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FAQ: Web Options

What are my options for viewing and sharing Sketchpad activities on the Web?

Hundreds of Web sites feature Sketchpad activities for your use, ranging from introductory lessons to explorations and analyses of topics in advanced mathematics. A selective listing of these sites can be found on the Sketchpad Links page, but a more current listing can be found by typing "Sketchpad" into your favorite search engine.

Some sites contain electronic Sketchpad documents that you can download and use in your classroom. For the best results in downloading, configure your browser to automatically recognize Sketchpad files on the Web.

If you move on to Web publishing Sketchpad content, there are three basic approaches to "putting Sketchpad online," as described in the following sections.

Publishing Sketchpad Illustrations

Some authors choose to illustrate their Web sites with figures and diagrams they've constructed in Sketchpad. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste illustrations from Sketchpad into a Web-page authoring tool, such as Claris Home Page or Microsoft FrontPage. These authoring tools will convert Sketchpad's clipboard graphics format (PICT on Macintosh; Windows Metafile on Windows) into the GIF or JPEG formats commonly used for Web-page illustrations. If you handwrite your Web pages in HTML, you can use a variety of shareware GIF converters to create Web-ready graphics from Sketchpad's clipboard illustrations.

You may also wish to embellish your Sketchpad illustrations before publishing them by pasting them from Sketchpad into illustration software (such as Adobe Photoshop) before converting them to Web graphics. You can then use that program's features to annotate or decorate your figures in ways beyond Sketchpad's capacities.

Publishing Sketchpad Documents

If your Web site describes specific Sketchpad activities or constructions in detail, you may want to include copies of your Sketchpad documents for readers to download and access with their own version of Sketchpad or with a demo version. These documents can be directly linked to your Web page for convenient access.

To publish a Sketchpad file, you'll have to copy the file to the same server as your HTML page. If you use FTP to copy it, be sure to set the transfer mode to "binary"; Sketchpad documents contain geometric data, not text. Then include a link to the Sketchpad file in your HTML page so readers can access it. Here's an example HTML link (assuming a file named Triangle.gsp is located in the same server directory as your Web page):

Click <A HREF="triangle.gsp">here</a> to download the triangle sketch.

Depending on your web server, you may need to take additional steps to configure your Web server so that others can download your Sketchpad documents without difficulty.

When preparing Sketchpad documents for Internet publication, here are some guidelines on Web-friendly sketches:

  • Always end your document file names with a GSP extension (e.g., triangle.gsp). Even if your readers use computers, such as Macintoshes, that don't require file extensions, their Web browsers will require proper file extensions on any file they download, in order to correctly identify the files as "belonging" to Sketchpad.
  • Avoid unusual (non-alphanumeric) characters, spaces, and punctuation in your file names. Not all Web servers can handle them.
  • If you have a very large monitor, resize your sketch window to something closer to an average size before saving it. Others aren't as fortunate as you in their available screen sizes!
  • If you wish, include a link to the Instructor's Evaluation Edition download page so teachers who do not own Sketchpad can download an evaluation copy to use in exploring your sketches. Do not, however, offer copies of Sketchpad or the Evaluation Edition on your own Web site: that's a violation of your license agreement and of international copyright law.
  • For labels, captions, and other text, use fonts such as Arial and Times that are likely to be available on a wide variety of computers.

Publishing Dynamic Geometry Content Online

Web publishers may also wish to publish Dynamic Geometry content directly in their Web pages by using JavaSketchpad. JavaSketchpad allows you to incorporate Sketchpad illustrations that users can manipulate—by dragging points and clicking action buttons—directly in the your Web page. Users won't need to leave their Web browsers or have a copy of Sketchpad software to explore your constructions interactively.

To learn how to save your Sketchpad documents as JavaSketchpad Web pages, see the Reference Manual, or view Sketchpad Help on Advanced Topics | JavaSketchpad and Web-Based Dynamic Geometry.