Optimize your CS-Cart store

Speed up CS-Cart

Faster websites get better SEO scores and get better indexes in search engines, a Google employee once said “Website should be fast”, your visitors will agree, trust me.

 

CS-Cart more salesFaster and optimized eCommerce websites do sell +40% more than slower ones, just because they are faster. You “will” agree once you see the money come ūüėČ ¬†trust me.

 

In the continuity of my “Website optimization” posts, this time we will see how to optimize CS-Cart, but hints and methods written here are useful for all other platforms, just you will need to adapt, easily.

E-Commerce Optimization

I assume you already know about the ROCK SOLID eCommerce software “CS-Cart”, if not, you are missing BIG!

odience.net|works sponsored this post and asked me to optimize their online marketplace which is based on CS-Cart.

The outcome? A faster CS-Cart store which loads in less than 5 seconds and gets a performance grade of 94/100 and on some pages 99/100 (check for yourself at Pingdom), this literally “ROCKS”.

UPDATE: Based on my work ūüėČ , odience.net|works made a package that CS-Cart users can use to speed-up their stores. Will be available soon!

Now we will see in this post, how you can optimize your site load times and speed.

A little bit more than “few” technical knowledge is required if you want to read on, but you never know, maybe you will learn on the way ūüėČ

I will expose different steps and aspects of optimization which are also applicable with other websites as we saw in my previous posts.

 

Time Matters

From an optimization point of view, even 0.1 second in load time matters so let’s get started.

 

Optimize Cache, Server side:

CS-Cart integrates a built-in cache, but that needs lots of modifications to be “robust” and “reliable”.

Here are some issues with CS-Cart’s cache:

  • It “kind of” compresses the JavaScript files but doesn’t combine them! So you find your self serving multiple files which is BAD for load time.
  • It does not cache external JS files you include with the {script} tag. OK, this might be “over doing” but it might be interesting as for serving “hosted” Google Analytics JS on CS-Cart…
  • It “combines” the CSS files but does not compress them, so you will be sending the user a quite BIG file; and that is BAD for page speed too.
  • It does not compress nor clean the HTML output, and again, BAD for speed.
  • It does not serve files with the right expires header so no one know when to refresh the content! How a browser is supposed to know what and when to cache?

Well, what to do, is to optimize this caching to the maximum and make the page generation faster and faster.

So for example the same time CS-Cart “combines” CSS files, let’s tell it to “compress” the output CSS file. When it compresses JavaScript files “independently” let’s ask for a combined and compressed output file, in the mean while, cache external JS files to limit multi-domain requests for the user.

Backup AlertThese steps are quite complex, and need core modification, so you must be careful when updating/upgrading your CS-Cart installation to keep a backup of your MODs.

SMARTY

smarty logoIf you don’t know it already, CS-Cart runs Smarty for its template engine. Smarty is basically great from an ease of use point of view, but unfortunately, Smarty v2 is not optimized for speed. Well, Smarty did great on its Smarty v3 on speed optimization, and included multiple cache handlers like eAccelerator, APC and others.

APC

Alternative PHP Cache LogoI have to mention that APC caching improves A LOT your site performance, but, Smarty v2 does not contain an APC cache handler, so I made an APC cache handler for Smarty v2, and thus for CS-Cart 3, which makes your content load directly from “RAM” instead of Hard Drive. This means “very fast”.

CS-Cart Core Optimizers

You can download these “Optimizers” from my¬†Downloads page¬†¬†odience Market, instructions included.

 

Optimize Cache, Client side:

To tell the browser which files to cache and which ones to not, your server must send correct “Expires headers”.

Unfortunately CS-Cart does not set theme correctly. This causes your client’s browser NOT to cache and ask for every page element at each request.¬†Seriously, you DO NOT WANT THIS, because, wait for it…. BAD for speed!

You will need to edit your HTACCESS file(s) to send correct “cache” headers to the user directly from your server.

