Search Engine Ranking via Title Tags

”How do I get my website page to rank well in search engines for a certain search term?”. While there are many techniques and tactics that can contribute to how your website ranks, one of the most fundamental is through the use of title tags. Title tags let search engines know what the main thrust of each web page is, and which categories or search terms to file the site under. By the way a title tag is what falls between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags in your html code for each page.

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Read and parse text files with PHP

Read and parse text files with PHP

Quite often, the need pops up to read and parse text files, typically these are plain text or CSV (exports from Excel, MS Access or some other source).

This guide will show you the pest practice for doing so.

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Forum is here…

I have recently added a forum to my site.

If you have any specific requests for some development (PHP,.NET … anything), project management, search engine optimisation… or just want to talk about something random.

I am active on and answer many issues, but I will also do that here!

Hope you can join me!

You can register for the form (and my site) here.

PHP – Generate/Create strong passwords, uuid, random string

Very often the need to create passwords or some other ‘unique’ string be it a captcha or for use as unique identifier (UUID).

Here are a few functions I’ve used and refined over the years, 2 types, for password/random string generation and UUID generation.

Generating random strings is pretty simple as it’ll be a password.

However for a UUID there is always the slim chance it’s not unique.
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Signs of poor PHP ‘products’

If you are a professional developer (or aspiring) you will inevitably get asked to customise or even better “extend” existing wares.

If it’s a product you are familiar with great! If not I heartilly reccomend spending a little time investigating prior to accepting a job ( ultimatley if they are happy to give

access to their code, if not atleast tell you what’s been used so you cam repliocate it to play with briefly). I know this sounds like a lot of work wich ultimatley – if you

don’t accept the job – you have done for free, but it will save you masses of grief, tears and late nights if you do.

So, I have a few pointers to ‘be aware of’ while evaluating the job and to (generally) identify crappy PHP products/solutions quickly…

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PHP Form Action Self submit

A question I am always asked is about ‘self-submitting’ forms.
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Firefox horizontal jump between pages!

For a very long time I have always been annoyed by Firefox…

Have you ever witnessed the ‘horizontal jump’ cause by your content being taller then the browser size? And the effect is when you go between pages that are bigger and within you experiance a jump.

For ages I thought it was some problem with my own CSS, but today I discovered it’s because of the vertical scrollbar in Firefox. The above affect doesnt happen in IE as it always shows the scrollbar.

The CSS to make Firefox always show the vertical scrollbar is as follow:

html { overflow: -moz-scrollbars-vertical; }
html { overflow-x: auto; }

Dinner in Rick Stein’s – The Seafood Restaurant

Laura and I recently had a weekend break in Cornwall, and since we were there we decided to visit Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant.

It had recently undergone a refurbishment – in fact this was it’s second weekend open – and from the outside and the dining room itself it looked very very nice.

As it was it’s opening weekend I could only get a table for 10PM, but I decided as we were staying down near St. Ives that it would have been too late for driving back… so we were able to get swapped to a lunchtime.

We had a choice of menus there was the A la Carte menu and a special Lunch menu – as it was it’s opening month. After looking through both – we could have eaten anything – we went for the ‘special’ menu.

So… upon arriving we were greeted by friendly staff, it was very busy for lunch-time, but the staff were appeared to be equally attentive to all diners. We were not rushed to order food so we had time to choose our food… and re-choose several times! We love seafood so could have eaten anything from the menu.

Our starters were; Seafood Chowder and Quinells of Gournard.

For mains… I has Singapore chili stir-fried whole crab, while Laura had Roasted Turbot with Sauce Vierge.

To finish we had, Apple Tart Tatin and the Chocolate Fondant.

My Rating (each out of 10):???????? ????? ???????????????? ????? ????????
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9 | Overall 9

Capitalization for us Mc’s and Mac’s!

Needed to capltalize Mc’s and Mac’s? Here’s a quick function for it…
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Principles of Web Design

When I undertake developing a website I always try to keep 3 key principles in mind;

1. Simplicity
2. Modularity
3. Balance

Follow my basic guide and you’ll become a better developer/designer…

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ColdFusion – replace nl to br

Just a quickie if you need to replace NL (New Line or Carriage Return) in CFMX;

<cfset text = replace(text,'#Chr(10)##Chr(13)#','<br>',"All")>

You could also wrap it up in a CFC or a function if it’s going to be widely used.

SEO/SEM and the quality of your web traffic…

The people we (web designers/developers) create work for are always really interested in web traffic – LOTS of web traffic. But there is one thing that many web designers/developers and even our clients don’t consider, is the quality of traffic.

We (developers & clients alike) love counting page-views and unique visits but from my point of view, if the traffic you are attracting is poor, who cares if you get thousands of visits a day!

How can we determine the ‘quality’ of web traffic?

  1. Length of their visit…
  2. If you sell a service/product what your ‘conversion rate’ is…
  3. How many bookmark/’add-to-favorite’ your website.
  4. How many people visit your website by directly typing in your web address.

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Choosing a SEO/SEM friendly domain name…

NOTE: SEO is the acronym for: ’search engine optimisation. Which is the process of making your web pages more search engine ‘friendly’ by optimising the code and content.

Choosing the correct domain name for your site generally has a big impact in terms of how it affects your positions in the search engines and your overall traffic.


  • … should contain key words.
  • … should be as short as possible – easy to remember & easy to type in.
  • … can be better off as a .com over say a .net, org etc …
  • … consider localisation of the domain… i.e. if you want it to do well in the UK etc etc…

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Creating good passwords…

Recently I was reviewing the security practices for my users…

I like to get them to change their windows login regularly as it’s used via LDAP etc etc in some cases for loggin into web applications…

Anyway… all the passwords I keep getting from them are very poor, and so I put some guide-lines together for them and thought it’d be fun to share.

I suggest – actually force them – to include characters from all 5 of these rows in passwords…


Doing this will increase the time it takes to get cracked… Now… if you want a really really great password do the above and include an alt-character or two! Here is a table of them:


Music from your iPod…

If like me you manually add to your iPod, then it can be a real pain when iTunes decides it doesn’t want to recognise your iPod anymore, or you decide to get a new one or just want to get a song off there!

I recently came across EphPod (Win/Linux)…. and since I also have a MacBook Pro found iLinkPod.

I am not going to describe how to use it as I did find a good tutorial here. If you insist … here is a very quick ‘How-To’ for EphPod: find the music you want using the search boxes at the top, or the grid at the bottom for individual songs, and then Right Click and select ‘Copy Songs to Directory’, or alternatively press Ctrl + Alt + C. Holding Ctrl while selecting will allow you to choose more than one song/album/whatever at once.