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Import and Display RSS Feeds in WordPress

Importing and displaying external RSS feeds on your site is a great way to share your online activity with your visitors. If you are active on Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, or Tumblr, your visitors will enjoy staying current with your updates. Many social media sites provide exclusive feeds for user-generated content that may be imported and displayed on virtually any web page. In this article, you will learn three ways to import and display feed content on your WordPress-powered website — without installing yet another plugin. Update: This article applies to older versions of WordPress (less than 2.8). For WordPress 2.8 […] Read more »

4G Series: The Ultimate Referrer Blacklist, Featuring Over 8000 Banned Referrers

You have seen user-agent blacklists, IP blacklists, 4G Blacklists, and everything in between. Now, in this article, for your sheer and utter amusement, I present a collection of over 8000 blacklisted referrers. For the uninitiated, in teh language of teh Web, a referrer is the online resource from whence a visitor happened to arrive at your site. For example, if Johnny the Wonder Parrot was visiting the Mainstream Media website and happened to follow a link to your site (of all places), you would look at your access logs, notice Johnny’s visit, and speak out loud (slowly): “hmmm.. it looks […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Valid, SEO-Friendly Email Permalink Buttons

In addition to your choice collection of “Share This” links, you may also want to provide visitors with a link that enables them to quickly and easily send the URL permalink of any post to their friends via email. This is a great way to increase your readership and further your influence. Just copy & paste the following code into the desired location in your page template: <a href=”mailto:?subject=Fresh%20Linkage%20@%20Perishable%20Press&amp;body=Check%20out%20<?php the_permalink(); ?>%20from%20Perishable%20Press” title=”Send a link to this post via email” rel=”nofollow”>Share this post via email</a> Within the code, you will need to edit both instances of the string “Perishable%20Press” to reflect […] Read more »

4G Series: The Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, Featuring Over 1200 Bad Bots

As discussed in my recent article, Eight Ways to Blacklist with Apache’s mod_rewrite, one method of stopping spammers, scrapers, email harvesters, and malicious bots is to blacklist their associated user agents. Apache enables us to target bad user agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any bot identifying itself as one of the blacklisted agents is immediately and quietly denied access. While this certainly isn’t the most effective method of securing your site against malicious behavior, it may certainly provide another layer of protection. Even so, there are several things to consider before choosing […] Read more »

The Voice of the World Wide Web (Consortium)

Check out this sweet composition of aural styles discovered in the stylesheet for the W3C’s website: /* AURAL STYLES (via W3C) */ @media aural { h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 { voice-family: paul, male; stress: 20; richness: 90 } h1 { pitch: x-low; pitch-range: 90 } h2 { pitch: x-low; pitch-range: 80 } h3 { pitch: low; pitch-range: 70 } h4 { pitch: medium; pitch-range: 60 } h5 { pitch: medium; pitch-range: 50 } h6 { pitch: medium; pitch-range: 40 } li, dt, dd { pitch: medium; richness: 60 } dt { stress: 80 } pre, code, tt { […] Read more »

Controlling Proxy Access with HTAccess

In my recent article on blocking proxy servers, I explain how to use HTAccess to deny site access to a wide range of proxy servers. The method works great, but some readers want to know how to allow access for specific proxy servers while denying access to as many other proxies as possible. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as adding a few lines to my original proxy-blocking method. Specifically, we may allow any requests coming from our whitelist of proxy servers by testing Apache’s HTTP_REFERER variable, like so: RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !(.*)allowed-proxy-01.domain.tld(.*) RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !(.*)allowed-proxy-02.domain.tld(.*) RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !(.*)allowed-proxy-03.domain.tld(.*) Read more »

Remove the WWW Prefix for all URLs via PHP

Canonical URLs are important for maintaining consistent linkage, reducing duplicate content issues, and increasing the overall integrity of your site. In addition to cleaning up trailing slashes and removing extraneous index.php and index.html strings, removing the www subdirectory prefix is an excellent way to shorten links and deliver consistent, canonical URLs. Of course, an optimal way of removing (or adding) the www prefix is accomplished via HTAccess canonicalization: Read more »

