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Global Artwork - Web Design and Website Development, based in Sydney, Australia - Part 2

WordPress Permalinks on Windows IIS

Thursday, November 12, 2009 @ 10:11 AM
admin

WordPress is written in PHP, and generally php runs better under apache on Linux, but you can run it on IIS on Windows machines. In fact this blog is running under Windows.*

If you find you have changed the permalinks options in your wordpress installation, but you find they don’t work,  first check if you are running on a Windows machine. On a shared hosting account, it should have said whether it was windows or linux, but at the least, if you have the option for asp.net, then you are on windows.

If you are on a Linux machine under apache, there are loads of resources for making sure permalink rewrites work. Running WordPress on windows however is much less common, so I thought I would post a quick fix for getting it to run under IIS7.

The trick involves adding a web.config file to your base installation. A web.config file is a configuration file used by Windows specifically for .net, but in this case if you are running wordpress you can trick IIS into passing the buck on files it can’t find to WordPress, that then handles it.

Simply ensure the URL Rewrite module is enabled on the IIS server (lots of hosts, including GoDaddy, have this enabled, but talk to your hosting company if it doesn’t), then add the following web.config file to the base of your WordPress installation.

web.config.txt

Note – windows prevents downloading anything with .config by default at the end, so download this file, remove the .txt at the end, then upload.

Good luck, and post comments if you still have problems!

* “Why the hell would you do that??” I hear you say! Generally web devs are fans of either languages made to run on proprietory systems (ASP.NET, Coldfusion etc) or open source Linux or Unix systems (php, ruby etc). Two reasons – It’s because I do both php (which runs on both) and ASP.NET dev, which only runs on Windows. To occasionally demonstrate some .net stuff on this blog, I need it to be on windows, or host it separately. Second, its using IIS7, which handles php almost as well as Apache. Linux and Windows fans – feel free to fight it out in the comments!
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Web Standards Group November Meeting

Thursday, November 12, 2009 @ 07:11 AM
admin

I went to two very interesting talk last night at the Web Standards Group monthly meeting in Sydney.

The first presentation was “Visual design principles for electronic forms” – by Jessica Enders, and this was followed by Mikkel Bergmann with his talk, “Bringing PAX to the people”.

Both were interesting and informative, but I will just talk about Jessicas talk here, as I would like to have a look at Mikkel’s PAX js framework, investigate it and possibly do another post on that one later.

Jessica used to develop paper forms for the Australian Bureau of Statistics before moving on to the web world and looking at web input forms. She got us looking at a few main principals of form design – specifically colour, size and shape.

Colour

Only use colour to hint at headings split up sections, or tie rows together. We looked at a few examples where a header was the same colour as the form input labels, mzking it seem to be also an input.

Also colour can be used very effectively in the call to action after the form – a nice safe green to positively encourage and reassure the submitter for example.

Size

The size of fields can have a big impression on what users expect of a field input. Jessica gave us a great example of a “write your own message” on the gift section of an ecommerce checkout. The textbox only allowed 120 characters in the business rules, but the textbox was massive, meaning people got the impression they could write at will.

Shape

Should the labels be left-aligned, right-aligned, or on top of the field? I must admit this is one I quite often base on purely asthetic reasons.

The answer by the way is that left aligned fields help when scanning, so if only a few items are relevant, the user can scan the left column to find the appropriate fields quickly.

Right aligned fields encourage proximity, so you can easily tie a field to its associated label.

The “best practice” solution is to go for on top of the field, as this both ties the field to the input and allows long names of labels, but is not so scannable and makes the forms very long.

In custom radio and checkbox fields (ie where css images are used), Jessica made a great point that designers should not get too carried away, as users not associate the circle (as in a radio button) with a single choice and the square (as in checkboxes) for multiple options. She showed us an example of a form where the input was a rounded corner square – you did not know immediately whether this was a single or multiple selection option.

Radios and checkboxes should almost always be vertically aligned, not horizontally aligned too, firstly because it is easier to scan the options, and secondly because if the text size of the form is increased, wrapping may occur, putting options underneath an unassociated item for more confusion than an amnesiac conference.

Summary

Jessica gave us three points to consider when making forms:

  1. Visual design is communication
  2. Apply knowledge of visibility perception to make informed design descisions
  3. Think minimalist, then only add what is necessary and beneficial
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Updated at last!

Friday, September 25, 2009 @ 08:09 AM
admin

Well this site has been going since about 2004 and its really about time for a bit of refreshment. I’ve come out to Cambodia as my wife Miia is working here for 6 months, so this is a one month visit, mainly to deliver chocolate, cheese and Cosmo, all essentials and incredibly difficult to find here. If you want to see what she is up to, head over to  http://miiatravels.wordpress.com to see the latest.

We are in a small town called Svay Rieng, in Svay Rieng Provice. Its one of the poorest areas of the country, with no tourism to speak of and very much a subsistence economy.

Despite this, we now have the most high-tech shack in Eastern Cambodia. I brought out a little bit of gear, so now this little wooden shack on stilts has wi-fi, multiple redundant backups, two laptops and various other things essential for work.

Thats the great thing about the internet. Ive found I am working as efficiently, even more so maybe, out here. A VPN to the office, Skype a net connection and a decent laptop, kettle and teabags and I have everything I need. Its also good to get out of the regular way of thinking and look at some things “externally”. One of those is to redo this website, but its a whole lot of things.

I think this transfers across a whole range of businesses though. Maybe its time for you to take a step back, travel to somewhere that they do things differently. See how its done. Maybe not better, but differently. With that you start to spot opportunities. Its amazing in a third world country how resourceful people can get.

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About Us

Global Artwork is a collection of contract web developers, designers, UX consultants and general webby people.

We have all worked together at various stages of our careers at the top of the industry, on some of the best clients. We don't wan't mainstream. You don't want mainstream. The web doesn't do mediocre - neither should you.

If you have an interesting project, swing by and ask us for advice.

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