Web Design
Category Archive

IDs are anchors, too.

While browsing the internet these days, I see a lot of this: <body> … <a name=”top”></a> … <a href=”#top”>- Back to Top -</a> … </body> There’s an easier, better and prettier way. CSS Signatures are all the rage these days. If you’re not familiar with a CSS Signature, it’s basically nothing more than an ID on your body tag, like this: <body id=”www-domain-tld”></body> The fundamental purpose of the CSS Signature is to allow a user to specify style adjustments to your site in their own user style sheets. Whether or not users are actually capitalizing on this is a discussion […] Read more »

Disable Trace and Track for Better Security

The shared server on which I host Perishable Press was recently scanned by security software that revealed a significant security risk. Namely, the HTTP request methods TRACE and TRACK were found to be enabled on my webserver. The TRACE and TRACK protocols are HTTP methods used in the debugging of webserver connections. Although these methods are useful for legitimate purposes, they may compromise the security of your server by enabling cross-site scripting attacks (XST). By exploiting certain browser vulnerabilities, an attacker may manipulate the TRACE and TRACK methods to intercept your visitors’ sensitive data. The solution, of course, is disable […] Read more »

Tell Google to Not Index Certain Parts of Your Page

There are several ways to instruct Google to stay away from various pages in your site: Robots.txt directives Nofollow attributes on links Meta noindex/nofollow directives X-Robots noindex/nofollow directives ..and so on. These directives all function in different ways, but they all serve the same basic purpose: control how Google crawls the various pages on your site. For example, you can use meta noindex to instruct Google not to index your sitemap, RSS feed, or any other page you wish. This level of control over which pages are crawled and indexed is helpful, but what if you need to control how […] Read more »

Sexy HTML List Tricks

Behold the ubiquitous list elements, <ul></ul> and <ol></ol>! These two sexy elements help millions of websites display lists of information in clean, semantic fashion. Without them, we’d be crawling around like filthy cavemen, eating dirt and howling at the moon. But these list elements aren’t just sexy, they are also extremely flexible, enabling us humble designers to create robust list configurations that are semantically versatile and highly customizable. We all know how to throw down a basic list: Read more »

The 5-Minute CSS Mobile Makeover

More people are surfing the Web via mobile device than ever before. It’s just so convenient to have that mobile access to anything you need. Sadly, most websites have not yet considered their mobile visitors, who probably move on to the next site before trying to make sense of a jumbled mess. Those of you who surf the Mobile Web know exactly what I’m talking about here: sites that “get it” are a joy to visit, but those that don’t are a total pain. What’s to get? Well, for one, if you do nothing else for your mobile visitors, take […] Read more »

The Power of HTML 5 and CSS 3

Web designers can do some pretty cool stuff with HTML 4 and CSS 2.1. We can structure our documents logically and create information-rich sites without relying on archaic, table-based layouts. We can style our web pages with beauty and detail without resorting to inline <font></font> and <br /> tags. Indeed, our current design methods have taken us far beyond the hellish era of browser wars, proprietary protocols, and those hideous flashing, scrolling, and blinking web pages. As far as we’ve come using HTML 4 and CSS 2.1, however, we can do better. We can refine the structure of our documents and increase their semantic […] Read more »

HTAccess Password-Protection Tricks

Recently a reader asked about how to password-protect a directory for every specified IP while allowing open access to everyone else. In my article, Stupid htaccess Tricks, I show how to password-protect a directory for every IP except the one specified, but not for the reverse case. In this article, I will demonstrate this technique along with a wide variety of other useful password-protection tricks, including a few from my Stupid htaccess Tricks article. Before getting into the juicy stuff, we’ll review a few basics of HTAccess password protection. Read more »

CSS Hacks for Different Versions of Firefox

In a perfect world, I don’t use CSS hacks, and certainly don’t recommend them. In the unpredictable, chaos of the real world, however, there are many situations where applying styles to particular browsers is indeed the optimal solution. Most of the time, I am targeting or filtering Internet Explorer (because it is so incredibly awesome), but occasionally I need to tweak something in a modern browser like Firefox, Safari, or Opera. In this article, we’ll look at CSS hacks targeting different versions of Firefox. Some of these CSS hacks don’t validate, others are proprietary, and some are completely valid (depending […] Read more »

