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Topic: The Server Side

Back-end in motion. Shaping interactivity with languages like Perl, PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, Rebol, and Ruby on Rails. Database-driven projects and processes. Interface responsiveness through better database design. Fending off hackers. Obfuscating e-mail addresses. Creating a more useful 404 page. A better image rotator. Dynamic text replacement. Keeping navigation current with PHP.

  • Breaking Stuff

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    Designers may do CSS, but not JavaScript. Some may do JavaScript, but draw the line at git. Some may be willing to use git with a graphical interface, but not with Terminal. When we get out of our comfort zone, it’s great to have a safety net so we can learn without breaking stuff too badly.

  • Why Sass?

    by Dan Cederholm · Issue 385 ·

    “I was a reluctant believer in Sass. I write stylesheets by hand! I don’t need help! And I certainly don’t want to add extra complexity to my workflow. Go away!” So says designer, CSS wizard, and Dribbble co-founder Dan Cederholm at the beginning of his new book Sass For Web Designers, released today by A Book Apart. Yet the reluctant convert soon discovers that the popular CSS pre-processor can be a powerful ally to even the hand-craftiest front-end designer/developer. Dan has never learned a thing about CSS he wasn’t willing to share (and great at teaching). And in this exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1 of Sass For Web Designers, you’ll get a taste of how Dan learned to quit worrying and use Sass to take better control of his stylesheets and websites.

  • Environmental Design with the Device API

    by Tim Wright · Issue 369 ·

    Real-world factors like low batteries and weak signal strength can turn even the most expertly crafted digital experience into a frustrating clustercuss. These factors are beyond your control, and, until recently, there was nothing you could do about them. Now there just may be. Tim Wright explains how to begin improving your users’ experiences under constantly shifting (and sometimes quite dreadful) conditions, via environmental design thinking and the Device API.

  • Getting Started with Sass

    by David Demaree · Issue 340 ·

    CSS' simplicity has always been one of its most welcome features. But as our sites and apps get bigger and become more complex, and target a wider range of devices and screen sizes, this simplicity, so welcome as we first started to move away from font tags and table-based layouts, has become a liability. Fortunately, a few years ago developers Hampton Catlin and Nathan Weizenbaum created a new style sheet syntax with features to help make our increasingly complex CSS easier to write and manage, and then used a preprocessor to translate the new smart syntax into the old, dumb CSS that browsers understand. Learn how Sass ("syntactically awesome style sheets") can help simplify the creation, updating, and maintenance of powerful sites and apps.

  • Web Cryptography: Salted Hash and Other Tasty Dishes

    by Lyle Mullican · Issue 324 ·

    One of the most powerful security tools available to web developers is cryptography, essentially a process by which meaningful information is turned into random noise, unreadable except where specifically intended. A web developer working on an underpowered netbook in his basement now has access to cryptosystems that major governments could only have dreamed of a few decades ago. And ignorance of cryptography is not bliss. You may think your web app’s profile is too low to worry about hackers, but attacks are frequently automated, not targeted, and a compromise of the weakest system can often give access to better-protected systems when people re-use passwords across multiple sites. Learn the three broad categories of cryptosystems that commonly relate to web applications and begin strategizing how to make your site secure.

  • Letting Go of John Hancock

    by Bjørn Enki · Issue 297 ·

    Because clients expect everything to be faster, better, and simpler, web professionals must take an instant, foolproof, paperless, modern approach to how clients approve proposals and sign contracts. Implementing an instantaneous contract agreement helps to get projects off the ground, attract clients on tight timelines, and prevent potential delays. All it takes is a little PHP and some PDF magic.

  • Indexing the Web—It’s Not Just Google’s Business

    by Lyle Mullican · Issue 285 ·

    Interface responsiveness is one of many details web developers must consider in their quest to deliver a good user experience. An application that responds quickly enhances the user’s sense of control. In working to maximize application speed, though, one often-overlooked element can affect performance more than almost anything else: database design.

