Featured Articles Archive - 2009 | WebReference

Featured Articles Archive - 2009

This index covers all the new articles featured on our Web site. Many of the articles are contributed by our readers, others by freelance writers. Your words could be read — and your voice could be heard — by tens of thousands of our visitors and subscribers to our newsletter. Sound interesting? Submit your article today:

[The difference between the two methods is that articles submitted using the Open Publishing Initiative are generally shorter than the freelance articles, and the author does not receive monetary compensation. Freelance submissions are accepted upon receipt of a signed freelance contract. The freelance author does receive compensation.]

Installing the Elgg Social Networking CMS
One Open Source CMS that stands out above the rest for small businesses and personal networks is the Elgg open source "social engine," which can be used to create social applications. Scott Clark shows you how to install and get started with this social networking CMS.

Custom Scrollbars with CSS
CSS 3 is well on its way and promises some amazing features, including scrollable divs. There are several implementations of custom scrollbars, but the following implementation works across all popular browsers and supports scrolling with the mouse wheel.

Increase Site Traffic by Including Multi-language Content in Your Web Page
Want to give your website a more broad appeal and increase readership? Who doesn't?! Your site could benefit by introducing some non-English material. Today's article will focus on various tools that you'll need to produce multilingual HTML documents.

Working with Authentication and Profile Services Using Ajax
Have you ever wanted to use the profile object in ASP.NET to store the user's profile information for later retrieval and usage? Joydip Kanjilal shows you how to work with the authentication and profile services using Ajax.

Building an Online Shop's Product Detail Page
Adding to our online store, this week we cover building the product detail page and begin creating the shopping cart.

Globalize your Web Applications: The Universal Character Set
This fourth article the Globalize your Web Applications series deals with something that's at the forefront of your web apps: the character sets. More specifically, we'll be taking a look at the Universal Character Set (UCS) and its role in creating multilingual web pages.

Building an online Store
Learn how to create a simple, online storefront, which can be used as a foundation to build more sophisticated online shopping carts, with PHP and MySQL.

vBulletin Publishing Suite 4.0: Not Just for Discussion Anymore
Scott Clark was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at vBulletin 4.0 Publishing Suite, which is a big step up from an ordinary discussion forum; in fact, it's a complete publishing system. Learn about the main features and find out why Scott gives it a thumbs up.

Globalize your Web Applications: PHP's Locale Formatting Classes
This article focuses on the administration side of our banking application, covering the creation of the admin scripts and discussing how proper administration can improve performance.

Performance Tuning Tips for Apache
Apache is one of the most successful open source projects of our times. A big advantage of this popularity is that over the years people have spent a great deal of time fine tuning the software for better performance. Read on to learn more.

Globalize your Web Applications: Working with Dates in PHP
Using language-specific locale features allows your applications to support many different locales, regardless of the settings on the computer, which runs the application. Today's article takes a look at date formatting considerations in PHP.

Lightweight Markup Languages
Lightweight markup languages are markup languages designed with an honest attempt to make them simple enough for non-programmers to read and write in them. There are several lightweight markup languages available on the internet. Arpan Dhandhania shows you how to use the two most popular languages: Textile and Markdown.

Creating a Banking Application Admin Panel using Object Oriented Programming
This article focuses on the administration side of our banking application, covering the creation of the admin scripts and discussing how proper administration can improve performance.

Working with the Ajax Control Toolkit
The Ajax Control Toolkit is a community project from Microsoft that contains a number of controls to design and implement Ajax-enabled controls seamlessly. In this article, Joydip Kanjilal shows you how to start working with the Ajax Control Toolkit and explores two sample extender controls.

Globalize your Web Applications: PHP's Locale Package
In the modern globalized economy, it behooves us to think of other nationalities when we develop our websites and applications. This article is the kickoff for a series that discusses the ramifications of globalization on our websites and applications. Today's article will deal with locales and their implementation in the PHP language.

