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alt.www.webmaster FAQ

Last revised: April 3, 2003
The current version is located at:
HTTP://www.aww-faq.org

Welcome to alt.www.webmaster (AWW). Thank you for taking the time to read this information. This FAQ is not meant to be a set of rules. It is simply a guide to help new users become acquainted with how the group operates, some useful information, and some of our favorite links. All the suggestions in in the section titled "Posting Messages in AWW" are based on the assumption that people are willing to cooperate and observe some conventions in order to facilitate the smooth operation of the group. We hope you will find the newsgroup and this FAQ to be useful resources and we welcome your participation.

Ads are not welcome in AWW, whether on-topic or not. In fact, they are so unwelcome that they are usually reported to the poster's ISP and web host, etc. by some newsgroup members who really don't like ads. Read the "Advertising in AWW" section for a definition of what we consider unsolicited commercial advertising and likely to get you reported, and what types of web site promotion are considered appropriate. If all you want to do is post ads, go to alt.www.webmaster.ads (AWWA) or some other newsgroup that has a more ad-tolerant attitude. Please read the FAQ for AWWA at http://awwa.aww-faq.org/ before you post an ad there.

Table of Contents

Purpose of the Newsgroup
Recommended Links
Frequently Asked Questions
Tips on Dealing With Clients
Overview of AWW
Posting Messages in AWW
Advertising in AWW
Trolls
Warez and Cracks

Purpose of the Newsgroup

The members of AWW like to discuss Web site setup and configuration, webhosts and hosting packages, webhosting tools and operating strategies, and promotional campaigns and methods.

Recommended Links

Our recommended links are located at
http://www.aww-faq.org/aww-links.html

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I protect my source code, meta-tags, and other easily viewable code from people being able to see it?

In a word, no. There are right click scripts and JavaScript encoding that some use, but they don't really work. They'll only stop the most basic of users, anyone who shuts off JavaScript will still get at your code. If you still want to try, you can find some different methods here:

http://javascript.internet.com/page-details/
and http://allmyfaqs.net/faq.pl?Hide_source

Can I automatically get e-mail addresses from my visitors?

That would be unethical. But even if it wasn't, it's not really possible. The only items you really have access to are the environment variables passed by the browser and the IP address of the user.

Environment variables may contain the e-mail address in some browsers if the user entered their true e-mail address, but that's rare. The vast majority of your visitors will not have their e-mail address available if you query the environment variables. IP addresses cannot be mapped to an e-mail and neither can hostnames in 99% of the cases.

What is favicon and how can I use it?

The following two pages answer this very well:

http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/favicon.html
http://www.favicon.com/

How do I password protect my pages?

The easiest form of password protection is JavaScript-based: write a script wherein the user has to enter a password to complete it and be redirected to the desired location. This is also the easiest-to-circumvent: as with all client-side work, the user can easily discover the password simply by using the "view source" option on their browser. A slightly more difficult, but much more secure, method of JavaScript-protection is to prompt the user for a password that is automatically added to the URL of your original page, that allows them to access the password-protected page. Unfortunately, neither method will work if JavaScript is disabled.

If you use [Apache], you can use .htaccess and .htpassword, the most effective form of password protection. More information here:

http://www.psoft.net/htaccess.html
http://www.kelv.net/programming/htaccess/

How can I stop someone from hot-linking to my images?

You can use .htaccess if you are using mod_rewrite. Add the following to .htaccess:

 
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://domain.com/.*$     [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.domain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.gif$        -                           [F]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://domain.com/.*$     [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.domain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.jpg$        -                           [F]

Please note that this sort of protection is very weak. Hotlinking will still work if the linking site is on an SSL-encrypted page, because all clients clear the referer when an HTTP page is called from an HTTPS one. Also, clients can use simple personal proxies that transparently rewrite referers to match your rules, in order to bypass all these filters. An example is Hotlinker (www.hotlinker.net). These tricks are already widely used for porn sites. The best way to go is to use cookies (like PHP sessions) or cryptography.

How do I change the color of the user's scrollbar?

The declaration used in CSS for colored scroll bars is:

<style type="text/css">
body {
scrollbar-arrow-color: cyan;
scrollbar-base-color: blue;
scrollbar-dark-shadow-color: blue;
scrollbar-3dlight-color:white;
scrollbar-face-color: #b0c4de;
scrollbar-highlight-color: blue;
scrollbar-shadow-color: blue;
scrollbar-darkshadow-color: purple;
 }
</style>

Change color as desired. Only works in IE5.5+.

