Turbocharge Your FrontPage Web Pages
Don't want to fuss with Web page scripting? Use J-Bots instead.
If you’re like most people I
know, you have, by now, had to try your hand at creating
a Web site. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re
a developer, systems administrator, trainer, or lion
tamer: Sooner or later, you need to develop Web pages.
For many of us, the tool of choice for designing pages
is Microsoft FrontPage 2000—it’s simple and
Eventually though, you’ll “hit
the wall” with FrontPage 2000 and want to do something
that’s not built into the product. What then? For
most of us, switching to another, more complex product
isn’t an attractive option. That’s where Webs
Unlimited’s J-Bots Plus 2000 comes in. The designers
at Microsoft were smart enough to make FrontPage extensible,
and the developers at Webs Unlimited have put together
this package of 50 components you can use to make your
FrontPage Web more useful and attractive.
The J-Bots components are grouped
into four major categories:
General components include a variety
of ways to organize menus and jumps, format dates and
times, count down to a specific event, invoke search
engines, and detect browser capabilities (among other
things). The latter is especially useful if you’d
like to use advanced techniques on your site, but want
to redirect users with older browsers to an alternative
Cookie components let you save
variables into cookies and read their values back
later. It’s inexplicable to me that Microsoft
didn’t put this into the core product, but
J-Bots fills the gap perfectly.
Form components handle tasks,
such as credit card and phone number validation,
masked edits, and confirmation messages.
Image components can randomize
images, produce image menus, change images on mouse-over,
and create bar graphs.
When you insert a component, J-Bots
prompts you with a simple dialog for any information
it needs. It then writes a special FrontPage tag that
is formatted at runtime. You can use the FrontPage preview
pane to see the results even before you publish your
Web. Another nice touch is that the help uses HTML Help,
which means that it too can display examples of the
final effect of the bots.
|J-Bots Plus 2000 lets you skip
the scripting by extending FrontPage’s capabilities.
All in all, J-Bots is a quick and
easy way to juice up a FrontPage Web site without having
to switch products or dig into the intricacies of scripting
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.