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Apycom Java Menu Applets Version 3.00
Apycom Software

Author: Steve Weinberg

Date: August 29, 2002

Apycom Java Menu Applets is advertised as a way to, "Add Professional Menus to Your Web Site!" It is a collection of Java applets that allows you to create browser-independent drop-down menus, bars, and buttons for your Website. They are very easy-to-use and free. However, the free version displays the Apycom Software url in the browser's status bar (no big deal). If you want to use the applets on a commercial site you must buy the registered version. The purchased version doesn't display the Apycom url. Java source code is available.

There are menus of all types with features that go far beyond what I feel anyone should use. Well, better more than less. That's just my opinion on what is acceptable on a website. It's like selecting proper attire. Sometimes, you feel you should call the fashion police, but others feel it is perfectly okay. Many of the menu options were technically great, but very distracting.

I evaluated the use of a fairly standard menu type in a horizontal bar format and then a vertical selection list. Apycom Menu Applets is a collection of software functions made available by insertion of certain key phrases in a website along with the addition of the Java class libraries on the website. The vendor supplies all the elements. Most importantly, instructions on use of the applets are provided with sample source code.

I followed the installation instructions and was soon creating various types of very slick menus. Menus had fading color backgrounds (there are many, many choices of types of fades) and an easily selectable set of colors for text. Note that the colors are specified in HEX notation, so it is helpful to know how to find out what the HEX values represent. I did this by using a graphics program and noting the HEX values for desired colors.

It takes very little work to get used to using this package. It is not really an application as is a word processor or spreadsheet program. This is a bundle of functional pieces that can be assembled as building blocks for menus that appear in a web page. I have utilized it to help organize the RPCUG Website and I'm very pleased with the results. Shown here is the source code that I finally inserted into the web pages to give you an idea of how the menu functions work. I suggest looking at the RPCUG home page to get an idea of the functions that it provides. Specifically, the entire block of menu function on the left side and the sub-menus are all encoded by what you see below along with a plain-text file that gives the specific title, graphic, position and sub-menu items. That plain-text file follows the source code.

Source code sample:
<applet code=apPopupMenu archive=java/apPopupMenu.jar width=190 height=400 align="top">
<param name="Copyright" value="Apycom Software -">
<param name="isHorizontal" value="false">
<param name="overSound" value="java/">
<param name="systemSubFont" value="false">
<param name="solidArrows" value="true">
<param name="3DBorder" value="true">
<param name="buttonType" value="0">
<param name="status" value="link">
<param name="alignText" value="left">
<param name="backColor" value="000099">
<param name="backHighColor" value="FFCC00">
<param name="fontColor" value="ffffff">
<param name="fontHighColor" value="000000">
<param name="font" value="Arial,12,1">
<param name="menuItemsFile" value="java/menu.txt">

Plain-text file is menu.txt:
{RPCUG home page,index.htm,_self}
{Calendar of events,,_self}
{Contact Us,contacts.htm,_self}
{Maps - Find us,java/bfoldero.gif}
{|Rockland County vicinity,maprock.htm,_self}
{|Palisades Mall Meetings,mappalis.htm,_self}
{|Pearl River Library,mapprl.htm,_self}
{Free e-mail accounts,java/bfoldero.gif}
{|Access your POP3 e-mail,,_self}

Apycom gives good examples, which you can extract and modify to fit your own needs. I did have to modify the web page somewhat to change the size of the horizontal menu bar so that the bottoms were not cut off when viewing in Netscape 6.2. Other than that, they worked well. There is a good FAQ on the Apycom website to add some helpful tuning and hints for use. Go there and tryout some of the menus.

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