PHP Error Reporting and Security

Error reporting in PHP gives valuable insight during the development stages. This Insight can be a great aid to problem solving. There are others, however who are interested in why your web site has failed on occasion. The information thrown out by many PHP errors gives the kind of information about your web application that can make you vulnerable to crackers (malicious web site breakers). In fact apart from reading the code itself, error reporting is some of the most valuable intelligence an attacker can gather when looking for vulnerabilities in your web application.

So, what should be done once you launch your new web site? Well, as proud as you may be of your new creative geniuses, a wise web developer has the humility to recognize that bugs are still likely to surface from time to time. While you do not want any attackers to see error Continue reading “PHP Error Reporting and Security”

PHP Execution Time Limit Setting

Recently I had a little problem stump me while designing the back end of a commercial site. The back end user interface uploads rather large image files so that the files can be processed for ‘Zoomify’( a fast way of showing a highly detailed zoomable image). After making sure the process was secure, I also needed to change a few settings in the PHP ini file in order for the system to allow files sizes of over 2 megs. All was working great on the local testing server. Continue reading “PHP Execution Time Limit Setting”

Learn To Guide Web User’s with Precedence

In web design, it is important to guide the user’s eye. Without a sense of “flow” a feeling of frustration takes over creating a negative experience. The art of subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, guiding the viewer’s attention is referred to as Precedence.

Since web pages are, for the most part, about the users getting information, how the information is presented is of great importance. There are several ways to do this, namely, Continue reading “Learn To Guide Web User’s with Precedence”

Adjust Your Design with a Fresh Look in the Mirror

If you have ever spent a long time working on a design, you have probably noticed that after a while you may feel there is something “not quite right” about what you are working on but you just can’t seem to put your thumb on it. In most cases, this is because you “intuitively” know that something is wrong. But the image of what you are working on is “burned” into your retina. The image that is before you has become more dominant than that of your mind’s creative eye. I have discovered a little trick from my days as a fine artist to solve this problem. Continue reading “Adjust Your Design with a Fresh Look in the Mirror”

What is AJAX

Asynchronous Put the “A” in AJAX
The key word is asynchronous.
“1.  A process in a multitasking system whose execution can proceed independently, “in the background”. Other processes may be started before the asynchronous process has finished.”—
Most web pages are rather “choppy” because they need to “refresh” themselves, which is a nice way of saying completely re-load the entire page. This must happen every single time they need to “refresh” their data from the server. You probably have figured out by now that this takes time. What AJAX does is allow a web page to asynchronously update only the portion of the web page that is actually in need of fresh data instead of the entire page. Not only is it much faster, but the effect is that it is much smoother. This is because your eye does not have to endure the “flicker” or “hang ups” of the complete page re-load. Sometime the transaction is so smooth that the user often has no idea that it has happened. Knowing that you have affect Continue reading “What is AJAX”

What is Web 2.0 ?

Web 2.0 is a blend of new technologies that provide a much more rich and robust user experience. There are 3 main Components to Web 2.0 as described by Andy Gutmans, Co-Founder of ZEND.

RIA (Rich Internet Application) Andy Gutmans says RIA is “…how we bring the experience from the desktop into the browser.” What this means is this. You may have noticed Continue reading “What is Web 2.0 ?”

Usability -Not Fine Art on the Highway

I have spent 19 years as a fine artist exhibiting my paintings in galleries from California to North Carolina. It should come as no surprise that fine artists do not think like the public. I do have an analytical mind however, so it was by hard pressed analysis that I have come to agree with the following.

The Internet, if nowhere else has established beyond any doubt, that usability (ease of use) along with utility (a site’s practical value) are what determine a web designs success over its aesthetic appeal. Imagine if the road signs along your way to an unknown place where works of fine art with beautifully painted details and higher notions of several individual artist’s ideals. Continue reading “Usability -Not Fine Art on the Highway”

How to Create a User Interface Style Guide

I frequently peruse for tidbits of inspiration. There are so many more beautiful, competent site designs than there used to be.  Setting aside a nice design and well thought out code, there is a common thread to be found that ties all of them together. They are all new.

Along with site design that is lean and beautiful come a few frustrations, however. Many designers find that after publishing an elegant user interface, they return to their client’s site a few months later only to find it cluttered up with gaudy graphics and inappropriate colors.

One of the ways to keep this phenomenon under control is by providing good documentation. Continue reading “How to Create a User Interface Style Guide”

Some Priciples of Good Web Design

Once you have decided to create a website, it can be difficult to know where to start. How overwhelming it feels to consider all the aspects of site design! The User Interface, Usability, Accessibility, SEO, Social Marketing, who your web hosting company will be, blagh blagh—auuughgh!! Remember though that the best designs are the ones based on strong principles and simplicity. An “over-gagetized” approach that tries to offer everything to everyone will not only overwhelm you, it will overwhelm the people who arrive at your web site only to quickly exit. So take a deep breath and think – “reasonable”, “simple”, “principled”. Do not focus on the masses of people coming to your web site. Focus on the individual person, the visitor that you Continue reading “Some Priciples of Good Web Design”