10 Feb 2010 Ferado

Smashing Magazine & Website Security

I wish I was Digg.com because I found a great article from SmashingMagazine.com about Website Security. It’s very long and comprehensive – which I like. This article touches on a lot of things. It lists the ways your website might be vulnerable and it gives you solutions. Furthermore, it also gives you some links to help you check if you’re site is vulnerable. This article is definitely worth checking out.

[source href=”http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/14/web-security-primer-are-you-part-of-the-problem/”]

7 Feb 2010 Ferado

How to get yourself a Digg-like site

Michael Barton tells you how to get a Digg-like site

I like the concept of Digg. It helps free up the information so more people can find it. If you don’t know what Digg is, please go and check out Digg right now. Please comeback or you’ll miss out on what I have to say.

In this article I’m going to tell you how you’re going to create your Digg-like site, I’m going to give you some examples of Digg sites that are out there, and then I’m going to give you my contact information in case you want to get started and need my help.

Let’s get started because there is a lot of competition out there and we don’t want to miss out on our opportunity now do we?

Getting Started

To build your Digg-like site you’re going to have 3 options on how you’re going to do it. You can start from scratch by using PHP, .NET, Python and even Java. I recommend PHP because you have more developers at your disposal that have experience working with community driven sites. PHP is the de facto standard and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. The second way you can create your Digg-like site is by using a framework or CMS. I prefer to use Drupal, but there are other frameworks out there like CakePHP, Code Igniter, and Zend just to name a few. The third option you have is to use a pre-made script like Pligg.

Option 1: Do it from scratch

I really do not recommend this approach so I’m going to go over it as quickly as possible. The main reason I don’t recommend this approach is that what happens when someone else needs to take over the code base? It’s a mess to take over someone’s code base, especially one that was glued together with scripts from here, scripts from there. If you want the best bang for you buck – don’t build your Digg-like site from scratch. You’ll thank me later.

Alright, you made a bad decision and you’re building your site from scratch. I’m not going to tell you how to architect your code since that will take a small book and something no one wants to read. But what I’ll do is point you to some libraries that you can plug together to get the result you want. And sadly, it does require using a framework. You don’t have a year to get your site up so doing it 100% in PHP is not an option. Okay, so now you’re probably saying, well, .NET can do everything with just .NET. And I say to you – .NET is a framework – so you’re kind of cheating the “building it from scratch” concept anyway.

Here are the PHP libraries you’re going to need:

  • Zend Framework – You’re going to use this to pull in the page content and parse it out. Look up the Zend Http client, mail client, session client, database interface, etc. You can do most of everything by putting together code with this.
  • Smarty – You’re going to want to use Smarty for your template engine. I think Zend has one but Smarty is easier to pick up and use.

Sadly, I think “doing it from scratch” turned into a “doing it with the Zend framework.”

Option 2: Use a framework

I think this is the best approach to building your Digg-like site because using a framework saves you time, it’s customizable, and it allows you to hand the code over to the next developer that takes over your work or your current teams’ work. You don’t want something that takes forever to build, is hard to customize, and isn’t legible to anyone but yourself, do you? I don’t think so.

These are a few of the Frameworks that you can use to build yourself a Digg-like site:

  • Visit Drupal.orgDrupal
    The best and most powerful community-driven CMS around. The contributed modules section of Drupal is bigger than any I have ever seen. See for yourself.
  • Visti cakePHP.orgCakePHP
    CakePHP makes it insanely easy to develop web applications. It handles the “model” layer of the Model-View-Controller design pattern better than any other PHP Framework out there. Only thing missing is built-in search.
  • Visit ZendZend Framework
    This was a blessing from Zend, for them to release this framework to the public. They’ve given PHP everything needed to complete any type of application.

Of course there are more frameworks out there, but in my opinion – there are way too many frameworks to choose from. There are so many that even I get confused on what one to use sometimes. That’s why I’ve made a stand and I’m ignoring all the B.S. out there. I’m picking my favorites and I’m rallying behind them. You should do the same.