Dynamic Link Insertion via Unobtrusive External JavaScript

In my recent guest post at The Nexus, I discuss Google’s new nofollow policy (404 link removed 2013/02/08) and suggest several ways to deal with it. In that article, I explain how Google allegedly has changed the way it deals with nofollow links. Instead of transferring leftover nofollow juice to remaining dofollow links as they always have, Google now pours all that wonderful nofollow juice right down the drain. This shift in policy comes as a terrible surprise to many webmasters and SEO gurus, especially those who have invested vast amounts of time, effort and money engaging in supposedly lucrative […] Read more »

Dealing with Google’s New Nofollow Policy

Note: This article was originally posted at a domain that’s unfortunately turned to the dark side.. so the post itself is no longer available in its original location, so it’s been reposted here for reference purposes.</note> Anyone plugged into the Web these days has heard about how Google has supposedly changed the way it deals with nofollow attributes. According to a number of speculative reports, Google will no longer apply unused nofollow PageRank to other links on the page. So, let’s say that you have some sites that have been PageRank “sculpted” by way of strategically applied nofollow tags. For […] Read more »

Block Multiple IP Addresses with PHP

Let’s face it. There’s just as much scum on the Internet as there is out there in the “real world.” Maybe even more, who knows. From scammers and spammers to scrapers and crackers, the Web is just crawling with all sorts of pathetic scumbags. As predictably random as much of the malicious activity happens to be, it is virtually guaranteed that you will be hounded by at least a few persistent IP addresses that, for whatever reason, have latched on and just won’t let go. Like satanic parasites, they plague you night and day, haunting you and making your online […] Read more »

Secure Visitor Posting for WordPress

Normally, when visitors post a comment to your site, specific types of client data are associated with the request. Commonly, a client will provide a user agent, a referrer, and a host header. When any of these variables is absent, there is good reason to suspect foul play. For example, virtually all browsers provide some sort of user-agent name to identify themselves. Conversely, malicious scripts directly posting spam and other payloads to your site frequently operate without specifying a user agent. In the Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, we account for the “no-user-agent” case in the very first directive, preventing a host […] Read more »

9 Ways to Set Dynamic Body IDs via PHP and WordPress

When designing sites, it is often useful to identify different pages by adding an ID attribute to the <body></body> element. Commonly, the name of the page is used as the attribute value, for example: <body id=”about”></body> In this case, “about” would be the body ID for the “About” page, which would be named something like “about.php”. Likewise, other pages would have unique IDs as well, for example: <body id=”archive”> </body><body id=”contact”> </body><body id=”subscribe”> </body><body id=”portfolio”></body> ..again, with each ID associated with the name of the page. This identification strategy is useful for a variety of reasons, including the following: Page-specific […] Read more »

HTAccess Spring Cleaning 2009

Just like last year, this Spring I have been taking some time to do some general maintenance here at Perishable Press. This includes everything from fixing broken links and resolving errors to optimizing scripts and eliminating unnecessary plugins. I’ll admit, this type of work is often quite dull, however I always enjoy the process of cleaning up my HTAccess files. In this post, I share some of the changes made to my HTAccess files and explain the reasoning behind each modification. Some of the changes may surprise you! ;) Read more »

SEO Experiment: Let Google Sort it Out

One way to prevent Google from crawling certain pages is to use <meta /> elements in the <head></head> section of your web documents. For example, if I want to prevent Google from indexing and archiving a certain page, I would add the following code to the head of my document: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex,noarchive” /> I’m no SEO guru, but it is my general understanding that it is possible to manipulate the flow of page rank throughout a site through strategic implementation of <meta /> directives. Read more »

Important Security Fix for WordPress

The other day, my server crashed and Perishable Press was unable to connect to the MySQL database. Normally, when WordPress encounters a database error, it delivers a specific error message similar to the following: Read more »

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