CS-Cart Optimized HTACCESS

You can download a sample of the “CS-Cart Optimized HTACCESS” from my¬†Downloads page¬†and for the full version, check¬†odience Market,¬†instructions included.

 

Combine JavaScript files:

Merge JS and CSS files

As I wrote before, CS-Cart just “compresses” JavaScript files and it does NOT combine the files. You need to combine the compressed JavaScript files to use less bandwidth and send the file FASTER to the user, because JavaScript files are “VERY DANGEROUS” for page speed.

A JavaScript file ¬†literally blocks all other elements from loading until itself gets fully loaded, so you want it to be “alone” and to finish loading, wait for it …. …. …. FAST!

CS-Cart JS Optimizer

Get the “JavaScript Combine&Compress Smarty output filter”; that I wrote; from¬†odience Market,¬†instructions included.

 

Compress CSS files:

Compress content

There are lots of great Open Source projects (ex. Minify) which allow great CSS optimization, combination and compression. I don’t know why CS-Cart does not integrate one such library?

Well, all that said, you need to compress CSS files, and more precisely, Minify them to let users receive just what they need to “style”, nothing more nothing less.

Use less files, Use more SPRITES:

CSS Sprites example

CS-Cart uses a lot of small icons for its base skin.

If your current skin is using more than 20 different icons (not product images, just icons, ex. account icon, cart icon, live help icon, menu drop down arrows,…) you should think about combining them into a single file to decrease the number of requests a visitor’s browser makes to your server. This combination reduces significantly your page load time and speeds up your CS-Cart store. So, go ahead ¬†and combine your small icons into one or two bigger image sprites to reduce file requests as these requests are BAD for speed.

There are some free tools which help you automate and simplify sprites generation:

CS-Cart Sprites based Basic skin

Still not finished, but I am working on creating a sprites based “Basic” skin for CS-Cart, help is much appreciated.

 

Use a CDN for your static contents:

CDN77.com Europe Pops

CDN, CDN, CDN! (It stands for Content Delivery Network if your are new :D)

If you got the $$$ to run with the big guys, go with AKAMAI, Amazon and other big Content Delivery Networks.

But! You can set your FREE CDN too! just serve your static content from a different sub-domain (or domain), for exemple:

Serve images from

https://staticimg.yourdomain.com/images/

while serving your mains website from

https://www.yourdomain.com/

This allows “parallel” downloads which will increase significantly page speed.

Well, serving JavaScript and CSS files from a CDN is something to think twice about, because CS-Cart generates your CSS and JS files every time you refresh the cache so if you are on a CDN, that would happen slower than you expect.

To make CS-Cart “CDN-compatible” you will need to make few changes to your skin’s files. If you focus on moving only your images to the CDN, it would be quite easy, though you should also think about the Addons and their images.

Basically, by overriding the $images_dir SMARTY variable at the right moment, you can tell CS-Cart to go get the images from a CDN, though some minor modifications should be done on core smarty plugin files to let CSS files compile correctly.

Another great idea to setup a CDN for CS-Cart is to mount your CDN space as a partition (mount point) on your server and symlink your static directories (images, css, js, cache) to the mount point, this reduces all synchronisation lags, and saves you from changing core files.

CDN CS-CartBut, a better idea, is to use a “Mirror CDN” like CDN77.com!

 

I already tested CDN77.com and the service is great. They offer a 14 days free trial, which lets you know if you are ready for CDN.

I really recommend them because of the number of pops (servers worldwide) and their affordable price ($4.90 /100GB of data, THIS IS VERY LOW!). So, if you need a CDN, sign up for CDN77.com and make your CS-Cart s

ite faster!

