Showing posts with label make your own web site. Show all posts
Showing posts with label make your own web site. Show all posts

Akismet for punBB

I have been looking around for a good forum application to build a website forum. When building a forum website, one of the most important criteria for me is the banishment of spam. This is a headache just for about every webmaster who attempt to build a website forum. I have installed several forum apps into my website just to study its interface, ease of use, etc. All I did was put in one little link from my main site and before long, I start to see spammers getting into their terrible act of stuffing links into my testing forum!

How on earth did they find my little unknown for testing only forum website, I wonder? Anyway, web spam is a big issue.

When it comes to choosing a forum for website, most people will suggest phpBB as it is the most well known and widely used bulletin board web application software around. Having tried it, I don't like it at all. It is a very heavy application, rather slow because it tries to do so much making it very code heavy. With all its sophistication it has some very bad flaws resulting in many security issues. And for such a sophisticated forum software it doesn't even have Akismet anti-spam build-in. Well you can plug it in yourself. But heard that it was a nightmare to put any plug-ins at all.

So far the only forum software that I found that has Akismet build in is bbPress. But this is a fairly new bulletin board. From the creators of Wordpress, bbPress is build from the gound up. It runs pretty fast, very lightweight, but still lacks many features. But from what I see, I think it will do very well in the future. I have started using this for one of my travel forums and it does a very good job at weeding out those web spammers. The only thing left which I hope they will provide in future is an en-masse deletion of users who are marked as spammers or better yet auto deletion of inactive members. Already as of writing there is 4,000 users and 99% of them are spammers!

Currently I'm looking at another lightweight website forum software, punBB. It looks nice and seem to have a good interface. Unfortunately it does not have a build in Akismet anti-spam feature. This resulted in many spammers logging in and doing their misdeeds. There is plug-in but unfortunately their website has been hacked in and just visiting their website would result in virus installing into your PC. The link is here but I would suggest you tread very carefully here.

http://www.punres.org/viewtopic.php?id=1850

I won't download the plugin just yet until they clear out the malicious code from their website. From those who did install the plugin, it seemed to work very well.

But for now, I'll stay off this code for fear the malicious code has infected the plugin too. But I will give this code a look see in the future one they have solve the virus infection problem.

For now, I guess I will just have too look around and see what other forum software that are easy to use, lightweight, and can especially solve those pesky web spammers!

This website of mine is a mess!

This website of mine is a big mess! You can't see it from the public viewpoint, but in the back end, it total crazy! I guess experimenting with the various SQL database software and trying out PHP script here and there, not to mention trying out the SHTMLs and PHPs extension by doing a quick hack and a little tweak there and breaking up the code into several includes ....

I doubt I will be able to clean it up. Should I even bother? As long as the website still functions from the public viewpoint, I think I will just leave it alone. It might take me way too long to clean up the mess.

In addition, having free website here and there enjoined together using CNAME and A records with the main domain and web hosting, I think to really clean up this personal blog of mine would kinda take forever...

But then, this is my website and as long as I have a fair idea how each part is connected to each other it will continue to work as long as I don't break anything major. Still have to be real careful how I tweak my website further. I have broken pages before.

My bro-in-law website is also in a big mess. It s hard enough to sort through my own website, let alone on a collaborative website. He would tweak something there, I would tweak something here, and there is bound to be lots of broken links around the website. Already his Flash pages are not working properly. I'm scratching my head and can't figure it out why it is working on IE but not on the other browsers like FF, Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc. Anyway since most visitors uses IE, so there would be a minority who would not be able to view the Flash pages properly.

Ah... got to fix them up...

Simplepie

I have been using Simplepie for some time. It is great for streaming RSS feeds into your web page. A great way to stream information around when you build your own website.

So what is Simplepie? It is a PHP script that you can install in your web host and configure it to get RSS feeds not only from other website and also from within your website. It also a good way to re-feed the various website and blogs that you have and stream them into one easy to access web page too.

For example if you have Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and your very own website, it would be difficult for your visitor (including yourself for that matter) to keep track of what's happening, so why not provide a single page where all your feeds are channelled into it?

So here comes Simplepie to the rescue! Head on over to the Simplepie.Org website and download the latest PHP script.

I liked Simplepie in the sense that I don't have to set up a SQL database. It is also fairly easy to use, though it may be a little bit more complicated than Feedburner. Between using PHP script vs JavaScript, I would prefer going the way of PHP. The content is both visible to visitors and robot crawlers alike and that is a plus point because the search engine thrives on content.

Upload the simplepie.inc file into your Webserver plus the various files as per their specification.

Then it is time to hack your web page. The file needs to be saved with a .php extension and your server must be able to handle PHP files.

