NetObjects Fusion: A More Perfect Union

by Cye H. Waldman, Ph.D.

Copyright 1997 Cye Waldman. All rights reserved.

| Introduction | NetObjects Fusion | @loha | Book Review | In Brief | Resources |


As I was writing my very first column for WWWiz back in June of 1995 I noted that I had all three books in print on HTML and Web authoring, and didn't think there would be much more to say on the subject. In the next issue I pointed out that there was "a veritable explosion of new book titles on authoring for the Web." Indeed, there was a total of fifteen. Imagine. Now, a mere two years (and God knows how many Web years) later, there are over 3,000 books in print or announced for Web authors. To get the full scoop, visit the WWWiz book list.

In this month's column I'll have a review of NetObjects Fusion 2.0, arguably the best of the Web site development tools, a product announcement for @loha, a whimsical new email enhancement, a review of James Wallace's new book Overdrive, and a collection of brief book reviews.

Net Objects Fusion 2.0

Two years ago I wrote in this column (WWWiz, Sept. 1995): "Tables are an important new development for HTML 3.0 and Netscape 1.1. I think this may be the single most significant new tool for the Web designer and its potential has not been fully explored yet. Also, think beyond data and visualize tables as the basis for entire Web pages." Many others have recognized this potential use of tables but NetObjects has carried it to the nth degree in their Fusion Web publishing program. The use of tables allows NetObjects Fusion to give precise WYSIWYG page design. But that's only part of the story. NetObjects Fusion's real strength lies in its completely site-oriented approach that gives you control over the entire site design and maintenance as well as the individual pages. This program provides you with the complete wherewithal to develop your entire Web site in a structured, or top-down, approach. Working from the outside, in (or top, down) you would develop the tree structure and links between the various pages on your site. NetObjects Fusion automatically creates all the links and navigation buttons. Then you would work on the individual page contents.

Actually, NetObjects Fusion 2.0 gives you five ways to view, create, and manage all the information pertaining to your Web site. The program opens in a Site view in which you create the tree structure of hierarchical Web page structure. As you would expect, this can be done with drag-and-drop ease and NetObjects Fusion automatically handles all the links as you move the page around and add new ones. The Page view allows you to work on individual pages. In this mode you'll have access to a toolbar that provides for virtually anything you'd want to put on a Web page, to wit: text, graphics, multimedia, Java applets, ActiveX controls, and data from external sources (databases, spreadsheets, etc.) to name a few. The program provides an incredible amount of control for the page designer. Of course, you'll have to supply your own multimedia, applets, and other plug-ins. There is a lot of latitude in the basic page layout and navigation buttons. This is not a simple cookie-cutter program and you would be hard-pressed to identify Web sites created with NetObjects Fusion. The results with this program are as individual as the designers who develop them. Moreover, there is truly no need for any programming knowledge.

The third program view in NetObjects Fusion is a site Style manager. In this view you can choose from about 50 predefined styles for the site. This includes all the backgrounds, buttons, navigation bars, banners, etc. in a coordinated color and style. And you can change these on the fly to see which best suits your taste and needs. This is much like Microsoft's PowerPoint where you can change the motif with a few mouse clicks. Next, a site Assets view gives you access to all the external links, data, and objects used in your Web site. Here you can edit or change these with ease. Finally, a site Publish view allows you to publish your Web site on a remote server. (Of course, you must have FTP access to that server.) You can also maintain the Web site from this view by uploading only those pages which have changed.

All in all, NetObjects Fusion gives you complete control over the development of a complete Web site and its individual pages. It affords the user a fully visual Web site design tool with plenty of room for customization and user control. The program offers the full features of HTML including tables and frames, as well as multimedia plug-ins. NetObjects has stated their intention to keep the program current with future developments in the HTML standard. Naturally, there will be a lag as the new technologies like cascading style sheets and dynamic HTML get sorted out.