Let me explain on how to use a mirror CDN for your CS-Cart ecommerce software:

  1. Open an account on CDN77.com
  2. Create a new CDN
  3. If you need SSL (I recommend it if you have a secure store)
  4. Choose Free SSL (shared)
  5. or choose a custom SSL (ex.: “https://cdn1.gibni.com/” for 39$/month)
  6. Let 4 minutes pass by, for the CDN to be setup of course!
  7. Modify your CS-Cart store to serve images (you can do it even for CSS and JS, but not really needed, as you would have less than 5 JS and CSS files; it’s up to you!)
  8. Enjoy your Free CDN! (Yes, as simple as that, weird huh?)

 

Use a cookie-less domain for static components:

CS-Cart Cookie

Sites setting cookies will send/set the cookie file (0.8 – 1.5 KB) for each requested component (even for static images and css/js files).

These static contents do not require a cookie file, so by using a subdomain, or another domain (like a CDN), you will be able to get this point fixed and make your static components “cookie-less”, i.e. about 1K size reduction per element, so again, read the previous section about CDN to setup one for your images (at least).

 

Optimize your server with HTACCESS and PHP.INI tweaks:

Php.ini and Htaccess optimization for CS-Cart

To oil the gears of your server, you might need to have a look at your .htaccess and php.ini (php5.ini) files.

 

Some stuff you could do:

  • Set Expires headers based on file types,
  • Tell the browser to cache CSS and JS files,
  • Unset ETags,
  • Set Gzip/Deflate compression for your HTML/PHP files,
  • Secure access to your server and store,
  • Secure file requests and prevent file request attacks
  • Make sure downloadable files are downloadable! weird, huh?!
  • Add the “missing” trailing slash in your URLs,
  • Rewrite requests to WWW,
  • Force secure connections through HTTPS
  • Install a Virtualized Software Firewall through HTACCESS to protect yourself from hackers
  • Protect ¬†your server and store from unauthorized queries and requests
  • Speed up the server with the PageSpeed Apache module
  • and so on…

Specially with PHP.INI (PHP5.INI) you could:

  • Set a default FROM address directly on the server to get your emails “delivered”
  • Increase execution times and upload file sizes to optimize performance and ease file uploads
  • Activate ZEND extensions to boost your server
  • and so on…

CS-Cart optimized PHP.INI & HTACCESS

Check the optimized PHP5.INI file (created and tested on Godaddy.com’s Shared hosting) and a tweaked (basic) HTACCESS for CS-Cart at my Downloads page.

 

Conclusions

There is a lot to do for a better web, by optimizing your websites and e-shops, you use less bandwidth and energy. Apart from making better sales and getting better SEO scores, you make a greener world. Do not hesitate about optimization.

Apple iPad Review

After all those rumors on iSlate, iTab, etc, at last the Apple’s tablet official information came out. iPad is the real name! After a tour on Apple’s website, comes few points:


iPad Advantages?

iPad seems to be the next best thing after iPhone, but compared to iPhone,


  • it’s got a bigger screen,
  • great touch-screen technology,
  • faster processor,
  • more storage space,
  • ambient light sensor,
  • and few little details…
  • Cool design,
  • iPad Applications
  • Classy,

But as far as it goes with the details on Apple, there aren’t many advantages to iPad.


iPad, a laptop or a HUGE iPhone?

iPad is definitely not a laptop and neither a netbook, it’s 9.7 inches big screen, it gets close to 10 inches netbooks but the fact that it does not have a great storage space, nor a built-in webcam, nor a USB support moves the iPad far from the competition of all-in-one computers!

To me, iPad is just a HUGE iPhone!


iPad Disadvantages?

  • You can’t extend the memory!
  • You can’t connect any devices to it, apart from a computer (or a headset/music stand),
  • It doesn’t have a webcam,
  • Limited language support,
  • Not Universal data connection cable (Apple exclusive, not an issue if you got an iPhone already)


What now?

So, after all this, the question is, why should I buy an iPad? What are the best purposes of the iPad? Can iPad replace my iPhone? Can iPad replace my laptop?


What to use iPad for?

