Tag: Web

1and1.com – Web Hosting Review

Purchasing web hosting service is extremely easy; however, purchasing great web service is extremely difficult. Some of the web hosts pretty much register the domain and give you access almost immediately to some temporary space while the DNS wait period occurs.

I can’t remember how long it took for me to get access to the temporary space on 1and1, because I started hosting with them around 2003 / 2004. I have used 1and1 pretty much exclusively since purchasing my first domain name and can’t say I have a lot of complaints although there are definitely somethings I wish they did differently.

Hosting
I haven’t had any issues with the actual web hosting although I do find it frustrating that things like FTP accounts are so limited. I was thinking about including hosting in my web design/development projects and allowing the company FTP access but that would limit me to 50 clients per package. An important thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to use a 1and1 database (MySQL / MS SQL) is that it is behind a firewall and you must use their web based tools.

Customer Service
The four times, I have had to deal with 1and1 I was extremely disappointed with the level of customer service. For example, there was a severe email outage for about two days and staff seemed to be indifferent to the issue. Before you go with 1and1 make sure that you know exactly what you are doing, and that you have patience because their technical support/customer service is terribly slow. The FAQs aren’t exactly great and often don’t really contain remedies to the problem: for example why is DOMDocument disabled and how do I fix the problem? Well, 1and1 doesn’t actually say at the time of this writing!

Billing Practices
I’m not exactly thrilled with having to pay for a full year’s service at a time and not getting any sort of deal for allowing them to use my money for free for like 12 months. Cancelling domains and packages is quite tricky on the billing/cancel application partly because you have to respond to an email at least once and then wait some period of time (2 months?) and make sure again that the item is actually cancelled.

Final Thoughts
1and1 was the cheapest host that I could basically find around 2003/2004 and still seems to be one of the cheapest. I wouldn’t describe the experience as great but I also wouldn’t say it was terrible. If you are price conscious, willing to learn, and have patience then your 1and1 experience will probably be similar to mine.

Creating a Simple RSS Feed

RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication and is an XML specification published by the W3C. RSS became a standardized specification around June 2000. This is meant to be a very simple primer on developing an RSS feed. Please note that this is not meant to replace a detailed book or the specification created by W3C. When I first created an RSS feed for a client the specification was the only way to learn RSS.

There are required elements to meet the specification as well as some optional. Some of the elements that are option really should be included logically.

Each RSS feed begins with a tag describing what XML specification the document meets. For example:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>

After the XML Version, we need to know which version of the RSS specification this document will meet. The rss document will also have a closing </rss> tag at the end.

So far, we have:
<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<rss version=”2.0″>
</rss>

The next tag we have is for a channel. A channel is a reverse-chronological list of links to stories that includes a title, and some sort of description.

The channel has a couple of required elements that are mostly self explanatory. The first one is a title (the name of the channel, usually just the website name), a link (to the website) and a description of the service.

So, we now have:
<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<rss version=”2.0″>
<channel>
<title>Brian R. Cline’s News Feed</title>
<link>http://www.brcline.com</link>

<description>Programming Blog for a Programmer Analyst in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.</description>
</channel>
</rss>

There’s many optional elements to include within the channel, but I don’t feel that most are needed to produce a great and strictly valid RSS feed.

For example, there’s image which lets you specify a GIF,JPEG, or PNG to associate with the channel but not all RSS aggregators can show it.

The bulk of the RSS feed is created by using “items” which represent the story and usually include a title, link, and description. All elements of an item are actually optional, but you should include at least a title and description.

An item is fairly simple, here is an example:

<item>
<title>New Blog Post</title>
<link>http://www.brcline.com/blog/page?=13</link>

<description>Brian R. Cline posted about how to create an RSS feed.</description>
</item>

RSS channel’s usually include more than one item and are updated fairly regularly. I’ve included a couple of different items in the final example.

<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<rss version=”2.0″>
<channel>
<title>Brian R. Cline’s News Feed</title>
<link>http://www.brcline.com</link>

<description>Programming Blog for a Programmer Analyst in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.</description>

<item>

<title>New Blog Post</title>

<link>http://www.brcline.com/blog/page?=13</link>

<description>Brian R. Cline posted about how to create an RSS feed.</description>

</item>

<item>

<title>New Blog Post – Welcome</title>

<link>http://www.brcline.com/blog/page?=1</link>

<description>Brian R. Cline posted a new blog welcoming users to the blog.</description>

</item>

<item>

<title>Blog Created</title>

<link>http://www.brcline.com/blog/ </link>

<description>Brian R. Cline adds wordpress to his website.</description>

</item>
</channel>
</rss>