How to Publish Web Content Using the NetBeans IDE

Hello NetBeans developers. This is Elli Starforce writing to you today about how you can publish web content using the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment to publish web content without the hassle of messing around with FTP Clients, Notepad, or your host’s generally annoying online tools.

Step 1) Make sure you have the right NetBeans. NetBeans comes in about 10 or so different versions, so make sure you have one that supports PHP development. Once you’ve successfully installed it, make sure you have the right plugins installed (Tools—>Plugins). (Note: it supports more than just PHP)

Step 2) Click on File —> New Project. A dialog will come up. Select PHP —> PHP Application. Click Next.

Step 3) Name your project, specify its location, etc. Click Next.

Step 4) Select “Run As” —> Remote Web Site (FTP, SFTP).

Step 5) Specify the URL you want your site to run off of (the one you would expect the public to start at) in the “Project URL” area.

Step 6) By Remote Connection, click Manage. Set up the site to the specific FTP mode given to you by your site provider. (Anonymous generally doesn’t do much)

Step 7) Depending on your project, you may want to select the appropriate option under “Upload Files”. I personally prefer “Upload On Save”, but it is up to you.

Step 8) Click Finish!

That’s about it. Now your “source files” folder will behave as if it is the same as the directory which you specified in your FTP setup. You may need to modify the settings in the future. It can be done by right-clicking and setting the properties.

Now, with NetBeans, you can upload more than just PHP files. Under your PHP application, just click “New File” and you can look at the whole list.

Downsides- it doesn’t upload the names of files that are already on the server. It assumes it is just a blank directory. So, if you want to modify something, you have to make a file with the same name in NetBeans than save/run it. Also, I never figured out a way for it to upload files that it can’t natively edit. For example, if I made a folder called “images” and put images in it manually through Windows Explorer… it wouldn’t upload through NetBeans. You’ll have to do that manually through an FTP Client or your site’s control utilities.

Anyways, have fun developing with NetBeans!


Where Can I Get Free Web Templates for Online Publishing?

Free Web Templates

The best place to get your free web templates is from your hosting company. If it is their product they will probably provide support free of charge. I am always looking for products with support. It can be very frustrating to work on something for months only to have your content messed up from one mistake.

If you do go with a free product that you find online, check that it is compatible with your hosting account; there are no weird file extensions that will send your web hosting provider into a hissy fit.

It happens.

Look for reviews online. People love to talk and they love to link. See what others are saying about the quality of the product.

And make sure that the template is compatible with your topic. No matter how cute or pretty it looks, it must convey the purpose of your website before anyone has a chance to read the content.

So if you are going for an entrepreneurial route or even a professional business angle, stay away from cute graphics of animals and people unless that is the focus of your website.

Where to look? 
1. Free templates search on google or yahoo 
2. Your web host. 
3. Get recommendations from others online.

I’m using the Typepad blogging system right now so my entire design work involved picking a preformatted templates, making a few simple adjustments and then I add content.


YouTube; a Web that Got Everything

Over the last few months YouTube has become my principle source of entertainment. Why? The basic premise of YouTube is simple: make a video, upload it, let the world see it and comment on it. In no time at all YouTube has become the repository of world culture. If an alien landed tomorrow he wouldn’t say ‘Take me to your leader’, he’d say ‘Let me watch YouTube’.

My 77 year old mother-in-law challenged me to find a song she hadnt heard for 50 years. Within seconds she was listening to it with amazement. Our non-existent future kids will wonder about- how did mommy/daddy live in a world without YouTube? It’s like the cell phone, the iPod and the laptop- nowadays- a world without those things is just not comprehensible.

I give praise to YouTube. What is the fuss all about? Well- remember when something happened and you had to hear about it from your friends? Remember when news wasn’t overplayed like reruns? No one has time to wait anymore. No one has time to sit down and watch the news. People want to see what’s going on when they want. They want YouTube.

With the powerful addition of the Google search, finding what you want on YouTube is pretty darn easy. I find YouTube most purposeful for unrepeatable incidents. Missed the democratic presidential candidates debate? They’ve got it. Miss Clinton’s presidency, and want to relive his moments? They’ve got it. Britney’s sad comeback on the VMAs? They’ve got it.

