If you're not running Microsoft Windows95 or WindowsNT, this edition of @internet will bore you senseless. Pass on and catch up with me next issue.
The rest of you will remember that my last April column dealt with Internet resources to ease migrating to Windows95. I've spent the past two weeks hunting down 32-bit versions of my favorite applications and utilities, (or substitutes for them, where 32-bit versions don't yet exist,) and I've discovered some very handy ones.
Everybody needs a text editor. I found Alan Phillips' (A.Phillips@lancaster.ac.uk) freeware Programmer's File Editor 32-bit version 0.06.001 for Windows95/NT in WinSite's WindowsNT archives. Although its macro capabilities are pretty weak, it can edit multiple documents simultaneously, can edit files of any size up to the maximum virtual system memory (i.e.--the size of your system RAM plus swapfile, minus the memory used by any other applications and by Windows itself) can invoke DOS compilers and capture their output, is minimally programming-language-aware and can act as a DDE server. Future editions will beef up the macro capabilities and bestow DDE client capabilities on PFE. There are also 16-bit (for Windows 3.x and WFW) and PowerPC versions, but none for the DEC Alpha.
Everybody needs a Web browser, of course. Since I upgraded to Windows95, I've been using Netscape Navigator Gold version 2.02 (http://home.mcom.com/comprod/mirror/client_download.html), of course. I tried the Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 (http://www.microsoft.com/ie/download/iedl/msie20.exe). Bleagh. Navigator Gold is far easier to use, far more powerful and far, far more extensible than is MIE. Although the publishing capabilities of the Netscape product leave quite a bit to be desired, and it has a nasty habit of truncating long files when saving them, its ability to download HTML pages along with their associated graphics for offline viewing is very useful.
Despite the modest security risk, I leave Java enabled in Navigator Gold, and I find it interesting how many sites have already started using Java applets. I've also downloaded and installed a number of third-party Navigator plug-in components (http://home.mcom.com/comprod/products/navigator/version_2.0/plugins/index.html) and, overall, I've been favorably impressed with the functionality they lend to the browser, as opposed to the old-style "helper application" model. In particular, Ncompass' ActiveX plug-in (http://www.ncompasslabs.com/products.html) permits Navigator 2.0 to make use of Microsoft's ActiveX Controls technology (something that the MS Explorer 2.0 can't even do) in addition to Java. I've also evaluated a bunch of other plug-ins for the Navigator browser, but that's the subject of a different column.
Everbody needs an HTML editor, too. In the bad old days of Windows 3.11, I switched back and forth between Kenn Nesbitt's (firstname.lastname@example.org) WebEdit 1.4 and Sausage Software's Hot Dog Pro 1.1. Both products had their limitations, the most irritating of which was that both could only handle 32KB or smaller HTML files. Luckily, Nesbitt has recently released 32-bit beta versions of both WebEdit Standard and WebEdit Professional 2.0 (http://www.nesbitt.com/products.html), and they, too, now allow editing multiple files, (which can be as large as can fit into virtual RAM). The built-in previewer has been upgraded to accurately display HTML 2.0 tags, however it has trouble with files that consist of large blocks of preformatted text and it truncates files over 32KB (meaning that you can't preview more than the first 32K of content).
WebEdit supports Netscape-specific, MS Explorer 2.0-specific and proposed HTML 3.0 tags, and offers users the ability to add their own HTML elements. It also includes a multi-lingual spell checker, color highlighting for tags and dialogues for quickly generating arguments while defining anchors, forms, inline images and tables. WebEdit's help features include several content Wizards, a Server Side Includes reference in the Help menu and popup Tooltip balloons to provide thumbnail descriptions of dialogue fields. Its toolbars can be reconfigured by dragging and dropping elements onto them. WebEdit also permits the user to interactively build client-side (but not server-side) image maps, a useful HTML 3.0 feature. The professional version adds project management capabilities, HTML correctness checking and the ability to highlight tags in the user's choice of color. WebEdit Standard 2.0 is $39.95 and the Professional version is $79.95. 30-day evaluation copies of both are available for download.
If everyone needs an HTML editor, then everyone needs image manipulation utilities, too. One of my favorites is Hypersnap (http://www.kagi.com/authors/gregko/) by Greg Kochaniak (email@example.com) of Hyperionics, a program which permits you to capture a whole screen, a window or a rectangular area you define, with or without the Windows cursor. You can save captured images as GIF, JPEG or BMP files, crop, print or copy them to the clipboard. It's $20 worth of shareware and I use it all the time.
For producing animated GIFs, Alchemy Mindworks' GIF Construction Set for Windows (http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/gifcon.html) is a screeching deal. It's bookware. To register it, you merely have to buy and read Steven William Rimmer's novel "The Order" (1995, Jam Ink Publishing, ISBN 1-895268-02-8). The File/Setup dialogue allows you to disable the beg screen, if you correctly quote the book.
I like Web Hotspots (http://www.concentric.net/~automata/) version 2.01 by Keith Doty of 1Automata for creating, editing and testing server-side and client-side imagemaps in HTML pages. One of my favorite features is its abilty to rescale existing imagemaps, allowing me to fix maps I've accidentally broken by changing their size. It's $49 shareware and you can download a 30-day evaluation copy to try it before you buy it.
I also use Hamrick Software's widely-popular VuePrint 4.4, Pro/32, shareware viewer. It not only allows you to view .GIF, .BMP, .DIB, .RLE, .PCX, .TGA, .JPG and .TIF graphics file formats, (and to convert images from one format to another,) it also plays .MID, .WAV and .MCI sound files, displays .AVI, .MPG, .MMM, .MOV, .FLI and .FLC movies, uuencodes and uudecodes files for transmission via Internet mail and it can allow you to unzip files or to view the contents of zipfiles. All this for just $40. You can download a time-limited demo from http://www.hamrick.com/upg.html or from America OnLine or CompuServe.
(Copyright© 1996 by Thom Stark--all rights reserved)