All of this doesn't come cheaply. NetObjects Fusion 2.0 lists for $695, but the street price is just about $500. For this price you'll be able to design complete, sophisticated Web sites without a knowledge of HTML programming. However, you will have to learn the program and that is a non-trivial pursuit. The program, while easy to use, will take some time to learn because it is so rich in features. (I haven't even scratched the surface in this brief review.) Mastering this program will be a long journey, but a rewarding one, I think. The tutorial that comes with the program is very good and there are already several books about NetObjects Fusion on the market (see the brief book reviews below). NetObjects Fusion 2.0 is available for the Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

@loha from Media Synergy

@loha is a unique program that allows you to send animated multimedia email. Basically it's a drag-and-drop multimedia greeting card designer that goes as an attachment with your email. The first time you send someone an @loha greeting you include a player that allows them to view the card. (Of course, the recipient must install the player.) Thereafter you needn't send the player; it will already be installed on their system and they can view the cards right away. Of course, you can "play" the messages on your own computer so you'll know just what you're sending. I think this is more of a child's program but it will take an adult to set it up and get the proper email connections. There is an extensive gallery of animated images, backgrounds, borders, and sounds to put in the messages that will doubtless provide hours of entertainment for your children.

The program lists for $50 and is currently available only for the Window 3.1/95 platforms. Visit the Media Synergy Web site for more information.


Overdrive (John Wiley & Sons, $25) is the continuing saga of Bill Gates as told by James Wallace, co-author of Hard Drive. This book is about Bill Gates' initial underestimation of the importance of the Internet and World Wide Web and how he redirected the entire efforts of Microsoft to be Web-oriented. There's a lot of insider-type information about the battles between Gates and his competitors and detractors, and the author doesn't try to disguise his personal dislike for Gates' business style. The author also chronicles how the Justice Department has gone after Microsoft and its fallout. There are also some insights into Gates' personal life, in particular, his relationship with the women in his life: mother, wife, and daughter. Throughout the book, which was not blessed by Gates or Microsoft, the author provides quotes from interviews with Microsoft former employees and competitors. In the end, the author exhibits a grudging admiration for how Gates was able to turn Microsoft 180° around in its course (apparently unprecedented in American business history) and from a position behind the industry to one of leadership once again. I recommend this book to anyone interested in (a) Bill Gates, (b) Microsoft, or (c) the history of the Internet. My only complaint is that at times it gets bogged down in the minutiae of who said this or that about him or her. Personally, I came away from the book with a profound respect for Bill Gates.

In Brief

Special Edition Using HTML 3.2, 3rd Ed. by Jerry Honeycutt, Mark R. Brown, et al (QUE, $50/CD-ROM) is now in its third edition and is 50% larger than the first edition. In addition to covering all of HTML in detail this book gives some introduction to virtually every other aspect of Web page development (including VRML, Java, scripts, sound, etc., etc.). There is also coverage of some of the up-and-coming technologies such as layers (allows you overlap blocks of text or artwork anywhere on the Web page), style sheets (standards for formatting Web pages), and dynamic HTML (an application programming interface for manipulating Web documents). In addition to the usual panoply of editors, plug-ins, browsers, etc. on the CD-ROM you get four additional Special Edition books in HTML format (Java, CGI, VBScript, and ActiveX). If you're looking for an HTML tutorial and a general reference book, this 1,000+ page brute might be just what you need.

The World Wide Web Journal is the official journal of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is published quarterly in book form by O'Reilly. Each issue is strongly thematic and deals with issues of importance within the W3C community. The annual subscription price is $100 (domestic; foreign higher) for four issues (available individually also). The Spring 1997 issue (Volume 2, Issue 2) is Scripting Languages: Automating the Web (O'Reilly & Associates, $30) and contains a number of articles and technical papers on the principal theme of scripts including, Perl, VBScript, JavaScript, Python, etc. This book is recommended for script programmers who wish to keep abreast of the newest developments for Web designers. There is also an interesting interview with Perl developers Larry Wall and Tom Christiansen.

Advanced Java Networking by Prashant Sridharan, Bill Rieken, Laraine Peterson is a new book from Prentice-Hall ($50/CD-ROM) and a new addition to their expanding Java library. The book explains basic networking concepts (like how to use sockets) for the first part of the book. The really nice thing about this book is that it gives a pretty good introduction to the various Java technologies that leverage networking for the rest of the book. These include Java IDL, RMI, JDBC, JMAPI, the Java Web server from Javasoft, and JavaBeans. The examples are all in terms of JDK 1.1, which is included on a CD that comes with the book. One minor point that I wish had been included is an explanation of how to use the multi-cast technology that's in Java. It is an advanced topic, and one that I think developers will be working with more and more in the coming year. As I said, that's only a minor nit-pick. Overall, this is a great book if you need to get exposed to many different Java technologies quickly. [Guest review by Stephen Pietrowicz]

HTML: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy (O'Reilly & Associates, $33) is a complete guide to the HTML 3.2 standard and many of the extensions that various browsers support (e.g., cascading style sheets, frames, layers, executable content such as Java and JavaScript, spaces, etc.). Conspicuously absent are VBScript, ActiveX, and dynamic HTML, so the book appears to be slanted to Netscape Navigator rather than Internet Explorer. The book is well written with each topic explained completely, but concisely. There are three more chapters than in the first edition, reflecting the changes in the HTML standard over the last year. This book is intended for beginning HTML programmers.

