Killersites Newsletter Archive

Killersites Newsletter Archive

December 1, 2003

I realize that articles on programming might not be some people's idea of fun reading. So I just have a link to the programming stuff.

The 'meat' of this week's newsletter actually come from snippets of posts made to the forum.

The Second Installment to the Series on Programming

For those interested, I've uploaded to the the second of my series of articles on programming. This new article continues from where we left off introducing you to Object Oriented Programming, a fundamental aspect of JavaScript and many other languages.

Once again, I've tried to present the subject in a 'non-nerd' manner, making it as easy as possible for everyone to learn.

One of the reasons people continue to find programming so challenging is that they don't grasp some of the basics. In my own process of learning to program (I have picked up 8 languages so far), I have found that every time I got confused with something it was because there was some basic concept that I had failed to grasp.

The solution is always to go back to the fundamentals, because once you have them, everything else tends to fall into place.

Why do I mention all this? I wanted to explain the reasoning behind my approach to teaching programming. The first two articles are theory-heavy - I take my time to introduce the core concepts. There are some actual programming examples, but they are succinct.

Once the basic concepts are understood, we can jump into practical programming examples, which by that time will be much easier for you than if I had jumped in right away.

Discussions from the Forum

The forum/message board started in July 2003 and has already grown to become a great source of information on web design.

We have many experienced and talented members who are more than happy to help out newcomers and novices. Over the months, a collection of valuable and researchable tips have accumulated and are waiting for you.

This week I've included some snippets from the forum that I think many of you will find interesting.

On using FTP to upload websites to the server

Member who posted question: shanti941

Okay, I've got most of my site designed. I've got a server and a domain name. I am wondering if I could ask you good folks if there are tutorials on FTP anywhere?

The answer by: Arod

The best software I've used is SmartFTP. You just load it on your machine, enter the domain name, FTP username and password your host provided, and that's it. You don't need a tutorial; FTP is just transferring files, as with Windows (like moving a file from c: drive to your desktop). Same thing basically, except you're copying from the folder on your machine to the folders on the host server.

You can download SmartFTP free from their site Download

How to change your link colors

Member who posted question: Wendy

I would like to change the color on some of the hyperlinks; however, it defaults to blue on my blue background.

The answer by: davidmead

Hi Wendy,

A little CSS is the perfect solution for this problem.

If you drop this code into the top of your page (after your meta tags, but before the </head> tag) you'll be good to go:

a:link { color: #CCCCCC; text-decoration: underline; background-color: transparent}
a:visited { color: #006600; text-decoration: underline; background-color: transparent}
a:hover { color: #FF6600; text-decoration: none; background-color: transparent}

This will make all the links gray, or orange when you hover over them, and green after they have been visited. You can change the colors to fit your site better by adjusting the hex code value.

Hope this is of help.


Automatically redirecting the user

Member who posted question: Shinji

How can I make it so that my site will redirect people to a new page that says, "Under Construction"? In other words, how can I make my site redirect to another site or page?

The answer by: David Mead:

Hi Shinji,

The easiest way is to put a refresh meta tag in the <head> section of your page.

If you put:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;URL=newpage.html"> 

this will refresh the page automatically after five seconds, taking the visitor to your new page.

Hope this is of help.


Creating a Favorites ICON (called 'FAVICON') in the web browsers address bar

Member who posted question: Graeme

Hi All,

In the address bar, how can I create my own Icon, the one that goes just before the 'HTTP:// bit? I have also noticed that it looks quite good when the site is listed in Favourites.


The answer by: David Mead:

It's pretty easy, Graeme.

All you have to do is open a new document in your image editor of choice. Make the size 16 x 16px and put in your design/letters.

Now save that as favicon.BMP and then either rename to favicon.ico (this doesn't always get picked up), or run it through a free program called IfranView which will convert it to an ICON file. It's a great program, but I think the website is out of commission. I do have a copy (and it was free to download) if you need one, though there are others out there, as well.

Lastly, insert this piece of code in the <head> section of a web page and you're good to go. :-)

<link rel="SHORTCUT ICON" href=" http://YOURSITE.COM/FAVICON.ico"> 

Be aware that some older browsers do not support favicons, whatever the format.

Hope this helps,


the differences between PHP, JSP, ASP, PERL, and Cold Fusion

Member who posted the question: mselbee

PHP, JSP, ASP, PERL, Cold Fusion
So... which is it? What is the collective intuition out there about the latest and greatest to learn? Seems a lot have ASP, and PHP; but also seems to me that Cold Fusion is the up and coming. Comments please; what's your take on this, and why?

The answer by: Admin (That's me!)


I have considered this question in the past; it led me to trying out many of these technologies, seeking advantages in each of them. The short answer to your question is, 'it all depends on where you are'.


All of these server-side solutions have a strong user base, though it seems that PERL and Cold Fusion are slowly being marginalized for a few specific reasons.


ColdFusion may be fading because it is a closed proprietary system which had an advantage in the days when the alternatives where not as easy to use. ColdFusion is now being positioned by Macromedia as a RAD tool that sits on top of J2EE, and alongside JSP.


Perl's popular use has dropped dramatically because you can create web apps much more quickly with any of the other technologies.

On top of this, software written in Perl is a real pain to maintain and debug mainly because of the syntax. You can still find great Perl apps out there, and it will probably be around for many years to come, but it is not something you want to invest in.


ASP has been officially replaced by Microsoft's ASP.NET. It has been about two years that .NET has been out, yet you don't see too many websites.

The reason for this, is that for many ASP programmers, ASP.NET is a hard to learn and they simply don't want to deal with it unless they are forced to, kicking and screaming.

I would say that ASP.NET resembles JSP much more than it does ASP. This only makes sense, considering .NET is a clone of Java and J2EE.

So, if you are thinking long-term in the Microsoft camp, you want to start learning ASP.NET. If you are thinking of building smallish web applications today, and you are still working in the Microsoft world, then go ASP.


PHP is replacing Perl, IMHO. It is free, easy to learn and you can find it everywhere, so PHP hosting is cheap. PHP has an advantage over PERL in that it was designed from the start to make dynamic websites ... and it shows in the language. You can create web apps very quickly in PHP, and it is a user-friendly technology compared to ASP.NET and JSP/Servlets.

If you are looking to create small to medium-sized web apps (which probably covers 98% of the web apps being built), and you want a cross platform system that does not lock you into a single company, and your coding skills are not necessarily top-notch, then PHP may well be for you.


JSP is a small part of Java's web solutions. You can say that JSP sits on top of servlets, but in reality JSP's are just another way to build servlets - JSP's actually get transformed into servlets when run on the web. (A simple description, but a little off.)

Use JSP when you are a knowledgeable Java programmer so that you can take advantage of Java's power, which is immense.

On the other hand, JSP has recently made it quite easy to build web apps, even for the non-programmer. They (Java nerds in charge) have created a ColdFusion-like capability with easy-to-use tags that do all kinds on nifty things.

Within a year there will be JSP 'tools' out there that will make JSP just as easy as ColdFusion, but it is not there yet. I should also mention that you will pay more for JSP hosting than you will for PHP, PERL, or ASP.

Stefan Mischook

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