Before the main HTML codes add these php lines

require_once('http://www.example.com/folder/simplepie.inc');
require_once('http://www.example.com/folder/idn/idna_convert.class.php');
$feed = new SimplePie();


Then you need to tell it where to find the feed:

$feed->set_feed_url('http://exampleblog.com/atom.xml');


If you got several feeds, you have to use this line instead. Make sure you do not comma the last feed or you will get errors.

$feed->set_feed_url(array(
'http://www.example1.com/feed1',
'http://www.example2.com/feed2.xml',
'http://www.example3.com/rssfeed3'
));


Init the feed with this line and ready for next step.

$feed->init();


Somewhere in your main page add in the following PHP codes and you are good to go. Modify where necessary for the CSS to format the display.


<?php
foreach ($feed->get_items() as $item):
?>
<div class="item_simplepie">
<h3><a href="<?php echo $item->get_permalink(); ?>" ><?php echo $item->get_title(); ?></a></h3>
<p><?php echo $item->get_description(); ?></p>
<p><small>Posted on <?php echo $item->get_date('j F Y | g:i a'); ?></small></p>
</div>
<?php endforeach; ?>


Easy, yes? That's why it is called Simplepie!

Build a free web site pitfalls

Geocities - there goes another free web site service.

The problem when you build a free web site using free website services like Geocities, you are at their mercy. After all, you are using their services for free, so what's more could you ask for if they decided they no longer want to run the free service anymore.

And recently Yahoo has made a lot of changes to make themselves more competitive against their rivals namely Google and Microsoft. So whichever business unit is not profitable, they will discontinue it or change it in one way or another. Yahoo has been revamping many of their services and stop providing many of their services. My Yahoo Briefcase was discontinued, and changes to 360° Yahoo was also made. There were a few more other services as well, so hopefully Yahoo would be leaner and better to compete against their rival. Best of luck, Yahoo!

While for the rest of us who make use of their free services like Geocities to build a free website and 360° for blogging, now will have to consider the next option.

Build a free web site using those free services are like that, you never know what the company would want to do. It is up to them, after all they do need a source of revenue to upkeep and maintain their services. So don't cry foul when they decided to change their terms or close down their free website services.

Although I don't really make full use of Geocities free website, I had it for a very long time, and it was kind of sad to see it go. It was also where I start practicing how to code HTML. The usefulness when you build a free web site is the chance of learning some HTML/CSS programming without having to make any payment for a full web hosting services. However nowadays, the free website offerings now comes with a free web site builder which makes it easier to make websites but at the expense of not being able to get your hands dirty into coding.

Thankfully there are still some free website services that still have the ability for you to do your own coding and upload to their free website hosting.

In closing Geocities, Yahoo offered suggestions where you could still host your web site for free. They are:


  • Tripod Lycos (www.tripod.lycos.com/)
  • Webs.com
  • Weebly.com
  • Webstarts.com (I think this site is dead, can't see the website at all)
  • SynthaSite (now Yola.com)
  • Wikispaces.com


I could add a couple into the list:

  • Bravenet.com
  • Google sites (sites.google.com)


And of course using free website will have its caveats, but that is the price you have to pay for not paying for web hosting.

Why free website may not be a good idea if you are into building a website seriously.


  • URL address is added on and not your own domain - bad impression if you are serious into getting a web presence for work
  • You are at the mercy of web hosting company policy - they dictate the terms. If they want to close, they will close (eg Geocities), if they want to change URL, they will change (eg SynthaSite to Yola), it may be ad supported (eg Bravenet)
  • Bandwidth transfer will be limited
  • Storage space is less
  • You lose all the inbound links when they make changes to their URL address (eg Geocities, Yola, etc) thereby losing your website traffic.


Good point about free website

  • Well, it is free
  • Good place to learn about website creation
  • If they provide HTML file uploading, it is good place to learn about HTML/CSS


So with the closing of Geocities by 26 October 2009, I no longer can build a free web site with them, though fortunately it is not such a major impact for me. However, I do need to remove links from web site to my website at Geocities; otherwise I get broken links within my website which is not a good as it is frown upon by search engines.

Build a Free Web Site with Webs

Webs.com was formerly Freewebs.com. You can build a free web site here too! They have been around since 2001, longer than Yola but not as long as Bravenet. They use a free web site builder to make your own web site.


It's free, so I sign up just to have a look see. So here's my URL JanLeow.Webs.com. Because they use the provided free web site builder, I'm stuck with their choices of free web site templates available. There was a custom section, but I couldn't get it to work. Perhaps that would require more fiddling but for now I'm just stuck with what they have. You could still customize the template but I find it rather limited in how you might want to customize it.

They have made it easy to create your web site, but if you need more advance features, you would be better off going for a full normal web hosting services provider rather than build a free web site with Webs.com. I find their free web site builder a little clunky, clunkier than Yola's.