You might wish to consult Bryan Pfaffenberger's Protect Your Privacy on the Internet (John Wiley & Sons, $30). This book is about limiting your exposure on the Internet and covers various open channels to your personal information. Among the topics covered are passwords, getting your name off databases, cookies, JavaScript, ActiveX and company, safeguarding your children online (and preventing them from giving away the farm), encryption, cleaning up after your browser, and posting anonymously on the Usenet. I was very surprised to learn some of the things that are going on behind the scenes on your own computer! If you're in an office environment you have a great deal of exposure regarding how you've spent your time online and what you've said to whom. The book goes beyond raising the red flag and takes a proactive approach to defusing the problem through its advice and recommendations and software provided on the CD-ROM. This is serious stuff-not just a bunch of paranoid ravings.

Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web by Evan I. Schwartz (Broadway Books, $25) should be read by everyone interested in doing business on the Web and anyone who plans to transact business on the Web (that's you). Schwartz examines how the Web is changing the way business is conducted along with the shifting paradigms of consumer interactions, and how this affects us all. He takes a look at how things might be in the not-too-distant future and winds up with some plausible models. He goes further, however, with advice on how businesses can prepare for the brave new world as well as giving many examples of those who are already on the path. In a sense this book is a doctrine for those already doing business on the Web, and a wake-up call for those who aren't. For those of us who aren't in business it's an interesting read and a sneak peek at the future.

ActiveX: VB5 Control Creation Edition by Gary Cornell and Dave Jezak (Prentice Hall, $40/CD-ROM) is the only book I've encountered so far on Microsoft's free VB5 Control Creation Edition (CCE), which means it's the only documentation available for this program. The software is a full-featured visual development IDE similar to Visual Basic. The book covers the gamut of building ActiveX controls: the CCE environment, building user interfaces, Visual Basic programming, object-oriented programming, wizards, templates and more, plus real-world examples of ActiveX controls. The book is amply illustrated with screen shots and sample code. Unfortunately, the beta version of the software on the CD-ROM is out-of-date and you'll have to download the 7MB program from Microsoft. The CD-ROM also contains the sample code from the book and additional ActiveX controls from about a dozen vendors. Look for more titles on ActiveX coming soon from Prentice Hall.

In the process of reviewing NetObjects Fusion (see above) I've looked into two companion texts to augment the documentation.

Laura Lemay's Web Workshop: Net Objects Fusion 2 by Kabriel Robichaux & Derrick Woolworth (, $40/CD-ROM) is task oriented and can be read at random to learn how to do this or that. The bulk of the text is given as "Tasks" to accomplish specific results. The book covers the basics of working with Fusion, creating interactivity (e.g., multimedia and forms), and creating dynamic content (e.g., CGI and scripts).

Web Designer's Guide to NetObjects Fusion 2 by Timothy Webster & Mike Barrs (Hayden, $40/CD-ROM) takes a more anatomical look at Fusion and covers in detail each aspect of the program in turn, and is probably best read straight through. Both books come with trial versions of Fusion for Windows 95/NT, plus the usual array of junk they feel compelled to add to fill up a CD-ROM.

Intelligent Java Applications for the Internet and Intranets by Mark Watson (Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, $45/CD-ROM) is the first book on artificial intelligence (AI) in Java. This book includes a broad spectrum of tools covering neural networks, genetic algorithms, natural language systems, expert systems, and more. The book is completed with specific examples and projects such as games, handwriting recognition, optimizing neural networks, natural language queries, and data collection agents. The CD-ROM contains the complete Java source code and class files for the author's AI packages, as well as the source code for the examples in the book. As the Internet is becoming more personalized with the advent of broadcasting and customized services it's easy to see how AI will play an increasingly important role, and Java, of course, is the language of choice. Needless to say, this book is for experienced programmers who are prepared to do some serious studying.

