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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER )))))))))))))))))) JUNE 15, 1998

+-----------------------------------------------------------------+ This Newsletter is sponsored by Keynote Systems. Are you losing customers because your web site is too slow? Are your Internet access or hosting providers delivering the speed they promised? Have you wondered if your site is slower than your competitors? Now you can measure, compare, and assure the quality of service of your business-critical web site around the clock from 57 cities worldwide. For a free one-week comparative performance appraisal of your web site, visit http://www.keynote.com/wrn1.html From Keynote Systems, the Internet Performance Authority. +-----------------------------------------------------------------+ Dear Developer, If you run a popular Web site it may qualify for acceptance in our News Harvester 2 Free Content program: News Headlines, hot off the presses, in a scroller you can size and color to fit your site. Check it out at http://www.webreference.com/headlines/nh/

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Now with over 33700 subscribers

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. INTERNET BUZZ: An Interview with Vint Cerf 2. HTML WITH STYLE: The Strands that Make the Web 3. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: VRML for Web Advertising 4. FIREWORKS VS. IMAGEREADY: All-in-one Web imaging 5. NEW FEATURES: Webref search, Headlines LCD'd 6. NEW LINKS: Ad management, Computer Magazines, Conferences 7. NET NEWS: NBC buys controlling interest in SNAP!

Spread the word! Feel free to send a copy of this newsletter to your friends and colleagues.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. INTERNET BUZZ: An Interview with Vint Cerf

Part one of an interview with Vint Cerf, Senior Vice President, Internet Architecture and Engineering MCI Communications Corporation, and the man often referred to as the "Father of the Internet" because of his key role in developing TCP/IP. By Rich Wiggins.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. HTML WITH STYLE: The Strands that Make the Web

Once again Mr. Piperoglou clarifies a slew of HTML subjects. This tutorial lifts the veil from hyperlinks/links; URIs; URLs; element attributes, and anchors and how they all work together to help make the Web the Web. He even throws in some information about the cutting edge Object Transfirbulation Protocol.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: VRML for Web Advertising

Join your host Robert Polevoi as he plumbs the new depths of e-commerce in 3D advertising with VRML banner ads. Business will never be the same as users bob and weave with animated servants of commerce as they grab for user eyeballs with one hand and their wallets with the other.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. FIREWORKS VS. IMAGEREADY: All-in-one Web imaging

Macromedia released Fireworks 1.0 last week, and it's hot. Fireworks is a new class of all-in-one Web-centric image creation and optimization product, and combines vector with bitmapped imaging. Adobe recently released a second beta of Imageready, and we thought the two products would make a natural comparison.

>Interface and Scope

Fireworks and Imageready both do optimization and output bitmap files (GIFs, Animated GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs). Both preserve Photoshop files' layer info, though only Imageready outputs layered Photoshop files (useful for moving back and forth). Both support Photoshop API filters. Both have editable, scalable text. Both can tween. They're both cross platform (Mac/PC).

From there the similarities diverge. Fireworks is fundamentally a vector-based program, and can create editable bezier paths, objects, and therefore more compelling animations. Fireworks can open Illustrator files and keep its layer info intact, and gives you the option of keeping this info as vectors (which are scalable and editable) or convert them to bitmaps. ImageReady can only rasterize Illustrator files, as it is bitmapped based.

Fireworks takes advantage of its vector heritage with its always editable "Live Effects." Draw some text, throw a drop shadow, change the text and the drop shadow changes. No more bouncing back and forth between applications. Fireworks also includes symbols and instances as in Flash, and can tween the parameters ImageReady can plus rotation and effects parameters.

By combining both vectors and bitmaps in a single environment Fireworks makes it possible to create Web graphics from start to finish. With Imageready, you need Freehand or Illustator for line art.

All this power has a price, however. Fireworks' interface takes some getting used to, as many of the menu options will be unfamiliar to Photoshop users, as they are for manipulating symbols and objects. To go to bitmapped mode you have to: edit the background image convert (Modify > Background), or double click, or for objects that aren't bitmaps Select > Convert.

