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Posts posted by Mick

  1. You would also want to add the following to the CSS file

    right at/near the top:



    /*html5 display rule */

    address, article, aside, canvas, content, details,

    figcaption, figure, footer, header, hgroup, nav,

    menu, section, summary {

    display: block;




    As mentioned in a previous post, Google html5 shiv (or shim)

    and copy/paste the code in the head section.

    The current (Oct. 2012) code is this:


    <!--[if lt IE 9]>

    <script src="dist/html5shiv.js"></script>




    I learned the above from Ben Falk in a PHP class.

  2. Sorry that I can't help, but just wanted to say I enjoyed your description of how

    you, as a cook, communicate by "grunting and throwing pots". :D


    Great for you for enjoying programming, seeking a career change, and saving thousands

    by teaching yourself with the help of Killersites! Best of luck to you.


    Flash is about dead in the water, and I am not going to bother learning it. The reason

    is because Apple does not use it on any of its recent mobile devices, from the iPhone on.

    Other manufactures will be following suit or already have. In websites, Flash is replaced

    by newer (or expansion of existing) technology.


    I''m not sure if your track is Web Designer or Web Programmer (called Front End Engineer

    in the job listings), but if it's the latter, then concentrate on HTML, CSS, Javascript,

    and PHP.


    I got halfway through the basic Dreamweaver course and then decided it's much easier to

    "hand code" using a good editor, such as Sublime Text 2 (free download, would like you

    to pay after a trial period, but you can still use), or even Notepad for that matter,

    than to use Dreamweaver. I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

  3. Sometimes the word of mouth advertising you get from an

    ecstatic, well-satisfied customer is worth far more than

    the discount you provide. Just something to consider.


    (Of course warn the client that the deep discount was

    only for her, so don't share that info in referrals.)


    Perhaps you can work out a compromise or barter. For

    instance, charge the higher rate, but if she can get

    you another full-pay customer, or design a special

    piece of jewelry for you, or some other barter--like

    proofread for you for a set amount of time (you did

    misspell jewelry), then provide the discount.


    Stefan gave excellent advice. My post is to give some

    ways you can maintain your high value and still offer

    a discount.

  4. This is a modification of my previous reply.


    As a general rule, you want to keep your PHP code separate

    from your HTML code as much as possible. The reason is so

    that a web designer can do what she/he wants with the HTML and

    CSS without messing up your code.


    The PHP code is included in the HTML file via an include

    statement in the head section.


    In the PHP videos, the PHP and MySQL course, Stefan starts

    by mixing PHP and HTML in the same file, and ends by

    separating the two as much as reasonable. Here is a sample

    resulting HTML file:

    <!Doctype HTML>
    <title>Use PHP to Display mySQL Database Table Records</title>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <?php include("database-connect-inc.php"); ?>
    <h1>Use PHP to Display mySQL Database Table Records</h1>
    <h2>Records Follow:</h2>
    <?php echo $my_rows; ?>

  5. Hello to the Administrators of this great site,


    Can one of you update the order of the listing of PHP courses

    available via the Killersites Video Tutorial Library to match

    the order in which the classes should be taken?


    For instance, I learned the hard way that my failed attempt at PHP CRUD

    will probably be successful once I take "PHP and MySQL" (which I am starting

    today). Yet the CRUD course is listed well-ahead of the SQL one.


    Could you post the suggested order here right away? I realize changing

    the production version of a site can take awhile.


    Thanks so much.

    PS: If you happen to know the time length of each series and can include

    that information also, that would be even greater.

  6. So you've been writing stand-alone PHP programs? It's a good way to learn a language, and it seems like you've come a long way in knowledge, so kudos to you. I like the Killersites approach better, where early on you have practical web programming instruction-- integration-- such as PHP embedded in HTML. In just the 2nd course, "More PHP", I completed a well-taught project using PHP, HTML, Javascript, and jQuery to display posts from an RSS feed onto a web page.


    To answer your question, yes, you would change the file type. So, instead of the HTML file being index.html, for instance, it would be index.php. This is done often. The browser will still interpret the HTML (via the html tag), CSS, and Javascript (by default in HTML5, with type= in earlier versions), and jQuery with the src library included in the (javascript) script type tag.


    I don't know if it a "best practice," but it is a very common one. I don't have enough knowledge to know

    what alternatives there are (or why you would want to use them). Perhaps someone else can answer those questions.

  7. Ben,


    Thanks so much for a fast reply! Yes, that RSS feed works.