The Methods Behind the Banking Application Profile Script
In our ongoing series about creating a banking application using Object Oriented Programming, J. Leidago Noabeb discusses the methods that were used by the customer profile script and then shows you how to create the new account script.

Drupal 6.14, Introduction and Installation
Drupal provides developers with a database-driven CMS that comes "out-of-the-box" with many often-requested features. This article walks you through the installation process and showcase some of the out-of-the-box features that make Drupal so popular.

How to Setup Canonical Domain Names with Apache
Not using canonical URLs has a negative impact on your SEO, as Google notices that several URLs are returning the same content and penalizes you. Sukrit Dhandhania shows you how to fix this problem using either httpd.conf or .htaccess.

Creating a Banking Application Deposit Script
Our last article discussed the withdraw script that enables a customer to make a withdrawal from an account of their choice. This installment explores the mechanisms behind making a deposit into an account.

Rolling Out Your Own HTML Application Version Control
In this article, we're going to explore how to access Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) and connect to the Web through HTML Applications (HTAs) using VBScript as we roll out an HTA version control strategy.

HTML 5: Client-side Storage
Client-side storage is probably one of the most talked about features in HTML 5. It has received a lot of criticism because of its lack of security, but it is nonetheless an interesting innovation. Read on to learn more.

Working with Ajax Server Extensions
Learn how to work with the ASP.NET Ajax Server Extensions Framework, a collection of server controls and services that extend the functionality of the ASP.NET core.

Building a Banking Application Home Page with OOP
Learn how to create a banking application using Object Oriented Programming that became available in PHP 5.

Mixing Scripting Languages
Today's article will highlight some of the ramifications of mixing scripting languages in your web pages. These discussions will be applicable to cross-browser scripting and HTAs as well.

Review: phpFox, a Social Networking CMS with all the Bells and Whistles
Is it time to stop blogging and start networking? This CMS has everything a developer needs to create a top of the line social networking site with all the features that users have come to expect from sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Object Oriented Programming- The Banking Application - Login
This article discusses the login portion of our banking application that we created using the new Object Oriented Programming that became available in PHP 5. We will also cover some additional OOP concepts that we have not looked at yet.

Managing Logs in Apache
The two log files that most Apache setups generate are access.log and error.log. You can also choose to add more logging for things like URL rewriting, or gzip compression. As these logs grow in size and number, they become harder to manage. Learn how to manage logging more easily in Apache.

Using GreyBox in your HTML Applications: The Unobtrusive JavaScript Solution
Rob Gravelle presents a solution for making Orangoo's GreyBox library work with HTML Applications (HTAs)using AJAX and the DOM scripts collection. By making the changes in a local script, specialized behavior can be limited to a specific application.

Working with Exceptions using ASP.NET Ajax
Exception handling is a technique that enables you to handle runtime errors. This article discusses exception blocks, best practices and how to handle exceptions efficiently using the ASP.NET Ajax framework.

Object Oriented Programming- The beginning
This article explores the new Object Oriented Programming that became available in PHP 5. Get some hands-on experience as we create an application demonstrating the concepts.

HTML 5: Offline Application Caching
All browsers have some kind of caching mechanism in place, but to be honest, they don't always work. Until HTML 4, the only work around was that the user had to save each page individually. HTML 5, thankfully, provides a smarter solution.

Using GreyBox in your HTML Applications
You may have never heard of Orangoo's GreyBox library, but you've almost certainly seen it. The GreyBox library is an extension to the AJS JavaScript Framework that displays websites, images, and other content in an eye-catching popup window. Read on to learn how to use GreyBox within your HTML Applications.

The Wonderful World of Web Applications: HTML Apps (HTA)
Just as desktop PCs all but replaced mainframes in the eighties, the web application may be poised to supersede the traditional desktop application. Today, we'll be looking at a Microsoft contribution called HTML Apps (HTA). To get better acquainted with HTAs, we'll try our hand at writing a few simple ones.