Professionals consider it unethical to change any settings the user has made. That includes changing the scrollbar's color, stopping right-click, forcing them to open windows they don't want, writing to their disk, forcing your site into Favorites, and editing anything else the user has set. You don't need to do these things, and they generally detract from the impact and credibility of your site.

How do I make a file available for someone to download?

    <a href="FileToDownload.EXE">Download</a>

If the user has the application associated with the file type installed, and the browser is aware of it, then the document will open in the browser. If the browser doesn't recognize the file type, then the user will be prompted to download the document. If you always want the document to be downloaded, then make it a zip file.

How can I stop someone from downloading my images?

The short answer is, you can't. There are a number of protection schemes that purport to stop this but the truth is that they can all be circumvented. The very fact that your images display on your visitor's machine means they have already been downloaded.

Which is better, Netscape or Internet Explorer?

There is no browser that is better than another, just different features and bugs. You'll see people claim IE is better because it's not as picky about having proper HTML and you'll see people claiming Netscape is better because it forces you to write proper code. Remember, there are more browsers than just IE and NS out there -- see http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/. The truth is that you must make sure your website looks acceptable in most major browsers, by writing your markup according to standards -- see http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/ for standards.

Neglecting one or more browsers will cause you to lose traffic or possibly even make your website look very bad. Nothing is worse than directing someone to your website, then finding out that it really looked poor to them in their browser. Usually the best way is to view in Netscape while developing because it does force proper code. If it works in Netscape, it should work in most others.

How can I test my page for WebTV?

WebTV has a special viewer that you can download and see exactly what your page looks like in WebTV. You can get it here:

http://developer.msntv.com/Tools/WebTVVwr.asp

I'm looking for an on-line analyzing service that will check each individual visitor's path through a site in detail; e.g. entry page (with time stamp), navigation, duration at each page, exit page, etc.

There is no reliable way to track a visitor's path through a web site with absolute certainty or accuracy. One can extract some useful information about trends of site usage by examining logs, and raw figures can be useful for PR. However, it is always important to remember that the information is inevitably neither complete nor accurate. Log analyzers can only produce an approximation or "best guess" due to many factors which are explained in depth at http://sunsite.org.uk/packages/analog/docs/webworks.html.

Can I make money through advertising and affiliate programs?

There are a lot of factors that go into making money through advertising. One of the most important considerations is to have advertising that compliments the content of your site.

How do I copyright my site?

Your site is protected by copyright law when it is created.

For more information on US copyright law, see: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/faq.html.

For more information on UK copyright law, see: http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/index.htm.

For more information on Australian copyright law, see: Copyright in Australia. A Short Guide. http://www.law.gov.au/agd/Department/Publications/publications/copyrightlawaust/contents.html

For more information on Canadian copyright law, see: http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html

Copyright laws in other countries may differ.

What is the best software for automated submission to search engines?

There's only about 10 search engines that are worth the effort to get listed in. Manual submission is best.

How can I find out what my domain name is worth?

There are several appraisal services that attempt to put a value on domain names. The values they assign mean nothing. Ultimately a domain is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

I want to register a domain name that has expired. Why hasn't Network Solutions released it?

Because they are holding expired domains and releasing them when they feel like it. Some names never get released. Yes it's wrong, but they are going to keep doing it until someone stops them.

I have multiple physical disabilities and I would like to do web design and testing. How do I get started?

A physically disabled designer may need some special tools to get the job done, but web design is web design. Go to the Recommended Links Page for some useful links for those with disabilities.

How can I prevent my images from being indexed by Google?

Go to: http://www.google.com/remove.html. On this page you will find instructions on how and where to send an email if you have a copyrighted image that needs to be removed.

How can I use Google to see which web sites are linked to mine?

Put this in Google's search box; link:www.yourdomain.com

How can I use jpeg compression for best results?

Jpeg has fully customizable compression from 1% to 99%. A balance can often be struck between acceptable quality and acceptable file size by using a compression of perhaps 30% or even 50% in some cases.

By default, most graphics packages will tend to use a compression factor of about 15%, which is great for large photographs, but results in unnecessarily large file sizes for more simple images such as buttons and logos.