    Students, here are my

    Tips for Doing the "Use PHP, jQuery & AJAX to Load XML Data" Project:


    After struggling for a few hours, mostly over careless errors,

    such as a missing > and using #recenttopics in one place and

    #recentTopics in another, and writing text/javascript instead

    of text/css for the style tag for loading the animated gif, and

    for forgetting an occasional semicolon, I got it to work!


    You need to go to the jQuery site and download the script--

    the minimized version is small. You have to go to ajaxload.info

    and download an animated gif. I spend far too much time deciding

    and getting hypnotized by the swirling animations.


    You have to match names. The jQuery script should be renamed jquery.js,

    or, alternatively, you can match the name used in index.php to the actual

    file name.


    The animated gif name at the time of this post is ajax-loader.gif. Whatever

    name you get, it has to match your code.


    I found the size Ben used was too small for the gif, and so increased the

    height and width to 30px each. (Since it is a circle in a square, height

    should equal width.) I used Killersites green for my gif color and a

    transparent background.


    Of course make sure the four files are in the same folder. You may want

    to create a special folder just for this project. The 4 files are jquery.js,

    index.php, getforum.php, and ajax-loader.gif. And use an RSS feed that works!

    (See Ben's post above this one.)


    For every class: Follow along with the instrucor, and test as you go.

    You aren't going to learn nearly as much by passively watching videos

    as you will learn by DOING each step!


    This part did not work. Here's my work around.

    The code in index.php to use addClass() did not work for me.

    My solution:

    1. Remove the statement (the whole line) where addClass("loading")
      appears in the head, javascript section.
    2. Add class="loading" to div id=recentTopics
    3. Add an anchor text to class="loading" with href = the file name of your gif

    The loading gif disappeared as soon as the list appeared, as it is supposed to.

    This is because the code Ben gave for removeClass() as a sub-function of

    getforum.php remains in place.


    Thank you Ben for a Great Segment. Thank you Stephan for Excellent Teaching and the idea to have Ben share.

    It is such a thrill to get something "complicated" to work. My heart tingled

    when I saw the RSS feed of posts appear and then again when the animated gif

    code finally worked. Even though we were mostly spoon-fed, it's a great pleasure

    to code and see correct results. I hope that even when I become an "old timer",

    that I still derive a bit of excitement upon successfully completing a coding project.

    Thank you for providing a gateway to make this a career, and for the superb teaching!

  8. Greetings!


    In Misc PHP Videos, "Use PHP, jQuery & AJAX to Load XML Data Part 1",

    the RSS feed that Ben uses is "http://killersites.com/forums/feed/rss/".

    With all the great changes at Killersites, this URL is no longer valid.


    Can this video be carried out with another Killersites Forum RSS? If so,

    which one? Do any more changes need to be made from the instructions in

    the video?


    Here is the beginning code to test being able to obtain the feed file:



    $file = "http://killersites.com/forums/feed/rss/";

    $xml = simplexml_load_file($file);


    echo "<pre>";


    echo "</pre>";



    Once that works, the echo/print/echo statements are removed, and each rss

    item is made part of a list with this code:


    echo "<ul>";

    foreach($xml->channel->item as $item) {

    echo "<li><a href='$item->link'>$item->title</a></li>";


    echo "</ul>";


    Capturing the Killersites RSS Forum feed seems like a really cool thing to do.

    Perhaps if someone can help me figure it out, I can set up an affiliate marketer

    web page for selling Killersite Store DVDs. I think the courses are fantanstic,

    and I highly recommend them.

  9. In the same HTML5 CSS3 and JQuery course, for the rounded corners question,



    was incorrect (no spaces after the colon), but the "given" answer was correct:

    border-radius: 10px;

    -moz-border-radius: 10px;


    One does not need spaces after the colon. In fact, the previous attributes in the

    sample code do not have spaces.

  10. Hi,

    The courses and instruction are great!


    This is a minor complaint that a little tweaking can fix.

    Perhaps this thread can be used for similar tweaks needed with other courses.


    The problem is that on occassion, a correct answer is given, but the validation

    process does not accept the answer as correct.


    The correction is to update the validation for those answers.


    Two examples:

    In the HTML5 CSS3 and JQuery course, an answer to update the HTML tags to HTML5

    was considered incorrect. In comparing the given answer (obtained after "giving up")

    to the one I had, the only difference was this meta tag:

    <meta charset=utf-8> vs. <meta charset=UTF-8>

    Clearly, both are correct, but submitting the "wrong" case yielded an error.


