position: static?

CSS positioning seems to be becoming a nightmare when it comes to IE6 support. While I am aware that the likes of 37signals have stopped making their products work with it, there remain a lot of people who stick or are stuck with the old retainer. I am one of the latter because of the continued use of Windows 2000 at my place of work, though a Windows Vista roll-out has been mooted for a while now. If nothing else, it keeps me in the loop for any inconsistencies that afflict the display of my websites. Positioning of an element within the browser window rather than within its parent element is one of these and it looks as if specifying a position of relative in a stylesheet is part of this. Apparently, it could be down to its non-triggering of IE’s haslayout property. It might be a hack but I have found that static positioning has helped. I’ll continue to keep my eye out for a better solution if it exists but the static option seems to have no detrimental effect in IE7, IE8, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Opera.

Recursive FTP with the command line

Here’s a piece of Linux/UNIX shell scripting code that will do a recursive FTP refresh of a website for you:

lftp <<~/Tmp/log_file.tmp 2>>~/Tmp/log_file.tmp

open ${HOSTNAME}

user ${USER} ${PSSWD}

mirror -R -vvv “${REP_SRC}” “${REP_DEST}”

EndFTP

When my normal FTP scripting approach left me with a broken WordPress installation and an invalid ticket in the project’s TRAC system that I had to close, I turned to looking for a more robust way of achieving the website updates and that’s what led me to seek out the options available for FTP transfers that explicitly involve directory recursion. The key pieces in the code above are the use of lftp in place of ftp, my more usual tool for the job, and the invocation of the mirror command that comes with lftp. The -R switch ensures that file transfer is from local to remote (vice versa is the default) and -vvv turns on maximum verbosity, a very useful thing when you find that it takes longer than more usual means. It’s all much slicker than writing your own script to do the back-work of ploughing through the directory structure and ensuring that the recursive transfers take place. Saying that, it is possible to have a one line variant of the above but the way that I have set things up might be more familiar to users of ftp.

An alternative use for Woopra

Google Analytics is all very fine with its once a day reporting cycle but the availability of real time data dose have its advantages. WordPress.com’s Stats plugin goes some way to serving the need but Woopra trumps it in every way apart from a possible overkill in the amount of information that it makes available. The software may be in the beta phase and it does crash from time to time but its usefulness remains more than apparent.

One of its uses is seeing if there are people visiting your website at a time when you might be thinking of making a change like upgrading WordPress. Timing such activities to avoid a clash is a win-win situation: a better experience from your visitors and more reliable updates for you. After all, it’s very easy to make a poor impression and an unreliable site will do that faster than anything else so it’s paramount that your visitors do not get on the receiving end of updates, even if they are all for the better.