Is it even possible with Applets to add a "Please wait while loading..." to the grey area while it loads?
Otherwise, you can trick the applets to load quicker by putting an applet...like the uShopCart applet on one of your main website pages. By just having that applet on a page that loads before the customer is even in the store will take care of loading the uShopLibrary.class, the uShopProducts.class, and several other general classes ahead of time. Set the WIDTH and HEIGHT of the applet to 2 by 2...and the applet will be virtually invisible.
And one last option is to put the message "please wait" right in between the area on your page where you are defining an applets parameters. This will display that text until the applet starts. Note, however, that I don't think that will work on all browsers.
The third option intrigues me- can you give an example of some HTML?
What I was meaning was to do something like this in your HTML:
APPLET CODE = "uShopInputButton1.class" WIDTH=100 HEIGHT=35
PARAM NAME=id VALUE="B00001"
PARAM NAME=name VALUE="Romeo & Juliet"
PARAM NAME=description VALUE="hard cover"
PARAM NAME=weight VALUE="1"
PARAM NAME=price VALUE="$ 19.95"
PARAM NAME=background VALUE="153,204,255"
PARAM NAME=popupwindow VALUE="NO"
Notice where I put the "Please wait..." within the applets HTML.
Anyway, I hadn't tried that in a long time...and just testing that method now with the latest versions of Netscape and IE...doesn't seem to work. That is, the grey (or white) box appears to just hide the message while the applets loads anyway... So I guess you'll have to go with methods 1 or 2. Otherwise, we'll see what we can do about building some kind of "please wait while loading" indicator into the next release.