Test browser compatability with multiple versions of IE

Although in the past it has not always been the case, these days you must test your sites against multiple browsers for compatibility and proper rendering.¬† At a bare minimum my test are against IE 7, IE 6, FireFox 2, Safari (windows), soon to be IE 8 ūüôĀ and sometimes Opera.¬† If you can test against all of these and your site still looks and works right I would say you have covered your bases pretty well.¬† That may not be the best way, but again in my experience that covers 98% of who will visit your site.¬† One issue you will run into almost immediately is how to test your site against multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same machine.¬† Microsoft offers a¬†Virtual Pc (Free)¬†image that is made expressly for this reason.¬† All you need to do is download it and mount the image and you are testing!

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Debug your javascript in style

So basically today I wanted to plug a plug-in (no pun intended) that I have really found to be invaluable to debug javascript.¬† The plug-in is firebug¬†for FireFox.¬† In my recent dive into Dojo words cannot describe how convenient and handy firebug is.¬† The debug console alone is enough to make it worth while because Microsoft just doesn’t have anything like it at the moment.¬†No need wasting my breathe explaining what all it does, click the link and see for yourself.¬† If you develop in javascript at all you’re missing out big time not using firebug.

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My first thoughts on Dojo

There is a little known (to me) javascript library out there called Dojo I dove into this week.¬† Basically it is a massive open source javascript library focused on UI and AJAX.¬† So visiting their website(very nicely done btw) and checking out some of the examples I was pretty impressed with what could be done pretty easily.¬† My goal during the whole process was to build a drag and drop + resizable widget which is useful for some projects I’m working on.¬† After a few days of tinkering I have learned a lot and see that advantages of Dojo.¬† It can be painfully simple to do common task using Dojo, although you need to get your hands a bit dirty if you need additional functionality out of a widget.¬† I was unsuccessful in getting my widget working without modifying the resizable widgets source.¬† I guess I’ve made new widget now altogether.¬†

To date my main criticism of dojo is the documentation.¬† I’m not going to go so far to say there isn’t any, but it is really lacking for someone that wants to do more than just the simple examples they have shown.¬† The book of dojo is a nice run broad rundown of things while the most useful part of it is the examples you get when you download the scripts.¬† On the dojo website they mention a few books out now, so I may jump on that.

It is also worth noting I have been trying to get this same functionality out of Microsoft’s ASP.net Ajax with minimal success.¬† I have found using a .net update panel combined with the ASP.net ajax controls can be a significant headache if you want to extend the basic features even minimally.¬† One would assume the onResize event invoked by a resize control would be able to trigger an update panel, think again.

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Microsoft IIS blamed for mass SQL injection attacks

So in the past week slashdot has made two post over this including many other sites.  Apparently there is a bot running the net attempting sql injection on a specific brand of sites.  Nothing to write home about correct?  This one is nothing particularly special in that if your asp page is open to sql injection and you run MSSQL server you are open to the bot.  The bot floods the database with a specific javascript include which runs malicious code when it is pulled from the database.

What is particularly annoying with all of this is that bad coding practices are the root cause for all of this.  You have sites like slashdot blatantly spinning the issue around on Microsoft.  Sorry, I have criticisms of MS just like everybody else, but this is flat our preventable by sanitizing your queries.  Instead of writing a sensationalist post spouting big 6 digit numbers and throwing around the word vulnerability, how about trying to understand the problem.  When I first saw this article being a webmaster I naturally wanted to find out why the REAL issue was instead of wading through a page of spin. 

If you want the REAL story on what this is all about read this well written explanation of the problem.

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Why budget webhosting sucks

It has been my experience when it comes to web-hosting you simply get what you pay for.¬† This post comes on the heals of one of my ecommerce sites I¬†started¬† being down yet again today.¬† The issues revolve around and¬†around, seems like¬†we rotate through them as the months¬†go by.¬† Email trouble this week,¬†server disk full next week,¬†random timeouts(hah, that one is¬†normal), and sprinkle in the other odd one time issues and you get a picture what we go through.¬† In my time with this particular host (about 8 months now) we have bit our toung and tried to give the guys the benefit of the doubt, but the last straw has finally come and we shall be switching.¬† Who is the host?¬† I’m not ready to say, because I get the impression they try to help, but it seems like the are just another budget host.¬† See whenever I get a new host my expectations are always high, then with varying amounts of time my impression of them goes further down until finally I get fed up and switch.¬† This has occurred enough times to me personally (and professionally) to simply lower my standards for these host.¬† Now I will say the host I’m typing this post on is hostmonster.com.¬† I can’t really complain about them, but I wouldn’t call hosting a blog mission critical either.¬†¬†

So what is the point of all this?¬† Basically I’m complaining again about how crappy my current host is for my ecommerce site.¬† What to do?¬† When we started the site it was on a shoe string so we were looking to save where we could.¬† Hosting was one place, now the site is definitely on it’s feet we are moving to a dedicated solution.¬†¬† So pony up a bit more for some decent hosting when you need the reliability.¬†

Edit

Go figure, at the time of hitting the post button hostmonster went down for nearly 2 hours 0_0

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