  • iPad is best for:
  • Reading books,
  • Being your calendar,
  • Be your small TV,
  • Watch movies on it,
  • Photo screen,
  • Basic game console.


Now, if you get one (or already got) everyone reading this would be happy if you share your ideas and points of view. My last question before ending this post is:


“What problem iPad solves in your life?”

Windows 7 not booting?

Microsoft Windows 7

Windows 7 is the latest Microsoft’s operating system. It’s something made out of Windows XP and Windows Vista. I found it a stable system and the visual effects are pretty cool. Something I do not really appreciate is the User Account Control which pops up everytime you make a system related operation. I disabled the UAC at the first startup.


Windows 7 was released first to computer manufacturers and leaked on the internet. Today, a retail version is available to everyone.


There are a lot of articles on the internet written about the features of Windows 7, its advantages and disadvantages. Lots of webhsites provide information on how to download and/or activate Windows 7. I would strongly recommend you buy a genuine version of Microsoft Windows 7, so you get all the benefits and avoid all problems. (Do not make/use illegal copies)


Windows 7 not booting?

Here in this article, I’m going to discuss a special case of error in which Microsoft Windows 7 does not boot. This specific case happens when you alter the hard disk’s Master Boot Record (MBR). This might usually happen if you tried to use an activator to activate Microsoft Windows 7 (which is an illegal procedure).


There is a simple way to fix this issue. What you need to do is to fix the boot record. This is done using the Windows 7 installation disk.


“Repair Windows 7” steps:

  1. Set your computer to boot up from the DVD (using BIOS setup, or pressing a specific key on the keyboard while your PC is getting on which lets you choose what to boot from.)
  2. Have the DVD inserted when booting the computer,
  3. Press any key to start from the DVD once prompted,
  4. Wait few moments,
  5. Choose language, keyboard layout and click next,
  6. Wait few seconds,
  7. Click on the “Repair your computer” link on the bottom of the appearing window,
  8. It scans for installed operating systems, and tries to fix it if possible, so wait a few seconds,
  9. Then (if unsuccessful), click finish,
  10. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click on “Command Prompt”,
  11. Locate your Windows drive by navigating the hard drive(s), let’s suppose your Windows is installed in “E:”
  12. Type in these commands (and press ENTER after each command) :
    
    
    Bootsect /nt60 E: /force /mbr
    
    Bootrec /FixMbr
    
    Bootrec /FixBoot
    
    Bootrec /RebuildBcd
     


    (More info on BootRec http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392)

  13. Remove the DVD and restart your computer.


Your Microsoft Windows should be alive again now!




Ref:

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/showpost.php?p=138888&postcount=1228

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392/

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/showthread.php?p=87550#post87550

Must have mobile applications – Part 3

Here’s¬† “Must have mobile applications” Part 3. Be sure to read the¬† Intro , the First Part and the Second Part.


ybrowser_iconY-Browser


Here’s another Symbian file browser which lets you browse all the system folders and drives on your phone. It comes with plugins to let you access your inbox and message folders for easy file transfers from your messages to your phone’s memory card. More details here.


Mobiola Web Camera

If you need to use your mobile phone as a wireless webcam, here’s Mobiola Web Camera, which is very reliable and supports bluetooth, wifi, and even USB cable connection, read more on this in Use you mobile phone as a wireless webcam.



… I’m actually writing next items, give me some time…



IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3


48px-warning_iconWarning!


Installing the stated applications stated, and using them, might require a large amount of data transfer over the internet from your phone, be aware of the connection fees that may apply to you by your mobile operator.

Must have mobile applications – Part 2

Here comes the second part of¬† “Must have mobile applications” articles. Be sure to read the¬† Intro , and the First Part.


