Monday, 20 May 2013

Some clever code for SEO that won't annoy your users

Highlighting words for SEO, turning them off for the users

You might notice in the right side bar I have two options under the settings tab "Un-Bold" and "Re-Bold".

If you try them out you will see what the options do. Basically unbolding any STRONG or BOLD tags or re-bolding them again.

The reason is simple. Bolding important words either in STRONG or BOLD tags is good for SEO. Having content in H1 - H6 tags are even better and so are links - especially if they go to relevant and related content.

However, I don't claim to be the first person to start bolding important keywords and long tail sentences for SEO purposes but I was one of the first to catch on that the benefits for SEO were great.

To much bolding and it looks like spam, too little you might not get much benefit but you have to 2 areas to cater for.

1. The SERP crawlers (Googlebot, BingBot, Yandex etc etc) who see the original source code on the page. When they do they will just see words wrapped in normal STRONG and BOLD tags (See for yourself).

2. However if a user doesn't like the format and mix of bolded and non bolded wording then they can use the settings to add a class to all STRONG and BOLD tags that basically takes aways the font-weight of the element. You would only see this in the generated source code. Running the "Re-Bold" function after the first "Un-Bold" will just remove the class that took away the font-weight in the first place returning the element to it's normal bolded state.

Therefore the code is aimed for both BOTS and users and you can see a simple test page on my main site here: example to unbold and rebold with jQuery.

I have used jQuery for this only because it was simple to write however it wouldn't be too hard to rewrite with plain old JavaScript.

Another extension I have lost since updating this blog format but would be easy to add is the use of a JavaScript created cookie to store the users last preference so that they don't have to keep clicking the "un-bold" option when they visit the site.

As Blogger won't let  you add server side code to the blog you will need to do it all with JavaScript but with the new blogger layout (which I love by the way - unlike Google+) it is easy to add JavaScript (external and internal) plus CSS sections and link blocks to control the actions of your functions.

An example of the code is below and hopefully you can see how easy it is to use.

First I load in the latest version of jQuery from Google.

Then I use selectors to ensure I am only targeting the main content part of the page before I add or remove classes to STRONG or BOLD tags.

<style type="text/css">

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

function unbold()

function bold()

So not only are you benefiting from SEO tweaks but you are letting your users turn it off if they feel it's a bit too much. Hey Presto!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Why I hate the new Google+ API

I absolutely hate the new Google+ API

Yes Google+ have had a revamp and if you are not on it then you won't know what the old version was like if you now join.

To me it's as if someone has read too many books on the jQuery effects library and basically orgasmed code across the API.

If you go to type a new status message into a box the whole page shifts round so that your box moves to the centre of the screen and the rest of the messages and segments of the page do a little jig around it so that you are supposed to go "wow".

Not me. Too much API Jizz is something I hate. 

Not only does it repeatedly turn my PC into a helicopter as the CPU rises and falls like a coke head on the lash but it just is too much for my ageing eyes.

It really seems to me as if someone is showing off by writing their "funky" API code. Hey boss look what I can do with a shit load of JavaScript that takes ages for all the page segments to load but makes non techies go "oooh" as they see it in action.

Whilst an API should be friendly and easy to use there is nothing "useful" about the whole screen moving around just so your current type box is in the middle of the screen.

Why not just put the "new message" box in the middle to start with?

Not only that but the amount of times I go to reply to a conversation down the right hand side and someone I have never seen before pops up in a box on top of the place I am trying to write is beyond annoying.

It means not only can I hit the send button but sometimes if I can find a way to get rid of the annoying box (and that's not 100% of the time) the message I was writing disappears!

I know writing the whole page in JavaScript stops (or limits script kiddy's) from scraping easily but there really is a limit. Personally I just think Google+ have crossed it and that there was nothing too wrong with their old API.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Handling unassigned local variable errors with struct objects in C#

Handling non assigned struct objects in C#

If you have ever used structs and had use of unassigned local variable errors from your editor i.e Visual Studio then there is a simple solution.

The problem comes about because the compiler is not clever enough to realise that the struct object will always be initialised when used.