YouTube is the best site to visit if you get bored. Just type in a random word and the chances are something will come up. Type in coconut and you’ll probably see a video of someone (tends to be someone with no friends apart from the person holding the camera) juggling coconuts before drinking the milk out of it using a bamboo stick and a hoover. I’m not joking the “YouTubers” do film the strangest things.

It’s not only a place to laugh AT others, but a place to watch the latest movie trailers or funny videos. Even if your only interest is of politics and the art of unicycling, I can guarantee that there are thousands of videos for you. There’s even videos of a guy solving the rubiks cube in 10 seconds!

With YouTube, the future is now, and we can watch things that entertain us from all over the world. So the next time you’re bored, visit YouTube and watch some videos.


Driving Traffic to Your Website is Not Just Google’s Job

Proactive Trffic Exchanges Can Get Thousands of Visitors to Your Website Within Hours

StartXchange was established in 2001 and, having lasted the course, now boasts many tens of thousands of members. It is one of the most popular traffic exchanges for many reasons and in this review I will try to outline some of the features that make this the exchange of choice for so many users.

The menu on the left hand side of the members page details all the main features but even while you surf there are still quick links available to get you to the most important parts of the site at any time. As you add your website’s URL a recently deployed scan is used to keep the traffic exchange clean and efficient. It appears to be working well to control the rogue sites employing undesirable scripts.

Free members have the credits they earn assigned automatically although this can be turned off if they don’t want traffic delivered to their site at any particular time. Useful while changing site content. Members who have upgraded always have the choice whether to assign credits automatically or bank them to assign manually at a later time. When assigning credits manually, the member can dictate the number of credits to be delivered daily and the system cleverly strives to deliver the credits evenly at the rate set evenly throughout the day. This is a very useful facility that helps expose your website to the maximum number of unique visitors rather than too many repeat ‘hits’ within a short time frame.

StartXchange provides members with a wealth of information and charts to see how you are surfing and how your sites are being viewed by others. You can even see what members have viewed your websites. A rare feature among the traffic exchanges I’ve explored.

Another feature I like about StartXchange is the ability to filter out exposure to sites which use sound. Many surfers, myself included, find these sites to be very annoying so the ability to keep them filtered out is a great bonus.

The surfbar control is built around colored symbols refreshed each time you view a website. Two of these shapes will match and by clicking on one of these paired shapes lets you continue surfing and earn credit for the page viewed. Remember that the color and position of the symbols will change on each click to stop people using automated macros or bot type scripts to cheat the system. It really is very easy to use.

The time viewing each page is set at 10 seconds, a fair amount of time to judge most websites in my opinion. However a slow loading page is a distinct disadvantage so make sure your site loads quickly or employ a so called ‘Splash Page’ on the exchange that will open your site in a separate window when clicked.

The basic surf ratio is set at 3-1 for free members but this is supplemented by many bonus credits awarded while you surf and the Completed Word feature built in to the surf bar. As you surf the name ‘StartXchange’ is slowly revealed. It takes 100 page views to complete the word but you are then eligible for entry into a daily draw for bonus credits. Three surfers win various amounts of credits each day.

The surf ratio can be improved if you upgrade although, given the regular bonus credits awarded to free members, this is a genuinely effective site to use even if you don’t want to pay for an upgraded surfing ratio. As with most traffic exchanges, you can advertise banners and there is a downline builder if you want to earn even more credit by referring more users from your website.

Where StartXchange really stands out is the additional bonuses you can earn quite easily simply by surfing regularly. If you surf over 20 sites in a day you will receive 10% more credits for your surfing the following day and this increases the more you surf .There is also a rank system which means the more you surf the higher you will rank in terms of ‘activity’. A higher activity level rewards you with even more additional surfing credit.

StartXchange has its own forum which makes it easy to get questions answered and your opinions heard. Help pages are also clearly written and easy to find.

There are two different membership upgrades available labelled Gold and Platinum. They currently cost $6 and $14.95 a month respectively. Each level of upgrade improves your surfing ratio and allocates more benefits.

If time constraints prohibit your ability to surf for credits you can purchase these independently. They represent good value and, naturally, the more you buy the better the value becomes. Upgraded members also receive random referrals allocated as new non-referred members join up.

In summary, StartXchange is one of the few traffic exchanges I’ve experienced where you will get results as a free member. While it’s all very well waiting for Adwords or search engines to begin delivering you traffic, StartXchange enables you to proactively drive viewers to your sites.


