A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Basics of QuickTime 5

This article focuses on Apple’s latest release, QuickTime 5, both from a user’s and developer’s perspective. I'll also describe the tools you'll need, the creative possibilities, and how to best deliver a project to your intended audience.

Marioni, Reno. Webmonkey (2001). Design>Multimedia>Streaming>QuickTime


Browser Chart

One of the biggest pains about making Web pages is having to keep track of which browsers support what features. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some way to keep track of it all? Well, we've whipped up a few articles and charts to make things easier for you.

Webmonkey. Design>Web Design>Standards>Web Browsers


Building a Photo Gallery

Got some righteous digital pics that you want to display on your site? Todd shows you how to create a photo gallery using PHP.

Kennedy, Todd. Webmonkey (2001). Design>Web Design>Server Side Includes>PHP


Building Web Pages With HTML 5

Depending on who you ask, HTML 5 is either the next important step toward creating a more semantic web or a disaster that's going to trap the web in yet another set of incomplete tags and markup soup. The problem with both sides of the argument is that very few sites are using HTML 5 in the wild, so the theoretical solutions to its perceived problems remain largely untested.

Webmonkey (2009). Resources>Web Design>Wikis>HTML5


Building Web Pages With HTML 5

Depending on who you ask, HTML 5 is either the next important step toward creating a more semantic web or a disaster that’s going to trap the web in yet another set of incomplete tags and markup soup. The problem with both sides of the argument is that very few sites are using HTML 5 in the wild, so the theoretical solutions to its perceived problems remain largely untested. That said, it isn’t hard to see both the benefits and potential hang-ups with the next generation of web markup tools.

Webmonkey (2010). Articles>Web Design>Standards>HTML5


Building with Flash and MySQL

Building a blog is cool, but building a blog with Flash, MySQL, and PHP is so much cooler. Scott guides you through two days of coding and querying.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2003). Design>Web Design>Server Side Includes>Flash


Choosing the Right Database System

The Web-surfing public doesn't really care about flashy-yet-useless technology. They want Web sites that do something for them: provide a service or entertainment; help get a job or a date; check bank account balances, stock prices, interest rates, availability of airline tickets, today's weather ... and so on.

Dice, Richard. Webmonkey (1998). Design>Web Design>Databases>Personalization


CSS ‘Paged Media’ Brings Book Smarts to the Web

What if you could flip through a regular news website like a magazine? Håkon Wium Lie, Opera Software’s CTO and creator of cascading stylesheets, has proposed a new set of CSS tools that transform longer web pages into a more book-like experience, where the reader flips from page to page instead of scrolling down one long screen.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2011). Articles>Web Design>eBooks>CSS


Design Basics

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions. What is the point of the site? What are your goals? Do you want to show the world pictures of your cat? Are you trying to sell worms through the mail? Are you promoting your new major motion picture? The answer will help you begin to focus your page. As you edit your material, you will quickly see that the picture of your cat has no business on the homepage of your new blockbuster.

Frew, Jim. Webmonkey (1997). Design>Web Design


Designing for Different Resolutions

So you've designed a startling site. It looks great on your computer, and you're bucking convention by putting the navigation bar on the right side. But if you don't pay attention to monitor resolution, some of your audience may never see that navbar and won't get past the first page. Since I work full time on the computer, I prefer to use a Macintosh with a large screen and good color resolution. But many people are surfing the Web with an old PC and a smaller screen. What they see is dramatically different from what I see, so I must account for those differences in everything I create.

Kay, Michael. Webmonkey (1999). Design>Web Design


Designing Web Sites for PDAs

Imagine that you're riding on the local urban underground railway. It's the morning commute, and the train is packed. The stranger next to you flips methodically through the Times Tribune Chronicle in a way that lands half of the paper in your lap. You want to teach this space invader a lesson. So you tear the paper from her grasp, ball it into a mass, and squeeze with the transformative might of Superman until the lump is shaped into a perfectly readable, rectangular object that can be held comfortably in one hand. This is similar to the challenge of designing content for the PalmPilot. I came upon this analogy while designing a Wired News mini-site for the PalmPilot's AvantGo browser. During the project, I learned some fundamental guidelines that should be kept in mind when designing Web content for a PDA audience, which I'll share over the next few pages. But first I want to put in a word about the importance of the Web to the PDA.

Stowell, Carter. Webmonkey (1999). Design>Web Design>Mobile>PDA


Digital Photography for the Web

Like digital photography? Here's a look at tools and tricks you can use to create great photos for your site.

Calore, Michael. Webmonkey (2003). Design>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Web Design


Director MX Versus Flash

Director, which hit the scene way back in 1988, was always considered the ultimate multimedia authoring tool. Then the Web came along and Shockwave, a format that translated Director projects for the Web, was born. It was pretty wowie in its day (circa 1995), but the size of Shockwave files, along with the browser plugin users needed to see them, really slowed Shockwave down. Enter Flash's SWF format, which was designed solely for the Web so it was faster and easier to use than Shockwave. And the rest is history: Flash is everywhere, and whipper-snapper Web developers are all, 'Shockwave who?' But Shockwave has its uses. Flash may be better than ever these days, but you can still outgrow it. Say you need better video performance, or you want to create a game or educational tool that uses a joy stick. Or maybe you're looking for the depth of 3D animation. When it comes to interactive projects in the non-Web world (yes, it's true, there is life outside the Web) — such as CD-ROM games, educational materials, reference books, and presentations — sometimes Flash just isn't enough. If you're tackling a big-league, off-Web project, or a particularly intricate website, then perhaps it's time to take another look at Macromedia's Director MX.

