PDF: Working with PDFs on Your Website

Offering a PDF Option for Your Pages

If you want to offer your site visitors a PDF of a page, PDFmyURL might be a good option. On the PDFmyURL site, click the “Advanced Options” (on the right), and you’ll learn how to pull off PDF production without even visiting the site, embed advanced options, and even run PDFmyURL from your own server.

Alternatively, I recently had … [ Read more ]

Facebook and Your Site

TechCrunch posted an article, “Facebook Just Made It Super Easy To Put Connect On Your Site,” discussing how easy it has now become to implement Facebook Connect on your site. For those unfamiliar with Facebook Connect, it “is a powerful set of APIs for developers that lets users bring their identity and connections everywhere. Developers can access a user’s:

  • Identity: name, photos, events, and

[ Read more ]

30 Fresh AJAX Tutorials And Techniques

Using AJAX on websites and applications is pretty much taken for granted nowadays. Users expect it. They want search queries to be auto-suggested, and they want to be able to edit a page or submit a form without refreshing the page. Why? Because those things make browsing quicker, easier and, more importantly, enjoyable.

As great as AJAX is, though, it is not for every website or … [ Read more ]

50+ Fresh CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Resources

In “50+ Fresh CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Resources,” Paul Andrew brings you up to date with the latest in CSS development through a collection of fresh CSS tutorials, techniques, and resources. The hope is that this extensive list will teach you something new, or else remind you of some methods you haven’t used for a while.

The Myth of Usability Testing

Over at A List Apart, Robert Hoekman Jr. has written an article, “The Myth of Usability Testing,” which argues that usability evaluations are good for many things, but determining a team’s priorities is not one of them. The Molich experiment proves a single usability team can’t discover all or even most major problems on a site. But usability testing does have value as … [ Read more ]

Faux Absolute Positioning

There are two popular approaches to positioning with CSS: float and absolute positioning. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Eric Sol offers an article on A List Apart, “Faux Absolute Positioning,” which describes a new positioning approach that gives us the best of both worlds.

Progressive Enhancement with CSS

Aaron Gustafson has written a very interesting article on A List Apart titled, “Progressive Enhancement with CSS.” For those not in the know (including me before reading this article), progressive enhancement is just a fancy way of describing a structured approach (as opposed to the haphazard ones used by most DIY webmasters) to designing your websites for cross browser compatibility. There are many ways … [ Read more ]

A More Useful 404 Page

Dean Frickey has written an interesting article titled “A More Useful 404.” In it he describes how he uses a perl script to provide relevant information to the user while also providing immediate feedback to the developer so that, when possible, the problem can be fixed. I have done something similar on my sites for quite a while, but I use PHP instead of Perl.

One … [ Read more ]

Fonts – The Next Big Thing

Håkon Wium Lie offers an article on A List Apart, CSS @ Ten: The Next Big Thing, in which he discusses the need for a good selection of fonts on the Web and a proposed solution: web fonts. Instead of making pictures of fonts, the actual font files can be linked to and retrieved from the web. This way, designers can use TrueType fonts … [ Read more ]

Conflicting Absolute Positions

Rob Swann offers an article on A List Apart, Conflicting Absolute Positions, in which he shows how you can produce a layout in which a fixed-width scrolling side “pane” and flexible scrolling main “pane” must resize to fill all available space in a browser window.

Inline Validation in Web Forms

Web forms don’t have to be irritating, and your inline validation choices don’t have to be based on wild guesses. In his examination of inline form validation options, Luke Wroblewski offers that rarest of beasts: actual data about which things make people smile and which make them want to stab your website with a fork.

Single Line If…Else Statement

You undoubtedly are familiar with using if…else (if else) statements in your PHP programming. Are you also aware that for simple if…else needs (e.g., only needing to set one variable) you can get by using only one line of code?

The basic format of the one line if…else statement is:

$variable = (if statement) ? if true code : if false code;

Let’s illustrate with an example. … [ Read more ]


Occasionally do-it-yourself webmasters have to put on the designer’s hat and one of the considerations of good design is font choice. Below are some resources to help you out.

  • Font Picker Online is a simple application that previews your text using all the different typefaces available on your computer. To use it simply highlight any of the example boxes and type in your

[ Read more ]

Cookie Hacking

I wrote a PHP application for creating and editing forms and decided to make it open source and publicly available. A few days after releasing the first public version I received an email which alerted me to a security flaw which was posted on a hacking and security community site. Besides obviously being a personal disappointment, it proved to be a useful learning experience. … [ Read more ]

Running PHP Scripts in Command Mode

Most of the time, we write PHP scripts with the idea that they will be run directly in a browser (HTTP). Occasionally, we want to run a script directly from the command line (e.g., in a SSH environment or via a cron job). Unfortunately, running these scripts from the command line can cause problems since most HTTP environment variables are either not available in the … [ Read more ]

JavaScript Alert and Confirmation Boxes

An alert box is a small dialog box that provides a user with important information. The most common uses are to inform (“alert box”) the user about errors (e.g., especially with form validation), to provide simple help messages, or to require confirmation (“confirmation box”) before allowing certain website actions. You’ll often see the confirmation box used before the applications performs a task that cannot be … [ Read more ]

Ruby on Rails (RoR)

This site focuses on do-it-yourself webmasters who use PHP (as part of the LAMP infrastructure). Still, you will likely hear about something called Ruby on Rails (RoR), which is sometimes touted as a better alternative to using PHP.

Hivelogic’s Dan Benjamin has written a useful article, “Getting Started with Ruby on Rails,” from which you can learn what Ruby on Rails is (and … [ Read more ]

CSS – Browser Differences

Most problems with modern CSS layout techniques have their origin in the way different browsers implement CSS. One useful tool to deal with these differences is Dean Edwards’ IE7 JavaScript library, which makes MSIE behave like a standards-compliant browser. This will solve a lot of other issues as well.

A common practice for dealing with cross-browser difficulties, especially with IE differences, is to include an … [ Read more ]