Tracking Website Performance with Google Analytics

A General Overview on How to Use Google to Your Advantage

One of the many useful tools that Google offers is their analytical tool that measures and tracks visitors and pageviews to your website. Viewable at, anyone that has a Google account can quickly and easily sign up for Google Analytics.

Once you submit your website address into Google Analytics, a script is automatically generated. Using this script, the webmaster can easily add it on each page, right before the tag in the HTML coding. It is important that each page of the website gets this script on it, as this is how Google receives the data. For those who control multiple websites, there is the ability to put multiple websites on the same profile, as well as the ability to compare the performance of one website to another website.

When viewing the reports on Google Analytics, there are many options, as well as a plethora of data available, all for free.

By default, the first report that comes up is the ‘Dashboard’. This is a summary of the website report. It shows the number of visitors and pageviews, as well as an overview of Traffic Sources, where the visits came from and what pages were visited.

The upper-right corner on each page as you go through the Google Analytics report shows the date range that the data is being pulled for. By simply clicking on the drop-down arrow, it opens up a calendar. From here the user can simply click on a start and end date to make a customized date range.

Visitors Overview:

The key statistics from this page are the number of visits, how many of them are unique (this is determined by the recording of IP addresses as visitors come and go), the total number of pageviews and the average pageviews that each visit produced.

This section also provides a breakdown of connection speed and what browser the visitor was using. For web developers, this can play an important role when websites are being tested for compatibility. If the majority of viewers are using Dial-up, for example, a less graphic-intense website might be a more preferred option when redesigning the website.

The Map Overlay tab shows what country, state and city particular visits came from. This is beneficial in knowing where your visits are coming from. If you are operating a small business, this may be useful in determining where there is demand to expand to.

Traffic Sources:

This section is useful as it displays how visitors are getting to your website. Not only will it break the visits down by direct traffic, referring websites and search engines, but it will also break down what the referring websites are and what search engines in particular generated traffic. Knowing what referring websites are driving traffic to your website can help you recognize who is promoting your website.

In addition, the visits from search engines are then broken down into what the keywords in the searches were that drove people to the website. This can help web developers know what meta tags are working and which ones may need to be revised.

Content Overview:

This section shows the number of pageviews for the website, as well as how many of those pageviews were unique. The most useful portion of this section is the breakdown of what pages were visited and how many times they were visited. It also shows how much time was spent on each page, which may show how much more one page is focused on over others. For those who want to go beyond these simple tasks, it also allows users to see entrance paths, as well as entrance sources.

Reports can be exported as PDF files, which can be saved, e-mailed to clients, and printed. The abilities and control that Google Analytics provides web developers is something that everyone who operates a website should take advantage of, as the wonderful price of free means there is nothing to lose.


How to Put Your Pictures on the Web with Flickr

Create a Flickr Picture Set Using Flickr Uploadr

Flickr is among the best picture-sharing web sites. It features a bulk-uploading tool, automatic resizing and a nice slide-show viewer. The process of setting up a picture set is a bit devious, and Flickr’s instructions could stand improvement. This guide is my attempt to fill the gap. What you’ll need:

* An Internet connection. I recommend a high-speed connection for a pleasant experience.

* A Yahoo/Flickr account. Flickr offers a free account for sharing a limited number of pictures. Or you can share more pictures with a pro account for a small monthly fee.

* To use the method described here, you will need to download and install the Flickr Uploadr tool.

Prepare your pictures

1. Organize the pictures you want to make into a Flickr set in a folder. Prefix their file names with numbers that are in descending order, like 095 my dog.jpg . Leave gaps of 5 or so between numbers, so you can adjust the order later without a lot of renumbering. The first picture in the set should have the highest number; a copy of it will become the thumbnail (a little indexing picture) for your set. When you’re done, if you sort the pictures by file name, the last picture will be at the start and the first picture will be at the end. (Flickr has picture display sequencing options, but it keeps reverting to the sequence it likes. This numbering method will keep your pictures in the sequence you want.)

2. Don’t resize the pictures before you upload them. (The idea here is to make small picture files that will display quickly.) The Flickr Uploadr resizes them automatically.

3. Don’t spend a lot of time rotating the pictures so the top is on top. Flickr has its own goofy ideas about which end is the top. After you’ve uploaded them, you’ll have to rotate a lot of them anyway.