XML and PHP Simplified - The Createdoc.php Script
Picking up where we left off, this article continues to look at the create document script, focusing on the HTML portion of the code followed by a look at the document editor script, which is at the heart of the program.

Data Persistence in Jaxer
In this last article in a three-part series on Aptana Jaxer's server-side JavaScript Application Framework, we'll be looking at data persistence in Jaxer as we create a session variable for our blog application and move to storing the posts in a proper database.

Mod Deflate - Compress Your Web Pages and Save Bandwidth
Optimize your website so that it consumes less bandwidth using the Apache module mod_deflate. This module adds an output filter that allows output from your server to be compressed. A great side effect of the implementation of this module is that it also speeds up your website.

With some features already available in browsers, and more to come, Arpan presents an overview of HTML 5's new features.

New Features in ASP.NET Ajax 4.0
Ajax has quickly become a technology of choice for building fast and responsive user interfaces. This article looks at the new features introduced in ASP.NET Ajax 4.0 with code examples wherever applicable.

Create a File-based Blog using Jaxer
In the "Your First Server-side JavaScript Application" article, we learned how to write server-side javascript for the Jaxer plugin by building a simple file-based blog in Aptana Studio. Today, we'll extend the project to include the ability to add posts and save them to a file on the server.

XML and PHP Simplified - Building an XML Reader
Building on previous installments, this article walks you through building an application that enables you to work with XML documents.

Social Networking with Drupal
Ernest Lilley shares some news and tid-bits centered around Drupal, including upcoming conferences, tools and books he uses and the community sites he frequents.

XML and PHP Simplified: The DOM
Part 4 of this series continues an examination of the XML functions that are offered by PHP5, as well as some of the other DOM functions that deal with the Document Object Model.

How to Setup a "Site Down for Maintenance" Notice with Apache
There are a number of ways to handle a maintenance downtime. You can either handle it inside of your web application or you can have Apache automatically direct all traffic to a specified page. This article explains how to have Apache redirect visitors to a maintenance page while still allowing you to view updates/changes.

Working with Partial Page Updates in ASP.NET Ajax
Partial-page rendering can be used to refresh only a portion of your web page rather than the entire page. This article discusses how you can implement partial page updates using the Update Panel control and how you can use the Update Progress control in conjunction with the Update Panel control to enhance the user experience.

Your First Server-side JavaScript Application
Aptana Jaxer is a JavaScript server plug-in that enables database/file system access, network communications, and user sessions. Today, we will be using the Aptana Studio IDE to build a simple file-based blog for Jaxer.

Modal Windows on the Web
Web design has come a long way from just creating HTML documents. It is essentially the art of presenting information in a readable, useable and functional manner. Numerous interface elements can be used to achieve the goal, including tabbed layouts, paginated view and modal windows. This article examines the different uses of modal windows.

Excerpt from ASP.NET MVC Framework Unleashed
This chapter provides you with an overview and introduction to the Microsoft ASP.NET MVC framework. The goal of this chapter is to explain why you should build web applications using ASP.NET MVC.

Sending an HTML and Plain Text E-newsletter with ASP.NET
If you're familiar with HTML and CSS, using ASP.NET, you can develop an e-newsletter easily as long as you keep the expectations of what can be achieved visually through email within reason. This article takes a completed web page and integrates the HTML markup into an ASP.NET web form that sends the email to a recipient of your choice.

XML and PHP Simplified - Formatting XML Documents
Part 3 of this series covers how to format XML documents in web browsers and how to parse or read them using PHP strings and functions.

JavaScript 2.0: A Sneak Preview
The JavaScript 2.0 / EMCAScript 4.0 proposal isn't due to be finalized until the end of the fall of 2009, but it's already garnering lots of strong reactions - both good and bad. Today, we'll be taking a look at some of the proposed specifications and you can decide for yourself whether they constitute improvements in the language or merely unnecessary standardization.

Create Web applications with your own tailor made UI
Learn how to create a Visual WebGui application and completely customize the look and feel of it using the Visual WebGui Control & Theme Designers.

