Web Design
Category Archive

Use PHP to Create Symbolic Links without Shell Access

On Unix systems, a symbolic link refers to a file that points to another file or directory. Symbolic links serve as powerful tools for web designers and developers. Using shell access, creating a symbolic link requires only one line of code: ln -s /home/username/public_html/directory1 /home/username/public_html/directory2 Simple enough. Assuming you have access to the linux shell. Unfortunately, many shared hosting environments deny shell access. Fortunately, creating symbolic links — also called “symlinks” — remains a possibility via the PHP symlink() function. Check it out.. Read more »

SEO 101: Best Practices

After studying Peter Kent’s excellent book, Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, several key methods emerged for optimizing websites for the search engines. Although the book is written for people who are new to the world of search engine optimization (SEO), many of the principles presented throughout the book remain important, fundamental practices even for the most advanced SEO-wizards. This article divulges these very useful SEO practices and organizes them into manageable chunks 1. Text Essentials The golden rule for developing a popular website is to create a useful site and share it with as many people as possible. When designing […] Read more »

The Friendliest Link Targets in the Neighborhood

The target attribute for anchor elements (<a></a>) specifies the location in which the referenced document should load. For example, to open a link in a new window, we would use a target value of _blank. Although this is a commonly employed technique, the target attribute has been deprecated by the W3C and is not valid (X)HTML. Regardless, the target element remains a useful tool for practicing designers and developers. Here, we present the attribute values for the target element: Read more »

Harvesting cPanel Raw Access Logs

Harvesting Raw Logs For those of us using cPanel as the control panel for our websites, a wealth of information is readily available via cPanel ‘Raw Access Logs’. These logs are perpetually updated with data involving user agents, IP addresses, HTTP activity, resource access, and a whole lot more. Here is a quick tutorial on accessing and interpreting your cPanel raw access logs. Part One: Grab ‘em To grab a copy of your raw access logs, log into cPanel and click on the "Raw Access Logs" icon. Within the Raw Access Log interface, scroll through the list of available log […] Read more »

Take Good Care of the Puppy

Of all the bizarre, nonsensical, and pointless spam we have received so far this year, this one takes the cake. It was delivered to our designated spam account earlier this month as a plain-text email, which opens with an explanation. Apparently, "Bob Diamond" is "an Hiring Manager" looking to advertise a couple of important items. The first ad seems remotely realistic, but the second ad.. it’s like, "teddy bear features" out of nowhere — you can’t be serious. Also worth mentioning, the triple signature effect — Bob signs his name not once or twice, but three times. Check it out.. Read more »

Standards-Compliance Throwdown: MS-IE5/6 DNS/404 Error-Page Redesign

Default DNS Error page for Internet Explorer First of all, congratulations if you are geeky enough to understand the title of this article. Many would be like, "CSS, MS.. IE, error ..what..?" Whatever. If you get the title, you will get the point of this utterly pointless exercise. If that is the case, prepare for a delightful romp through geekland. Otherwise, save your precious time and stop reading here (exit strategy). Well, okay, for the seriously unenlightened, let us explain the object of our present focus: The default "DNS Error" page for Internet Explorer unfortunately remains a familiar sight for millions […] Read more »

Compressed JavaScript Compression

In this article, we extrapolate our favorite CSS-compression technique for JavaScript. Below, we outline the steps required to auto-compress your JavaScript documents via gzip and PHP. Two different compression methods are presented. The first method does not require htaccess, but rather involves the manual editing of JavaScript files. The second method employs htaccess to do all the work for you, thus requiring much less effort to implement. In either case, the result is the same: automatically compressed content delivered only to supportive browsers, resulting in reduced bandwidth, faster loading times, and smiling visitors :) Read more »

Embed Flash or Die Trying

Embed Flash or Die Tryin’ Web designers and developers looking to embed Flash content into a web page currently enjoy a wide variety of methods from which to choose. The most common methods vary along several key dimensions, including standards-compliance, user-friendliness, and universal support. Some methods make it easy to provide alternative content, others enable auto-activation of Flash content, while others feature plugin-detection functionality. In an attempt to round-up the myriad techniques, this article presents nine of the most useful, practical, and popular methods for embedding Flash content. Read more »