Option 3: Use a pre-made script

It seems like there is a script for everything these days – Digg cloning is no exception. There are several scripts out there to choose from. Here are the ones I recommend:

  • Visit PliggPligg
    By far the best choice for a pre-made script. Pligg is a CMS with lots of features you’ll love, like a module system, groups, and private messaging.
  • Visit PHPDugPHPDug
    This has a simple to use html template. I’m only giving this one a mention because it’s better than some of the other ones out there that I want you to stay away from. Use this, but only if you must.
  • Visit GrabTheMicGrabTheMic
    This is an Open Source Script written in Ruby on Rails. I feel dirty even telling you about it, but I needed a few good scripts, and sadly, this is one of them.

Of course there is a Digg clone written in Drupal called Drigg. I haven’t tried it but the demo site for it is broken, which isn’t very helpful. Regardless, you can probably get away using Drigg to help you get started with your customized version built in Drupal.

Digg-like Sites

A blog would not be complete without showing you what some of your competitors are doing. Some of them are doing some good things, some are doing bad things. Take the ideas you like and ignore the garbage that is out there. Here are some Digg-like sites for you to take a look at:

  • Visit Video BomVideo Bomb
    A social bookmarking site for video built with Ruby on Rails.
  • Visit Shakk.usShakk.us
    A directory of links. Same idea as Digg, isn’t it?
  • Visit Pligg Design GalleryPligg Design Gallery
    This is the most comprehensive list of Digg clone sites you’re going to find. They’re all built using Pligg too.


There you have it. If you have one you want me to showcase, just let me know.

Need Help?

I’m a Freelance Web Developer and I have experience working with this type of stuff. Not only that, you just read my blog about it :) Feel free to contact me and we’ll figure something out together. You may also use my contact form to get a hold of me.

Conclusion

As with everything in life, there is more than one way to do something. Digg cloning is no exception. Hopefully I’ve helped direct you in the best path for you business. I’ve told you to stay away from building something from scratch. I’ve told you about a few of the frameworks you would use if you were to build yourself a custom solution. And I’ve given you links to the best Digg-like scripts out there. Hopefully you know what to do now.

I’ll give you a little hint – TAKE ACTION!

3 Feb 2010 Ferado

Sun Life Buys Stadium Naming Rights & Sponsorship For Super Bowl

Welcome to Sun Life Stadium, the 22-year-old arena that the Miami Dolphins call their home. In the ad of all ads, insurance company Sun Life Financial Inc. purchased naming rights to the stadium for the 2010 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Now, I know, I know, I’m a little late and the Pro Bowl is already over. But this weekend, the Super Bowl!!!

Out of context for my blog, and yet, still relevant.

[source href=”http://www.sunlifestadium.com/content/pressrelease.aspx?id=119″]

31 Jan 2010 Ferado

2 FREE ways to compare files

When developing software or just working with a lot of files and folders. There comes a time when you need to figure out the differences in your files and folders. When that time comes, you can either spend a lot of money on something fancy, or you can go the free way and take a look at the following free file compare programs.

ExamDiff

It’s pretty easy to get started. Just select your files and then compare them. The only thing I don’t like about this one is that it doesn’t let you compare folders.

[source href=”http://www.prestosoft.com/edp_examdiff.asp”]

CSDiff

The thing I liked most about this one is that it let me compare my folders. I use this when I have to figure out if something was changed that wasn’t in my versioning system. Really saved me some time.

[source href=”http://www.componentsoftware.com/products/csdiff/”]

31 Jan 2010 Ferado

How To Handle Client Support Requests Virtually

I just came across a good article on sitepoint.com about How To Handle Client Support Requests Virtually. It has a few good points and links to other articles from sitepoint.com that you should skim also. The article talked about using screen shot tools to show what you’re talking about, it listed some meeting tools to help facilitate collaboration, and it told you how to remote into your client’s computer.