The Annotated VRML 2.0 Reference by Rikk Carey and Gavin Bell (Addison-Wesley Developers Press, $40/CD-ROM) is primarily a reference text. It includes the syntax and semantics of every node in the VRML 2.0 specification. More importantly, it includes complete working examples of each node (not just snippets), along with design notes and tips. The book is amply illustrated where required to demonstrate complex geometries in three dimensions. It also contains an introduction to VRML, but is by no means a tutorial (nor is it intended to be). The book is completed with lots of additional technical information on VRML 2.0 for the programmer, including JavaScript functions. The CD-ROM contains the full text of the book in HTML format, thus giving you ready access to all the example code. Also, the entire book is available online.

Java Fundamental Classes Reference by Mark Grand and Jonathan Knudsen (O'Reilly & Associates, $45) is the companion volume to O'Reilly's Java AWT Reference by John Zukowski. Java is growing and you'll have to grow with it to keep up. The basic packages in Java 1.0 have been expanded with new classes in Java 1.1 along with four totally new packages. This book covers all the core Java packages (exclusive of the AWT) through Java version 1.1.1. Although the book contains some brief tutorial-style chapters it is primarily a reference text. The book is arranged alphabetically by package and class. For each class there is a synopsis of the available information followed by detailed descriptions of all the variables, constructors, and methods of the class. All the material new to Java 1.1 is clearly marked. If you're looking for a more general Java reference book, take a look at O'Reilly's also-just-released Java in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed. by David Flanagan. This book is only $20 and was one of the most popular Java books in its first edition. The second edition covers Java 1.1.

CGI For Commerce by Gunther Birznieks and Selena Sol (MIS:Press/M&T Books, $40/CD-ROM) contains a complete Web store application with instructions on how to install, customize, and use it. The first part of the book covers the basic aspects of setting up a Web store, choosing between stores based on HTML pages, dynamically generated pages from a database, and query-driven databases, setting up order processing, and secure shopping setup. The role of frames and client-side scripts is also discussed. The Web store is based on Perl scripts and HTML so a minimal knowledge of each is required (or at least some programming experience). But the point in Part 1 is that it isn't necessary. Only in the second part of the book do the authors go into depth in the Perl scripts. There is enough detailed explanation of the underlying code to allow the experienced Perl programmer to customize the Web store to his/her satisfaction. The CD-ROM contains all the scripts in the book for both UNIX and Windows 95/NT platforms. Unfortunately, the publisher isn't very aggressive about keeping their Web site up to date (hint) so you won't find this book there. When they get around to it, you'll find it in their Internet Programming section.

HTML & Web Publishing Secrets by Jim Heid (IDG Books, $50/CD-ROM) is a second-generation Web publishing book. It assumes you already have some knowledge of HTML and want to take your Web site beyond simple HTML pages. This book covers a broad spectrum of topics for Web site developers. Part I covers the creation and optimization of Web pages, including the latest HTML developments. Part II covers interactivity including searching, chat rooms, messages exchanges, and database access. Part III covers multimedia, including audio, video, animation, and virtual reality. Finally, Part IV covers servers, including optimizing performance and working with in-house and out-house servers. (Oh, come on, you know what that is-you've seen plenty of them.) The CD-ROM boasts 55 Web tools. I'm pleased to note that the author has taken great care to provide a full complement of Mac tools, something which is often overlooked on CD-ROMs with Web publishing books.

Webcasting: Broadcast Marketing Over the Net by Jessica Keyes (McGraw-Hill, $25) covers the full spectrum of multimedia delivery across the Internet. The emphasis here is on real-time streaming audio and video and other delivery devices. The book opens with an introduction to this new media and some success stories. In then goes into some detail on what is available from the big players (Microsoft, Netscape, RealAudio, and VDOLive) and a handful of minor ones. The author then discusses the blurring distinction between telecommunications, television, and the Internet, and the move toward a Global Information Infrastructure. The book finishes with a chapter on audio and video production considerations for neophytes. The book is supported by a Web site where you can get current information about Webcasting technologies and tools. Much of the book is available online at McGraw-Hill's bet@ books Web site.

