Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A useful hint before you set up a CMS or dynamic web site

If you have decided that you want to set up a Content Management System using one of those more popular framework such as Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc, there is one thing that you should do FIRST before you even think about what module you are going to implement.  This is not a debate on which CMS system works better than the others.  This is not about what theme you are going to style.  This is something that precedes everything else.

There is something in common with all the popular open source CMS systems, that they are all built with the PHP/MySQL framework.  If you already have a web site with an ISP that you want to develop your CMS site, you should create a single file and upload it to your web site, run it, and save the result of that for future reference before you install the actual CMS site.

The file I am referring here is a very very simple file and it only has one line in it.  You don't need any special software to create it.  Just use notepad in a PC or TextEdit in Mac.  If you are using Mac, make sure that it is in plain text mode and not in rich text mode.  Same goes with Notepad in PC.  Put the following line in the text editor





 
That's all.  Make sure there are NO preceding blank lines and NO blank spaces before that particular line of code.  That code should be the only thing in that file and nothing else.   Otherwise it won't work. Now you will save that file, let's call it test.php and upload that file to your web server and run it.  Test it by visiting your site at http://yoursite.com/test.php  If everything works out, that one line of code will generate a very long output that would look something like the following:

The picture above only shows a very small part of the output.  The actual output is very long with all kind of things that have very little meaning to most people.  If you see the output, then congratulation.  Your web site do support PHP/MySQL .  If you don't see anything, then either you type something wrong in the test.php file or your site does not support PHP/MySQL.

Ok, now what?  Print and save this output and put it in safe place for future reference.  Now you will have to delete the test.php file from your server.  You DO NOT want that file to reside in the server. 

The output from the one-lined code tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about the web server.  The absolute path of your site, PHP and MySQL version information, Apache modules, memory allocation, and on and on.  Later on, when you try to config your web site and something is not working right, you need to come back and look at this output.  You may be able to figure out that MOD_REWRITE is not enabled in Apache, and therefore you can't do clean URL, etc.

You only do this procedure once.  You never leave the test.php file in your web site because if you do, it will be like handing the keys of your house to a stranger.  You do need the output from this file to trouble shoot or ask for help from someone knowledgeable in the future.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Search Engine Optimization Scam and Bogus claims

If you own a web site or run a business, I am pretty sure that at some point of time, you will get phone calls or email telling you that your website is not at the top of the search engine.  They are offering to put your site in the first page of Google search.


I know that is the case because I get that kind of phone calls almost on a daily basis.  They will also use the web form in your website touting the same message.  I venture to say that 99% of these kinds of solicitation are likely to be scams or plain bogus offers.  For a small business owner, it is very tempting to be able to put their website at the very top of Google search.  Most business owners are not tech savvy enough to know how SEO works and ultimately fall prey to the pitch.  Judging by the amount of solicitation I got, it must be a very lucrative business.

I am not here to talk about how SEO works.  There are plenty of legitimate businesses out there doing Search Engine Optimization and are very good at it.  I just want to state a simple fact that the algorithm that Google uses in indexing sites is essentially a black box.  Nobody outside of Google will know exactly how the algorithm works.  The logic here is very simple.  If the algorithm is known to everyone, then everybody will make their sites rank number one in Google.  If everybody is number one, who is going to be number two?

You know someone is scamming you when they actually guarantee your website will be number one.  It is too good to be true and therefore it is likely not true.  I can promise anyone that I can make their website at the top of the search engine and I can prove it.  If I put the phrase "rotten stinky blue strawberries" in someone's web page and I do a Google search for "rotten stinky blue strawberries", guess whose site is going to come up?  It probably be the first one on the search results.  What exactly does that achieve? Absolutely nothing.  Nobody is going to search for "rotten stinky blue strawberries"
It therefore server absolutely no purpose what so ever.

The point I am making here is that the results of a search and how they are presented to you are dependent on the search phrase you are using plus a whole bunch of other contributing factors that are used in Google's algorithm.  I will challenge anyone to put my site in the top of Google's search results if I type the word "shoes" in the search box.  It is not going to happen.

In the nut shell, next time, if someone offers to make your website appear in the first page of the search results for a certain amount of money, the very first question that you are going to ask them is "Using what search terms or phrases?"  If they don't have any idea what you are talking about, it is time to hang up the phone.


Friday, June 03, 2011

Flash CS5 - September 08 - Thursday




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Flash CS5 - August 18 - Thursday




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Dreamweaver CS5 - September 19 - Monday




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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dreamweaver CS5 - July 19 - Tuesday




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Indesign CS5 - July 18 - Monday




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Indesign CS5 - June 20 - Monday




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