Ern's Summer Grab Bag: ThemeWars, A New Joomla, and The Case of the Missing Title
Ern's summer grab bag covers random news on content management systems and tips on how to hide page titles in Drupal.

XML and PHP Simplified - XML,PHP and the Database
J. Leidago Noabeb explores the relationship between XML,PHP and MYSQL including a brief look at the Document Object Model.

Introduction to Server-side JavaScript
Although rich web sites and applications have become the norm in recent years, they can still be difficult to develop, maintain, and expand. Many of the challenges stem from the schism between client and server components. The Jaxer server, developed by Aptana, is an open source Ajax web server for building rich web pages and applications in JavaScript. Writing code for Jaxer is the focus of this article.

Mod Rewrite Part 3 - Redirecting Browser Dependent Content with Apache and Mod Rewrite
Learn how to use the Apache mod_rewrite module to automatically redirect a user to a page designed specifically for their web browser.

The Lightest Lightbox
The last installment of this series discusses the lightest implementation of Lightbox. While it is stripped of all the bells and whistles, you are free to add them if you like. It requires no JavaScript framework, only a few lines of JavaScript to open and close the Lightbox.

Event Handling using ASP.NET Ajax
Joydip Kanjilal, MVP examines how you can use the Microsoft Ajax Library to raise and handle events in your applications and provides some best practices when using event handling in Ajax-enabled web applications.

Understanding JavaScript Closures
Closures are the answer to the problem of how to bind variables to functions that are called at a later time. Today's article will explain what closures are, outline some common dilemmas, and present ways that closures can be utilized to overcome them.

XML and PHP Simplified
J. Leidago Noabeb simplifies and demystifies the use and application of XML and the DOM.

Creating a ASP.NET Contact Form
Learn how to create an ASP.NET contact form that will allow you to capture specific information, validate form fields using client and server side languages and then send the results to specified recipient(s).

Data Filtering with PHP
This article explores some of the new data filtering functions that became available in PHP 5.

Theming Your CMS Without Tearing Your Hair Out
This month Ernest Lilley looks back at his adventures in learning to create themes/skins for websites in the hopes of saving others some pain, if not work.

Make Prettier URLs with Apache's Mod Rewrite
Sukrit Dhandhania discusses how to use .htaccess to make user and search engine friendly URLs for your web applications.

Testing your DTD XML Schema Validation
A key ingredient of successful testing is the separation of the component that you are testing from the rest of the process or application. This article explains how to perform your DTD XML schema testing outside of the application that runs it.

Consuming a Web Service using ASP.NET Ajax
A web service is a platform-independent software component that is based on the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and contains a group of functions that are packaged together for use in a common framework throughout a network. Read on to learn how Web Services can be consumed using ASP.NET Ajax.

Thickbox 3.1
Continuing our series on various implementations of Lightbox, this article discusses another library, namely Thickbox, which can be used to display modal dialog boxes.

User Personalization with PHP: The Admin Section
The final installment of our series on User Personalization with PHP focuses on the Administration of the bookmark application.
Debugging JavaScript: Beyond Alerts
Today, JavaScript can be written, debugged, and even tested using frameworks' built-in functionality or by specialized software. In today's article, we'll begin examining some of the latest ways of debugging your JavaScript code.

Getting Started with URL Rewriting with Apache
The Apache web server has a number of very useful and powerful features, one of which is the ability to rewrite URLs. Using the mod_rewrite module, Apache allows you to create short or fancy looking URLs transparently. This article discusses how to enable, configure, and tweak mod_rewrite in your Apache installation.

Kicking the Tires on Your Next CMS
Confused about which Content Management System (CMS) is right for you? Ernest Lilley helps you break Content Management Systems into distinct groups, based on how much time, money, and effort you can put into the project.

User Personalization with PHP: The Final Scripts
User Personalization with PHP" examines the last scripts that make up the main section of the application. In particular, it covers how to add , remove and change bookmark information.

