Hello AHS members, and welcome to the first issue of The Online Hosta Journal. We hope you will enjoy it. The online issue will be released in the Fall of every year, replacing the third issue of The Hosta Journal, and will cover our national convention and our awards, as well as feature articles on a wide range of subjects. Our editorial staff is new and different from the staff of the paper version of The Hosta Journal. We are an all-volunteer staff, and none of us has worked on an AHS publication before. We will work separately from the staff of the paper issues so that our combined efforts will result in more Journal than ever before for our members.
   In this, our first effort, we have worked hard to produce a publication that we hope meets the expectations of a membership used to the high standards of our paper Journals.
   In this online issue, we can have more articles, more pictures, more of everything that we love about the Journal. We can even add articles and other content throughout the year so that the issue remains current. In the fall, when it is time to retire a year's issue and publish the next one, the old issues will be archived and easily available at the website.
   In this issue, you'll see a layout that is a little different from the paper editions, yet one that carries the same feel in a different venue. We have tried to maintain as much of the design that Janet Mills created, not only because we like it too, but because it says "The Hosta Journal" to all of us.
   Our goal in The Online Hosta Journal is to embrace the potential the internet affords to deliver more content than ever before in a Journal issue. With the paper issues, decisions had to be made as to what content could be included based on the budget allotted for each issue. This meant some members were always feeling that there was too much of this and too little of that. The Online Hosta Journal has no restrictions on the amount of content, so we hope to be able to satisfy everyone. If you have something you'd like to see more of, let us know and we'll see if we can find authors and photographers to provide it. We are here to serve you, the membership of the AHS.  

   If you haven't already read the article titled "About the New Online Journal," please take a look, because it has some notes explaining how the issue works. It will only take a few minutes to read and may prevent some confusion. 

   One change readers will notice is that in this Online Hosta Journal the controversial policy of listing registrant's names after cultivar names has been dropped, in favor of the more widely accepted practice of putting originator's names there. This will hopefully end some of the confusion caused by this policy in the past. A nominant's name will also be included if a different person named the plant, as the name is such an important part of a plant's identity. 
   For those new to hosta nomenclature, the originator is the person who created or discovered the plant. This person is rightfully the person whose name is normally associated with the plant, and the person who receives any awards the plant may receive. The registrant is simply the person who filled out the registration data for the plant and is often someone who was not involved in the creation, discovery, or naming of the plant. Not all hostas have been registered by their originators, and those who have registered hostas for others have performed a valuable service in recording information for the registration database, but they should not be confused with the people who made the hostas.

   If you want to discuss the Online Journal, we'll try to be around on the AHS forum at the AHS website. See you there!

   We had several choices in how we would design this first issue of the Online Hosta Journal. We could take the familiar PDF route; we could design it like a website along the lines of Time magazine's site, or we could try something a little different.
   What we came up with is essentially a website in structure, yet one designed to look and feel as much like a paper magazine as possible, while still retaining the quick loading and easy functionality of a website. In effect, we tried to create a hybrid between a magazine and a website - one that featured the best features of both. A percentage of our members still have dial-up, so we needed quick loading times.

   To get the look we were after, pages were constructed in HTML, using tables to simulate a magazine-like layout. With HTML pages of this kind, the browsers exert quite a bit of control that we cannot override. In particular, they exert control over text size, but they also handle table instructions differently. This means that the Online Journal pages will look different, depending on which browser is being used. We have tested in the four most common browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, - to try to reach a balance of good appearance in each. The way each browser changes the text will cause some to see extra white (empty) space, where others see more tightly laid- out pages. In general, the best appearance will be in Internet Explorer, as it is still the most commonly used browser.
   We chose the Georgia font for the bulk of the text because it displays well in all browsers and is large and easily readable in 12 point size. Some have large monitors with high resolutions, and to them the Online Journal may take up only a small area of the screen. We recommend that people seeing a too-small version either change resolution to a more common setting, or that they use the browser controls to magnify the whole page. If the browser settings are used to magnify text alone, it can really make a mess out of the page, - causing text to overlap and other undesirable things.