It seems that every time you blink there's a new Web technology to learn about. And naturally there's a slew a books about it, as well. I recently came across Extranets: The Complete Sourcebook by Richard H. Baker (McGraw-Hill, $40) . Extranets are somewhere between the Internet (full public access) and Intranets (private access) which give limited access to a Web site where a company can provide a wide-area network to its employees, suppliers, and customers. The book covers Extranet whys and wherefores, planning and strategy, detailed instructions for implementation and management, and conducting business in a secure environment. In addition, there are real-world examples drawn from several companies who have taken this route. I don't know much about Intranets and such but I thought it would be worthwhile to call your attention to this new area. This book is likewise available online at McGraw-Hill's bet@ books Web site.

Graphis New Media 1: A Compilation of New Media Design by Clement Mok (Ed.) (Graphis Press, $70) is a large-format (okay, coffee-table) book featuring 100 of the best designs to be found in the new media (Web sites, CD-ROMs, video, etc.) More than just a collection of pretty pictures, there are diagrams that give insight into the planning and production of the various projects. There are also three introductory pieces with unique perspectives on design and the new media. Designers, if you're not familiar with Graphis Press, I strongly urge you to visit their Web site and get a copy of their catalog. They have a large selection of books on various aspects of design.

FrontPage 97 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide by Phyllis Davis (Peachpit Press, $18) is a good guide and tutorial to using Microsoft's Frontpage Web page development program. The book covers the basics of Web page design and goes into the particulars of the program regarding working with text, graphics, multimedia, tables, frames, and so on. Like all the books in Peachpit's Visual QuickStart Guide series, the book is replete with images showing what's to be done, and enumerated steps for carrying out the desired action. Also recommended: Photoshop 4 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide.

Jamsa Press has an interesting line of books in their Programmer's Reference series. I have previously recommended the Java Programmer's Library and I'm pleased to feature more titles in this series at this time.

The VRML Programmer's Library by Kris Jamsa, Ph.D., et al (Jamsa Press, $50/CD-ROM) is more about using VRML than learning it. So, assuming you know something of programming VRML you can jump into this book and get some pretty exciting ideas (and code) for 3-D scenes. To the book's credit, and to my surprise, the book goes into some fairly complex shapes; not the usual sort of kindergarten stuff you see in so many books. I should point out that the emphasis in this book is on developing objects. Conspicuously absent are many of the VRML 2.0 features that lend more reality to VRML scenes. The book is amply illustrated and boasts over 50,000 lines of source code, containing a mix of VRML 1 and VRML 2 code. At the end of each chapter there are about half a dozen VRML Web sites the authors recommend. Finally, the CD-ROM contains all of the source code in the book.

Jamsa has also just released ActiveX Programmer's Library by Suleiman Lalani and Ramesh Chandak which covers the full spectrum of ActiveX technology. Check it out!

While on the subject of programming, you should also look at Gordon McComb's Web Programming Languages Sourcebook (John Wiley & Sons, $50/CD-ROM). This book covers all the languages used in Web site development: Perl, UNIX shell languages, Java, JavaScript, VBScript, and C. The book analyses the comparative merits of each language for specific Web tasks and gives the advantages and disadvantages of using each of them. The author also gives sufficient background in each language that an experienced programmer could glean enough information from it to do some simple tasks. This book is recommended for anyone who wants a general background in the languages of the Web, or someone who is seeking to pick up a second (or third) language and needs some guidance as to which would be best suited for his/her needs. The CD-ROM contains a library of customizable scripts and programs for every language covered in the book.

Not Just Java is the latest Java book from Peter van der Linden (Prentice Hall, $35). The first book (well, two books if you count different editions) was Just Java. That book covered how to program in Java. Not Just Java isn't a programming book; it's a discussion of the technologies surrounding Java. Network computers, security, Java libraries, ActiveX, JavaBeans, CORBA (and more) are all discussed. Instead of a simplistic explanation of the topics he covers, Peter explains the advantages and disadvantages of each technology. He even gives explanations on why some (C++, for example) are in the state they are today. There's a lot of very timely information in this book, which I found especially enjoyable. He tells about where some of the first NCs will be deployed, and the reasons why some companies are switching to them. He covers Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Apple, Microsoft, and Netscape, explaining what each of their strengths and weaknesses are, and what challenges they face. Most importantly, Peter talks about the state of Java today and where it's headed. I really enjoyed this book. Since the time the book has been published, some of Peter's predictions on what he saw coming were right in line with what is happening now. I really hope that Peter continues to update this book with new editions. We need books that can give this kind of analysis, and I'm happy that Peter decided to write this one. Even if you've got a ton of Java books on your shelf, be sure and take a look at this one. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. [Guest review by Stephen Pietrowicz]