Unobtrusive JavaScript for ‘Print-This’ Links

One of the oldest JavaScript tricks in the book involves providing a “print this!” link for visitors that enables them to summon their operating system’s default print dialogue box to facilitate quick and easy printing of whatever page they happen to be viewing. With the old way of pulling this little stunt, we write this in the markup comprising the target “print this!” link in question: <a href=”javascript:window.print()”>Print This!</a> Big yuck there, of course, due to the obtrusive nature of the JavaScript implementation. Adhering to the principles of proper Web Standards, it is better practice to separate behavior from structure […] Read more »

Cross-Browser Transparency via CSS

Shortest post ever! You can quickly and easily apply transparency to any supportive element by adding the following CSS code your stylesheet: selector { filter: alpha(opacity=50); /* internet explorer */ -khtml-opacity: 0.5; /* khtml, old safari */ -moz-opacity: 0.5; /* mozilla, netscape */ opacity: 0.5; /* fx, safari, opera */ } Check the code comments to see what’s doing what, and feel free to adjust the level of transparency by editing the various property values. Also, remember to replace “selector” with the target element of your choice. By the way, I’ve got a metric tonne of juicy CSS posts scheduled […] Read more »

Better Image Caching with CSS

I have written previously on the fine art of preloading images without JavaScript using only CSS. These caching techniques have evolved in terms of effectiveness and accuracy, but may be improved further to allow for greater cross-browser functionality. In this post, I share a “CSS-only” preloading method that works better under a broader set of conditions. Previous image-preloading techniques target all browsers, devices, and media types. Unfortunately, certain browsers do not load images that are hidden directly (via the <img /> element) or indirectly (e.g., via the parent <div></div> element) using either display:none; or visibility:hidden;. Further problematic is the potential […] Read more »

Temporary PHP Redirect: Allow Multiple IP Access and Redirect Everyone Else

In my previous article on temporarily redirecting visitors during site updates, I present numerous PHP and HTAccess methods for handling traffic during site maintenance, updates, and other temporary periods of downtime. Each of the PHP methods presented in the article allow for access from a single IP while redirecting everyone else. In this article, we modify our previous techniques to allow access for multiple IP addresses while temporarily redirecting everyone else to the page of our choice. Plus, while we’re at it, we’ll explore a few additional ways to adapt and use the general technique. Read more »

The Halving Method of Identifying Problematic Code

Working a great deal with blacklists, I am frequently trying to isolate and identify problematic code. For example, a blacklist implementation may suddenly prevent a certain type of page from loading. In order to resolve the issue, the blacklist is immediately removed and tested for the offending directive(s). This situation is common to other coding languages as well, especially when dealing with CSS. Identifying problem code is more of an art form than a science, but fortunately, there are a few ways to improve your overall code-sleuthing strategy. Read more »

New and Improved JavaScript Clock

Earlier this year, I posted an article explaining how to implement an unobtrusive JavaScript dynamic clock. While not completely earth-shattering or cutting-edge or anything like that, the dynamic JavaScript clock has received some great feedback from users who found the script to be exactly what they were looking for. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Bill Brown went above and beyond by taking the time to improve the script with some great new features, including a “blinking seconds separator (for kicks)” and removal of “the need for the noscript tag.” Here is the complete script sent by Bill in […] Read more »

Redirect All (Broken) Links from any Domain via HTAccess

Here’s the scene: you have been noticing a large number of 404 requests coming from a particular domain. You check it out and realize that the domain in question has a number of misdirected links to your site. The links may resemble legitimate URLs, but because of typographical errors, markup errors, or outdated references, they are broken, leading to nowhere on your site and producing a nice 404 error for every request. Ugh. Or, another painful scenario would be a single broken link on a highly popular site. For example, you may have one of your best posts mentioned in […] Read more »

Feedburner Alternative: Homegrown Feed Statistics for Your Blog

If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use Feedburner to track your feed statistics, this article describes a relatively simple, “roll-your-own” alternative. Instead of redirecting your feed traffic through Feedburner, keep your original feed URLs and place the following code into a file named “feed_stats.php” (or whatever) and upload to your server: Read more »

WordPress Custom Fields, Part II: Tips and Tricks

As we have seen in our previous post, WordPress Custom Fields Part I, custom fields provide an excellent way to add flexible content to your posts and pages. By assigning various types of content to different custom fields, you gain complete control over when, where, and how to display the associated information. For example, sub-headings may be displayed in the sidebar, footnotes may be consolidated into a single region, post images may be displayed before the post title, and so on. In this follow-up article, we will review the basics of custom fields and then jump into a few custom-field […] Read more »

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