Sep 26 2006

The secret to making a “contact us” form that gets used.

Jamie Begin

A case study One of the most interesting projects I’ve been involved with was developing and managing a site for an online automotive accessories retailer. At it’s peak, the site was serving over 20,000 sessions a month, and processing over $1M/yr in sales on the website alone. It was the first large scale projects that […] …

Read more

Sep 22 2006

Using Apache’s mod_speling to catch unneded 404 erorrs caused by mispelligns

Jamie Begin

(This article is Part 2 in a series about Apache’s loadable modules. The previous topic was mod_ext_filter). As former Microsoft-ite who made the leap to OSS, one of the things that took a little getting used to with Apache are that filenames are case-sensitive. While that’s long since been hammered into my soul, a great […] …

Read more

Sep 21 2006

Picking the perfect font for writing code.

Jamie Begin

Programmers use a lot of tools throughout the day. Some of them are pretty obvious: a fast PC, wide monitor (or three), a robust IDE, and good coffee. Other items tend to get overlooked a bit more often: a quality keyboard, top-notch chair, and natural lighting. However, the most underappreciated tool of all is the […] …

Read more

Sep 20 2006

Using Google Sets to find related terms

Jamie Begin

Google is always coming up with cool little widgets and technologies. A lot of their ideas sit dorment in their labs, seemingly because they haven’t yet figured out how to make a buck off them yet. One of my favorites is Google Sets. At first, like a ball peen hammer, it’s one of those tools […] …

Read more

Sep 20 2006

A simple method to toggle a bit column (MySQL, SQL Server, and others)

Jamie Begin

I’ll occasionally see SQL code that looks something like this: UPDATE products SET in_stock = CASE WHEN in_stock = 1 THEN 0 ELSE 1 END; Or sometimes the developer tries to accomplish the same thing with an overly complex subquery. We can greatly simplify what we’re trying to do with just this query: UPDATE products […] …

Read more

Sep 19 2006

Using Apache’s mod_ext_filter to automatically add watermarks to website images

Jamie Begin

I recently discussed mod_ext_filter, a loadable module used with Apache. It allows you to easily process your content through an external program before it’s passed onto the user’s web browser. I mentioned using mod_ext_filter as a way to automatically add watermarks to images on a website. After receiving a bit of interest in how to [& …

Read more

Sep 18 2006

10 things you (probably) didn’t know about PHP.

Jamie Begin

PHP is simultaneously the most infuriating and joyful languages I’ve ever worked with. I say “infuriating” primarily because the function names are so inconsistant. Despite the fact that I use it almost everyday, I still have to think to myself “Is it str_pos or strpos? str_split or strsplit?” On the other hand, occasi …

Read more

Sep 17 2006

mod_ext_filter: mod_rewrite’s red-headed step sister.

Jamie Begin

Almost every experienced web developer who works with Apache is at least vaguely familar with mod_rewrite. It’s most frequently used to reformat ugly URLs containing a lot of query values into a nice, search-engine friendly URL. Implementing mod_rewrite is generally one of the first steps to a SEO overhaul on a website with a lot […] …

Read more