  • A More Useful 404

    by Dean Frickey · Issue 272 ·

    When broken links frustrate your site's visitors, a typical 404 page explains what went wrong and provides links that may relate to the visitor's quest. That's good, but now you can do better. With Dean Frickey's custom 404, when something's amiss, pertinent information is sent not only to the visitor, but to the developer—so that, in many cases, the problem can be fixed! A better 404 means never having to say you're sorry.

  • How to Succeed With URLs

    by Till Quack · Issue 123 ·

    Dynamic websites rock. Dynamically generated URLs suck. Till Quack shows how to use PHP to convert those machine-friendly nightmares into dreamy, human-friendly web addresses.

  • Creating More Using Less Effort with Ruby on Rails

    by Michael Slater · Issue 257 ·

    The "why" of Ruby on Rails comes down to productivity, says Michael Slater. Web applications that share three characteristics, they're database-driven, they're new, and they have needs not well met by a typical CMS, can be built much more quickly with Ruby on Rails than with PHP, .NET, or Java, once the investment required to learn Rails has been made. Does your web app fall within the RoR "sweet spot?"

  • Getting Started with Ruby on Rails

    by Dan Benjamin · Issue 257 ·

    The "how" of Ruby on Rails: Hivelogic's Dan Benjamin prepares non-Rails developers, designers, and other creative professionals for their first foray into Rails. Learn what Ruby on Rails is (and isn't), and where it fits into the spectrum of web development and design. See through the myths surrounding this powerful young platform, and learn how to approach working with it.

  • Graceful E-Mail Obfuscation

    by Roel Van Gils · Issue 248 ·

    Hide e-mail addresses from spam bots while revealing them to readers as real, clickable links. This transparent and fully automated solution guarantees that all addresses on your site will be safe—even the ones that show up in blog comments!

  • Random Image Rotation

    by Dan Benjamin · Issue 160 ·

    Readers return to sites that appear fresh and new on each visit. On a news site, magazine, or blog, stories or headlines will be updated frequently. But how can static sites keep that fresh feeling? Dan Benjamin’s free image randomizer may do the trick, and you needn’t be a programmer to install it.

  • Sliced and Diced Sandbags

    by Rob Swan · Issue 222 ·

    Wouldn't it be great if there were a way to get text to flow around an irregularly shaped image? Wouldn't it be even better if we could automate the process? Have no fear: Rob Swan is here to show us the way.

  • Getting Started with Ajax

    by Aaron Gustafson · Issue 213 ·

    In this excerpt from O'Reilly's Web Design in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition, ALA's production editor would like to take you aside for a little chat about the birds and the bees. Or maybe about Ajax.

  • Automatic Magazine Layout

    by Harvey Kane · Issue 219 ·

    You can't always count on having a professional designer around to resize and position your images for you, but you'd rather your page layout didn't look like it was created by orangutans. Harvey Kane builds a script that makes your life easier.

  • A Better Image Rotator

    by Dan Benjamin · Issue 186 ·

    The first image rotator made it easy to generate a random image on a web page, even if you had never worked with PHP before. The new, more powerful (but still dead easy) version uses a simple configuration file to create custom links, alt tags, titles, and even CSS styles for each image. Plus it handles differently sized images without a hiccup. Enjoy!

  • Win the SPAM Arms Race

    by Dan Benjamin · Issue 145 ·

    SPAM is evil, moronic, and pervasive, but help is on the way. All it takes is a bit of JavaScript, a smidgen of PHP, and the ten minutes it takes to read this short, sweet tutorial. Reduce dreck mail with Dan Benjamin’s easy-to-implement address encoder.

  • URLS! URLS! URLS!

    by Bill Humphries · Issue 70 ·

    Database-driven content management systems are everywhere. And with them come URLs only a robot could love. Bill Humphries shows how to transform CGI-generated URLs into meaningful user interfaces through the power of URL mapping.

  • Build a Search Engine in PERL

    by Joseph Ryan · Issue 136 ·

    Everything you wanted to know about using PERL to build a simple search engine for your site (but were afraid to ask).

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