Monday, August 10, 2009

Favicon issue with 2 website on one IP address

Firefox (I'm using 3.5.2) is apparently having problems with the favicons which reside on the same IP. It seems that FF keeps the favicons mapped to an IP address, instead to a domain name. When I open my new site I see the favicon of my older one. They both share a single VPS with one IP only.
I have also experienced strange issues with the FF Bookmarks bar - the icon which leads to my FB profile is the favicon of my friend's blog.

CSS dropdown menu behind a flash video

If you have a CSS drop-down menu, which when expanded goes behind a flash object on your page, for example a youtube video, using the z-index CSS property is not going to help you. What you need to do is to set the wmode attribute of the embed element to "opaque". Here is an example:

<embed wmode="opaque" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Too much time with my computer

I spent almost the whole weekend with my laptop on my lap. Except for yesterday evening when I drank 5 beers ... and I remember arguing with people on twitter over some stupid things, so actually I was in front of the computer again.
I think I need to spend more time outdoors. The vacation next week should have a positive effect.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Work goes on

The work on continues...
What I was doing today is to trying to find good feeds for the aggregator. I found a couple of good websites, publishing news for the majority of the most popular European leagues - England, Spain, Italy. To go further and find feeds for less popular leagues like for example the the Bulgarian first league you need to do lots of manual work. Currently I am using the google search in coordination with a specialized RSS search enigne. I must say that for the Bulgarian league, although less popular, it is still possible to find some quality feeds around the internet, but this is not the case for lots of the Asian or African leagues.
Another think you should look after is the quality of your feed links. Some sites on the Internet don't provide original content, but rather republish or syndicate content from foreign forces (Yes, exactly as I do) so my goal is to find the ones with original content and include only them in my aggregation.
More update on this later....

In the meantime I was trying to help some pligg users in the pligg forum for some minor issues. Well, it was not easy. Some of the forums' users ask questions that need just elementary knowledge of programming or at least CSS and javascript. Some require features what will just kill their website, like the guy who as seeking for modification to make his site require that the user votes for at least three links, before the site allows him/her to submit a new story. Incredible...
I don't know if my efforts in the forum are worthy. In the end of the day not all sites out there can be a success. If every high school student was able to build a site what makes millions (or at least hundreds) then money are going to lose their value...

See you soon

Friday, August 7, 2009

RSS feeds as sitemaps

One good way to optimize your blog or news site for Google is to submit a sitemap. This could be done though Google webmaster tools.
There are several different types of sitemap formats, as described in the sitemap protocol. Probably the most natural and easiest to submit is the RSS sitemap format. Since your site probably already publishes your content as RSS to which your users can subscribe, you will not have to put much additional effort into this by using the same feed for the search engines.

If your site publishes several different RSS feeds, probably one for each category that your site covers, you could of course submit all of them to Google. In my case I have over 3000 different RSS URLs, so decided to first give it a try with a single feed - the one that publishes all my new articles regardless of their category.

Before submitting the RSS sitemap to a search engine I recommend that you first check the validity of the feed you would like to submit through the W3C RSS validator. This could save you some problems wondering for what reason Google rejects your sitemap. For example one thing that lots of CMSs mess up when generating a geed is the pubDate format. The W3C validator kept insisting that my BST (British Summer Time) pubDate is implausible, i.e it is in the future. I managed to go around this through changing the format from TimeZone to time difference from GMT. Namely I switched from
Fri, 07 Aug 2009 20:44:19 BST
Fri, 07 Aug 2009 20:44:19 +0100

Another peculiarity is that the W3C validator recommends that you should insert a element in the channel section of your RSS feed. When your feed satisfies this recommendation the W3C validator suggests you to place a Valid RSS image to your site. So I assume that it shows you that it is perfectly happy with the feed. And here comes the discrepancy between W3C and Google. In simple words: Google just doesn't like the element there. Well, Google didn't mark my feed sitemap as containing errors, but rather notified me with a warnings with the not very meaningful message: "Invalid XML: too many tags" which misleadingly suggests that I have duplicate tags inside my feed, which was not the case. Removing the element fixed the issue in Google's eyes and my sitemap turned green in the Google webmaster tools. So it is up to you to decide whether to satisfy W3C or Google entirely. I personally chose the search engine.

To finish this post - don't expect that right after googlebot reads you sitemap(s), it will start crawling and indexing your pages immediately. This will likely take some time, don't push it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No luck

Hard times at work. A lot of work, little will to work :)
Levski Sofia won yesterday, time to see what Black Sea, the city Rival of Spartak Varna, will do against PSV tonight.

5 working days to my vacation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to blogging

It seems I haven't posted anything in this blog for quite a while.
So what happened for the last two years?
I still work at my regular job as a software engineer, where I do some JSF development lately. My PHP experience helps me in a way, but still JSF is much different, especially in the way it manages requests. Almost all JSF requests are POST and are submitted back to the current page. This seems quite strange to a PHP developer in the beginning.
I have completely abandoned my ZLIO shops. Good experience in SEO for a beginner, you feel good and proud you have a site on the web, but nothing more.
I started another project recently. A soccer (European football) oriented digg clone site, called footll. Football has a big audience and thus you have a lot of competition in this field. I use PHP open source software called Pligg, which I heavily modified for my needs. Besides development, there is tons of work on such a project, regarding user interface, marketing ,support, legal issues, etc. Just imagine how you need to configure over 1000 different football teams in their appropriate leagues, countries, etc. And furthermore at the end of the season you have teams which were promoted or dropped out so once configured, this cannot be left without manual supervision.
This project is one step away from low-value affiliate programs such as ZLIO, but I still don't believe it is enough for a significant internet success. Anyway I think of it as another way for gaining some useful experience, which I am going to apply in my next projects, which already circle my brain.
I hope that my next post here will be sooner than 2011.
If anyone was that lost in Internet that he found this article and read it up till this point: Bye for now, take care and cheers.