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Controlling When Visitors Automatically Get Logged Out

Posted on: 7/7/2008 9:04:06 AM under ASP » Scripts and Tips 
Using Session TimeoutChances are you have been to a secure website that forces you to log back in after a certain period of inactivity. It may be frustrating, but there is actually some very good reasons to do this. Most importantly, it adds another layer of security -- if the user forgets to log out, letting the system log the user out automatically reduces the risk that the next person using the computer can gain unauthorized access. That may not be good for your user, or for you!

This is call a session timeout, and it is very easy to use in ASP. Simply add this line of code to the top of the secure page:

The number "360" represents the number of seconds of inactivity that must pass before the session times out -- in this case six minutes. You can change this value to anything you want.

However, make sure you choose a number that is long enough to allow people to comfortably explore your site (remember: reading content on your site appears like "inactivity" to the system...) but short enough that it provides enough security.

In general, you should go no lower than 300 seconds (five minutes) and 600 seconds (ten minutes) before timing out.

And that's it! Now whenever your visitors forget to log out, you have less risk.

But remember, this only works with secure pages. If you don't have a method of password-protecting your pages, DMXReady offers several solutions including Secure Login Manager -- check it out!

Happy Scripting,

The DMXReady Team

Is It Time To Move to SQL?

Posted on: 7/2/2008 11:27:32 AM under ASP » Database 
DMXReady uses MSAccess as its database for one reason: ease of use. New developers and even do-it-yourselfers can create robust, database-driven functionality without taking four years of college courses.

But ease of use has a price. One major limitation is scalability. If you online business is growing and you are getting a steady rise in hits on your website, you may start running into database overload problems. This is a sure sign that it is time to upgrade your database.

There are two caveats here though:

One: Some people, especially companies that want to do the conversion for you, may tell you that you should never use Access databases. This is simply not true. If your website is a brochure-type website or even doing light e-commerce, using Access is fine. And, as mentioned above, it is easier for you to customize.

Two: Moving from Access does not mean you have to move from ASP. Some programmers may tell you that you should change to PHP. Again, not necessary. Sure, they will make more money from you recreating your whole website, but ASP is just as powerful and functional as any PHP site once you have upgraded database structures.

If you decide that an upgrade is in order, you can probably do this yourself as well. Microsoft has an excellent overview of this, which you can find here.

Happy Scripting!

The DMXReady Team

Create Your Own Facebook with KickApps

Posted on: 6/30/2008 8:51:18 AM under Web Design » Cool Tools 
Social media and social networking is all the rage lately. Many see it as a way to engage potential customers by creating killer content -- and a killer website experience.

Of course it used to be that if you wanted to create your own Facebook or MySpace social networking site, you would have to program the whole thing from scratch. But not any more. KickApps, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) publishing host, has created a modular system that allows you to build your own social networking community. You can add video, create a forum, and "widgetize" your content allowing others in your community to "steal" your content so that it goes viral.

There are two versions of the service - a free option (with ads) and a CPM option that charges only on the number of impressions you site generates.

But rather than read about it all here, why not just visit the site? (Disclosure: DMXReady is in no way affilated with KickApps, and receives no compensation -- we just think this is a pretty cool app...)

The DMXReady Team

A Case for Absolute Links

Posted on: 6/27/2008 9:59:31 AM under Web Design » Tips 
By default, many designers use virtual or relative links for their internal pages. Generally this is fine, but often it is better practice to use absolute links.

For example, rather than:

<a href="aboutus.asp">

you should add:

<a href="">

There are several reasons for this. First, an "absolute" link is just that -- absolute. Relative links are more susceptible to misdirects. With an absolute link though, the only thing that can cause a broken link is if that page is actually deleted or renamed.

Another real concern is scraper sites, which republish your content on other websites. With relative links, these sites all refer back onto themselves -- which the scrapers love! But with absolute links, the website visitor will quickly be redirected back to your own (valid) website.

You should also use absolute links for images, for the same reasons. PDFs especially should have absolute links so that anyone who saves or prints your documents will have the full links listed. For enewsletters, you definitely need to use absolute links so that your images appear correctly.

There is a downside to using absolute links on your website. If you tend to move your pages within your website, you will have to go back and change all the absolute links to include the new folders/locations. However for 99% of the websites out there, this is not really a problem.

Have any nightmare stories about using relative links? Let us know!

The DMXReady Team

FireFox 3 - Is This the Giant Killer?

Posted on: 6/25/2008 9:44:27 AM under General » Browsers 
After one week of its release, the much-anticipated FireFox 3 hit 19.6 million downloads. It's already going into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloads in a 24-hour period (8 million+).

And its release has given Mozilla almost a 1% gain on IE7 (up to 19.17% in June, from 18.41% in May, according to the company).

So is this the giant killer? One would think, given FireFox's slick performance and IE7s numerous problems that FireFox 3 should take the world by storm. It has certainly been embraced by first-adopters, especially web and css designers.

But for the average non-techie joe, the familiarity of IE and lack of desire to try new things will keep Microsoft's browser at the top of the heap for the foreseeable future.

What do you think? FireFox 3 or IE7? Let us know!

The DMXReady Team

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