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Lessons Learned after 5 Years of Blogging

This Fall, I celebrate five years of blogging. I have written tons of web development stuff at Perishable Press, lots of helpful WordPress stuff at Digging into WordPress, some creative/artistic stuff at Dead Letter Art, jQuery stuff at jQuery Mix, and some business-related web-design stuff at Monzilla Media. Plus a bunch of interviews, guest posts, and other blogging projects. So yeah, lots of blogging and writing during the past five years. And they just flew by. Despite what the haters may say, there are some tangible benefits to blogging. As I write, I continue to learn a great deal – […] Read more »

2010 User-Agent Blacklist

Update: Check out the new and improved 2013 User Agent Blacklist! The 2010 User-Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of bad bots while ensuring open-access for the major search engines: Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo, et al. Blocking bad user-agents is an effective addition to any security strategy. It works like this: your site is getting hammered by rogue bots that waste valuable server resources and bandwidth. So you grab a copy of the 2010 UA Blacklist from Perishable Press, include it in your site’s root .htaccess file, and enjoy a more secure and better performing website. It’s that easy. Proven Security The […] Read more »

Best Method for Email Obfuscation?

Awhile ago, Silvan Mühlemann conducted a 1.5 year experiment whereby different approaches to email obfuscation were tested for effectiveness. Nine different methods were implemented, with each test account receiving anywhere from 1800 to zero spam emails. Here is an excerpt from the article: When displaying an e-mail address on a website you obviously want to obfuscate it to avoid it getting harvested by spammers. But which obfuscation method is the best one? I drove a test to find out. After reading through the article and its many findings, here are what seem to be the best methods for obfuscating email […] Read more »

Protect Your Site with a Blackhole for Bad Bots

One of my favorite security measures here at Perishable Press is the site’s virtual Blackhole trap for bad bots. The concept is simple: include a hidden link to a robots.txt-forbidden directory somewhere on your pages. Bots that ignore or disobey your robots rules will crawl the link and fall into the trap, which then performs a WHOIS Lookup and records the event in the blackhole data file. Once added to the blacklist data file, bad bots immediately are denied access to your site. I call it the “one-strike” rule: bots have one chance to follow the robots.txt protocol, check the […] Read more »

htaccess Code for WordPress Multisite

For the upcoming Digging into WordPress update for WordPress 3.0, I have been working with WordPress’ multisite functionality. Prior to version 3.0, WordPress came in two flavors: “original” and “multisite” (MU). Most designers probably work with regular, one-blog installations of “regular” WordPress. The htaccess rules for all single-blog installations of WordPress haven’t changed. They are the same for WordPress 3.0 as they are for all previous versions. But now that multisite has merged with regular-flavored WordPress, we can stick with single-blog installs (which is how things are setup by default), or we can activate multisite functionality and create an unlimited […] Read more »

2010 IP Blacklist

Update: Check out the new and improved 2013 IP Blacklist! Over the course of each year, I blacklist a considerable number of individual IP addresses. Every day, Perishable Press is hit with countless numbers of spammers, scrapers, crackers and all sorts of other hapless turds. Weekly examinations of my site’s error logs enable me to filter through the chaff and cherry-pick only the most heinous, nefarious attackers for blacklisting. Minor offenses are generally dismissed, but the evil bastards that insist on wasting resources running redundant automated scripts are immediately investigated via IP lookup and denied access via simple htaccess directive: […] Read more »

How to Micro-Optimize Your CSS

There are many ways to optimize your web pages. In addition to reducing HTTP requests and delivering compressed files, we can also minify code content. The easiest way to minify your CSS is to run it through an online code minifier, which automatically eliminates extraneous characters to reduce file size. Minification shrinks file size significantly, by as much as 30% or more (depending on input code). This size-reduction is the net result of numerous micro-optimization techniques applied to your stylesheet. By learning these techniques and integrating them into your coding practice, you’ll create better-optimized CSS during the development process. Sharper […] Read more »

HTML5 Table Template

A good designer knows that tables should not be used for layout, but rather for displaying columns and rows of data. HTML enables the creation of well-structured, well-formatted tables, but they’re used infrequently enough to make remembering all of the different elements and attributes rather time-consuming and tedious. So to make things easier, here is a clean HTML5 template to speed-up development for your next project: Update, June 9th: Here is an absolute basic vanilla template for any markup language. Update, June 9th: Here is a better template for HTML5. For HTML 4.01 or anything XHTML-flavor, use the following template: […] Read more »

