One of the fun thing about SourceForge is all the cool stuff you can find accidentally. Today’s glowing example is DynAPI a Cross-Browser Dynamic HTML Library.

Basically, us use this API when yo want to create some DHTML that will work across a wide variety of browsers. This includes hierarchical menus, tabs, and other useful navigational and information-serving stuff.

Of course, I suspect some of you might be tempted to use this for evil instead of good … such as cursor trailers and pop-ups … DON’T DO THAT! Gizmos == Junk! Junke == No Visitors.

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Standards for Charitable Solicitations

One of my favorite sermons of Mark Adams is one from 1997 entitled It’s Not ONLY Money. Let’s face it, though our primary focus should be the Great Commission, it is very difficult to print Bibles, run web-paages and send missionaries overseas. At some point, someone has to get paid.

With the issue of money comes accountability. Churches and para-church organizations might want to consider the following online advice from Give.org.

Yes, I know, very little to do with web design … but we need to cover this base before we talk about secure servers, credit card and online payments.

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Out of Context

Perusing my referrer logs … for those of you who don’t know, most web sites hosted by ‘real‘ web hosts provide logging of visitors. Most of the time these logs include domain names and ip addresses indicating where & how someone gets to your site.

One visitor I hadn’t recognized came via a blog which complimented my site for thing technical, but critisized my use of scripture in a post found at random trout archive: May 29, 2002

Now before anyone gets defensive or torqued off in some other way, I appreciate and understand both what was said … and how … here’s why …
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Restoration Notes

Understand this. If you do not have a contingency plan, then you are already planning to fail. You can quote me on that.

One of the other sites affected by my former host’s failure was Homesteading Today. A site full of gentlemen farmers and work-from-home-school-moms. No, I’m not either one, but my good friend Chuck is.

He is running a piece of software known as phpBB. It is a bulletin board application that uses the MySQL database to store and retrieve hundreds of messages on demand.

When our web host called it quits …
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One of the free tools I find priceless in helping me backup and restore my sites is a little Telnet/SSH terminal emulator program known as PuTTY: a free Win32 telnet/ssh client.

Written and maintained by Simon Tatham, this tool allows you to login to your host computer … provided your host provider allows such acess.

Why not use something else? Because more and more host providers are switching from providing Telnet access to SSH. Why … because one of the ‘S’s in SSH stands for secure … as in encrypted.

Using this tool, I can get to the linux … from there, I can play with other fun commands I’ll talk about in some very near future posts, like TAR and GREP.

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NYC Bloggers

NYC bloggers has NOTHING to do with church website development … other than it’s fresh … and it’s clever.

The idea is simple. The site offers a map of the city that shows where the bloggers are, organized by subway stop.

What a neat way to find out who’s blogging in your neighborhood! Provided of course you live in NYC (I used to, I don’t anymore).

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Hang In There – Almost Fixed

Have I got a story for you.

My host provider, rather, my former host provider, decided to call it quits after a little adversity … with
no warning and some not-so useful backups mind you …

Anyway, I’m busy behind the scenes trying to get this bad-boy back in shape. Hand in there another day and
we’ll be back up and running just like we used to be

Oh yeah, some of you have been trying to get a hold of me. Sorry, the change has caused all sorts of wonderful
communications issues. None-the-less, here is my somewhat obfuscated e-mail address
(do a view source for kicks).

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Eyes on the Site

What would you pay to have someone check your website ever hour to see if it’s up and running? How much more would you pay for weekly summaries? $10 a month. $100 a week?

I don’t pay a thing, because I’ve subscribed to the InternetSeer Web Site Monitoring Service. Of course, one of the benefits of having a real host provider is that I can set up an e-mail account who’s only purpose is to alert me … and deflect any spam that might result from signing up for such a service.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. ” 2 Corinthians 14:8a

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Top 10 Spelling Errors

Here is a useful little article brought to my attention by an industry newswatch blog offered by Internet industry expert Vincent Flanders. You know the guy that wrote “that book” I’ve been telling my faithful readers to consume (both literally and figuratively ).

But enough shameless plugs … let’s talk abou t speling … specficully : HTML Tip: Top 10 Spelling Errors – Use a Spell Checker. And article which begs the question:

“Is there anything worse than leaving a careless spelling or grammatical error on your Web page?”

A question which I think church sites need to pay special attention to as many of us try to shed the “podunk” or “hick” monniker that is many times applied to the online offerings of Church. Many times, justifiably so.

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Get Real!

No, this is not the name of some lame youth ministry (though I’ve actually seen that used one place … not very successfully). It is my admonishiment to you to “break a vase” … “drop a dime” … “INVEST SOME TALENTS” on your web presence.

I know, I know, you don’t have much of a budget, but there is a big difference between being cheap and being thrifty. Some of you have suffered the false economy of the former … or as the addage goes … have reaped the bitter fruit of being “penny-wise and pound foolish“.

But what good is it to do everything I say here to your HTML, your CSS, your CGI. What good is it to craft a page and/or site that looks great if it’s hidden under a jar ? If you want to attract new visitors, not only does your content have to have somewhat of a professional look’n’feel, but so does your domain name. No lie, I have actually driven by some churches and seen them post on their marquee outside “we’re on the web at http://members.aol.c0m/~nonsuch1234/church/index.htm“.

Well you may be on the web, but either I’ve ignored your sign, or I’m in a ditch because it took more than 2 seconds to read … and even then, I couldn’t remember it. And how many of you pastors are tired of getting spammed to your personal e-mail account because some ner-do-well spambot’d your church page?

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