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Web Design
Category Archive

Temporary Site Redirect for Visitors during Site Updates

In our article Stupid htaccess Tricks, we present the htaccess code required for redirecting visitors temporarily during periods of site maintenance. Although the article provides everything needed to implement the temporary redirect, I think readers would benefit from a more thorough examination of the process — nothing too serious, just enough to get it right. After discussing temporary redirects via htaccess, I’ll also explain how to accomplish the same thing using only PHP. Read more »

The Ultimate JavaScript Library for Embedding Flash Content

Earlier this year, Geoff Stearns and Bobby van der Sluis teamed up to create the “ultimate JavaScript library for embedding Flash content” into web documents. For those of you familiar with techniques for embedding Flash, these two names are instantly recognizable. Geoff Stearns is the author of SWFObject and Bobby van der Sluis is the author of UFO. Easily, SWFObject and UFO are the two best and most widely used techniques for detecting and embedding Flash content. Needless to say, when I heard that these two great minds were collaborating on an even better method to embed Flash, I was […] Read more »

Unicode Character Reference for Bloggers

Virtually every article written here at Perishable Press requires at least one or two “special” characters. Some of these characters — such as quotation marks, hyphens, and dashes — are very common, while others — such as the copyright symbol, bullet, and arrow — happen less frequently. As a blogger, I find myself repeatedly using a select handful of very common special characters. Very rarely do I ever find myself blogging a latin “Ä” (i.e., capital letter “A” with a diaeresis). To save time and effort, I need a quick reference that targets only the characters I find useful as […] Read more »

Slideshow Code for Dead Letter Art

Pardon this post! I am posting this information online for personal references purposes. I may need to revisit this code at some point in the future, and if I post it here I will always know where to find it (trust me, it would disappear into the abyss if I tried storing it offline). So, although it is intended solely for myself, feel free to extract and use anything you like, as long as commented attribution remains. What we have here are two different methods for including a slideshow on a web page. The first method employs the techniques discussed […] Read more »

MySQL Magic: Find and Replace Data

Recently, I needed to find and replace all instances of “http://website” in the wp_comments table of the WordPress database. Fortunately, SQL provides a simple way to find and replace data with its wonderful UPDATE function. General Example Using the SQL UPDATE command is straightforward. Here is the general syntax: UPDATE table_name SET field_name = replace( field_name, ‘string_to_find’, ‘string_to_replace’ ) ; Simply replace the table_name and both instances of field_name with your specific information, and then edit string_to_find, and string_to_replace with the desired values. This is pretty standard stuff, but it is always a good idea to backup your database before […] Read more »

Another Mystery Solved..

Recently, after researching comment links for an upcoming article, I realized that my default <input /> values were being submitted as the URL for all comments left without associated website information. During the most recent site redesign, I made the mistake of doing this in comments.php: … <input class=”input” name=”url” id=”url” value=”[website]” onfocus=”;” type=”text” tabindex=”3″ size=”44″ maxlength=”133″ alt=”website” /> … Notice the value=”[website]” attribute? It seemed like a good idea at the time — I even threw in a nice onfocus auto-highlighting snippet for good measure. I ran the form with this in place for around eight weeks before finally […] Read more »

Absolutely Fabulous Browser Bookmarklet Things

..Or something. Frankly, I just needed an excuse to post these steaming little beauties online. Please note that I don’t lay claim 1 to most of these browser bookmarklet/favelet tricks, but I do find them extremely useful. They are posted here for the sake of convenience and for reference purposes, so use at your own risk (i.e., I am not responsible if they crash your browser). Although I use most of these bad boys with Firefox, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they also functioned properly in other modern browsers. Nonetheless, along with each bookmarklet/favelet thing, I try to provide as […] Read more »

Permanently Redirect a Specific IP Request for a Single Page via htaccess

Not the most interesting title, but “oh well”.. Recently, a reader named Alison left a comment requesting help with a particular htaccess trick. She wanted to know how to permanently redirect (301) all requests for a specific page when requested from a specific IP address. In other words, when a visitor coming from 123.456.789 requests the page requested-page.html, the visitor will be redirected to just-for-you.html. All visitors not coming from that specific IP address are not redirected, and thus will see the originally requested page. Further, the redirect must apply only to requested-page.html, such that every visitor — including the […] Read more »