Wrapping Long URLs and Text Content with CSS

To wrap long URLs, strings of text, and other content, just apply this carefully crafted chunk of CSS code to any block-level element (e.g., perfect for <pre></pre> tags): pre { white-space: pre; /* CSS 2.0 */ white-space: pre-wrap; /* CSS 2.1 */ white-space: pre-line; /* CSS 3.0 */ white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 */ white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 */ white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla */ white-space: -hp-pre-wrap; /* HP Printers */ word-wrap: break-word; /* IE 5+ */ } See demonstration Explanation By default, the white-space property is set to normal. So you might see something like this when trying to […] Read more »

htaccess Redirect to Maintenance Page

Redirecting visitors to a maintenance page or other temporary page is an essential tool to have in your tool belt. Using HTAccess, redirecting visitors to a temporary maintenance page is simple and effective. All you need to redirect your visitors is the following code placed in your site’s root HTAccess: # MAINTENANCE-PAGE REDIRECT <ifmodule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^123\.456\.789\.000 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.html$ [NC] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !\.(jpe?g?|png|gif) [NC] RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R=302,L] </ifmodule> That is the official copy-&-paste goodness right there. Just grab, gulp and go. Of course, there are a few more details for those who may be unfamiliar […] Read more »

Top 5 CSS Shorthand Properties

An excellent way to simplify and streamline your Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is to take advantage of the many different shorthand properties available to you. Working with a lot of CSS, you eventually memorize these different shortcuts, but every now and then, I find myself needing a quick, straightforward reference for some of the more elaborate property combinations. In this post, I’ll show you the shorthand rules for the following properties: Font Properties List Properties Background Properties Border and Outline Properties Transition Properties (CSS3) These are the top 5 on my list of most complicated and frequently used shorthand properties. […] Read more »

Stop 404 Requests for Mobile Versions of Your Site

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your 404 errors recently, you will have noticed an increase in requests for nonexistent mobile files and directories, especially over the past year or so. The scripts and bots requesting these files from your server seem to be looking for a mobile version of your site. Unfortunately, they are wasting bandwidth and resources in the process. It has become common to see the following 404 errors constantly repeated in your log files: http://domain.tld/apple-touch-icon.png http://domain.tld/iphone http://domain.tld/mobile http://domain.tld/mobi http://domain.tld/m So some bot comes along, assumes that your site includes a mobile version, and then tries […] Read more »

Visual Walkthrough of @font-face CSS Code

In my previous post on Quick and Easy CSS @font-face Code, I provide a choice set of CSS rules for embedding custom fonts into your web pages. It’s a solid, cross-browser technique that works great, but as Marty Thornley pointed out, it would be useful to have a more thorough explanation of how the code actually works. So, rather than going back and adding a bunch of additional information to the original post, I’m following up with a visual walkthrough of the @font-face code. In step-by-step visual format, this article will show you what the code is doing and how […] Read more »

Quick and Easy CSS @font-face Code

I’ve been using custom fonts in my designs for quite a few sites now, and have refined what seems to be an ideal chunk of CSS code for implementing the @font-face rules. Some of the sites that include these rules include Perishable Press and Digging into WordPress, which look more stylish and refined with the custom fonts in effect. I’ve tested this code on quite a few browsers, including the following: Safari 3.1+ Opera 10+ Firefox 3.5+ Chrome 4.0+ Internet Explorer 6+ This technique delivers your custom fonts quite consistently to all of these browsers, and degrades gracefully for those […] Read more »

Fixing WordPress Infinite Duplicate Content Issue

Jeff Morris recently demonstrated a potential issue with the way WordPress handles multipaged posts and comments. The issue involves WordPress’ inability to discern between multipaged posts and comments that actually exist and those that do not. By redirecting requests for nonexistent numbered pages to the original post, WordPress creates an infinite amount of duplicate content for your site. In this article, we explain the issue, discuss the implications, and provide an easy, working solution. Understanding the “infinite duplicate content” issue Using the <!–nextpage–> tag, WordPress makes it easy to split your post content into multiple pages, and also makes it […] Read more »

Is it Secret? Is it Safe?

Whenever I find myself working with PHP or messing around with server settings, I nearly always create a phpinfo.php file and place it in the root directory of whatever domain I happen to be working on. These types of informational files employ PHP’s handy phpinfo() function to display a concise summary of all of your server’s variables, which may then be referenced for debugging purposes, bragging rights, and so on. While this sort of thing is normally okay, I frequently forget to remove the file and just leave it sitting there for the entire world to look at. This of […] Read more »

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