July, 2007 Results

HTML5 Tables

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I was asked a while back to try to explain, in plain English, the algorithm for associating headers cells with data cells in the HTML5 working draft. I am not a member of the HTML5 working group, and I have not been involved with creating this algorithm at all, so anything you read here is merely my interpretation of the working group’s words.

There has been some debate about this part of the HTML5 specification, since the working group proposes to remove some HTML4 attributes that are meant to improve accessibility: the abbr, summary, headers and axes attributes. One particularly interesting discussion in which I think proponents for retaining these made a convincing case can be found on Juicy Studio.

Let’s look closer at the new HTML5 table specifications.


Links for the Weekend, 7-28-2007

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Do It Yourself SEO? Part 2

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

So you decided to do your own SEO? Good for you! You’ve embarked on quite the adventure.

This is part 2 in the “Do It Yourself SEO” series. In part 1 we tackled the issue of whether you should do your own SEO or hire it out. In doing so we looked at four questions and now in this article we will revisit those questions and take a closer look at what it will take to make your website successful.

Before we begin it’s probably fair to give my background as it pertains to search engine optimization. For starters, I am not the smartest guy in the room. I hold no certifications or formal training in SEO/SEM; everything I know has been learned in the trenches over the last eight years. So what follows are some observations that I have learned during my call of duty.

You won’t find advice in this article like: “use heading tags in your copy” or to “make sure you have keyword-rich title tags on each page” or the “significance of landing pages” — while all are good advice, this would turn into a book if I went that route. Instead we are going to look at the skill sets involved in making a website successful. My hope is that by the end of the article you will have a greater appreciation for SEO/SEM.


An Introduction to memcached

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

“Caching” is a term you’ve probably heard mentioned before in various places (including this site). The idea behind caching is to store a copy of some piece of data so you can re-use it again later without jumping through whatever hoops you had to go through the first time to get it. There are different ways you can cache data (queries, objects, etc) and different medium in which you can store the cache (files, database, memory). Any way you do it, the main goal of caching is to increase the performance of your site or application. In many cases caching is used to lessen the amount of interaction with the database, which increases performance and decreases the load on your server.

I would like to talk about my personal favorite method of caching: memcached. I’ll show you how memcached works, how to install it, and how to use it to help your site/application run faster and scale better. According to the memcached site, “memcached is a high-performance, distributed memory object caching system, generic in nature, but intended for use in speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load.” In plain English, this means memcached is an application that you can use to take advantage of spare free memory on any number of machines to cache pretty much anything you want (with a few exceptions) and retrieve it very quickly. Memcached was originally developed by Danga Interactive to help speed up LiveJournal. Some of memcached’s great features are that in runs on a number of platforms (Linux, BSD, Windows), is VERY fast, and has a number of client APIs already written so you’ll more than likely find libraries for any type of project you’re working on. We’ll focus on the PHP API in this article.


Introducing Jeremy Ashcraft – aka MrSpooky

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Search-This would like to officially welcome Jeremy Ashcraft to the team!

<pearl jam rif> Jeremy spoke in class today… </pearl jam rif>

sorry, had to get my Pearl Jam on…

<pearl jam rif> Ooh, but we unleashed a lion… </pearl jam rif>

No, but really, we did unleash a lion, Jeremy joins the team with a strong website development and administration background.

Hopefully you’ve already read Jeremy’s first two articles: Simple Tips to Help Survive The Digg Effect and The Lazy Programmer – Open Source and You. And his next article will be out tomorrow!

Here’s a bit more about Jeremy:

User Name: MrSpooky

  • childhood ambition: to be an astronaut, of course
  • fondest memory: my son being born
  • favorite music: metal! \m/
  • retreat: my front porch with a book
  • proudest moment: winning the pole vault at the 1999 Outdoor Big Ten Championships
  • biggest challenge: managing my time
  • alarm clock: 6:30 AM or my son, whichever comes first
  • perfect day: doing absolutely nothing
  • first job: bailing hay on a farm in rural Indiana
  • indulgence: Taco Bell
  • favorite movie: Fight Club
  • inspiration: knowing that there is someone out there that is better than me at what I do

Links for the Weekend, 7-21-2007

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Blogging – Cost to Benefit Analysis

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

While perusing a forum one of the threads asked, “Is your blog profitable?”

I decided to make it a late night and give this question some more thought…

Search-This Cost to Benefit Analysis

  • $6.96 per month for web hosting.
  • $50 per month for marketing and promotion cost.
  • $56,250 a year for time invested – say 15 hours a week with 50 weeks in a year (-2 for some vacation, come on) at $75 an hour.


Time spent making new friends and helping others become better webmasters – PRICELESS!

If you would like to learn more about blogging and connect with other bloggers, be sure to checkout the new Blog Experiment Forums. Now is a good time to join and introduce yourself because it’s still the grand opening!

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