Prevent Browser Caching of Dynamic Content
Today we'll be discussing the use of Ajax in client-side caching. It's really a two pronged topic: first, it is beneficial for performance to cache the data once it's been downloaded because it minimizes server calls; second, you have to be able to force the browser to refresh some content when a server call is made. This article will concentrate on the latter.

Greybox, Lightbox Part 2
Greybox offers another use of Lightbox that other implementations can't brag about. Learn how to display a website or web page in a div, using Greybox.

User Personalization with PHP: The Home Page
Learn how to build an online bookmark system. By creating your own, you have full control over your application, which allows you to tweak it to suit your needs.

Debugging JavaScript: Handling Runtime Exceptions
The Error object provides a number of properties to help you display more meaningful error messages to the client and more useful debugging information to you, the developer. In this article, we'll go over how to use the Error object to handle runtime exceptions.

Basic Authentication with Apache
Apache can be configured to protect either the whole website or just certain sections of it. Learn how to create users and set up a user authentication system so that when someone goes to a protected section of your website they are asked to enter a username and a password.

CMS: A Look Back and The Way Ahead
Web content has gone through many different phases since the first html document went online in 1990. Learn how content management systems have evolved since their first appearance, what's hot now and where to find podcasts to get familiar with the lingo and get up to speed fast.

Introducing jQuery
This article is the first in a series discussing jQuery - an open source JavaScript library, its features and how easily it can be integrated with Ajax and the ASP.NET MVC Framework to build applications that are rich, interactive and responsive.

Debugging JavaScript: Understanding JavaScript Error Messages
One of the most pervasive criticisms about JavaScript is that it's painfully difficult to debug. The good news is that you don't have to be intimidated or turned off by JavaScript. In this article, we will be taking a look at the types of errors that you are likely to encounter in JavaScript development and how to minimize the chance of them cropping up in your code.

User Personalization with PHP: User Registration
Part four of our series on building an online bookmark system covers the registration script, which is responsible for admitting new users to our system.

Shedding Some Light on Lightbox
The first in a new series, this article discusses how to display large images on your website, on demand, without increasing load time.

Comet Programming: the Hidden IFrame Technique
In the "Comet Programming: Using Ajax to Simulate Server Push" article, we learned how to use XMLHttpRequest long polling to refresh page components and keep cached data in synch with the server. Today's technique, sometimes called a "Forever Frame", relies on a hidden IFrame.

User Personalization with PHP: User Login
Part 3 of User Personalization with PHP: Beginning the Application discusses securing the login page, to make it as difficult as possible for attackers to break the application.

On-Demand JavaScript Explained
As JavaScript Frameworks and user JS libraries become increasingly commonplace, download times can become a real turn off to users. There are times where dynamically loading scripts and other resources can be of great benefit. In this overview of on-demand JavaScipt, we'll go over the basics of how it's done, as well as look at some tools that allow you to take advantage of On-Demand JavaScript right away.

Form Validation using jQuery
There are as many ways to implement form validation as there are opinions of the best way to do it. This article discusses client-side validation using jQuery's validation plugin.

User Personalization with PHP: The Verification Code
Part two of our series on User Personalization with PHP looks at user authentication. User authentication simply means verifying that a particular user has the right to access a part of our application. Read on to learn more...

Prototypal Inheritance Explained
Newcomers to JavaScript often misunderstand its object oriented style. This short tutorial explains how JavaScript implements object inheritance and how you can use it to your advantage.

Comet Programming: Using Ajax to Simulate Server Push
Comet is a Web application model that enables Web servers to send data to the client without having to explicitly request it. This article will examine one method of implementing Comet called Ajax Long Polling and demonstrate how it can be used to create event-driven Web apps.

Adobe AIR Programming: Working with Windows - Advanced
This tutorial explains how to use advanced methods for creating 'Windows' in the Adobe AIR platform.

