Category Archives: Web Development

Blogenealogy

Blah-gee-nee-AH-lo-gee: The genealogical study of weblogs. OK, maybe that’s not the best coinage of a word, but it works for me. But don’t expect that to make it into the dictionary anytime soon…

BlogTree.com is an interesting site that attempts to chart the genealogy of the community of weblogs basically cataloging what weblogs were inspired by what other weblogs, and which weblogs may have been spawned from it. As of this writing, there are 4263 weblogs in the system. When I registered a few days ago, I seem to remember this number being in the 3000s. So that is either quite an impressive rate of increase, or I’m hallucinating again. Whatever. Anyway, the blog that inspired the blog that you are viewing at this very moment is the all-knowing and all-seeing Aldoblog.

Macromedia posted my tech tip!

Macromedia published one of my tech tip submissions. Pretty cool – I even vaguely remember writing this a few months back. I threw something out there in hopes of winning their iMac giveaway, but it looks like I didn’t walk away with first prize… 😉

Anyway, this tool tip talks about how to get PHP and MySQL up and running on Mac OS X as quickly as possible so that you can start building database-driven websites easily using Dreamweaver MX. Check it out! Also available is my more detailed tutorial on enabling PHP on Mac OS X.

About descriptive text pop-ups in web pages

If you have ever noticed a little yellow text box pop up when you hover your mouse over an image in a web page, then you know what IΩm talking about. These descriptive text boxes are most commonly achieved by adding the property ALT to the image tag. However, no Mac browser does this, and this was not really the intent of ALT anyway. ALT was intended to show descriptive text of an image if the image link was broken, or if a user was using a text-only browser.

Perhaps a more appropriate option is to use the TITLE property in an A tag. This allows the display of the popup text box on both Windows and Mac browsers, and allows for appropriate use of ALT text in the same context. Well, perhaps that appropriate use is theoretical at this point, since the Internet Explorer browser on Windows allows ALT to override TITLE when displaying the popup text box on mouseovers, but at least they get it right on their Mac version of the browser.

TITLE is added like any other property to an anchor tag. For instance, <a href=”http://www.mozilla.org/” title=”Go to the Mozilla Site”> will make any hyperlinked object, be it text or an image, display the text ΩGo to the Mozilla SiteΩ when you hover the mouse over it.

For now, since browser displays between versions and operating systems are inconsistent, you must know your audience before getting too into this. If youΩre providing Ωtool tipsΩ style objects in your website, you must be aware of the differences and be prepared to account for the differences your users will encounter between different platforms. At least with Mozilla these properties seem to be consistent on each operating system. HereΩs a quick overview of popup text mouseover behaviors:

IE 6 for Windows Ω ALT overrides TITLE, ALT text appears neatly wrapped while TITLE appears as single line and fixed width.

IE 5.1 for Mac Ω ALT does not generate mouseover text, TITLE appears neatly below image in question and wrapped

Mozilla 1.0 for all OSes Ω TITLE overrides ALT in all cases, but only displays single line and has a fixed width.

Sample Code:

<a href=”#” title=”Hello, world!”>
<img src=”image.gif”>

How to set file behavior in Dreamweaver MX for custom file types

Dreamweaver MX can support just about any file type if you tell it to. Dreamweaver looks at a filename’s suffix to know how it should be treated, and this behavior can be customized rather easily. Natively, it supports all the standard server types such as .jsp, .php, .xml, .html, .cfm, and – god forbid – .asp, as well as a host of others.

But lets say your site use some lesser known application server, or you’ve edited your httpd.conf file to trick Apache into using your company’s ticker symbol as the default file extension. Or for whatever reason, you have pages that don’t have any of the common and traditional file name extensions and when you try to open the file in Dreamweaver MX, the thing appears as code, or worse, opens up in another application.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

To add your custom extensions, and to have Dreamweaver treat it the way you want, you need to edit a configuration file.

The file in question is “MMDocumentTypes.xml”. This file can be found in your Macromedia Dreamweaver MX application directory, under the sub-directories Configuration and DocumentTypes. On Mac OS X, the root path is /Applications/Macromedia Dreamweaver MX/Configuration/DocumentTypes/MMDocumentTypes.xml

Open this file in a text editor such as BBEdit, or Dreamweaver MX’s code view. In there you simply need to type in the file extension you wish in the appropriate section. So for instance, I wanted to use “.inc” for all my server side include files, and have them render in Dreamweaver MX as standard HTML. So I added the “inc” value to the first line to the winfileextension and macfileextension properties, where it reads ‘documenttype id=”HTML”‘. However, if you want your custom extension to act like JSP or PHP, you could change the file appropriately. Save the file and restart Dreamweaver, and you should be ready to go.

If your custom file extension now opens in Dreamweaver MX, but only in code view, then there is one more step. Open Dreamweaver MX’s Preferences panel and click on File Types / Editors. In the top field where it is labeled “Open in Code View”, locate and delete your custom file extension.

That should do it.

About this weblog

So, like this is pretty cool. I created this weblog in just a few hours using the new Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. What a great piece of software!

What you will find here is entries from myself, Yingwen if I can talk her in to it, and maybe some blogs from my son Max who is just 15 months as of this writing!

Well, onward. Let’s see what happens here…

Update May 9, 2010: As the 8 year anniversary of this blog approaches, I am reminded by this post that my original blog was a hand-rolled PHP/MySQL app. Migrating that schema over to the WordPress framework back in the day wasn’t terribly difficult – just a little SQL mapping, a few regular expressions here and there, and it was done.