POWERSTART
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS


INNER WORKINGS ... ACCESSING POWERSTART ... SETTING UP POWERSTART ... CONTENT COLLECTIONS AND STYLE SHEETS ... CUSTOM FEATURES ... PERSONAL LINKS ... PRIVACY AND SECURITY


All Scescape members have access to their own Powerstart Personal Page at no extra cost. To access your Powerstart Page click here

INNER WORKINGS

How does PowerStart work?

PowerStart uses a scripting language called JavaScript. When you go to PowerStart, Netscape Navigator receives a file of HTML commands, plus a series of JavaScript commands. The JavaScript tells Navigator to look at a special preferences file called a "cookie," which remembers the selections you made when you set up your page. The file includes HTML commands for every possible PowerStart combination. Based on the information it gets from the cookie, the JavaScript chooses only the appropriate HTML sequences and displays your customized page.

PowerStart is a prime example of a new class of network-centric applications developed using Netscape ONE, the open network environment. Netscape ONE is a standards-based environment for creating a new generation of distributed client/server applications and unifies into one single environment the open standards of the Internet, such as HTTP, HTML, JavaScript, Java and a tool chest of open, freely licensable software and technologies.

Is JavaScript the same as Java?

No. Java is a full-blown programming language used to build add-on applications that work alongside Netscape Navigator. JavaScript is a scripting language that allows Navigator (and other JavaScript-capable Internet client software) to actually write or change the HTML that specifies the way a page is displayed. The custom display of your PowerStart page is one example of JavaScript, while the Quote.com stock ticker is an example of a Java applet. Both Java and JavaScript are part of the Netscape ONE software development kit (SDK).

Can I edit the JavaScript or the cookie for my PowerStart page?

You can look at the JavaScript that builds your PowerStart page by using the View Document Source command. Because PowerStart's JavaScript is reloaded from the Netscape server each time you access your page, however, any changes you make to your own copy will be ignored. It would be difficult to use that source code to build your own PowerStart, because the JavaScript code is updated daily and contains references to resources found on the Netscape Web site.

The Netscape ONE Software Development Kit (SDK) provides a set of tools, source code, utilities, examples, and documentation to help developers build applications like PowerStart for the Internet and corporate intranets.

You should never try to edit your cookie file. This file contains codes and characters that the JavaScript expects to find in specific places, so anything you do to this file will usually result in a JavaScript error or a crash.


ACCESSING POWERSTART

I created my own PowerStart page, but the next time I tried to access it, I returned to the Setup page and my custom settings were gone. What happened?

The information you enter when you create your PowerStart page is saved on your computer in a special file called a "cookie." This file is saved to disk only when you exit Navigator properly by selecting Exit from the File menu in Windows and Unix, or Quit from the File menu on a Macintosh. If you turn off your computer before exiting Navigator, or if your computer crashes before exiting Navigator, the file and your settings will not be saved.

I created my own PowerStart page, but now when I try to access it, I get an error. What can I do?

One thing you can try is to delete your cookie file. On Windows systems the file, called "cookies.txt," is in the Netscape directory. On Macs it's called "MagicCookie," and it's in the Netscape folder inside the Preferences folder in your System folder. On Unix systems, the "cookies" file is under the login directory in the .netscape directory.

This file contains the preferences for your PowerStart page. If it has somehow become corrupted, deleting the file and starting from scratch might solve the problem.

Can other people on the Internet access my PowerStart page?

No. Your PowerStart page is not a page that resides on a server or on Netscape's Web site. In fact, everyone's PowerStart page has the same URL, or Internet address - http://personal.netscape.com/custom/page/show_page.html - so sharing the address with someone else won't work. The preferences stored in the cookie file tell Navigator what content to put on your page and what it should look like. Anyone else accessing the URL for PowerStart will see a different page based on the choices they made during the Setup process.

Can I print my PowerStart page?

Unfortunately, no. Because your PowerStart page is not really a page on Netscape's Web site, you can't print it. Your PowerStart page is assembled by JavaScript each time you link to the PowerStart URL. The software that prints pages doesn't yet understand JavaScript, so it can't assemble the page for printing. We're working on a solution.

If more than one person uses my computer, can we each have a different PowerStart page?

No. Right now, there can be only one set of PowerStart preferences per computer.


SETTING UP POWERSTART

I get an error when I try to create a PowerStart page. What's wrong?