Free web sites builders has the advantage of being easy to use, but would not provide you with the flexibility of doing more advance customization and coding. Although they have a HTML code insertion so that you could still insert codes like JavaScript or do some HTML/CSS coding, but the HTML code insertion is not very smooth to use.

Anyway, it is free! So if you prefer something simple to make your own web site, then use Webs.com to a build a free web site.

Build a free web site with Yola

Build a free web site using Yola. So what is it? Well, free web site hosting is good for those who do not wish to pay out of the pocket. So I decided to sign up and see what's it all about, after all it is free!

This site is fairly new, so don't bank on it just yet. They still need to work out their monetizing model to support their freebie. It they can't find a way to generate income, they will fold soon after or at the very best take over by some other company with usage rule changes.

From the initial try out of their build a free web site system, it looks interesting. This is not your normal web hosting company. It works more like Google Sites. ie you can't upload your own HTML files. However the difference is that Yola provides unlimited storage (versus 100MB given by Google Sites) and unlimited bandwidth. AFAIK, there is no way you can use up that much storage space especially with the cost of storage coming down, many web hosting company are giving unlimited storage capacity.

Like Google sites, You build your free web site on Yola online using their sitebuilder tools. Good for those who don't want to sully themselves with HTML/CSS codes and still create a web site with a zing! However it takes some getting use to their system. You are given two choice of web site creation: a normal web site or blog web site, or you could even go for both!

Anyway it's free, so just go sign up and see what's it all about and see if this Yola.com build a free web site is suitable for you or not.

This is my site using Yola.com:

http://yola.JanLeow.com

(Yes, you can use your existing domain, create a subdomain and A Record it to Yola's DNS)

Cheers!

Expandable Post

Finally it was done. It wasn't too difficult to understand and implement expandable post in Google Blogger. Now the post functions just like those Wordpress websites. ie the front page will show a teaser of paragraph, if the visitors likes it, can click the "Read More" link to expand the the teaser to a full post for further reading.

Now the frontpage don't have to be a looooong page of many posts, it just shows short teasers, making the page neat and tidy.

Initially the steps were a little bit confusing in that the Google help files do assume you know you know something like where to put those codes. Those were a matter of trial and error to get them into the correct location to insert the codes. Once done, it was a matter of tweaking the display to make it look nice and functional.

There are plenty of help topics too about customizing your blogger templates from the old classic templates to the new layout version. Should be enough info there to get you started to build your own free web site using Google Blogger. There was even a chapter on how to make the site look like a book. Could be useful if you want to make your own web site into hierarchal format rather than a chronologically linear type web site.

Not too bad for a free web site.
Cheers!

Can always use this like Twitter

I can always use this blogger like Twitter minus the 140 character limit. Instead of calling it micro blogging, just call it mini blogging! Plus you can tag it to and with more options! Yeah!

Got to figure this out

Rfwk has done it, guess I will have to figure it out. Blogger can't break long post with the use of breakers like or

Simplepie multifeed sorting by date is working

Finally got the simplepie multifeed to sort various RSS feeds by date. According to Simplepie it should work, and the reason it didn't work was because there wasn't any date or proper formatting of date in the RSS feed. Turn out my manually made RSS had date formatting errors. Now it is working like a charm!

Decided to re-use blogger

Playing around with CNAME, I think I found another use for blogger. Even though I'm already using my Wordpress websites software on my own domain, I found that I could use CNAME to map a subdomain onto Google's blogger service and make the blogspot software as part of my main web site. Cool!

Shifting my personal blog to a new site

I've decided to shift my personal blog to my very own personal website! I've decided to call it Blogs about life; after all success is a journey, not a destination. I've also set up a simple mobile blog @ vox for blogging from my Palm Centro smartphone.

After all, once you have reached a pinnacle point, it is still not the end of your journey. I also do like lots of techie stuff, so my new site is also full of review about those thingy. So much for SEO, my site is definitely not keyed in to any keywords. Just leave it as a hobby for now. Make your own website for fun and profit, eh? Well, it will be for fun for now.

Closing this blogger site chapter and shifting it over to the new site.

Cheers!
Jan.

Welcome to My Blog

This is my first personal blog. Hopefully more will be published as days go by. Right now I am at a loss as to what to type in. But writer's block does not apply to blogging, right?

I was setting up my Cameron Highlands website, but it takes time to come up with content. Well hopefully I can complete my project and something will come out from my endeavor.

I think the present modern day is rather exciting with all the new gadgets and technical wizadry. I have seen the pace of advancement is rather amazing! I myself owned a few of these gadgets, PDA, handphones, digital cameras, and it does certainly makes life rather interesting! Incredibly I still have my old HP 320LX handheld PC and it still functions. But its speed is so slow, using this ancient device is more like nostalgia.

Until I have something more interesting to write, au revoir!