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Review of:
Page Charmer
 
by Joe LaBonté

PageCharmer designer applets from Mainstay is a program designed to help you pep up your web pages. It does this by creating the Java applet code that you paste into your pages. 

 I really liked this program. It is pretty easy to use, and works well. With only a little knowledge of web page design, you can put live interactive image maps, buttons, marquees, tickers, graphics, and sounds on your home page. The box reads: "No HTML coding required; no programming required." Well, it would help if you are not totally in the dark. But you can get by with only a little understanding. If you use one of those web page (html generator) programs, you could get by with even less, I guess. 

Installing it was pretty easy. It unzips into its own directory. Then, from your web browser, you open the PageCharmer.html file. It acts as a web page, and is as easy to use as one. Hyperlinks bounce you around, and into a help file, if you need it. I needed it, to get an idea of what I wanted to do. All the effects are easy to see. You change something, and it shows you the change at the top. Change the text, presto, there it is. (Don't forget to hit the Enter key!) Change the graphic, and there it is. Change the sound associated with a button, bingo. 

I used the buttons, adding interactive buttons to my webpage. When you roll the cursor over the buttons, each button can have its own sound that goes with it. And when you click on it, it can give you another sound. You can check them out on my webpage, shown at the end of this article, if you want to see (and hear) them. 

I also used a banner type picture at the top of the page, with scrolling text. And on one page that is still under construction (the Photos button will take you there), I added another scrolling graphic, with an "under construction" theme. 

Once you create the effect you want, you click on the HTML button. It then shows you the code for all the effects. You copy this to the clipboard, and then paste it to your page, where you want the effect to show up. Not hard to do, but it helps if you have a little understanding of what it wants you to do. I design my web page mostly the hard way. No web design programs. I know the code, and edit my web page file in Notepad. So it didn't phase me at all. But the help files pretty much tell you what to do anyway. 

One thing though: The server where you keep your web page files needs to support you using subdirectories. Mine didn't, so I was thinking about changing servers. But then, while agonizing about this for a few days, I got an email from Geocities. They now support subdirectories! Is that kismet, or what?! So now my files are organized into subdirectories, and the applets will work. 

The CD comes with lots of sounds and graphics, so it gives you lots of cute things to jazz up your pages. You can also enter your own graphics, say a company logo, or family picture. Then you can add sounds to the effect using theirs, or you can use any that you may have. 

Mainstay can be reached at 591-A Constitution Avenue; Camarillo, California 93012. Phone: (805) 484-9400. Email: sales@mstay.com and the web address: http://www.mstay.com. On the web page, Mainstay lists it for $99.00. I called many stores around town, but no one seems to carry it. I emailed Mainstay to see if they know of someone who carries it here, but they don't know of any. They suggested I download it from the webpage. 

Requirements: "Any platform (Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh, Unix, Solaris)." It doesn't mention Windows 3.1, so I don't see how that is "any platform." And, it will work with any browser 3.0 or later. 

Again, I liked it. I used it in my web pages, and will continue to do so. I don't know Java, but this program allows me not to have to learn it. Sounds great to me! 

Joe LaBonté has lived in Converse for nine years with his wife, Denise. He works for the Post Office as an Electronics Technician. He has been a member of Alamo PC for two years now, and really enjoys his membership. He can be reached at www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/2696 or joecool@flash.net.