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Archive for January, 2011

Speed up your website – Part 1: Content

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 by Servage
There are many ways to improve website performance. The "Yahoo best practices for speeding up your web site" is a very comprehensive guide to optimizing many factors of your website. However, the article is very long, and sometimes quite hard to understand, because the technical level of the article is high. Therefore I have collected the main tips of the optimization guide, and will present them in a series of more comprehensible articles. Make fewer requests Each page often contains multiple resources, which each generate a request. For example a basic HTML page with a CSS stylesheet and 5 images, generates a total of 7 request (one for the HTML, ...

Usage of PHP convenience functions

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 by Servage
Programming should be object oriented. This is a message we get from everywhere nowadays. Back ind the old days, PHP scripts were looong series of includes, functions and global variables. Not anymore. And we should be grateful, because the object oriented way of doing things, really has improved our code, and made it easier to understand and extend. However, there are a few scenarios where I miss the cold old call of a global function that does some kind of minimal functionality. Convenience functions. But is the usage of convenience functions still legitimate today? Is it OK to define a random function somewhere global, and just use it here and ...

Using finance data for your webapps

Friday, January 21st, 2011 by Servage
Have your ever needed some finance data, for example stock quotes, for one of your projects? If yes, you have probably noticed how difficult it is to get to real APIs with a nice interface and reliable results at a low cost, or even free. Personally I'm a bit surprised that information like current stock quotes is a premium product you should pay for. I find that information represents such a basic part of our world today, it should be available everywhere, for free. I have the same opinion about weather data, by the way, but I can take that on another day. Now, If you don't want to spend big ...

Integrate different platforms to serve your customers better

Monday, January 17th, 2011 by Servage
Only a few years ago most computer applications were based on a single system. Especially for consumers. You would purchase a software license, install a program, and run it on that particular computer. The files would the stored locally, and you only worked with that software and those files on that machine. Then backups became popular, and people started distributing their software on extra drives, maybe had copies of files on their desktop and laptop computer, and in later years even uploading files to cloud services. I earlier mentioned Dropbox as a brilliant service for that type of service, where you can keep your files in sync between multiple computers. ...

Leverage online pricing engines for your technology purchase

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 by Servage
During the past months I've been trying to research what new TV's to buy. Moving from a place that only served analogue cable broadcasts to a new area with both digital cable (DVB-C) and digital terrestrial (DVB-T) broadcasts, I faced some decisions to be make. First of all I needed a new TV, because my old 32 inch LCD model didn't have a digital tuner. Deciding between DVB-C and DVB-T for the new TV wasn't an issue, because most modern TV's I was looking at actually have both. Finally, I decided to go with DVB-C, because the local cable provider had a better offer than the local terrestrial provider. So, ...

Monetize your web design projects

Friday, January 7th, 2011 by Servage
It's not easy being a web designer nowadays. You get a lot of competition from other designers, agencies, and even kids making websites as a hobby for their parents' friends' or relatives' companies. As a traditional web developer who can create everything from the initial concept to the final product, it's hard to keep up with agencies that employ specialists. This is, however, not meant to be a petty-call for web designers ;-) Actually I just want to give struggling designers another perspective, another opportunity. Instead of approaching customers directly, trying to sell whole projects, or rely on customers coming to you: Try selling your design projects online. There are ...

Share PHP session data between HTTP and HTTPS requests

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by Servage
There is a problem with basic PHP sessions. Specifically it's about the situation of having SSL and non-SSL pages that need to share session-information, while still being a secure session. PHP itself solves this problem somewhat simple, and insufficiently, in my opinion. There are multiple security-aspects to consider, when working with sessions, and you are able to maintain secure sessions with the default PHP functionality. But when you want to share session-data between SSL and non-SSL requests, you run into a problem. The problem The session is identified with a session ID stored in a cookie in the user's browser. Critical session data, such as the user ID of the currently logged in ...

Happy 2011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 by Servage
Happy New Year! I wish you a great 2011, and hope to see you around on the blog. 2010 has provided a few great thing to the world of technology, and like any curious developer I'm excited to see what's coming in 2011. This post is nothing but a nice greeting, and encouragement to provide ideas and suggestions for future topics. My own interests are web development and innovative services/hardware, but I am happy to hear your tips on cool stuff. Random trivia: The 1st of January is one of the busiest days for take-aways ;-)