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Quick Reminder About Downlevel-Revealed Conditional Comments..

NOTE: This entire article amounts to nothing more than an in-depth learning experience. After writing the article, I realized (painfully) that either format for the second iteration of the downlevel-revealed comment for XHTML is perfectly fine and displays no ill effects or unwanted characters in any browser. Thus, this article is essentially useless, but I am posting it anyway because I just hate deleting several hours of hard work.. As more and more people discover the flexibility, specificity, and all-around usefulness of Microsoft’s proprietary downlevel conditional comments, it behooves us to reiterate the importance of utilizing proper syntax. Specifically, for […] Read more »

How to Cache Mint JavaScript

NOTE: This post was written many months ago under the erroneous assumption that caching Mint’s JavaScript was a good idea (for Y-Slow compliance, performance, et al); however, after a brief chat with the man himself, Shaun Inman, I was quickly informed that this was a bad idea: caching Mint JavaScript files will cause Mint to stop functioning. But, for what it’s worth, and for the sake of retaining potentially useful information, I present the original article here for your amusement.. Recently, I spent some time addressing a few of the performance issues pointed out by Yahoo!’s very useful YSlow extension […] Read more »

Sharpen Your Site by Removing Unwanted Link Border Outlines

Lately I have noticed several sites that display those unsightly dotted outlines on high-profile link elements. Typically, these link outlines plague various header elements such as banner images, navigational links, and other key features. This behavior frequently haunts highly graphical site designs and is often associated with various image replacement methods that position the original anchor text offscreen, generally far beyond the left edge of the browser window. When visible, such presentations display a ghastly, four-sided dotted border that wraps the linked element and then continues to stretch to the left-hand side of the browser window. Here are a few […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Quick Hack to Block Spam for the Wordspew Shoutbox Chat Plugin

Recently, I reactivated an older version (1.16) of Jalenack’s Wordspew Shoutbox plugin for the Dead Letter Art Chat Forum. The DLa collective has been working on a new issue of their ‘zine and needed an easy online chat location for impromptu business dealz (ideas, planning, etc.). Almost immediately after reactivating the Shoutbox plugin, the chat forum was flooded with an endless wave of spam. The rate and volume of spam was so high as to render the forum utterly useless. — Ugh. Update: We now use Simple Ajax Chat for all of our chat-forum needs. It’s supa fresh. Read more »

Obsessive CSS Code Formatting: Indentation and Spacing

In the intriguing discussion following the first obsessive CSS formatting article, Jordan Gray brought up the age-old question regarding spacing: tabs or single spaces? I smugly responded that the issue has long-since been resolved, with tabbed spacing as the obvious winner. Let’s take a look at some serious CSS spacing examples.. 1) Strictly Single Spacing Here we have several code blocks showing consistent spacing via single blank space. Three key areas where single spacing is seen in this example: after the selector, and before each property and its corresponding value: Read more »

Series Summary: Building the 3G Blacklist

In the now-complete series, Building the 3G Blacklist, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protection against malicious attacks. Each article in the series focuses on unique blacklist strategies designed to protect sites transparently, effectively, and efficiently. The five articles culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. For the record, here is a quick summary of the entire Building the 3G Blacklist series: Read more »

Improve Site Security by Protecting HTAccess Files

As you know, HTAccess files are powerful tools for manipulating site performance and functionality. Protecting your site’s HTAccess files is critical to maintaining a secure environment. Fortunately, preventing access to your HTAccess files is very easy. Let’s have a look.. Different Methods If you search around the Web, you will probably find several different methods of protecting your HTAccess files. Here are a few examples, along with a bit of analysis: Case-sensitive protection — As far as I know, this is the most widespread method of protecting HTAccess files. Very straightforward, this code will prevent anyone from accessing any file […] Read more »

Perishable Press 3G Blacklist

After much research and discussion, I have developed a concise, lightweight security strategy for Apache-powered websites. Prior to the development of this strategy, I relied on several extensive blacklists to protect my sites against malicious user agents and IP addresses. Over time, these mega-lists became unmanageable and ineffective. As increasing numbers of attacks hit my server, I began developing new techniques for defending against external threats. This work soon culminated in the release of a “next-generation” blacklist that works by targeting common elements of decentralized server attacks. Consisting of a mere 37 lines, this “2G” Blacklist provided enough protection to […] Read more »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 5: Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Individual IPs

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. Wrapping up the series with this article, I provide the final key to our comprehensive blacklist strategy: selectively blocking individual IPs. Previous articles also focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. In the next article, these five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Individual IPs The final component of the 3G Blacklist establishes a vehicle through which individual IPs may be blocked. As […] Read more »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 4: Improving the RedirectMatch Directives of the Original 2G Blacklist

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this fourth article, I build upon previous ideas and techniques by improving the directives contained in the original, 2G Blacklist. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving the RedirectMatch Directives of the Original 2G Blacklist In the first version (2G) of the next-generation blacklist, a collection of malicious attack strings […] Read more »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 3: Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Rogue User Agents

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this third article, I discuss targeted, user-agent blacklisting and present an alternate approach to preventing site access for the most prevalent and malicious user agents. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Rogue User Agents Several months ago, while developing improved methods for protecting websites […] Read more »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 2: Improving Site Security by Preventing Malicious Query-String Exploits

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this second article, I present an incredibly powerful method for eliminating malicious query string exploits. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Site Security by Preventing Malicious Query String Exploits A vast majority of website attacks involves appending malicious query strings onto legitimate, indexed URLs. Any webmaster serious about site […] Read more »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 1: Improving Site Security by Recognizing and Exploiting Server Attack Patterns

In this series of five articles, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this first article of the series, I examine the process of identifying attack trends and using them to immunize against future attacks. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Site Security by Recognizing and Exploiting Server Attack Patterns Crackers, spammers, scrapers, and other attackers are getting smarter and more […] Read more »

Universal www-Canonicalization via htaccess

During my previous rendezvous involving comprehensive canonicalization for WordPress, I offer my personally customized technique for ensuring consistently precise and accurate URL delivery. That particular method targets WordPress exclusively (although the logic could be manipulated for general use), and requires a bit of editing to adapt the code to each particular configuration. In this follow-up tutorial, I present a basic www-canonicalization technique that accomplishes the following: requires or removes the www prefix for all URLs absolutely no editing when requiring the www prefix minimal amount of editing when removing the www prefix minimal amount of code used to execute either […] Read more »

Toggle Element Visibility via JavaScript

Recently, while restoring the popular Jupiter! WordPress theme, which several readers use to “skin” the Perishable Press website, I found myself searching for a simple, effective JavaScript technique for toggling element visibility. Specifically, I needed to accomplish the following design goals: Users should be able to toggle the visibility of any division containing post-meta information The post-meta information should remain visible by default and when JavaScript is unavailable The JavaScript should be as unobtrusive as possible, requiring minimal scripting in the markup Here are a couple of screenshots demonstrating this repetitious toggling functionality as employed in the Jupiter! theme (click […] Read more »

Obsessive CSS Code Formatting: Opening and Closing Brackets

Following my recent post on CSS code formatting, I was delightfully surprised to have received such insightful, enthusiastic feedback. Apparently, I am not the only person passionate about the subtle nuances involved with the formatting of CSS code. So, to continue the conversation, let’s explore several techniques for writing the opening and closing brackets of CSS declaration blocks. Read more »

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