Category Archives: web design

Mingruby 0.1.8 released

I have brought the Ming Ruby library up to date with Ming 0.3, added patches submitted by users over the past year and included a ton of user supplied examples. I hope to find time soon to include the real examples on a page by themselves with the code needed to generate each. You can check it out on rubyforge: Ming Ruby 0.1.8

Using Flash video metadata to display annotations

Now that you can create a streaming Flash video player with PHP or Ruby and you know add metadata for cuepoints to Flash videos you are ready for something else. The following code will show you how to create a video player with PHP that will watch for metadata events and display annotations contained inside the metadata either over the video itself or in a div on the same page as the movie.
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How to create and use Flash video metadata to add cue-points with flvtool2

Adding cue-points allows you to spice up your flash videos created with FFMpeg. Adding metadata to a FLV will allow you to introduce cue-points that have their own metadata that can be display when the cue-point is reached or let you jump to that cue-point. In the following tutorial you will learn how to add metadata to your FLV files using flvtool2 and how it is useful for adding cue-points.
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How to compile ImageMagick for PHP by hand

Some time ago I was looking at how to re-size uploaded images in a way that looks good using PHP. I was impressed that when I uploaded a 4M picture to flickr it managed to re-size and compress it into a smaller version that looked correct. I knew they weren't just resizing it so I went on a quest to find out what it took to do the same thing with PHP. The following is step one in that process.

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Good article on keeping javascript maintainable

Vitamin has a good article today on the importance of maintainable javascript. 95% of what the article covers is applicable to any code. The important parts of the article cover javascript specific things like: object literals, namespaces and where to go when you want to compress your javascript to save bandwidth/make it download faster. They recommend packer and JSMIN as two javascript compressors but I think JSMIN is probably a better bet mainly because you can run it from the command line and make it part of a build script.

Capture full page screenshots with firefox

Ever wanted to capture the entire page you are viewing in firefox instead of just what is shown on your screen? Ever need to do that from a command line? Here are two extensions that let you do just that.

Page Saver

The first extension is called Page Saver and comes in two versions. The pro version you have to pay for but the free version does a good job all by itself. Here is an example of a fullpage screenshot:

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Some interesting and useful AJAX/Javascript code

I like seeing more and more uses of prototype. I'm not sure if the big guys will win out with their UI toolkits (Yahoo UI/GWT) or if it will always feel better to put things together by hand. Either way it is good to understand how this stuff works. This is an edit in place example that is similar to what you see on flickr.

I've seen something like this a number of times when I've visited sites. They want your feedback on something or other while you are browsing. It is a little floating plus feedback sign that hangs out in the lower right hand corner. Check it out.

Browsing digg I noticed an article on "unobtrusive sidenotes" and found that the idea is pretty cool: The announcement and code. They are done with javascript so you can turn them on and off on the fly.

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Search Engine Marketing and Google’s new trending tools

Now that google has anounced their new Google trends site I couldn't help but mention it. If you spend any type of money at all on SEM you need to check your keywords against this site.

There are a couple of intro articles about the new service at Micro Persuasion and TechCrunch.

To get a real feel for how important this information will be you should try out a few queries for yourself. Take a simple query like "motorcycle" and then look at the regions tab. A lot of the queries about motorcycles originated from the Philippines. Now look at "pizza", most of the queries there originated from the US. That should make it much easier to target your audience with your advertisments. The trending is nice as well and should give marketers a better idea of when to boost spending to maximize exposure.

This follows another tool Google just release for their AdWords service. You can read more about it at the adwords blog. That tool gives you a different view of the search trends and is more like what you get from Yahoo's advertising system.

Search Engine Optimization

Recently I've been collecting links on interesting SEO topics. I figured I would dump a few of them out with quick reasons why I think they are good to read.

A technical read on how search engines work in general. It focuses on google but has a lot of good general information in it.

This is a recent article on how to optimize your site. I like it because it has an acronym on how to do it "camelot".

SEO chat has a lot of information in its forums.

An article from a guy who works at Google and goes into what the search engines have to deal with to keep people on the up and up. It goes into some of the stuff you don't want to be doing to try to get your site at the top of a search. For some reason I found it interesting that this guy is from kentucky.

Another good article on the "SEO Code of Conduct" AKA what you should not be doing to get your site at the top of a search.

A nice tool to help you find words to go with your website: WordTracker