Interactive Voice Call Manager

This application by Mobisophy provides you with tons of features and is one of the best and most reliable call manager applications available on the market. Use this application to record voice conversations (without beep), have a personalized answering machine, send busy tone when you don’t want to answer a call, reply with text message when you’re not available, mute the ringer on scheduled hours and so on…


salling_clicker_icon1 Salling Clicker


Salling Clicker is the ultimate bluetooth remote control from your computer. With Salling Clicker you can use your phone as a remote control, more details and download


yahoo_go_icon Yahoo GO


Here’s the application for all your Yahoo needs, more details here.


google-maps-icon Google Maps


Google maps is a must have application, it allows you to search local businesses and addresses, and can use your phone’s internal GPS for advanced maps features. Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, computer or both to locate your friends and familly. More details here.


activefile_scr ActiveFile


ActiveFile is a free browser giving you access to all your files and directories on the phone. You can navigate through your sms messages and backup your sms. It has lots of advanced features and tools. I recommend this application for free and advanced file browsing.


IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3



48px-warning_iconWarning!


Installing the stated applications stated, and using them, might require a large amount of data transfer over the internet from your phone, be aware of the connection fees that may apply to you by your mobile operator.

Must have mobile applications – Part 1

Once you’re through the Intro, let’s see the first part on “Must have mobile applications”:


icon_vodafone SFR Vodafone Live (French users)


Download and install the SFR Vodafone Live application, and run the application from your phone to get it updated with the lastest version.


mobitubia_icon MobiTubia

MobiTubia application is one of the best YouTube players available. You can search, watch and save YouTube mmovie clips on your phone. If for any reason MobiTubia is not the right choice for you, I recommend using either YouTube Player or emTube.


Nokia Photo Browser

This is a very easy to use and cool photo browsing application with stunning 3D effects from Nokia Beta Labs.

[video_generic]pV18PH5LjT4[/video_generic]



Nokia Conversations

Nokia Conversations is an add-on application that allows you to follow your communication with contacts as streams of conversations, which it organizes, based on individual contacts. The application also makes it very easy to reply to received messages and continue an ongoing conversation with the contact.


garmin_icon Garmin Mobile XT (GPS Software)


This is the best GPS application available for Nokia N95 , E71, E73 and other Symbian OS phones. Detailed installation instructions is available here: Garmin Mobile XT on Nokia E71 and N95 (Internal GPS supported)


IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3


48px-warning_iconWarning!


Installing the stated applications stated, and using them, might require a large amount of data transfer over the internet from your phone, be aware of the connection fees that may apply to you by your mobile operator.

Must have mobile applications – Intro

Tiered of searching for “useful” mobile applications when you buy a new phone or you just reset your current mobile phone? Searching for the best mediaplayer or photo browser application for your mobile phone? Do you want to access your sms inbox folder on the phone? Do you need a robust GPS application for your mobile phone? Are you searching for the best call manager software to manage, record and answer your calls?

latest-nokia-mobile-phones

Here’s “TOP N95 Applications, Symbian S60 Applications – Part 4

 

Today, I’ve formatted, reset and updated my Nokia N95 8GB to the latest firmware available (v.31.0.015), and now, I’m installing the required applications on the phone.

You can install these applications on your phone and be ready to go too. Just note that I installed these applications on Nokia N95 8GB with Symbian OS even though other versions might be available.


drive-backup-48x48

Backup your Phone


Backup your phone! This is NECESSARY! You do not want to loose anything when trying new stuff on your phone. Details on how to backup your phone’s memory are available at http://www.gibni.com/update-your-nokia-phone

I recommend that you backup your memory card too.


softwareUpdate-48Update your firmware (If needed and available)


It’s recommended to use the latest firmware available for your phone. Even though this is not essential, but it might help solving many bugs and errors in the system and the software. For updating your phone, read Update Your Nokia Phone.


drive-backup-48x48 Restore your backups


If you have formatted your memory card, or updated your firmware, you need to restore your backup(s) to get your personal stuff back on the phone.


You need to restore your backup data either from your computer or your phone’s mass memory. These backup data contain your Contacts, Settings, Notes, Messages …


settings_48-48Set your Settings


Get your GPRS, WAP, MMS and all other configurations from your mobile operator (usually, you can use your operator’s website to get more information)


IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3


48px-warning_iconWarning!