Fast, Effective PHP Compression

PHP compression is an excellent method of conserving bandwidth and reducing client download times. We have already discussed an excellent method for CSS compression, and in this article we share a super-easy technique for compressing all PHP content without editing a single file. Using two PHP files and two corresponding lines of .htaccess, it is possible to compress your PHP files via gzip-encoding. Browsers and other user-agents capable of interpreting gz-encoded data will employ the compressed content, while other user-agents will utilize the content uncompressed. Read more »

Flash-Detection Triple-Threat

In our previous article, Alternate JavaScript Slideshow for SlideshowPro, we present an elaborate method for providing alternate content specifically for SlideshowPro. Although the method points toward a more generalized adaptation, its overall functional implementation remains focused on the presentation of slideshows. This article explores the generalization of the previously defined method for providing alternate JavaScript content when Flash support is not detected. Using skyzyx.com’s excellent Flash-detection script, Flash Detect 3 (404 link removed 2016/03/24), we will outline a general approach for supporting the following browser configurations: Browser supports the required version of Flash Excellent. This is the ideal situation. Your […] Read more »

Alternate JavaScript Slideshow for SlideshowPro

For the unenlightened, SlideshowPro (SP) is a Flash-based slideshow-authoring system that delivers full-featured, high-end, Flash-based slideshows. Websites featuring SP slideshows present content in sophisticated fashion, inspiring users with elegant captions, beautiful transitions, and intuitive navigation. However, many visitors are unable to experience SP slideshows because they lack the requisite Flash support. SlideshowPro-based slideshows currently require Flash 7 or better to function. And, although Flash 7 is quite common, it is far from ubiquitous. In the "worst-case" scenario, Flash-challenged visitors will see a broken webpage or missing content. Unfortunately, the typical "best-case" scenario is not much better, as non-Flash users typically […] Read more »

Go Back via JavaScript and PHP

Use this simple code as a button that will return users to the previous page: <form> <input type=”button” value=”Return to previous page” onClick=”javascript:history.go(-1)” /> </form> Here it is as a simple text link: <p> <a href=”javascript:history.go(-1)” title=”Return to the previous page”>&laquo; Go back</a> </p> You can make things easier by serving PHP and printing the link automatically. Here is the button link: echo “<form><input type=\”button\” value=\”Return to previous page\” onClick=\”javascript:history.go(-1)\”></form>”; And here is the PHP code to print a "Go back" text link: echo “<p><a href=\”javascript:history.go(-1)\” title=\”Return to previous page\”>&laquo; Go back</a></p>”; Better yet, you can kick the accessibility factor […] Read more »

Search Engine Registration Notes

In his excellent book, Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, Peter Kent explains that many search engines actually get their search results from one (or more) of the larger search engines, such as Google or The Open Directory Project. Therefore, the author concludes that it may not be necessary to spend endless hours registering with thousands of the smaller search sites. Rather, the author provides a brief list of absolutely essential search sites with which it is highly recommended to register. Further, by registering with the following sites, your site will be listed in a significant majority of all search engines. Read more »

SEO 101: Establishing and Evolving an Effective Link Strategy

Optimizing your website for the search engines involves many important aspects including keyword development, search engine registration, and SEO logging. This Press post scopes yet another critical weapon in the SEO wars: establishing and evolving an effective link campaign. Within your SEO log, you should devote an entire section to the logging of all link-related activity associated with optimizing your site for the internet. For example, you may wish to subcategorize your link campaign according to whether the links are elsewhere, pointing to your site (referring/incoming links), or present within your site, pointing to other sites (external/outgoing links). Users may […] Read more »

URL Character Codes

URL’s frequently employ potentially conflicting characters such as question marks, ampersands, and pound signs. Fortunately, it is possible to encode such characters via their escaped hexadecimal ASCII representations. For example, we would write "?" as "%3F". Here are a few more URL character codes (case-insensitive): Read more »

Embed QuickTime Notes Plus

This post contains random notes for embedding QuickTime within web pages. QuickTime Embed Attributes via CSS <style> <!– embed, .embed { pluginspage: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/; controller: false; autoplay: true; bgcolor: #000; loop: true; } //–> </style> Read more »

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