Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The jig is up…

Google’s latest web crawler, Penguin, is getting updated. This will likely mean the single-greatest shift concerning SEO, basically turning it on its head. Hopefully this is a shift towards from quality content and away from hits at all cost…

But there is a silver lining to all of this. With last year’s Panda release, and the more recent Penguin release, Google is going to flip SEO on its head. If Old SEO enabled some to fool a crawler into indexing borderline junk content to get high rankings, New SEO looks likely to take any notion of fooling anyone out of the equation.

Read more at AdAge…

Via Advertising Age...

Posted by admin on 01/29 at 02:34 PM
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Monday, December 03, 2012

On the upside, at least this blog will go pro now…

It’s been a weird week for ExpressionEngine developers. While the direction Ellis Labs is taking is much needed, their communication skills gave many of us a “baby and the bathwater”-impression. Some screamed the sky is falling, while others shrugged. It does drive home one fact: no one CMS is perfect, if only because it’s not just about the developers using it, but the company behind it.

So now we wait and see.

Posted by admin on 12/03 at 08:27 AM
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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Difference between Interaction Design and User Experience

In this era of an incredibly fast and evoluting industry of usability it is only normal to find difficulties in defining the boundaries of the various industry roles and technical terms used. In this article my intention is to describe the difference between interaction design and user experience.

Posted by admin on 10/22 at 12:15 PM
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

EE Multi-Language Sites (revisited) - part 2

Previously we cleaned-up the URLs, now we make them dynamic

We’ll presume the native language, English, is the root language, with Spanish and Russian as alternative languages. 

In this example, the web root is at /var/www/.

Walkthrough:

1) Create directories for the languages using their ISO name and copy the EE index.php from the root into each of the language directories

/var/www/ru for Russian
/var/www/es for Spanish

2) Edit the index.php file in the root directory. In the CUSTOM CONFIG VALUES section, add this:

//Set default language
$assign_to_config['global_vars']['language'"en";
$assign_to_config['global_vars']['base_url'"http://sitename.com/"

3) Edit the index.php in each language subdirectory (ru, es), adding an extra period to the SYSTEM PATH variable, so that:

$system_path '.system'

in the /ru/ directory becomes:

$system_path '..system'

4) In the CUSTOM CONFIG VALUES section, add this and extend the URL to redirect through the current language directory. EG, in the Russian /ru/ directory:

//Set default language
$assign_to_config['global_vars']['language'"ru";
$assign_to_config['global_vars']['base_url'"http://sitename.com/ru/"

Do this for each of the languages.

5) Finally, add a custom .htaccess to each of the language directories, to handle removing index.php from each subsection. Again, for the Russian /ru/ directory:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond 
$!^(index\.php[NC]
RewriteRule 
^(.*)$ /ru/index.php/$1 [L] 

Do this for each of the languages, and that’s basically it.

On logging back into the Control Panel, you’ll be greeted with a notice:

One or more core files have been altered:
/var/www/index.php
/var/www/ru/index.php
/var/www/es/index.php

Accept the changes and get on with your life. Next we set up the multi-language variables…

Posted by admin on 10/20 at 07:48 AM
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Friday, October 19, 2012

EE Multi-Language Sites (revisited) - part 1

A while ago I did a how-to on putting a multi-language site together for EE 1.x using the Multisite Module from PutYourLightsOn. It’s a good module and Ben’s support has been excellent, but for EE 2.0, I’ve found a way to roll my own…

I’ll do this in series of posts, but let’s dive in first with setup. The plan is to:

  • Clean up the URLs to remove index.php from it

  • Set up the system so the title is the filename

  • Set-up system variables so language is selected by resolving the path

  • So if the path is http://www.shortcuts.nl/article/title I’ll get the default language (English). If its http://www.shortcuts.nl/nl/article/title I’ll get the other language translation - the plan is to have Spanish and Russian languages. Them’s the rules…

    We’re going to presume a few things:

  • UNIX-based hosting

  • Apache 2.x or later with mod_rewrite installed and enabled

  • ExpressionEngine 2.2 or later

  • 1) we create a .htaccess file in the docroot of your website. This is based on the ExpressionEngine.com example:

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
            
    RewriteEngine On
     
            
    # Removes index.php
            
    RewriteCond $!\.(gif|jpe?g|png)$ [NC]
            RewriteCond 
    %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
            RewriteCond 
    %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
            RewriteRule 
    ^(.*)$ /index.php/$1 [L]
     
            
    # If 404s, "No Input File" or every URL returns the same thing
            # make it /index.php?/$1 above (add the question mark)
    </IfModule

    2) In the Control Panel (Admin > GENERAL CONFIGURATION) set the name of the site’s index page to blank (empty the field) and Submit.

    3) Test. Test the site’s links to see that index.php isn’t required in the url. A good practice is to use a template set-up through the Pages module with a fixed url (/blog/ for instance) and then see if the page can be reached.

    Errors:
    Some common problems include links returning 404s, a “No Input File Specified” error, or all links returning the same content. This can often be the case with hosts that require you to force query strings. If this happens, try adding a question mark as described in the .htaccess comments above.

    Other common errors, often also generating a 403 Forbidden, is the setup for Apache and whether it allows .htaccess the rights to rewrite the URL. Check your Apache configuration for the Directory command. Compare it to the example below:

    <Directory "/var/www/siteroot/">
        
    Options Indexes MultiViews Includes
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow
    ,deny
        Allow from all
    </Directory

    Two very important lines to watch for:

    Options FollowSymLinks   (usually missing)
    AllowOverride All       (often set wrongly to NONE)

    Mac local configurations suffer from this by default - this is why 403s occur when you try to crawl your Sites folder.

    Once resolved, your URLs should be cruft-free.  Move on now to making your paths dynamic...

    Posted by admin on 10/19 at 01:22 AM
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