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|      Everything You Need to Create and Maintain Great Websites       |
|  March 4, 2000                                             Issue #9  |


Here is the ninth issue of the BigNoseBird.Com low volume newsletter.
Our thanks for allowing us to add just one more deperately needed 
item to your inbox. Now filling over 9,000 inboxes!

                      CGI OUTPUT AND FRAMES

A lot people have been writing in with questions regarding controlling
the output of CGI scripts on sites using frames. The solution is quite

Use the TARGET="frame_name" in both text/graphic links and in your 
FORM TAG. As an example, let's look at the BNB script BIRDCAST 
( ) which is a script
used for having your readers recommend your site to their friends.

Initially, you might have a text link in your navigation frame such

  <A HREF="/cgi-bin/birdcast.cgi">Tell Your Friends About My Site</A>

To have the script appear in your main content area frame that is 
named "content", change the link to:

  <A HREF="/cgi-bin/birdcast.cgi" target="content">Tell Your Friends 
     About My Site</A>

The next step is to edit the script itself. Find the FORM tag which
would normally look like this:


Simply modify it to read:

  <FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="$SCRIPT_NAME" target="content">

The thank you page will now appear in the "content" frame. No more
vanishing frames.

You can also do this if you have a data entry form in one frame
named "entry", and a result frame called "result". Just add the
desired target value to the FORM tag and you are in business!

  <FORM ACTION="/cgi-bin/script.cgi" METHOD="POST" target="result">


The latest major privacy breach to surface this past week had to
do with the way Intuit was passing information between the browser
and their server- and DoubleClick's server as well. Here's the

If you are carrying outside content, such as banner advertising
supplied to you from an outside service using an IMG tag (or using
SSI), all of the CGI environment variables are passed to the server
delivering the content as well as yours- including the QUERY_STRING

Just in case you are not familiar with the QUERY_STRING, if you
call a script with the user's information placed on the browser's
command line, the part after the question mark (?) is what becomes
the QUERY_STRING on the server. Here is an example:


We chop up that information, and the other server knows that the
reader it has already assigned a cookie to has a userid of 10234
at whatever site, an income of 50,000, debt of 10,000 and 2 kids.
Wow! That is one serious bonanza of personal information for an
advertising provider to have access to.

To protect your reader's privacy- and to have a cleaner command
line on the browser- use the POST method vs. the GET method for
sending data back to your server. Considering the norm is to use
POST with forms, one can only wonder....


Well, it looks like DoubleClick decided to rethink their position
on associating reader browsing with personal data (including the
reader's name). I would love to say that they are doing this out
of the kindness of their hearts, but it probably had more to do
with the FTC audit. Maybe it had something to do with Altavista
(a VERY huge customer) saying that their readers would not have
to opt out, but rather opt in. It could have also been the fact
that their stock tanked!

In the "Be careful about what you joke about" department... I 
mentioned in my SQUAWK! page
page last month that the controversy about DoubleClick would end
up causing a cookie bill in Congress. Guess what? There's a cookie
bill in Congress now.

                    YET ANOTHER AMAZON PATENT

The latest Amazon patent is pretty amazing. I am convinced at
this point that the US Patent Office has some loose cannons 
running around. 

With Amazon, you can set up a "virtual" bookstore on your site 
and earn commissions on sales that originate from your site. 
From what I understand, they have been granted a patent on 
referral based sales. Now, in addition to having invented the 
"express check out lane", they seem to have invented something 
schools and charities and business have been doing for ages.

My main reason for bringing up this issue, is that if you have
an "on-line" type of store that is affiliated with another e-tailer,
you might have to close your store at some point, or at the least
your pricing will become less attractive.

                      BEFORE ST. PATRICKS'S DAY

Needing just the perfect greeting for St. Patrick's Day? What
could be better than a Luck 'O the Irish Bignosebird Virtual Card?

Once thought limited only to the warmest climes, our ever diligent 
search teams found this specimen with a pot of gold. Here is the bird. 
The gold is gone and so is the search team... Wish your friends the 
best of Irish luck with this prized card. It is said that if you bend 
over backwards and kiss the screen while this bird is displayed, you 
too will have everlasting luck. You also will have lip marks on your 
monitor, which could seriously worry your spouse and/or co-workers. 

                     ANOTHER MSIE'ISM FOR YOU!

Here is a little snippet of code that will allow you to create a link
on a page that when clicked will bring up the "add to favorites" 
dialog box. Works with MSIE 4.0 and 5.0.

<SPAN style='color:red;cursor:hand;' 
 onClick='window.external.AddFavorite(location.href, document.title);'> 
  <FONT face="Verdana,Helvetica,Arial, Helvetica" size="2">
    Internet Explorer Users: Click here to add this 
      page to your list of favorites

For more HTML Tricks and Hints,

                      BLOW AWAY THE GO BUTTON

Want a pulldown navigation selection bar that does not require the
use of a GO button? Here you are. Just cut and past into your document
following the instructions below:

Place this function inside your pages <HEAD> tags.


function pagejump(to_url) {
        if (to_url != "") {

This is the source code for the actual navigation selector. Paste
this into your document where you want the pulldown to appear.
Make sure that the ONSUBMIT line is NOT split when you place it
in your document. Just so you know where it should end, look for
.value); to know you have the correct line end.

------Cut-Below-to End FORM tag-------------------
<FORM NAME="navsel"
  return false">
  <SELECT  NAME="whereto" ONCHANGE="pagejump(this.options[this.selectedIndex].value)">
        <OPTION>please select a page...</OPTION>
        <OPTION>Major Interest Areas</OPTION>
        <OPTION value="/index.shtml" >  Home</OPTION>
        <OPTION value="/cgi.shtml">  CGI Script Archive</OPTION>
        <OPTION value="/ssi.shtml">  Server Side Includes</OPTION>
        <OPTION value="/html.shtml">  HTML Tricks</OPTION>

For more tips and tutorials on site navigation, please stop by

                            COOL THINGS

If you like the BNB Virtual Card Script, but can't get it to run
on your site- or just don't want the bother, take a quick run over
to CyberGreet.Net Postcard Hosting at
The folks over there did a nice job of modifying the BNB Virtual
Card Script to meet their needs- and yours. 

                         SHAMELESS BEGGING

Okay, no pride here! If you see someplace that you feel that 
BigNoseBird.Com should be listed, you have my permission to 
handle the submission. BNB's popularity is due almost completely
to word of mouth recommendations, and any assistance you could
provide if you feel BNB worthy would be greatly appreciated.

<A HREF=""> Everything you
   need to build great web sites- for free!</A>

                          REALLYBIG NETWORK

Looking for cool stuff and information for your sites? The 
REALLYBIG network consists of:               Over 3000 Web Master Resources            JavaScript & DHTML Resource                Over 1000 Searcheable Fonts           Thousands of Clip-Art Images             Yours truly!

We are a linked group of lunatics that really enjoy what we do!

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