CSS Throwdown: Preload Images without JavaScript

Clean, easy, effective. You don’t need no stinking JavaScript to preload your images. Nope. Try some tasty CSS and (X)HTML instead! Here’s how.. (only two steps!) Step 1 — Place this in your CSS file: div#preloaded-images { position: absolute; overflow: hidden; left: -9999px; top: -9999px; height: 1px; width: 1px; } Step 2 — Place this at the bottom of your (X)HTML document: <div id=”preloaded-images”> <img src=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> <img src=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> <img src=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> </div> ..and that’s a wrap! All images are preloaded and ready for calling as you please. Completely valid, […] Read more »

Wrapping Your Head around Downlevel Conditional Comments

If you think you understand the logic behind Microsoft’s downlevel conditional comments, you are sadly mistaken. Sure, they seem simple enough on the surface, but as you really try to wrap your head around how and why they work, the subtle complexities of downlevel conditional comments may leave you dazed and confused… In our previous article on Internet Explorer’s exclusive browser-detection method, downlevel conditional comments (DCC), we present an introductory exposition, defining expressions and providing several generalized code examples. Overall, it is a very useful article but partially fails at explaining the logic and functionality behind conditional comments. In this […] Read more »

WP-ShortStat Slowing Down Root Index Pages

For over a year now, I have been using Markus Kämmerer’s (Happy Arts Blog) WP-ShortStat plugin for WordPress. The plugin is relatively well-maintained and remains one of my favorite admin tools. Great for popping in on stats without logging into Mint. Nonetheless, due to its IP/country-detection functionality, WP-ShortStat has experienced its share of difficulties (e.g., read through the change log on the plugin’s home page). In this article, I describe how WP-Shortstat slows down the root index-page of a site, and then suggest a (temporary) fix for the issue. Read more »

Allow Google Reader Access to Hotlink-Protected Images

In our previous article, we explain the process of allowing Feedburner to access your hotlink-protected images. The article details the entire process, which covers the basics of hotlink protection and involves adding several lines of code to your htaccess file. In this article, we skip the detailed explanations and present only the main points. The discussion is very similar for both Feedburner and Google Reader, and may be extrapolated to serve virtually any purpose. If you are using htaccess to protect your images from hotlinking and have yet to check your feeds in Google Reader, you may be in for […] Read more »

Allow Feedburner Access to Hotlink-Protected Images

Recently, we installed and configured the excellent WordPress Feedburner plugin by the venerable Steve Smith 1. The plugin basically redirects our various WordPress-powered content feeds to Feedburner, which then delivers them to subscribers. This method enables us to take advantage of Feedburner’s excellent statistical tools. Further, all of the action happens silently, beneath the surface, and without the subscriber even realizing it. After a few weeks running the plugin with great success, we began hearing reports of broken and missing images messing up our feeds. After some investigating, we realized that our tried-and-true anti-hotlinking htaccess rules were doing their job […] Read more »

How to Block IP Addresses with PHP

Figuratively speaking, hunting down and killing spammers, scrapers, and other online scum remains one of our favorite pursuits. Once we have determined that a particular IP address is worthy of banishment, we generally invoke the magical powers of htaccess to lock the gates. When htaccess is not available, we may summon the versatile functionality of PHP to get the job done. This method is relatively straightforward. Simply edit, copy and paste the following code example into the top of any PHP for which you wish to block access: Read more »

Major Problem with cPanel Hotlink Protection and htaccess

There is a major problem with the “Hotlink Protection” feature of cPanel. To summarize the issue, allow me to quote a recent email sent to a completely unresponsive tech support department: …The problem is that if I try to include any rewrite rules for permalinks, hotlinking, or blocking spambots, cPanel automatically enables its “Hotlink Protection” feature. And, even worse, it automatically adds every URL from every rewrite rule (even the ones for blocking spambots) to its “auto-discovered” list of URL’s for which image access is allowed. This means that every spammer that I am trying to block now has access […] Read more »

Ultimate htaccess Blacklist

For those of us running Apache, htaccess rewrite rules provide an excellent way to block spammers, scrapers, and other scumbags easily and effectively. While there are many htaccess tricks involving blocking domains, preventing access, and redirecting traffic, Apache’s mod_rewrite module enables us to target bad agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any matches are immediately and quietly denied access. There are many ways to obtain an effective htaccess blacklist. There are several excellent forums around the web that provide a plethora of priceless htaccess advice. Highly suggested. Additionally, after copying and pasting your […] Read more »

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