Upload them

4. Open Flickr Uploadr.

5. In your picture folder, in the Edit menu click Select all. Windows will make a heavy border around all the pictures.

6. Point your mouse at any of the selected pictures, and hold down the left mouse button. The heavy border around all of the pictures (not just the picture you’re pointing at) should remain, showing that they are still all selected. If it goes away, go back to the previous step.

7. Drag all the selected pictures at once into the Flickr Uploadr window, and release the mouse button. As they’re copied, you’ll notice that their order is reversed; this is the order in which they’ll appear in your set.

8. In the bottom right corner of Flickr Uploadr, Click Upload. The Photo Settings window displays.

9. Optionally, check the privacy setting you want.

10. Optionally, enter tags (key words) to help people who may be searching for pictures like yours. The tags you enter here will be attached to every picture in the set. (Later, you can optionally put tags on individual pictures.)

11. Click Create set. The Set Creation window displays.

12. Enter a title and description for the set. Click Create.

13. In the bottom right corner of the Flickr Uploadr window, click FinishFlickr Uploadr shows a thumbnail of each picture as it uploads it. When it is done, it displays “Your photos are now online!”

Finishing touches

14. In Flickr Uploadr, click See photos . Your web browser opens to a page entitled “Your additions” containing the photos you uploaded. Optionally, you can adjust file names and add tags and descriptions on this page and click OK at the bottom when you’re done. My preference is to make these finishing touches later with a better tool, so I just go to the bottom and click “Go to your photostream page.”

15. “Your photostream page” shows the pictures you just uploaded. But this is not the set you are working on now; this is all of your pictures. If you’ve uploaded pictures before, you’ll probably see some of them here too. That’s because your photostream includes all of your pictures, and each of your sets is a subset of the photostream. In the right margin is an index of your sets with the newest set on top. Click the set thumbnail to go to its page.

16. The set’s page has the title that you specified. It shows a medium-sized version of the set’s thumbnail picture, and small thumbnails of all of the pictures in the set. Click a picture’s thumbnail to edit it.

17. A picture’s page is titled with the picture’s file name (without the file format suffix). It shows a large version of the picture. Picture editing tool buttons are on the top edge of the picture; this is where to go to rotate it.

18. Underneath the picture are description and comment areas. Viewers can enter comments, but only you can edit the description. If the picture has no description, find the description area by mousing over the blank area underneath the picture. This reveals a highlighted bar that says “Click here to add a description.”

19. To the right is a filmstrip tool that shows thumbnails of this picture and an adjacent picture. Click the arrows underneath these thumbnails to move the filmstrip. When you get to a thumbnail whose picture you want to edit, click it.

Share your pictures

20. When you’re done editing, return to the set page by clicking the set title above the filmstrip.

21. In the top right corner of the set page, click “Share this.” A “Share this set” window displays.

22. You can use this window to generate e-mails to your friends with links to the set. But my preference is to “grab the link” at the bottom of the window. I copy it, go to my e-mail program, and paste it into an e-mail there.


Back Up Your Favorite Websites with WebCopier for Mac

A few years ago, back when I had dial-up Internet access, I was doing research on… something that I no longer remember, actually… and constantly having to dial up and login to my Internet account, then try to perform my research on the slow dial-up speeds (all the while annoying my roommates who wanted to talk on the phone), was getting a bit annoying. So I decided to try and find a way to download the complete website I was using as the main part of my research. There were definitely tools for this, even a few years ago, but they required a lot of typing of strange strings of characters, and didn’t always get exactly what I wanted (although I chalk a lot of that up to my inexperience with the program).

I was thinking about that the other day, and decided to see what tools are out there now, that perform the same task. I found one right away, listed on Apple’s Mac OSX software download page, called WebCopier. WebCopier is a shareware program costing $30.00, and appeared to do exactly what I want (make complete copies of a website for offline viewing), so I downloaded the 15-day trial copy, installed it, and took it for a spin.

And in spite of a couple aspects to the program I don’t really like, it did a pretty good job.

The first website I tried it out on was my church’s website. I’ve been looking at completely moving the website to a new hosting service (completely unofficially, since I’m not the church’s website maintainer), so I wanted to see exactly how large a site I’m looking at.