Installing the stated applications stated, and using them, might require a large amount of data transfer over the internet from your phone, be aware of the connection fees that may apply to you by your mobile operator.

Use your mobile phone as a wireless webcam

Yes! It’s very possible to have a wireless webcam if you have a mobile phone with a camera and a bluetooth connection.


Having a bulky USB webcam with that annoying USB cable when you are on the go, with your laptop, is not always the best thing to happen to you. That’s when a wireless webcam comes in handy. wireless webcam


Talking about wireless webcams, if you’ve ever thought of it, and searched about, you know that they cost a minimum of 100 USD, and are most of the time bulky, need power supply, and are relying on a network.


Now, you can have a good wireless webcam almost for free if you’ve got a mobile phone with a camera and a bluetooth connection to your computer.


Mobiola.com offers great applications for portable devices. I’ll discuss Mobiola Web Camera in this post.


With Mobiola Web Camera, you can connect your mobile (camera) phone to your computer wirelessly and use the phone as a wireless webcam. Mobiola Web Camera, offers three methods for the connection: Bluetooth, Wifi and USB cable connection.


The installation is quite straight forward, once you get the software, you install the desktop software on your computer and you install the mobile client application, and proceed through the configuration via the wizard.


Once installed, run the client software on your phone and the desktop software on your computer, and connect your phone’s camera, with the method you prefer. Either it be bluetooth, wifi or USB cable, the software guides you through the connecting proccess.


After the connection is successful, you can use your webcam in you instant messaging software(s) like Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Windows Live and all other software that can video record from a webcam.


You might need to configure the video (webcam) options in your computer applications to use the Mobiola Webcam instead of other webcams (if available).


Some users may face error messages when running the Mobiola Web Camera desktop application. These errors include (but are not limited to)


– “cannot find import; DLL may be missing, corrupt, or wrong version
file “connAPI.DLL”, error 126

To resolve the connAPI.dll error which is related to Nokia Connectivity API, I suggest you install the latest Nokia PC Suite ( http://europe.nokia.com/A4144903 )

or download the required “connAPI.dll” file and install it on your computer. (http://www.dll-files.com/support/)


– msvcrtd.dll file missing.

Download and install the msvcrtd.dll on your computer.

Posts and comments in ‚Äúany‚ÄĚ language in WordPress!

Have you ever thought of writing your blog posts in a language other than English? or even let your visitors leave comments in another language!?


Well, some may answer with “Yes! in French!” (or Portuguese, or Italian…), but, what I mean is in other languages like Arabic, Farsi (Persian), Urdu, Chinese…, languages which have characters other than the basic “A,B,C…”

Basically, when you write a blog post on your blog, it is stored in a database, and what characters that database supports, defines the characters you can use for writting your post.


Well discuss about the two general types of WordPress, the WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WordPress installations.


WordPress.com blogs:


Typing other languages such as Farsi or Russian or Arabic should be supported by default and you should be able to write in almost any language without problem.

But if it’s not enabled on your account, according to Fatih Syuhud [1], you should:

– Login to your administration area on WordPress.com

– Go to “Settings” > “Reading”

– and set the encoding for “Pages and Feeds” to “UTF-8”

This procedure gives you the possibility of writing all kind of characters on your pages and posts and feeds.

Encoding for other specific character:

  • Latin/Hebrew: ISO-8859-8
  • Hebrew: windows-1255
  • Latin/Arabic: ISO-8859-6
  • Arabic: windows-1256


Self-hosted WordPress installations:

Remember that you take full responsability for the modifications and actions you do on your blogs/sites! Proceed at your own risk.


The contents of posts are stored in a table called wp_post (by default) inside your WordPress main database.

What defines the type of characters supported by a table, are the charset and collation of the table.

