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(((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) December 13, 1999


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http://www.webreference.com http://www.webreference.com/new/ http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. CONTESTS: Subscribe & Win Dreamweaver 3!, Submit & Win 2. INTERVIEW: Jakob Nielsen 3. NEW EXPERT: Announcing "Exploring XML" 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: From VRML to Web 3D 5. OPEN PUB: Using Photoshop 5.5 and Imageready 2.0 to Create Image Tables 6. BOOK REVIEW: Designing Web Usability, Book Summary 7. NEW LINKS: Web Authoring Tutorials 8. OTHER VOICES: * Inserting Flash Movies in Dreamweaver * A Web Developer's Christmas Wish List * Generate XML with the XML Document Object Model 9. NET NEWS: * Many Web Sites Could be Vulnerable to CGI Attacks * Domain Winner Loses Big * Streaming Media West '99: A Cornucopia * Linux Founder Cheered by Market Hype * No Sex Please, We're on the Computer

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. CONTESTS: Subscribe & Win Dreamweaver 3!, Submit & Win GoLive 4!

>Subscribe & Win Dreamweaver 3!

Sign up for the WebReference Update today and you could win a free copy of Dreamweaver/Fireworks Studio 3.0! Each week we'll draw new winners from our new subscribers - you could be next. Already a subscriber? No problem - just fill out the form, and you'll be automatically entered to win.

This week's winners include Kirk Haughn of Ottowa, Ontario; Ozzy O'Mara of London, Engand; and Walter Miller of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Enjoy the new software, winners!


>Submit & Win!

Every Thursday the Update features a new article contributed by our readers through our Open Publishing Initiative. We encourage you to submit your own article ideas. Those that make the cut receive a free copy of Adobe GoLive 4.0 and a cool internet.com T-shirt!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. INTERVIEW: Jakob Nielsen

We interview the Web's usability czar about his new book (Designing Web Usability) and the Web's future. By Andrew King.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NEW EXPERT: Announcing "Exploring XML"

We're proud to announce our newest expert columnist, Michael Claßen. Michael hails from Germany, and is the XML expert at WebSentric, a Web-based solutions provider. First up: "XML - The Better HTML?" a brief introduction to XML.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: From VRML to Web 3D

It seems Web 3D reads like a greek tragedy. First Cosmo spins out of orbit, then VRML dies on the vine, and Web 3D grows out the ashes. Or something like that. By Robert Polevoi.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. OPEN PUB: Using Photoshop 5.5 and Imageready 2.0 to Create Image Tables

It slices, it dices, and it makes chopping up graphics for your Web pages easier than ever. Open publishing contributor Kurt Nimmo walks us through these graphics tools with Ginsu-like precision.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 6. BOOK REVIEW: Designing Web Usability, Book Summary

Jakob Nielsen's much anticipated book will arrive in bookstores December 16, 1999 but we were fortunate enough to get an early copy. After reading the book (twice) we were so impressed we reviewed it, summarized key chapters, and interviewed the author.

Dr. Nielsen is an expert on usability methodology and customer- driven design. He was Sun's usability guru, hold 41 US patents, and last year cofounded the Nielsen Norman Group with Donald Norman (author of "The Design of Everyday Things") to help companies enter the age of the consumer with human-centered design. He holds a doctorate in User Interface Design from the Technical University of Denmark. Here's our review:

Jacob Nielsen is on a crusade to make the Web easier to use. His latest book applies what he learned through years of usability testing, both online and off, to Web site design. In essence it's a user-centric design philosophy rather than a corporate-centric one. By designing for an optimal user experience under real-world conditions you can ensure users find what they want to quickly and buy more of your products. In fact, Dr. Nielsen estimates businesses lose more than $1 trillion a year due to poor Web site usability.

The book is the first in a series of two books on Web site usability. This first book explains the "what" of good Web site design; the second will explain the "how" or methodology used to arrive at his conclusions. This book explains what is known about the properties of easy-to-use Web sites. Speed, simplicity, a focus on the user's goals rather than glitzy design, efficient use of space, and optimal placement of design elements highlight his pragmatic approach. By using the techniques outlined in this book you can improve your Web sites usability (and therefore profitability and traffic) for little or no cost. What could be easier?

Taking Nielsen's "less is more" philosophy to heart, we've summarized key chapters of the book separately for quick scanning:


Designing Web Usability By Jakob Nielsen New Riders Publishing; December 16, 1999, $45.00 ISBN: 156205810X


We also had the privilege recently to interview Dr. Nielsen. We asked the author: "How does this book differ from your Usability Engineering book of 1994?"

