at work ...


Developing this site has been a very enjoyable experience.

I used a great many tools, only a few were of any major benefit. The initial code was written using the for Microsoft WORD ver 6 and 7, with the Internet add-on. This is easy to use, but has some quirks; for example, it insists on certain formats for Tables, and automatically adjusts the text accordingly! This took some finding, particularly as the changes only occurred when changing from SOURCE CODE to NORMAL VIEW saving. Note the screen view is NOT WYSIWYG, a browser must be used to see what actually is shown, the WORD is close but not accurate.

The other very useful helper was Internet Assistant, a freeware version. This was extremely useful as you can quickly change from source code to browser, and vice versa, at the click of a button. The freeware version does not include all the features, ie Tables/Forms, however these are not difficult to code manually.

Development on several machines with both Windows 3.11 and Windows 95. Browsers were :

NETSCAPE Version 2.0Windows 3.1
NETSCAPE Version 3.0Windows 3.1, 3.11 and '95
INTERNET EXPLORER Version 2.0Windows '95
INTERNET EXPLORER Version 3.0Windows 3.11 and '95

I wish that Microsoft and Netscape could get together and establish a common set of features. I suppose it is inevitable that they will both try and do their own thing, compatibility is terrible!

The biggest differences in the browsers performance and views were in the platforms! Internet Explorer for '95 and 3.1 are different - 3.1 does not handle background .jpg files, this despite the fact that the 3.1 version came after the '95. There seemed to little difference between Netscape versions 2 and 3.


I have included some Virtual Reality worlds in this site. These were also fun to develop, with even more problems between the platforms and the add-ins.

All the versions of NETSCAPE I tested came with a VRML plug-in included (LIVE3D). INTERNET EXPLORER needs an extra plug-in to be installed. Both programmes produce very different results! It is difficult to decide which is better.


LIVE3d plug-in

Backgrounds must be provided as a .jpg file. The default is a black background. The object shading is very crude, you seem to have only two colours, with light or without. The edges are very jagged. Transparency works.

WIRL plug-in

Background can be set in the browser. Colour interpretation and shading is poor. Movement is smooth.

INTERNET EXPLORER (version 2.0 only - Win '95):

Microsoft VRML plug-in.

Background is light blue by default. Shading is gradual, giving a much better appearance of lighting effects. Colours are much brighter. Transparency does not appear to work. Lighting control is not very good.

In other words viewing the same scene using different browsers produces very different results. I think of the various combinations I prefer the Internet Explorer. I have almost been tempted to produce two different sets of source code, one each for Microsoft and Netscape.

For the technically minded the scenes have coded using Virtus VRML 1, this however produces an ENORMOUS amount of code, for example the church building was over 250K!. Considerable hand coding, together with a small utility I wrote in Visual Basic, reduced this by over two thirds. Still a large file for the Internet, however more manageable.

I hope you enjoy this site, and if you have not already had a go at writing HTML or VRML, try it, it is not too bad!

with any comments.

Roderick Starksfield.

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