By default, all installations of WordPress (prior to 2.3.1), use the latin1_general_ci (or latin1_swedish_ci) encoding for their rows and tables.


To post articles in Arabic or Farsi (Persian) (or Urdu, Chinese, Russian…), you should change the encodings of specific tables and respective rows to utf8_general_ci.


Step One: Backup


You should first of all, backup your files and database! use Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan’s WP-DBManager plugin, or do it manually by following the procedure from this article: WordPress Backups.



Step Two: Convert


First Solution proposed by Fatih and Mukhlas Rowi [3] ( 70% success rate , maybe some data loss)  is:

– Open your WordPress database in phpMyAdmin (in cPanel),

– Click on the “wp_post” table and then click on “Operations”,

– Change the collation to “utf8_general_ci”,

– Save.

– Now, browse to the “wp_post” table, and check all rows with a collation attribute,

– Click on “Edit” bellow the list of selected rows,

– Change all collations to “utf8_general_ci”,

– Save.

That’ it.


Second solution: Use a plugin to do the conversion! I’ve tested the bbwp2UTF8 plugin and it works great (at least with WordPress 2.7.1), you can download it from my Downloads Page or from WordPress.org home page: bbwp2UTF8 Home page. ( 30% success rate, big data loss)


– Install the bbwp2UTF8 plugin by extracting its content in your plugins directory (usually /wp-content/plugins ),

– Go to the plugin’s page (link is below the “Plugins” section on the left side of the page in WordPress 2.7) .

– Check the desired tables to convert ( I recomment you convert all tables),

– Proceed with the steps to complete the conversion procedure.


That’s all! Your database and tables have been converted in the right manner, and you should not face any loss of data.


(In case you don’t like the plugin suggested above, or it doesn’t work for you, you may try: UTF-8 Database Converter by g30rg3_x ( I haven’t tried this out!) )


Geeks’ solution: Follow the guide at WordPress.org : Converting Database Character Sets



Now you can type UTF8 characters in WordPress and let your visitors type in UTF8 characters in the comments section.



Read More here:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Converting_Database_Character_Sets

http://www.haidongji.com/2008/11/11/convert-character-set-to-utf8-in-mysql/

http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/ultimate-solution-to-weird-utf-character-encoding-problem

http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php#Database_character_set

http://www.haidongji.com/2009/02/16/perl-script-to-convert-mysql-character-set-to-utf8/

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/utf-8-database-converter/installation/

Ref:

[1]- http://fatihsyuhud.com/2009/01/16/how-to-enable-arabic-letters-in-wordpress/

[2]- http://codex.wordpress.org/Converting_Database_Character_Sets

[3]- http://www.mukhlas-rowi.web.id/2008/11/11/mengatasi-problem-penulisan-huruf-arab-di-blog/

MyBlogLog Widget is SLOW!

I’ve been using MyBlogLog widget from Yahoo, from the beginning, and I was really happy with it at first. I used to find out who visited my site and if they’ve had a blog or website, it helped me to find and visit it easily.

Now that Gibni is expanding and I get more and more visitors per day, I am worried about the speed and loading times, so I am trying to make pages load faster and faster.

I’ve been using caching techniques, CSS sprites and other optimization techniques some developed by myself and some mostly inspired from AskApache ; and managed to get the best possible loading speed.

Today, I feel it’s going to be the last day for MyBlogLog widget on Gibni. And within the next 12 hours, it will be removed. The main issue with this widget is that it makes many requests to Yahoo servers and this keeps client’s browser connections busy, so it slows the page and the user has to wait for this widget to be ready to have all the site’s functionalities.

If you are using this widget on your site, it might be slowing it down too. Visitors usually don’t like to wait more than few seconds for a website to appear and be fully functional. This will affect your site’s impressions.

This widget has a quite heavy javascript file, and uses a lot of separate image files.

On the other hand , it”s a good tool to build a “website/blog community”. At last, all depends on what matters the most to you?