The two sessions I enjoyed today where Zeldman's 508 Compliance talk and Mike Ninness's Photoshop tips and tricks.
What I learned.
From Zeldman, I learned that I might be able to use SMIL or other "caption authoring" tools to add changing text alongside a QuickTime movie. My client has been asking for this, and it sounds like we can use SMIL to add it to either QuickTime or RealPlayer movies. I also learned to use <img alt="" /> for spacer images and others with no meaning, vs. using <img alt=" " />. Zeldman has some great presentations that he gave us the URL to, I'll ask him if I can share with my readers.
From Mike, I learned about Adobe Evangelists and I was inspired and amazed by what he showed us is possible in Photoshop. Here is a Photoshop 7 tutorial for those interested.
From myself, I learned that Dreamweaver is a good weblog client, but it seems to keep putting line breaks in my paragraphs rather than wrapping the lines, which is annoying, and means I have to either (1) change a setting, or (2) remove them all manually. I just turned off under Preferences > Code Format and that seemed to help.
As I learned in the last session I attended today, this site has bad search engine URLs. For instance, I used to have my entry page (home.jsp) defined as:
The problem with this is that the search engine sees the redirect and goes, uh oh, a redirect - that's bad, and may fail to index your site. Check out what a search engine sees via Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer. So I changed it to use a little JSTL:
<%@ taglib uri="/WEB-INF/c.tld" prefix="c" %>
I've found this to be a little better as this site shows up as http://www.raibledesigns.com/home.jsp rather than http://www.raibledesigns.com/page/rd. However, it still doesn't seem to work well with the HTTP Viewer I referred to above. When I type http://www.raibledesigns.com into it, Tomcat returns an HTTP 302 error saying "this page has temporarily moved to http://.../home.jsp - so I think Tomcat might need to work on it's <welcome-file-list> to just forward directly to the page. If anyone has any other solutions, please let me know.
Pop Quiz: What's the easiest way to get "http://www.raibledesigns.com" into my c:import tag? request.getSchema() + request.getServerName?
One of my favorite widgets from this conference doesn't work in IE5/Mac :( When I click on any column, it gives me:
Microsoft JScript runtime error:
Error: 'getElementsByTagName(...)[...].firstChild' is not an object
When I click on "Yes" to continue running scripts on the page, it works though - so there is hope. I'll try sending Porter an e-mail (although I can't find his address anywhere) or fixing it myself.
OK, I'm not going to review every session that I attend because I don't want to end up with the awful feeling I got yesterday. So I think I'll just write about the sessions I actually learned something from. I'm not connected right now, and I'm typing in Dreamweaver instead, so maybe this is my new blogger client. This is probably the best client I could use now that I think of it. Noteworthy: I've seen more browser crashes on Mac's (OS X) this week than on Windows. So far, 2 browser crashes (my Mozilla debacle and IE) and one Windows BSOD.
Low-Cost Web Site Traffic Generation by Barbara Coll from WebMama.com. This lady was a great presenter and I became quite motivated to attempt to increase my search engine rankings for this site. Did you know that search engines hardly even look at the "keywords" meta tag anymore? Good to know. The most important areas for keywords now are (1) your domain name, (2) the title of your site (notice I changed mine from "Raible Designs · v2.0") and (3) the names of your directories and files. Maybe I should add a bunch of symlinks (i.e. j2ee-development, web-applications, struts, etc.) that point to my homepage. Not a bad idea. Other things I hope to implement are:
- Add a sitemap (should be at the root of your site) - maybe a good Roller feature?
- Add 404/500 pages - I hope no one is getting these, but if they are, I've got to still help them out.
- Shrink the content between my <head> tags. Who knows how deep those bots go.
- Add a menu at the bottom of the site. My top-right menu is kind of inconspicuous. This brings up a couple things I'd like to see in Roller:
- The ability to hide the login/logout links - I think this is in progress. I'd actually like to hide it for everyone but me, maybe checking for the "username" and comparing it to the user would work.
- Hiding the link for the page you're currently viewing. No need to show the "About" link when I'm on the About page.
- The ability to change the delimiter from | to other text or an image, for instance, · might be a good one (this is
· for those wondering).
Registering my site with dmoz.org. Barbara actually recommended registering with a new search engine everyday.
And as you all probably already know, the best way to get higher rankings is to pay for them. Here is the full presentation which has some good stats on most popular search engines and stuff. Basically, most traffic is coming from Yahoo ($299) and Google ($0).