Making the backup of the website was incredibly easy. To back-up a website, you only need to do the following:

1. Open a new Project and give it a name.

2. Give WebCopier the web address of your website.

3. If the website needs username/password information, provide it.

4. Select a spot where WebCopier will save the website on your hard drive.

5. If you want to select your own downloading parameters (such as only downloading html files and images, and not mp3s and videos), you can choose those options now, otherwise simply start the download using the built-in standard options.

6. If you want, you can save your project and initiate the download all at once, or you can simply save the project and then start downloading from the main screen.

That’s it! If you chose to start the downloading automatically, WebCopier will now spider through the website you chose, downloading all of the site’s pages, images and other necessary files, and will save them in the spot you chose, in a series of nested folders, organized to mimic the site’s structure. When the site has been completely downloaded, you can quit WebCopier and browse through your backed-up site in your regular web browser, or use the built-in browser WebCopier provides.

In my mind, other than the basic downloading ability, the best thing WebCopier has going for it is its built-in project manager, which lets you keep track of all the sites you’ve downloaded, and view them, right from inside WebCopier. There are certainly other tools (a lot of them less expensive and some of those completely free), that can download complete websites for offline viewing, but I really like how WebCopier lets me view my saved websites all in one place.

But to be honest, that feature probably isn’t worth thirty dollars to me. It’s nice, but isn’t a feature that’s going to make me plunk down my thirty dollars to pay for a full license.

In addition to that, I’m not a huge fan of the regular WebCopier interface. This is certainly subjective, but in my mind the interface itself is a little bit clunky, doesn’t feel like a standard Mac application (it’s written in Java, I believe, and not in Cocoa or Carbon, which would account for some of the clunkiness), and I just think it’s a bit ugly.

As well, at least on my system, WebCopier didn’t ever feel all that solid or stable to me. It never crashed the entire time I was using it, but the windows and dialogs were constantly flickering from dark gray to light gray to white, each time I brought up a new window or selected an option.

Still, in spite of my misgivings, WebCopier absolutely does what it says it will do, and frankly it does it easily and quickly, not to mention doing it well.

So, if you’re looking for a website utility that allows you to make a personal copy of a website for offline viewing, you would do well to give WebCopier a try.

Note: There are versions of WebCopier products available for both Windows and Mac. I tried the Mac version, but if I’m right, the product was originally a Windows application, and may not have the issues I outlined above, so if you’re a Windows user, by all means feel free to ignore any or all of my misgivings.


Promoting Your Web Site: Commenting Etiquette

Social Media Can Be a Great Way to Promote Your Web Site

When it comes to promoting your Web site, there are several online techniques you can use. Social media is very popular. From blogs to networks, it is possible to use social media to promote your Web site — or even your own social media profile or blog. And one of the most popular ways to do this is by commenting on others’ posts. But there is an etiquette to commenting. You want to make sure that you are being a good member of your social media network. Otherwise, you might be spurned and your comments deleted.

Don’t be mean

It is possible to “disagree without being disagreeable.” It is true that there are many rude commenters out there, but you don’t want to be one of them. On some blogs, if you personal attack someone else, then you get a bad reputation. Or your comment may even be deleted. And that doesn’t help anyone increase their pageviews. Instead, be polite. And remember: if you wouldn’t say it offline, there’s no reason to say it online.

Make applicable and thoughtful comments

You want your comments to contribute to the discussion. Saying something like “Great post!” won’t be terribly helpful. All that does is make it obvious you are just trying to promote your Web site. Instead, think about what you can add, whether it be additional information or a personal experience. It doesn’t have to be a long comment, but it should be thoughtful and personal. When you are seen as someone who regularly contributes thoughtful ideas and comments, others will be interested in clicking on your link to find out more about you and your Web site.

Avoid the hard sell

Many people come online and try a “hard sell.” Overt promotion of your Web site is considered shameless in some social media circles — even if you include something thoughtful. Making a comment and then adding “You can read more about it here” or “Visit me to learn about my services” can be considered tacky. Instead, let your ideas speak for themselves. Eventually the traffic will come — and you will be seen as someone who is interested in contributing to the community, rather than someone who is just out for the promotion.

Ultimately, the idea is to be a member of community. So, that means that you need to act like one. And reciprocate. If someone leaves a thoughtful comment on your Web site, head on over to his or hers and leave a comment of your own.