With the popular Paint Shop Pro, the compression factor used for saving Jpeg images is accessible by the 'options' button when doing a "Save As" and selecting Jpeg image format.

Where can I find a PDF editor?

Get Adobe Acrobat from http://www.adobe.com, Fine Print's PDF factory from http://www.fineprint.com or http://www.webxd.com/zipguy/frpdfdl.htm

Where can I find an SWF editor?

http://www.19.5degs.com/swfeditor.php

How can I preload images for my OnMouseOver script?

Preloading images
http://wsabstract.com/javatutors/image3.shtml
Preload Image Script
http://wsabstract.com/javatutors/rfunction6.shtml

How can I set up a web site so that my clients and coworkers can create and publish content?

You need Content Management System (CMS) software. Here are some examples:

http://www.threering.net
http://www.blogger.com
http://www.moveabletype.org
http://www.postnuke.com
http://noahgrey.com/greysoft/
http://twiki.org/
http://www.macromedia.com/software/contribute/

Tips on Dealing with Clients

How do I get clients?

Word of mouth is really the best way. First off, you will want a portfolio. Do some pro-bono sites for charities around your area. Then start in on small businesses. As your portfolio slowly grows, so will your skills. As your skills improve, so will your client base. There is no quick way to do this, just have patience, and a day job.

How much should I charge?

The average as of Fall 2001 seems to be US$50 an hour. Please take into account the various economic factors of the region where you live.

Overview of AWW

alt.www.webmaster is for discussion by practicing, recovering, and beginning webmasters. It is a forum for mutual support and griping over idiot clients, poor standards compliance by browsers, and supportive Q&A with occasional forays off-topic into such subjects as how best to destroy our enemies (spammers) and whether or not Chihuahuas are a respectable logo idea.

Posting Messages in AWW

If you are new to USENET, take some time to read the [USENET Help FAQs.] After you have read some posts in AWW and either did not find the answer, or you want to jump into a discussion, feel free to do so. Just be aware of a few things:

Advertising in AWW

You are welcome to post your url and a description of your services in response to a relevant question. The best way to advertise in USENET is by participating in the conversations with a sig file pointing to your site. No one complains about that (as long as it's a short sig -- 4 lines or less -- and you're honestly participating.) We are interested in your opinions and questions, not your 12 line sig.

Unsolicited commercial messages of any kind are prohibited, and will probably be reported to the sender's ISP and web host etc. by one or more of AWW's regular participants. "Commercial" is defined in The American HeritageŽ Dictionary as "Having profit as a chief aim" and that's an excellent way to define the type of messages we don't want. You cannot promote your web site, offer to "sell" anything, exchange links, form partnerships, etc.

Genuine offers of paid employment are acceptable, as long as the offer is for a fixed hourly rate, price per page, or a contract rate. Posting an offer to trade web design for future profits is not allowed, unless you have prepared a written business plan that includes the percentage of shares/profits we will receive for our speculative investment of time, and any other pertinent details.

A newsgroup has been specifically created for those offering products and services of interest to webmasters. You are welcome to post your ad in alt.www.webmaster.ads (AWWA). See http://www.awwa-faq.org for the AWWA FAQ. If your ISP doesn't carry AWWA, please ask them to do so. Do not cross post messages to AWW and AWWA.

Trolls

From time to time AWW is invaded by trolls seeking to harass and disrupt the group and who think they are entitled to engage in whatever asinine behavior they wish.

Sometimes AWW is included in cross posting in flame wars. If you see a message that is completely out of context, check to see if it's been crossposted to several groups.

Can't the trolls be stopped?

In all cases trolls should be ignored. If a troll is really determined to post messages in AWW, there's always a way to do so, either through shell accounts, friendly news servers, remailers, etc. The best thing to do is ignore them, because that denies them the thing they want the most -- recognition. Arguing with them is the worst thing to do, because their only real interest is in provoking a response.

These trolls really bother me. Can't I do anything?

Yes. Use your kill file. In Microsoft Outlook simply highlight a message from the offensive user, click on the Message menu and then click on Block Sender. If you decide to unblock someone later go to Tools, Message Rules, Blocked Senders List.

Warez and Cracks

Requests for cracked or illegally copied software, or for information on how to find such software, will be replied to with a single line -- "We don't support that kind of activity here."


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