Web Development: Converting Text-to-Graphic on the Fly

When you develop a Web application, you sometimes want heading/menus as images instead of using pure text. The problem with doing this in Lotus Notes is that you have to create two images for each menu, one "normal" and eventually one for "mouse over". If you want to use text with shadow as page heading, you have to make an image and include it in the document.

Now there is an easy solution for this problem. When you need to convert a text to graphic, you can use a QuickPlace server to do the job for you. Best of all, you don't need to have a QuickPlace server or a QuickPlace on your own server, you can use one of the public servers on the Internet. :-)

Try to copy the following URL to the address field in the browser. (We are using this one for level 1 menu-entries):
http://devzone.quickplace.com/QuickPlace/resources.nsf?GetImage&TextString=Menu%20Level%201&OutRectWidth=140&OutTransColor=rgb(0,%200,%200)&FontName=Arial&FontPointSize=10&FontColor=fbd86f&FontBold=1&EffectType=Shadow&BlurFactor=1&ShadowColor=111111&ShadowXOffset=1&ShadowYOffset=1&BkColor=rgb(255,%200,%200)&TextMarginLeft=9&TextMarginRight=2

For menu-entries on level 2 we are using:
http://devzone.quickplace.com/QuickPlace/resources.nsf?GetImage&TextString=Menu%20Level%202&OutRectWidth=140&OutRectHeight=13&OutTransColor=rgb(0,%200,%200)&FontName=Arial&FontPointSize=8&FontColor=fbd86f&FontBold=1&EffectType=Shadow&BlurFactor=1&ShadowColor=111111&ShadowXOffset=1&ShadowYOffset=1&BkColor=rgb(255,%200,%200)&TextMarginLeft=25&TextMarginRight=2

For the heading in the documents we are using:
http://devzone.quickplace.com/QuickPlace/resources.nsf?GetImage&TextString=This%20is%20a%20heading%20in%20the%20document&OutRectWidth=500&OutOp=CLIP_WORDWRAP&OutMaxLines=3&OutTransColor=000000&FontName=Arial&FontPointSize=20&FontColor=990000&FontBold=1&EffectType=Shadow&BlurFactor=6&ShadowColor=999999&ShadowXOffset=2&ShadowYOffset=1&TextMarginLeft=0

The server will return an image with the text "Text in Menu". You have the possibility to change size, colour, shadow (and a lot of attributes for shadow etc.), how many lines the text can fill and so on.

I hope this gave you some ideas on how to make dynamically menus/headings in an easy way.

I don't know if Lotus has documented all parameters that can be used when converting text to images. If so, maybe someone can post the URL for this documentation?


This was first published in March 2001

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