To me the Internet principally means the World Wide Web, but to many it begins and ends with Usenet, which is known mostly for its newsgroups. If this is your thing, or if you are just interested in the history, status, and future of the Internet, then by all means you should read Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet by Michael Hauben and Ronda Hauben (IEEE Computer Society Press, $29). The authors cover in great detail the ideas and people that shaped the Internet of today and speculate on where it's headed in the next century. Throughout, the authors stress the importance of free or cheap access for everyone and how the Internet has impacted and will impact our very social fabric. I think it's important for us Netizens to be aware of the forces that are shaping our lives. This book is not a casual history of the Internet as you find in so many books. Rather, it is a thoroughly researched piece of work that chronicles one of the most important phenomena of the decade.

Timothy Webster's Web Designer's Guide to Graphics: PNG, GIF, & JPEG (Hayden Books, $50/CD-ROM) is a two-edged sword. It is at once a technical reference to the three principal graphics formats for the Web and a design guide full of tips and techniques for preparing Web graphics. Of course, this book won't make a Web artist out of you, but it will help to hone your skills. It will also teach you the difference and advantages and disadvantages of the Big 3 graphics file formats. And in particular it will bring you up to speed on the newest entry into the fray: PNG (Portable Network Graphics). The first of the four parts of the book covers graphics fundamentals (color monitors, color models, bit depth, resolution, palettes, anti-aliasing, compression, and interlacing). Each of the remaining parts covers one of the three graphics file formats in details, including comparisons where appropriate. Of particular interest are the chapters on when (and when not) to use a particular format and how to optimize the files for size and/or quality.

Also of interest for Web artists/designers is The PANTONE® Web Color Resource Kit by Mordy Golding and Dave White (Hayden Books, $65/CD-ROM) and PANTONE® Web Color System Guide. This is a treatise on color and working within the limitations of the Web.

Rewired by David Hudsom and eLine Productions (Macmillan Technical Publications, $30) has some interesting perspectives on the past, present, and future of the Web.

Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology by Gregory J.E. Rawlins (MIT Press, $25) is an introduction to computers for those who don't know much about computers, or what they can do for you or to you. In the author's words, "Read it at the beach."

Learning Perl, 2nd Ed. by Randal L. Schwartz & Tom Christiansen (O'Reilly & Associates, $30) is the new edition of this venerable Perl tutorial. (Well, "venerable" means something different regarding the Web than it does, say, in philosophy.) This new edition covers Perl 5 and has new chapters on Perl references and CGI programming. The book is indeed structured as a tutorial and is sprinkled throughout with short code examples. Moreover, there are exercises at the end of each chapter with answers provided in an appendix. Of course, this edition is much more Web-aware than the first edition which was published almost four years ago.

Teach Yourself VRML 2.0 in 21 Days by Chris Marrin and Bruce Campbell (, $40/CD-ROM) gives a straightforward lesson plan to learn how to write VRML worlds. Each chapter lets you take what you've learned in that chapter to build VRML scenes by using a Web browser with a VRML plug-in and a text editor.

As you would expect, the book starts with simple topics and goes on to more complex issues. The examples illustrate the concepts well, and the explanations are clear. The book also covers strategies for building more efficient VRML scenes, using HTML and VRML together, and more. Appendices give a breakdown of each VRML node and event type. There's also a glossary which covers words you might be a bit unsure about.

Some of the topics covered in the book will be a bit difficult for beginners to understand. If you've already been working in 3-D graphics modeling as a user or as a 3-D programmer, you should be able to read this book with no problem. The CD-ROM which is included with the book gives answers for the lessons which are at the end of every chapter. It also includes demo versions of a number of graphics and HTML tools.

Although the book says that you can learn VRML 2.0 in three weeks, learning anything like this is a much longer process. You'll really need to create a lot of your own worlds to really get the hang of VRML. VRML 2.0 itself isn't even the latest version of VRML. VRML '97 is. Does that mean you should wait to get a newer book? No way! VRML is a continually evolving standard, and this book is a very good starting point. [Guest review by Stephen Pietrowicz]

Java Programmer's Reference by Herbert Schildt and Joe O'Neil (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, $17) is a complete reference guide to Java 1.1 syntax, libraries, classes, and methods. There are introductory chapters discussing data types and variables, classes and methods, operators, inheritance packages, and interfaces, and a summary of Java keywords. The main chapters are arranged by libraries, then subdivided into classes, and finally, alphabetically by method. In addition, there are many programming tips and examples. What distinguishes this from book from others of its ilk is its compact size.



