The Effect of Multiple JavaScript Files on Page Load Time

One of the problems that you may encounter when you add new features to your site is that you run the risk of slowing down the page load time. Before adding anything to your site, there are a couple of things you should check out. Even if you aren’t considering adding anything, you may want to take a look, just to see what’s what.

First, take a look at Web Site Optimization. In the interest of disclosure, this is a client of mine for Movable Type Consulting, so I’m not a completely unbiased observer. But the site is a good one. You can use their free web site analysis tool to see how long it takes your page to load. A quick look tells you how long it takes the items on your page to load – HTML, images, scripts, styles and the like. What’s even better is that you get a good look at how long it will take not just on your high-speed connection, but how long it might take on a slower connection as well, and some basic tips to speed things up. I’ll talk about that more in a minute.

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Enhancing the Display of Images on Your Site with Slimbox

I’m not a big user of images – though I have a digital camera, I typically end up using it less than I probably should. I think one of my goals for next year will be to actually get some of the images off the memory card in the camera and let people see the pictures I’ve taken. One step in that process is to get them in a format that makes them nice looking. A single page without much around it, as you often see on a web page, can be downright ugly. Enter Lightbox.

This JavaScript framework is a fairly simple way to display pictures with a sort of frame around them – the image is actually assigned a special HTML segment, and the surrounding section of the page is blacked out, giving the viewer a much more pleasing experience than a simple image without much around it. There are three problems with Lightbox. The first is that it’s big, the second is that it’s slow to load and the third (and most important) is that it doesn’t work! Luckily, there are some options.

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Using Yahoo! Pipes to Extract Data You Want

Let’s say that you’ve read all the hubbub about aXXo – one of the most popular seeders of movies, whether you like him or don’t – and how he suddenly removed all of his torrents from The Pirate Bay. And you want to be sure that you’re getting only true aXXo releases, because you know all sorts of junk gets put out with variations on “axxo” in the title, just so everyone will download it. Hey, it happens.

You could go to a number of other places that allow you to pull an RSS feed by user. But that would be the easy way out. So you decide to stick it out at The Pirate Bay and hope that aXXo comes back. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Or maybe you just want to learn something. Then read on.

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Making Your Movable Type Menus Snappy Again

When Six Apart released the latest version of Movable Type, the software underwent a massive rewrite. The interface changed considerably from what it had been, and by most accounts it is a good change. There are, however, a few things that just don’t work quite right.

One of the things that is perhaps most frustrating is the editing box. There is little that can be done with this for now, especially if you want to maintain the WYSIWYG editor. Similarly, the syntax highlighting function of the template editor causes problems too, especially on lesser-used editors like Opera and Safari. So we have to focus elsewhere, perhaps on the menus.

Though the drop-down menus are certainly cool, they tend to get stuck open, and that is terribly annoying. There is almost nothing worse than trying to work, only to find yourself sitting there looking at a menu that appears to be looking back.

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Database Backup with Transact-SQL

I’ve recently installed the Microsoft Small Business Accounting package. I have to say I’m enjoying it and think I’ll keep using it. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the Business Contact Manager for Outlook, as though the two would supposedly talk to one another, I didn’t think it integrated particularly well on either side.

In any case, the application makes use of MSDE for database storage. This is all fine and dandy but it doesn’t really help with backing up data or anything of the like. So I had to go digging through pages to find some decent Transact-SQL references. This one is to back up a database from the command line.

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HTML Titles with Quotes

As I was working on a project, I noticed that the page was no longer rendering in IE (6.0, XP). Strangely, the title had turned into just the URL, as if there was none, and the styles were gone.

On a whim, I moved the title attribute above some meta tags, and it jumped right up on the page, indicating an apparent problem within those meta tags. Sure enough, after looking for just a moment, I found a set of double quotes contained within the tag. Oops.

Apparently IE (6.0, XP) doesn’t like this. Interestingly enough, IE on a Mac (5.2, I think I was told) and Firefox, on either Mac or PC, interpreted the string correctly.

Tracking with Google Analytics

I recently signed up for Google Analytics to see what sort of web site tracking they offered. I like the idea of easily-accessible data, and Google has typically been very good at providing just what I need.

Since the service has apparently received overwhelming response, Google has turned off the ability to sign up for new profiles. Presumably this will be back soon. I hope so, because I was waiting until things worked on one site to set up the other. Yes, I know you can track two sites using the same code with filters. I didn’t want to do that.

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