    In the same course, in the Intro to CSS3, video 2 Intro to Crossbrowser Compatability,

    Question 2, we are asked to "Add the html5shiv script for older versions of IE"

    The website is given, so one just has to copy/paste. Well, the code has changed since

    the course was written, so the new code is marked wrong. Asking for the answer so that

    one could paste in the former answer and move on was not helpful-- it referred to the

    same site.


    In creating new course content, it may be wise to not ask a question that has an

    answer that is likely to change, such as a script on another site. It might also

    be a good idea to check validation scripts so that correct answers are not deemed



    Aside from these minor flaws, the teaching and flow of the Killersites University

    courses are excellent and a pleasurable way to learn.

  11. I don't really understand your question, sorry.

    Are you saying that you no longer want a drop-down menu for navigation,

    because when you "drop down" a menu, it covers the content of something else,

    and you don't like that?


    And therefore, you would like a drop-up menu?


    Have you tried playing around with the arrangements of the slideshow and

    the navigation bar? for instance, how about putting the navigation below

    the slideshow banner?

  12. Ben,

    Your first link has informative stats besides display resolutions.


    Here's the July 2012 Browser Statistics:


    Internet Explorer 16.3 %

    Firefox 33.7 %

    Chrome 42.9 %

    Safari 3.9 %

    Opera 2.1 %


    Thanks for an interesting link.


    PS: Old school thinking is make your sites compatible with even the oldest browsers--

    don't include the fancy stuff. And make sure your site looks the same on each browser.


    New school: Would you want black/white streamed to your new hi-definition, state-of-the-art

    TV? Of course not--you want the latest features exploited. And if you have an old TV, you will

    have incentive to update to a new one. Use HTML5 and CSS3 even if the old versions of IE can

    not handle some of the features. Just make sure your site is functional even without CSS and

    JavaScript. As someone put it, escalators don't break, they temporarily become stairs.


    Oh, and it's okay if your site looks different on different browsers! Most people only use one,

    so they would not even notice that they are "missing rounded corners" for instance, nor would

    they care. It's nonsense that the output has to LOOK identical.

  13. Hi,


    I was wondering if a Python course was in the works.

    I recently found out that the computer programming name was

    based on Monty Python! How cool is that?


    Anyway, I've read a lot of good things about it, heard it

    was easy to learn, and see Python Programmer job postings.




    How about a Python course please?


    PS: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition,

    Spam, spam, and more spam,

    I'm a lumberjack and I don't care..."

    Think of all the fun you can include in a Python course!

  14. Hi Ben,


    Thanks for the reply.

    Can you give Stefan a heads up on this thread, please?

    Maybe some of the ideas will help to increase his success.


    If he could open the affiliate program to include getting commissions

    for bringing new Video Tutorial subscribers and/or University subscribers,

    I think he'd have more active affiliates. Reason: People interested

    in learning the courses are very computer literate. They don't need the DVD.

    The subscription is a way better deal than the purchase on an individual

    course. I'm guessing it's hard to get good affiliates because it doesn't

    make good economic sense to spend money and time driving traffic if the

    buyers purchase something for which you don't get a commission, and most

    of the buyers would purchase subscriptions.


    I have another idea in the "wrap services around products" department. Guide

    students in creating an online lab book / note book for the course as they

    progress through it. Perhaps have copy/paste items for the notebook--it would

    be easy enough to do. As an example, as I was going through Dreamweaver, instead

    of pasting in the Latin text for filler, I started taking notes and it turned

    into a web page-- notesAsILearn.com (notes as I learn).


    So, for each "unit of learning", a student would watch a video, answer questions,

    do a lab exercise (you can provide the "exercise" and solution and student can

    grade themselves--pass when they can do without looking at answer); add to the

    copy/paste content to their notebook, and then add any personal notes.

  15. Nobes,

    Thank you so much!

    Your problem is my solution!

    I could not get access to the database, and thus could not follow

    along in the CRUD with PHP and MYSQLI course.


    I turned off my firewall and went through many pages of Google

    search results, but still kept getting the access denied message.


    In your post, you use $pass = '';

    I updated by connect-db.php file from using $pass = 'root'; to using $pass = ''; and it works!!!


    I'm so excited.


    Question for you--if $pass = ''; works for you, then why add a password?


    Anyway, I hope someone can help you, but if all else fails and you still want

    a password, you can simply reinstall WAMP. (Save the www subdirectory somewhere else first

    so you don't lose your files.)

  16. I'm confused.

    University now = Library.

    Interactive training = University.


    So, interactive training University does not equal the Video Tutorial Library?