Kay, Michael. Webmonkey (2003). Design>Multimedia>Web Design>Flash


Dynamic DNS Basics

A machine on a DSL or cable line without a static IP is connected to the Internet, but only one way. People from the outside can't initiate communication with that machine except through an intermediary, because they simply can't find it! This makes hosting from home impossible ... except through trickery. For there is a solution, a clever one. It is called dynamic DNS.

Adams, Paul. Webmonkey (2003). Design>Web Design>Hosting


Embedding Fonts Tutorial

We really don't have to be stuck in bland land anymore. Font embedding is here, which means that we can use just about any font we want to on our Web pages, and users will actually see it.

Mulder, Steve. Webmonkey (2002). Design>Web Design>Typography


Encryption Tutorial

Dishes up the why and how of real-life data encryption, covering PGP and GnuPG, and using PHP and the mcrypt and mhash libraries.

Meloni, Julie. Webmonkey (2000). Design>Web Design>Security>PHP


Forms as Design Elements

Before there was Java, before there was JavaScript, before there was Shockwave or FutureSplash or frames - hell, before there were tables - there were tools built into HTML that let you add interactivity, layer text, and generally differentiate your Web site from a hard-to-read magazine. Known as forms, they were developed as a uniform system for collecting user input on the Web. But feh! Who cares what they're supposed to do? When I look at pulldown menus, I see cleverly concealed sidebars; radio buttons and checkboxes become visual accents; and scrolling menus make me think, 'Hey, Bill, I got yer floating frame right here.'

Cohen, June. Webmonkey (1997). Design>Web Design>Interactive


Freelancing in the Web World

So you think you've got the cojones to be a freelancer, eh? Then join Evany as she gives you some pointers on this wild and woolly career move.

Thomas, Evany. Webmonkey (2001). Careers>Freelance>Web Design


Freelancing in the Web World

To live the freelance life is to live a life of uncertainty. Not knowing when or from where your next paycheck is coming requires a certain mind-set that not everyone possesses. Some may argue that with so many companies struggling just to keep their heads above water now that the bang is out of the Big Web Boom, full-time work is no more secure than the freelance lifestyle. But before you unplug that feeding tube once and for all, ask yourself if you really have what it takes.

Thomas, Evany. Webmonkey (1998). Careers>Freelance>Web Design


From Web to Print

The Web is WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get. What you see on the monitors and via the connections - and what you use for beta testing - is what your work will look like to all those who check out your URL. What's on your screen will be pretty close to what's on their screens. Print is a different matter altogether. Once your files leave your computer, there's a whole wonderful road they have to journey along to make it into print. You do everything you can to make sure they're ready for their adventure, but just as you're likely to forget your toothbrush or your favorite socks when you take a trip, your files often go to print missing a vital item. You can only hope that the thing you forgot about is easy to correct and not a big expensive mistake that blows your deadline and your budget. Getting your files through your service bureau (where your files are turned into negatives so that your negatives ultimately become the finished product) and to the printer is like taking up the gauntlet. Best case scenario, you'll be winded; worst case, you'll be pounded to a bloody pulp. I fear I'm showing my bias toward the Web.

Frew, Jim. Webmonkey (1999). Design>Content Management>Single Sourcing


The Future of CSS: Finally, Sane Layout Tools

HTML5 and CSS 3 offer web designers new semantic tags, fancy animations, server-side fonts and much more, but that’s not the end of the story. The next major development in web design will likely revolve around one of the things neither HTML5 nor CSS 3 have yet addressed — page layout. For all the great new tools in both technologies, the task of making page elements arrange themselves the way you’d like remains an imperfect process at best. Floats, absolute positions and the occasional bit of JavaScript will get the job done, but that’s a lot of code for something as basic as positioning elements on the page.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2011). Articles>Web Design>Document Design>CSS


Generating Images on the Fly

Paul looks at how PHP, GIMP, or Generator can be used to churn out up-to-the-second charts and graphs, change your site's look and feel on demand, display newly created passwords as bot-defying GIFs, and more.

Adams, Paul. Webmonkey (2001). Design>Web Design>Server Side Includes>PHP


Getting Started with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) have long been the ideal way to create images that need to scale without distorting. For example, SVG is a great format for an icon or logo that needs to be displayed at several sizes without pixelation or other distortion. Unfortunately SVG’s usefulness on the web has always been curtailed by limited support in popular browsers. However, that’s changed recently with the release of Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9, both of which join Opera, Chrome and Safari in offering native support for SVG.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2011). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>SVG


Good Forms

So you've decided it's time to interact with your users. You're tired of this one-way street — you talking, them listening. You want to actually hear what your readers have to say. In order to do this, you'll need to provide a way for people to enter information. Therefore, you're going to need an HTML form.

Greenspan, Jay. Webmonkey (1999). Design>Web Design>Interactive>Forms


Great Documentation Is Key to Open Source Success

Listen up open source developers, if you want your project to succeed you’re going to have to do more than write great code; you’re going to have to document it, teach new users how it works and provide real-world examples of what you can do with it. That’s the message from Jacob Kaplan-Moss, one of the creators of Django, a very successful open source, Python-based web framework. At least some Django’s success can be attributed to its thorough documentation which is not just reference materials, but also includes tutorials, topical guides and even snippets of design philosophy.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2009). Articles>Documentation>Usability>Open Source



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