PowerStart relies on JavaScript, so you must use a browser that supports JavaScript. Currently, all versions of Netscape Navigator from 2.0 and up support JavaScript. If you're using one of these versions but you still can't create a PowerStart page, make sure that JavaScript is enabled. Depending on which version of Navigator you're using, the JavaScript enable/disable item is either in Security Preferences or Network Preferences.

If you're not using the most recent version of Navigator, you can download it now.

If you're using a recent version of Netscape Navigator and JavaScript is enabled but you still have a problem, send us some feedback, and we'll see if we can solve the problem.

We know how frustrating errors can be, so we've invested a great deal of time trying to make sure that PowerStart works on as many systems as possible. In fact, we've had PowerStart validated for cross-platform compatibilty by WebChecked, and received their seal of approval.

Can I use my own graphics or photos for the top of the page?

For security reasons, JavaScript cannot read or write files directly to or from your computer. We're working on ways to allow you to use your own images while maintaining our network security.


CONTENT COLLECTIONS AND STYLE SHEETS

What is a Content Collection?

We put together a few PowerStart pages in case you didn't want to start from scratch. Each of these Content Collections focuses on a different topic, such as Business and Finance or Technology. When we built each Collection, we simply chose from among the many custom features and links that are available to you in the PowerStart setup. You can start with one of these Content Collections, then add or remove links or features to customize your page.

If I choose a different Content Collection after I have built my PowerStart page, what happens?

If you return to the PowerStart setup and choose a new Content Collection, the content choices you made previously will be replaced by the choices defined by the new Collection. When you choose a new Collection, an alert will warn you of this and give you the chance to cancel or continue.

What is a Style Sheet?

Style Sheets are similar to Content Collections. Our graphic designers put together a few great combinations of layouts, background colors or patterns, and text and link colors in case you don't want to start from scratch. You can start with one of these Style Sheets, then change any of the design elements or colors if you'd like. Changing Style Sheets doesn't alter the content on your PowerStart page, just the way it looks.


CUSTOM FEATURES

On my PC, I have a stock ticker. But on my Macintosh, it's not there. Where did it go?

The Quote.com stock ticker is available only on those systems that support Java. Currently, the Macintosh version of Navigator does not support Java.

What stocks or securities are available on the ticker?

Right now, any security traded on the NYSE, AMEX, or NASDAQ exchanges should be available on the ticker. Over the next few weeks, we'll add even more exchanges. If you get an error message when submitting the symbol for the security you wish to track, you may have entered the wrong symbol. You can search for the correct symbol by clicking on the "search for it" link.

Why are the stock prices shown on the Stock Ticker delayed by 15 minutes?

Even though the Stock Ticker continually updates the quote for the symbol you have entered, every minute if necessary, the prices you see are delayed by 15 minutes. This is a restriction imposed by the various securities exchanges. To receive real-time quotes, you must subscribe to a stock exchange for a substantial fee.


PERSONAL LINKS

How do the Personal Links work?

You can add up to 15 of your own links to PowerStart. These can be links to other Web sites (with URLs beginning with "http://"). They can also be links to newsgroups, FTP sites, Gopher sites, or WAIS sites. You can even create a Personal Link for an email address - type in the address as your link, and when you click it a pre-addressed email window will open.

Use the pulldown menu to select the type of link you want to create. Then type the link following the suggested form. Don't forget to give your link a name, something that will help you remember what it is.

Can I copy my bookmarks to my Personal Links?

Unfortunately, the only way to enter a Personal Link is to type it in. You can, however, get the URL for any of your bookmarks, then copy and paste it into a Personal Link. In Navigator, select Bookmarks from the Windows menu, then highlight the bookmark you want. Next, select Copy from the Edit menu. Finally, paste it into the text field for your Personal Link.


PRIVACY AND SECURITY

If I enter personal information such as my name and personal links, what do you do with it?

Absolutely nothing. The information you enter isn't stored on the Netscape server. Instead, it's saved on your computer in a special file on your system called a "cookie." The JavaScript that builds your PowerStart page runs on your computer, not the Netscape server. Netscape doesn't keep track of any information: not your name, your notes, nor any of your choices.

If JavaScript can read the cookie file, can it read any other files on my computer?

No. For security reasons, JavaScript has no commands to read or write files, so it's impossible for someone to write a JavaScript program that can read files on your computer. In fact, JavaScript can't directly read the special preferences file called the "cookie." Only your browser can read from or write to your cookie file. The browser tells JavaScript only about the preferences associated with a specific URL. So, for example, JavaScript that comes from the PowerStart URL is told only about PowerStart preferences.


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