Building a Client-Side Ajax Cache: Caching Algorithms
Relying on the browser's cache to store Ajax data has distinct limitations. A better solution may be to create your own cache management class. In this installment we'll be covering some caching mechanisms, as we build upon our cache management class.

Adobe AIR Programming Unleashed: Working with Windows
The Adobe AIR platform supports applications developed with HTML, Ajax, Flash, PDF, or virtually any combination thereof. This tutorial show you how to create 'Windows' in Adobe AIR.

User Personalization with PHP: Beginning the Application
In this tutorial we will build an online bookmark system. This will be used to create a database for storing all our URL's and their descriptions. By creating our own, we have full control over our application, allowing us to tweak it to suit our needs.

Django for the Impatient: The Finishing Touches
This is the second part of a two-part series. The previous installment covered the basics of building the blog using Django. In this installment, we'll put the finishing touches on it.

Creating Custom Error Pages on Apache Servers
It's almost inevitable that on any given Web site someone, at some time, is going to be directed to a nonexistent URL. This tutorial will show you how to use a simple script to make the situation a bit easier on your visitors.

Django for the Impatient: Blog Building Basics
Django bills itself as "the Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines." In this two-part series we'll put ourselves on a deadline and see how fast we can produce a simple blog using Django

Introducing the ASP.NET Ajax Frameworks
Ajax is a popular technology that is used in many different ways on the World Wide Web. It has become a technology of choice for building fast and responsive user interfaces. This article takes a brief look at the features of some of the more widely used ASP.NET Ajax frameworks.

Windows Forms: Applications
Applications have special support in Windows Forms. They can discover and use a wide variety of information about the system and environment in which they are executed. This tutorial focuses on these topics in depth, beginning with defining what an application actually is.

Building a Client-Side Ajax Cache
As we create Web sites using dynamic content, we should consider the issue of whether or not to cache some of our data, just like other page content. This two-part series shows how to build a client-side cache management system using the Prototype JavaScript Framework.

Using Dojo for Client-Side Validation
Client-side form validation is quick and reduces the load on the server. This tutorial explains how to use the Dojo JavaScript library for these types of validation in order to enhance your form processing.

Apache Basics, Visited
The Apache Web server is a highly specialized software application used to serve billions of Web pages daily. The Apache Web server is the single most used Web server on the Internet today. In this article, we look at how to configure the program.

Introduction to AJAX Technologies
If you're not familiar with the technology or are new to AJAX, it's important to take some time and understand where AJAX fits into the big picture of Web development. This article helps bring you up to speed with AJAX's place in your Web development toolbox.

Functional JavaScript
In this article, we explore the Function object and learn about its role in a lesser known style of coding called Functional Programming. We focus on the Functional Programming concept of using Higher Order functions to improve code modularity.

Marketing 2.0: Gaming, Widgets, Blogging, RSS, Podcasts and More
A shift in demographics has pushed a post-dot-com generation to seek an online experience with an emphasis on entertainment. With the number of people growing up with gaming, it can be a familiar way to teach new concepts.

How to Use the 'AddThis' Social Bookmarking Service
Social Bookmarking has become an important way of driving traffic to your site. You can choose from a variety of scripts, but you'll soon run into maintenance issues. There's an easier way, an all-in-one script, by AddThis.

The New Vessels: The New Language of Marketing 2.0
The new vessels, which include blogs, games, social networks, and other Web 2.0 mechanisms, involve listening, cultivating, and participating in the continuous dialogue among customers.

An Introduction to 3D
3D models are created by manipulating polygon meshes and molding them into objects, characters and scenes. Even if you don't have formal art training that goes beyond the few classes you took in high school or college you can still do great work in 3D.

Overview of Popular JavaScript Frameworks - ASP.NET AJAX
In this last installment of the JavaScript frameworks overview series, we'll be highlighting the main features of Microsoft's ASP.NET AJAX Framework, including controls, JavaScript Type extensions, asynchronous communications, and debugging capabilities.

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