Nielsen responds: "Usability Engineering is a general textbook that describes methods that can used to improve the quality of anything that has a user interface. Designers of VCRs would be well-advised to read the book. As would designers of other consumer electronics products, software, hardware, websites, and any other interactive systems. But the book does not focus on the Web, so it's necessary for readers to translate the general knowledge in the book into the specifics for their project.

In contrast, the new book is very prescriptive and talks about exactly what you have to do in terms of creating a website that normal humans can use. Even though my scientific background tells me that it should be sufficient to present the general information, my usability experience also tells me that people want specific answers and instructions for their current projects."

We continue our interview with Dr. Nielsen online:



developerWorks introduces a new resource - Patterns for e-business - help in developing e-business solutions. Don't start from scratch, start with and reuse "patterns" collected at this new beta Web site. http://www.ibm.com/developer/web/?loc=006&t=nl&p=wr


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7. NEW LINKS: Web Authoring Tutorials

Whether you're a rank beginner or seasoned expert, there's always more to learn about Web authoring. Our pick of tutorials from across the Web will get you started.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 8. OTHER VOICES: Inserting Flash Movies in Dreamweaver, A Web Developer's Christmas Wish List, Generate XML with the XML Document Object Model

>Inserting Flash Movies in Dreamweaver

Before the introduction of Flash 4.0, a separate application called Aftershock was needed to create the HTML code necessary to deliver functioning Flash movies for the Web. Now, inserting the appropriate code is done natively in Flash. This is somewhat of a challenge for designers and developers, especially if they are unfamiliar with Flash or do not use the application. http://webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/flash_movies_in_dreamweaver.h tml WebDevelopersJournal.com, 991213

>A Web Developer's Christmas Wish List

Charlie Morris doesn't want much this Christmas...just computers and Web sites that actually work. http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/xmas_wish_list.html WebDevelopersJournal.com, 991208

>Generate XML with the XML Document Object Model

As XML becomes increasingly de rigeur in Web development, the language itself will grow in sophistication, as can be seen in this introduction to XML's new object library, XML DOM. http://www.zdnet.com/de ead/stories/articles/0,4413,2405587,00.html ZDNet.com, 991207

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 9. NET NEWS: Many Web Sites Could be Vulnerable to CGI Attacks, Domain Winner Loses Big, Streaming Media West '99: A Cornucopia, Linux Founder Cheered by Market Hype, No Sex Please, We're on the Computer

>Many Web Sites Could be Vulnerable to CGI Attacks

Up to 80% of Web sites could be susceptible to new attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in CGI programs. The newly discovered Poison Null and Upload Bomb security attacks could let crackers cripple many interactive Web sites, according to their authors. The Poison Null attack could let crackers see the contents of directories, and, in some cases, read and modify files on Web servers. http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19991209S0007 TechWeb.com, 991209

>Domain Winner Loses Big

An MBA student shells out big bucks for races.com, but a registration screwup by Network Solutions puts the domain in the hands of speculator who wants US$500,000. NSI's repsonse: Oops. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,32974,00.html Wired.com, 991211

>Streaming Media West '99: A Cornucopia

Streaming Media West '99, San Jose, California, turned out to be a pre-Christmas Santa's sleigh full of streaming goodies, from new deals to new devices - all designed to make the year 2000 fifty-two weeks of ever-richer, ever more diverse media. John Townley files the first in his series covering the show. http://streamingmediaworld.com/west99.html StreamingMediaWorld.com, 991207

>Linux Founder Cheered by Market Hype

Linus Torvalds, Finnish founder of the OS at the center of the latest tech frenzy, believes that successful market debuts of two companies linked to Linux mark its coming of age. The Linux system is a hot issue among "wired" investors, as witnessed by the meteoric rise of U.S.-based Linux distributor Red Hat, and computer manufacturer VA Linux. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/19991213/tc/tech_linux_1.html Yahoo.com, 991213

>No Sex Please, We're on the Computer

Microsoft has commisioned a new study on Europeans' computer habits, and the results are a wealth of factoids ranging from the curious to the bizarre. For instance, a quarter of Britons would rather be on their PC than making love and more than half of the population admits to talking to the screen - not bad for a nation which once ridiculed Prince Charles for talking to his plants. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/19991210/od/computer_1.html Yahoo.com, 991210

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

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

Eric Cook Assistant Editor, WebReference.com ecook@internet.com


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