NetObjects Fusion

@loha from Media Synergy


Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Reace to Control Cyberspace by James Wallace (John Wiley & Sons, $25)

Special Edition Using HTML 3.2, 3rd Ed. by Jerry Honeycutt, Mark R. Brown, et al. (Que, $50/CD-ROM)
The World Wide Web Journal (World Wide Web Consortium (W3C))
Scripting Languages: Automating the Web (O'Reilly & Associates, $30)
The Tenth Justice by freshman writer Brad Meltzer (William Morrow & Company, $23)
Advanced Java Networking by Prashant Sridharan, Bill Rieken, Laraine Peterson is a new book from Prentice-Hall ($50/CD-ROM)
HTML: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy (O'Reilly & Associates, $33)
Naked in Cyberspace by Carole A. Lane (Pemberton Press, $30)
Protect Your Privacy on the Internet by Bryan Pfaffenberger (John Wiley & Sons, $30)
Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web by Evan I. Schwartz (Broadway Books, $25)
ActiveX: VB5 Control Creation Edition by Gary Cornell and Dave Jezak (Prentice Hall, $40/CD-ROM)
Laura Lemay's Web Workshop: Net Objects Fusion 2 by Kabriel Robichaux & Derrick Woolworth (, $40/CD-ROM)
Web Designer's Guide to NetObjects Fusion 2 by Timothy Webster & Mike Barrs (Hayden, $40/CD-ROM)
Intelligent Java Applications for the Internet and Intranets by Mark Watson (Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, $45/CD-ROM)
The Annotated VRML 2.0 Reference by Rikk Carey and Gavin Bell (Addison-Wesley Developers Press, $40/CD-ROM)
Java Fundamental Classes Reference by Mark Grand and Jonathan Knudsen (O'Reilly & Associates, $45)
Java in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed. by David Flanagan (O'Reilly & Associates, $20)
CGI For Commerce by Gunther Birznieks and Selena Sol (MIS:Press/M&T Books, $40/CD-ROM)
HTML & Web Publishing Secrets by Jim Heid (IDG Books, $50/CD-ROM)
Webcasting: Broadcast Marketing Over the Net by Jessica Keyes (McGraw-Hill, $25)
Extranets: The Complete Sourcebook by Richard H. Baker (McGraw-Hill, $40)
Graphis New Media 1: A Compilation of New Media Design by Clement Mok (Ed.) ( Graphis Press, $70)
FrontPage 97 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide by Phyllis Davis ( Peachpit Press, $18)
Photoshop 4 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elaine Weinmann Peter Lourekas (Peachpit Press, $20)
The VRML Programmer's Library by Kris Jamsa, Ph.D. et al. (Jamsa Press, $50/CD-ROM)
ActiveX Programmer's Library by Suleiman Lalani and Ramesh Chandak (Jamsa Press, $50/CD-ROM)
Web Programming Languages Sourcebook Gordon McComb's (John Wiley & Sons, $50/CD-ROM)
Not Just Java by Peter van der Linden (Prentice Hall, $35)
Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet by Michael Hauben and Ronda Hauben (IEEE Computer Society Press, $29)
Web Designer's Guide to Graphics: PNG, GIF, & JPEG by Timothy Webster (Hayden Books, $50/CD-ROM)
PANTONE® Web Color Resource Kit by Mordy Golding and Dave White (Hayden Books, $65/CD-ROM and PANTONE® Web Color System Guide)
Rewired by David Hudsom and eLine Productions (Macmillan Technical Publications, $30)
Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology by Gregory J.E. Rawlins (MIT Press, $25)
Learning Perl, 2nd Ed. by Randal L. Schwartz & Tom Christiansen (O'Reilly & Associates, $30)
Teach Yourself VRML 2.0 in 21 Days by Chris Marrin and Bruce Campbell (, $40/CD-ROM)
Java Programmer's Reference by Herbert Schildt and Joe O'Neil (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, $17)

Cye H. Waldman, Ph.D., is a technical and engineering consultant based in Encinitas, CA, and a chronic Webaholic. He can be reached at