    Is the Video Tutorial Library, (subscriptions monthly or yearly ($29/$99)),


    a separate product from the interactive training University (subscription monthly ($39)

    or purchase individual courses)?


    Are the Video Store purchases(packages or individual courses) the courses found

    in the Tutorial Library or the interactive ones?


    Does a person with a yearly subscription to the Tutorial Library have access

    to the interactive University courses (beyond the free content)?


    Why is there no yearly subscription to the interactive University training offered?


    If the Video Tutorial Library students indeed do not have access to the interactive University,

    Is there a way for the Tutorial Library subscribers to get access to the list of

    questions (and an answer file) that the interactive University students get asked?


    The interactivity of the questions really makes the University a lot of fun. The

    questions force the learner to pay better attention as he/she watch each video (will

    that piece of information be one of the questions, and better pause and make sure I

    know how to code a link to an external CSS file, for examples). Plus, they break up the

    viewing of videos and force the viewer to stop, process, and digest what was

    just learned. I look forward to the questions (and feel "smart" in being able

    to answer on first attempt with no hints).


    Why doesn't the Killersites home page showcase the options available with informations

    such as "Which method is better for your learning style?", a comparison of the Library

    subscription vs. the University one, and then links?


    Are Video Store DVD purchases just the videos and project files, or do they include

    the interactivity of the questions?


    It's all very confusing...


    Finally, can the affiliate program be updated to include the monthly and yearly

    subscriptions to the Library, as well as course offerings and monthly subscriptions

    to the University?


    You definitely should target homeschoolers with the University option.

    Have a separate portal page welcoming home educators and selling how important

    computer programming skills are, and how your program makes it easy to learn, etc.,

    then have the link to the regular University home page. Add a coupon code to ALL

    check-out forms so you can track the sources of customers (for instance, by magazine

    and date). Advertise in one or more of the top 3 magazines:

    • Practical Homeschooling (PH is my favorite--ask one of their editors to review your site)
    • The Old Schoolhouse (they offer new TOS subscribers a "goodie bag" of free stuff--offer 1 month free)
    • Home Education Magazine (HEM) (try a small ad--emphasize free content to try before you buy)


    I have other ideas--for instance, offer free hosting to subscribers while they are subscribers.

    Set up the ability to print out "transcripts" of courses completed -- basically list student

    name, and for each courses, state course title, completions date, and have a grade (can have an

    online final that students can take up to 3 times and/or a final project that someone can eyeball

    to see that it works.)


    The basic idea is this: Wrap services around your products. So, even if a person can get

    training cheaper elsewhere, they will choose you because of all the extras--the forum, the transcripts,

    the free hosting, and so on. Figure out how you can help job seekers build a portfolio and you will

    really have a winner. Then advertise on Dice.


    Another good target market is community college students--they can learn everything quickly and

    easily via killersites and then breeze through their college courses (easy "A" plus have college

    credit). Some colleges will let a student "test out" of a course--that is give the credit if the

    student passes their test. This can save time (still have to pay, though). Or, it can enable the

    student to "test out" of pre-requisite courses which saves time and money.

  17. Hi LSW,

    Your replies are always so thoughtful. I enjoy reading all your posts. You always make me think.


    We were both replying to Ben's post at the same time. Great minds... Then I double posted--oops.


    Agree that HTML5 isn't standard yet; my point was that it is already in such widespread use, so learn it.

    Don't know where your 2014 date came from, but the latest actions seem that now it is just a formality

    before becoming the "official standard". Don't know much about XML/XHTML, just know learning HTML5 instead

    is the way for me to go. I think HTML5 incorporates a lot of XHTML (if not in syntax, then in capability).


    SQL -- I think once you learn one version, you'll know about 85% of any other main version.


    When a company is seeking to hire a programmer, I think they prefer a candidate who knows how to

    maintain the business's existing applications and can create new ones. So, learning popular core

    technologies that have been around a long time and are growing fits the bill. Hence, JavaScript,

    HTML current plus HTML5, CSS current plus CSS3, current PHP, and a relational database plus its

    flavor of SQL (such as mySQLi)are listed under Core Knowledge in my post.


    I'm in a race to learn enough to get hired before becoming homeless. So arguments about AJAX and

    XML/XHTML are interesting, but my focus remains on learning enough of the core things to get hired.


    I haven't used AJAX and haven't been in IT for ten years. My background is IBM mainframe programmer.

    (My how everything has changed! Motto: keep up.) Be thankful you have a job and the skills and experience to

    get another one. I'm thankful for my analytic mind, ability to learn quickly, and killersites.com.


