the basic HTML tags (which was generated by javascript), it was easy to explain what made up a web page.

A Javascript Breakthrough.   Towards the end of December 2000, I I made a big headway into javascripting. I was able to rewrite Your SimpleWebPageMaker so that it can work in frames. I had been wondering how to do that since November when I first saw one of Ray Daly's javascript demonstrations, the Message Editor. What really struck me about the Editor was that it was working in frames. I tried then to start rewriting Your SimpleWebPageMaker so that it too can work in frames. I looked up web tutorials on the topic, but since the examples shown were not directly about generating HTML, I failed in those early attempts. It was only after reading the Danny Goodman's Javascript Bible that I finally understood how scripts worked in frames. Anyway, I think I have made a stride forward with Your SimpleWebPageMaker 2.0. And I am aware that there is still much to learn about web pages with dynamic content, and how to open them up for the benefit of all.

Time does fly, doesn't it? Just about a year ago, I was looking for javascripts that can make my pages entertaining. Now, I am writing javascripts that educate. Who knows what the future holds? More javascripts? With people's increasing awareness of the Internet, there will be a greater demand for dynamic content. And where dynamic content is needed, I have no doubt that there, one will also be looking for javascripts.