Imageready, with its more limited bitmapped power, will feel like an old friend to Photoshop users as many of the menus and dialogs are similar. Layers in Photoshop become layers in both programs, but I found Imageready's to be more intuitive to use. Imageready has better palette control: you can lock colors, and Web-snap colors to their closest browser-safe color. There's a Browser Dither option that shows what your image will look like on 8 bit systems, and a Windows Gamma option, that simulates the PC's higher gamma. This second beta also has an improved color reduction algorithm that doesn't shift colors you don't want shifted! (Adobe's Photoshop can shift colors). Sounds good, you say, how do they stack up when optimizing Web graphics?

>Optimizing Animated GIFs

Fireworks is the first Mac product to employ LZW interframe optimization. What does that mean to you? Smaller animated GIFs, ad banners, and faster downloads. I tested Fireworks on our animated test penguin logo, and it created the smallest GIF89a files of all client programs tested.


Fireworks makes the optimization of animated GIFs painless. One click on the "optimization" checkbox in the export dialog, and Fireworks automatically creates a minimized superpalette, and performs the following interframe optimizations: auto crop and difference, plus LZW optimization.


Imageready 1.0 beta m82p: Adobe's Imageready is a pixel-based Web image editor and animator. The GIF89a optimization it currently uses is simple cropping. Keep in mind that Imageready is still in beta.


For the same file size Imageready created sharper JPEGs than Fireworks. Adobe always had a great JPEG codec, and it looks like they've improved it.



The two programs both have their strengths. Imageready creates sharper JPEGs than Fireworks, but larger animated GIFs. Fireworks has the best GIF89a optimization I've seen in a client program, and you can create more complex animations faster using its vector-based features.

Fireworks, with its vector-based foundation, is designed for tweaking, which is a godsend for busy Web designers (isn't that redundant?). It has a higher learning curve than Imageready however. Imageready makes simple animations easy, and has an interface similar to Photshop's, so Photoshop users will get up to speed faster with Imageready.

Keep in mind that Imageready is still in beta, so its optimization may improve for the released version, due late this month. We'll have another look at Imageready when v 1.0 is released. http://www.macromedia.com/software/fireworks/ http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/imageready/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. NEW FEATURES: Webref search improved, Headlines LCD'd

>Webref search improved

We've updated the advanced search page with a few new features including a type of search popup (fuzzy, related...) a new look. The results page now includes a query by example link (similar to excite's) that makes finding things faster. Give it a whirl at:


>Headlines LCD'd

We've Lowest Common Denominatored (LCD'd) the Web headlines you saw previously in our DHTML news scroller. You'll find the latest Net news from Internetnews.com in the form of links on the left side of webref's home page. Since they're straight HTML links, any browser can read the news now.

We merge these Internetnews.com headlines into the home page using a modified version of News Harvester (call it Phase 2.5) and a server side include. Stay tuned, an external site version is on the way. Isn't technology wonderful?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 6. NEW LINKS: Ad management, Computer Magazines, Conferences

>Advertising Management Services

Running ads on your Web site can be a chore as anyone knows: sell the ads, buy costly banner software, track the ads, etc. So farm out the hassle to a service provider. http://www.webreference.com/advertising/services.html

>Computer Magazines

The lastest news, tips, rants and raves about what's going on in the world of computing, all right here at your virtual magazine stand. http://www.webreference.com/internet/magazines/computers.html


Get out of town! Summertime is happening and so are conferences. So take a working vacation at an informative tropical seminar. Here's your travel guide. http://www.webreference.com/internet/conferences.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7. NET NEWS: NBC buys controlling interest in SNAP!

As predicted in the May 22 Update one of big old media players (NBC) bought a new media portal (SNAP) last week. NBC acquired 60% of of SNAP's service for $63 million and agreed to promote it on the air to its 73 million TV viewers. SNAP was one of the newest and least trafficked portals, which made it prime takover material. Halsey Minor, CNET's CEO, made the cover of the business section in this morning's New York Times with a story titled "Validation" that showed how his $25 million, 150 person investment in SNAP turned into needed capital for the rest of his CNET operation.

http://www.webreference.com/new/980522.html http://www.nytimes.com http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/1998/06/0903-analysis.html Internenews.com, June 9, 1998

That's it for this week, see you next time.

- Andrew King

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