Applets are stand-alone code modules which you link to your page using <APPLET tags. They interact with the browser in the same basic way as scripts, but work at a lower level which gives them more detailed control, especially over the display. Applets are very versatile - they can add visual effects to your pages (like the one above), or provide complete 'mini applications' within a page (such as an on-screen game or chat room window), or add features, such as pop-out menu panels with accompanying sound effects, which even the latest Dynamic HTML scripting can't achieve.
What's more, they're easy to add to your pages, and compatible with Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer from versions 2.0 and 3.0 respectively (which is, sadly, a lot more than can be said for the two vendors' incompatible Dynamic HTML implementations!). Best of all, the Web is packed with library sites full of downloadable freeware applets.
This month's examples all use Lake.class, an applet written by UK-based Java Guru David Griffiths (most freeware applets are licensed for use on web servers only, but David's very kindly allowed us to place Lake.class on the SuperCD). Lake takes any GIF or JPG image and displays a rippling lake underneath it, complete with an inverted copy of the image itself - a fantastic visual effect, and very easy to use.
Click here to view a 'How to' page, showing Lake.class in action, plus an overview of how to link applets into web pages, and details of how I prepared the images I used on the page. Your choice of image file is important when using Lake - click here to see Bath transformed into Venice by night (well, almost), and click here to see why you need to choose your <APPLET window's height carefully.
The Web is packed with library sites from which you can download applets for personal use. Click here for links to some sample sites.
Back to PC Plus menu