[source src=”http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2010/01/04/how-to-handle-client-support-requests-virtually/”]

24 Jan 2010 Ferado

How to Delete Flash Cookies

Flash Cookies, otherwise known as Local Shared Objects, are stored on your system by many Flash Applications to save game state, session information, and other security related information. It’s really up to you to decide whether or not you want to keep the cookies, and for how long. I had a situation recently where I wanted to, um, by-pass something and so I had to delete the Flash Cookies for that site.

Keep in mind, Flash Cookies are not the same as your regular browser cookies. These type of cookies persists longer than a browser session and are not controlled by your browser settings. As a matter of fact, Flash Cookies don’t have to distinguish between a browser. They can be used to store information for IE & Firefox. Which means if you’re a flash developer and you want to customize your site for either browser and be able to tell if the user has come to your site from one browser or the other. Let’s say you want to display a “welcome back” message. With normal cookies you wouldn’t be able to tell if the user came to your site already using IE, should they come in using FireFox. Flash Cookies or Local Shared Objects would give you a way to tell if they’ve been to your site before, regardless of what browser they used.

Whatever your reasoning for needing to remove your Flash Cookies, here’s how you’re going to do it.

3 Ways to Delete Flash Cookies (Local Shared Objects)

1. Visit Adobe’s website and look for the “delete” buttons and click one of them.

2. Use one of the following FireFox plugins:

3. For MAC users, there’s a program called FLUSH.

I’m sure there are more programs out there if you keep Googling. But I don’t really see the point in looking any farther. The preceding list does it for me :)

24 Jan 2010 Ferado

Getting your legacy site to look good in IE8

Internet Explorer 8 was released March 19, 2009 and what an exciting browser it was supposed to be. It was going to be faster, allow you to browse privately, it was going to be be XHTML compliant, and it was going to be more secure. All those fun things, right? Sadly, IE8 was faster, had a private mode, it was XHMTL compliant, and more secure than the older IE browsers.

The Problem

You must be wondering what the problem is right? Well, there wasn’t really a problem with the browser. There was a problem with your code, wasn’t there? You coded around IE6 & IE7 bugs. You made your site look lovely in those 2 browsers, and now that IE8 is out, your site looks broken again, doesn’t it?

What are you supposed to do about it?

The Solution(s)

7 solutions come to mind. In words similar to Fox News, “I report, you decide.”

  1. Ignore the problem and let your users click on the “compatibility view” button.
  2. Hope that your users have “compatibility view” enabled for all their websites.
  3. If you’re an IT Administrator, and this is an intranet site we’re talking about, then you can set “compatibility view” for all the computers in your network.
  4. Enable “compatibility view” for your website by using the following header with IIS or Apache:
    [cc]
    X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE7
    [/cc]
  5. Use a meta tag on a page-by-page basis. Make sure the meta tag is directly after the HEAD tag.
    [cc lang=”html”]

    [/cc]
    Example:
    [cc lang=”html”]



    Hello World!

    Yes world, I see you!



    [/cc]

  6. Fix your code with IE hacks by adding new JavaScript, HTML and/or CSS.
    [cc lang=”html”]

    [/cc]
    With IE hacks you can embed HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Only IE reads the conditional. All other browsers treat it as an HTML comment.
  7. You can also add the header via your favorite programming language. I think it’s easier to add it through IIS or Apache, but if you want to do it on a page-by-page basis and you feel this is an easier way, by all means:

    Putting the IE8 compatibility in your PHP script:
    [cc lang=”php”]
    < ?php // PUT THIS WITH ALL YOUR OTHER HEADER CODE header('X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE7'); // ... the rest of your code [/cc]

Conclusion

Now you know what to do with IE8 and your legacy site. I’ve shown you 7 ways to make your site whole again. Of course these solutions are not limited to legacy sites. If you are in a jam and need to get your site working in IE8, these solutions with work for you too. Of course, the first 3 solutions should be ignored if you ever want to call yourself a professional.