    Changing gears, some interesting things I watched/read a few hours ago:

  18. On HTML5, XML, XHTML, etc:

    According to Wikipedia:


    On 14 February 2011, the W3C extended the charter of its HTML Working Group with clear milestones for HTML5. In May 2011, the working group advanced HTML5 to "Last Call", an invitation to communities inside and outside W3C to confirm the technical soundness of the specification. The W3C is developing a comprehensive test suite to achieve broad interoperability for the full specification by 2014, which is now the target date for Recommendation.

    Article source: http://www.w3.org/2011/02/htmlwg-pr.html


    You can use <!DOCTYPE HTML> on any modern browser now, and it will work. That's an HTML5 standard.


    XHTML 2.0 was a working draft, but work on it was abandoned in 2009 in favor of work on HTML5.

    XHTML5 is undergoing development as of September 2009, as part of the HTML5 specification.

    Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XHTML


    I don't know where LSW got the "HTML5 is not a standard yet and won't be until 2014" information,

    because although it might not "officially" a standard yet, already, much of it is in standard use.


    Work on extending XHTML has been dropped. Instead, some of XHTML5 will incorporate into HTML5.

  19. Ben,


    The question is "So, what do I need to learn to be a web designer?" I believe the majority of

    one's learning time should be spent on learning current widely used technologies. It does not

    make sense to devote time and energy to technology that has already been replaced with newer

    and better methodology.


    A ridiculous example is don't learn Word 2000 or 2003. Learn Word 2010. If a shop is using

    Word 2007, you'll be able to figure it out.


    HTML5 is now here, and even Internet Explorer is getting on board. So, don't waste your time

    on XML or XHTML because HTML5 is the new standard (or is about to be).


    AJAX is an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. XML is outdated.


    Wikipedia says,


    "With Ajax, web applications can send data to, and retrieve data from, a server asynchronously

    (in the background) without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. Data can

    be retrieved using the XMLHttpRequest object. Despite the name, the use of XML is not required (JSON

    is often used instead), and the requests do not need to be asynchronous."


    The XMLHttpRequest object is by now replaced since XHTML is no longer used in new development.


    Wikipedia also says you can't use the AJAX approach across domains. AJAX interfaces may increase user

    requests to servers,leading to longer response times and hardware needs. The style of programming leads

    to complex code that is difficult to maintain, debug, and test.


    So, maybe you're right about AJAX because you don't need to use the XMLHttpRequest object, or maybe AJAX

    isn't worth learning. I don't know. As for myself, for now I'm sticking to learning the other stuff.


    For new site creation, WordPress can probably do anything Drupal can,

    plus there is a lot more support.


    Sure, you may get a job where you have to maintain a Drupal site or one that uses old technology.

    For that kind of situation, I say learn what you need to know when you need to know it.


    In summary, build on a solid core of knowledge that you will surely need to become a web programmer

    (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, WordPress, SQL (any flavor) and relational database knowledge)-- all

    currnt, widely used technology, and don't worry about the rest until you need it.

  20. I modified LSW's list for Web Programmer, since his list is outdated:


    Core Knowledge:

    HTML (HTML 4.2 and HTML5)

    JavaScript (note: much more than a scripting language)

    CSS (CSS2 and CSS3)



    SQL -- MySQL is fine

    basic relational database knowledge


    Good to Know:





    C# on .Net framework

    Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, EXCEL, Access, Publisher


    Can be helpful on your resume:

    Ruby on Rails


    Dreamweaver (hand coding is easier and creates better code, though)

    Facebook -- creating Fan pages

    Mobile web site creation

    Creating Apps

    Using Social Media and tying into web and mobile sites

    Basic internet marketing (branding, driving traffic, engaging customers)

    Creating Q-codes and using on websites

    SMS -- text messaging service set-up (Twilio)and phone/web/mobile use

    Creating and using RSS feeds

    SharePoint or GoogleDocs -- way to share documentations with others


    Not Sure, I Think Outdated:


    Perl (clunky language)


    Don't bother:

    ASP (Active Server Pages)

    XML, XHTML -- replaced by HTML5

    Another Flash related, such as Action Script and Flash Builder

    VBScript -- even IE now uses JavaScript

    Drupal -- Use WordPress instead



    Visual Basic -- If learning either C# on .NET or Java is too hard, then learn Visual Basic on .NET as a stepping stone


    Excellent English speaking, reading, and writing skills are golden.

    If you know a foreign language, that can help land a web developer job.

    People skills (plays nice with others) and soft skills (attention to detail, for example) are also important.

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