This is usually because the struct object is initialised within an IF statement or other code branch which makes the compiler believe that a similar situation to the "unreachable code" error has been detected.

As the compile cannot definitely tell that the struct object will always be initialised when it gets used it will raise a compile error.

In Visual Studio it will usually show up with a red line under the code in question with the error message "use of unassigned local variable ..."

Here is a simple example where the struct object is populated with a method and starts off in the main constructor method unassigned.

However because of the nature of the code and the fact that on the first loop iteration oldID will never be the same as currentID (as oldID starts off as 0 and currentID as 1) then the IF statement will always cause the this.FillObject method to run on each iteration.

Therefore the myvar variable which is based on a struct called myStructObj will always get populated with new values from the loop.

However the compiler cannot tell this from the code and will raise the "use of unassigned local variable myvar" error when I try to pass the object as a parameter into the this.OutputObject(myvar) method which just outputs the current property values from the object.
public class Test

 /* example of a method that believes the struct object won't get assigned even though due to the if statement it always will */
 public void Test()

  myStructObj myvar;
  int oldID = 0; 

  /* just a basic loop from 1 to 9 */
  for(int currentID = 1; currentID < 10; currentID++)
   /* as the oldID starts as 0 and currentID starts as 1 on the first loop iteration we will always populate the struct object with values */
   if(oldID != currentID)
    /* populate our struct object using our FillObject method */
    myvar = this.FillObject(currentID, "ID: " + currentID.ToString());

    oldID = currentID;

   /* try and parse our struct to a method to output the values - this is where we would get our red line under the myvar parameter being passed into the OutputObject method e.g. "use of unassigned local variable myvar" */


 /* Simple method to output the properties of the object to the console */
 private void OutputObject(myStructObj myvar)

 /* Simple method to populate the struct object with a string and integer value for both properties*/
 private myStructObj FillObject(string val1, int val2)
  myStructObj myvar = new myStructObj();

  myvar.prop1 = val1;
  myvar.prop2 = val2;

  return myvar;

 /* my struct object definition - using non nullable types */
 public struct myStructObj
  public string prop1;

  public int prop2;

Solution to use of unassigned local struct variable

The solution is to either to always initialise the object before you start the loop or to just use the default keyword to ensure your struct object variable is always set-up with default values.

Example Fix

myStructObj myvar = default(myStructObj);

This will get rid of those annoying red lines and use of unassigned local variable errors.

If your struct object is a value type then it calls the default constructor and if it's a reference type you will get a null that you can then test for before using it.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Internet Explorer virus used to attack US nuclear weapons researchers

Internet Explorer virus used to attack US nuclear weapons

By Dark Politricks

From the popular alternative news site comes the news that the "most popular browser in the USA - yes IE 8!" has been used by hackers to infiltrate US nuclear weapon researchers computers in America.

Apparently zero day exploits were used, as well as a virus on a popular website frequented by members of the nuclear weapons industry.

The hack was only discovered after an unknown number of computers became infected with a backdoor Trojan that was reportedly installed on the machines of web surfers who used IE 8 to navigate to a specific page on the US Department of Labor website.

"The Department of Labor site was rigged to redirect users to another site that infected computers with an iteration of the infamous "Poison Ivy" Trojan, which was able to avoid detection by all but two major anti-virus products,” Ben Weitzenkorn wrote Monday for TechNews Daily."
According to Microsoft, "The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer."

Why IE 8 is still the most popular browser in the USA I have no idea. Have they not heard of Chrome, FireFox or even IE 9?

We all know IE 6 was a danger to itself, it's users and everyone else around it.

This was due to the severe amount of security holes in the code and the large number of hacks that had to be used to make websites work in it. This was both by CSS designers and JavaScript developers who had to come up with the many frameworks we are now left with. All just to make a standards compliant webpage work in IE and normal browsers.

Just think if it wasn't for IE 5 and IE 6 we probably would have never even heard of jQuery, Prototype, addEvent functions and hacks to get uncommon browsers working on your PC like window.opera and user-agents that are so full of shit they have lost all meaning to anyone.

You can view the full article US nuclear weapons researchers targeted with Internet Explorer virus at the popular #altnews site