October 16, 2011
Today is Blog Action Day. The topic is Food. I am going to dedicate my post to my friends at Doorstep Farmers who deliver organic food to homes and businesses in the San Francisco East Bay.
To quote from their website:
“Doorstep Farmers is a CSA (community supported agriculture) business that delivers produce to your door on a weekly basis. We deliver produce to you in one of four different size boxes (depending on your needs). The produce boxes contain the freshest, in season fruits and vegetables. Each box usually contains four different types of vegetables and two types of fruits depending on availability. The contents of each box will usually be listed a couple days before delivery so that you can opt to not have one type of produce delivered and an extra of another one. We then deliver the box of fruits and veg to your door for your enjoyment. All produce is locally grown and certified organic.
Doorstep Farmers is a very simple idea. You decide what size box would be appropriate for your household. If you need help deciding what size would be best for your household you can take the quick four question questionnaire to help you decide on the most appropriate size for your household needs. You then can opt to pre-pay for your deliveries or you can opt for Electronic Fund Transfer which is automatically charged to your credit card every two deliveries. You will receive your produce weekly or bi-weekly depending on your needs.”
July 22, 2010
I was talking to a potential client today about building a website. They asked if I used Dreamweaver. Interesting question.
I replied with the standard answer that it does not make any difference what brand of hammer a carpenter uses, and it should not make any difference what tool is used to build a website.
But it is a little more complicated than that. If templates or other techniques are used, it can be hard to maintain using another product.
October 23, 2008
I gave a presentation this morning at the East Bay Business Leaders on Content Management Systems. It is the fourth of a series of presentations on how to build business by using the Internet.
October 22, 2008
Websites are built by webmasters. Webmasters are the intermediaries that create and maintain websites.
Content Management Systems reduce the need for Webmasters. They are systems that allow direct updates to the website.
Content can include text, images, photos, audio files, video files, electronic documents and web content.
Content Management Systems empower the user, they cut out the middle man.
Understand, that webmasters can still be used, but it empowers both the website owner and the webmaster to make changes quickly.
Some content management systems are Drupal, Joomla, Elxis, XOOPS, Xaraya, Mambo, and Zikula.
July 5, 2008
I added the audio player plugin to WordPress today, so of course I had to add an audio. I picked out an audio I did some time ago when I was doing a daily podcast at BizIII.
A BizIII Podcast about Les Bain:
June 22, 2008
So what did I learn while moving to a new web host.
- The HTML and PHP code was well organized on my local computer with both a local and remote backup. It was uploaded to the new webhosting with no problem.
- The .htaccess files did not work the same on the new web hosting site, and had to be tweaked. It was a simple change, but a significant impact.
- The most significant impact was the email accounts being down. I should have given the email a higher priority. But it is all working down.
- Restoring MySQL databases was smoother than I had anticipated. I wanted to control backup and restore with PHP, but so far that has not worked.
- On the new webhosting, I moved everything to PHP 5 and MySQL 5. That might have caused some problems. I have one vendor PHP routine that is not working, but instead of trying to debug it, I am going to download another PHP script.
- Moving the WordPress blog took some time, because the problems were not apparent. I finally just installed WordPress fresh, and reinstalled all of my theme and plugin changes. That went quickly.
- The wordpress database restore worked just fine. I lost two posts, but I remembered them and posted them again.
- Blogger blogs were very easy, I just had to republish.
- In testing everything on the new web host, I found problems that I did not know about. I have a task list of things to fix going forward.
- Finding the right webhosting vendor is a crap shoot. Basically, I decided to pick one with no setup and monthly fee so I could check it out and make good notes in case I had to move again, which I did.
- Bottom line was that even though there were system wide problems to start, usually one parameter fixed many problems.
June 9, 2008
I am trying some new things with CSS.
I am taking all the color parameters out and putting them into one file. ../color.css. Because of the nature of CSS, I can replicate names of course, and it is last on the list.
I want to create different files for different color sets. I am not a sophisticated color person, so I use one of the many color sites to find compatible colors. I create the file and then have a “blue” set or a “orange and red” set of colors in different files. I can quickly change color sets to change the complete color scheme of a website.
There are lots of issues of course.
- Matching Adsense code
- Matching photos and logos
- Matching graphics
But overall, I like doing it. I get tired looking at the same colors, and it is a good thing to be able to switch color schemes effortlessly.
The next thing to do is to create one for this blog. I am tired of these colors.
May 20, 2008
Potential website clients will call and ask how much it would cost to make a small change to their website. Boy is that tricky.
I cringe as I wonder if the previous webmaster used any sort of technique for common code.
- Will there be a dynamic template from Expression Web, Dreamweaver or Frontpage.
- Will there be server side includes for the common code.
- Will the code be standard enough for a website scan and replace.
I wonder if the client can find their Web hosting user id and password, or whether that disappeared with their last webmaster. Of course it can be retrieved. It usually takes a conference call with the web hosting site, the owner, and myself.
I wonder if there is any unusual pattern of redirects that must be followed. I started to look at one website where the redirects were 4 deep. A went to B went to C went to D. I have no idea why.
And I wonder if the previous webmaster has two duplicate sites depending on where the visitor is coming from. It must have been an analysis to see if one worked better than the other, but I changed the website, then discovered there was a duplicate site in another subdirectory.
I have discovered these and other traps waiting for me as I look at a new website. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to make sure the there are no traps.
March 31, 2008
What browsers are using used to access the RSS Tutorial?
I was not familiar with two of the browsers and had to look them up.
- Camino is a Mac OS X-native browser built on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine.
- Konqueror is an Open Source web browser with HTML 4.01 compliance
The second thing of interest is that Firefox has such a high percentage. Firefox is approximately 10% of the Internet Population. It is no surprise that a Technical Tutorial would have a higher percentage for Firefox, but I am surprised it is that high.
February 21, 2008
Websites can be constructed quickly and cheaply, but to carefully build a website takes nuance and technical knowledge. Here are various items a careful webmaster will consider.
- Error processing. The fine art of building a 404 page.
- Creating a robots.txt to direct the Search Bots
- Creating the CSS and making sure all the formatting is in the CSS.
- Creating CSS for both print and monitor.
- Use some method to make sure all duplicate code is stored in one place, either with a dynamic template or an include, preferably a server side include.
- Creating a favicon
- Create an automatic way to update the copyright date when the year changes
January 23, 2008
I created an Amazon AStore today. I am not sure whether I will ever make any money from the store, but it was so much fun creating it. It is a powerful system, and with server side includes to roll it out on the website, it was all very quick to implement.
It is a fine affiliate program.
After I moved everything to server side includes, I had to do some website maintenance. It was so sweet to change a server side include and have it take effect immediately.
January 6, 2008
Part of doing a well crafted website is doing error processing. When someone keys in an invalid webpage name for example, a 404 error is returned.
It is considered good practice to replace the system generated error message with a tailored error message that matches the rest of your website. There is a cottage industry around the 404 error, and there are websites with examples of all the creative things that people have done with 404 errors. See 404 Research Lab.
It can a little unwieldy to do lots of error message programs, so I refined my process today. My website is on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP) environment.
The process now has two parts
The htaccess file with a set of Error Commands –
ErrorDocument 404 /error-page.php?404
The error-page.php program itself that captures the error code and generates the message.
I like the approach because it is all contained in two places.
This is the description.
May 19, 2007
I was updating the client list on my website, and looking at various websites I have worked on over the last couple of years and months. I have learned a lot.
I guess it is human nature to think about all the things you do not know (for example Ruby on Rails) than to remember all the things you do know.