Design Oahu

Web design blog from the middle of the pacific.

WordPress Plugin – Obfuscate

What does obfuscate mean?

According to dictionary.com:

ob•fus•cate

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

What is it used for?

Obfuscate is a WordPress Plugin that obfuscates email addresses in your posts and pages reducing the chance of your email address getting picked up by an evil web crawler or bot and used as a spam target.

What will the email address look like?

Readers of your WordPress blog will not notice that anything has been changed. If the email is a link, it will still open up your reader’s mail client.

How does it work?

Each character in the email address is converted to its ASCII equivalent. For example the letter ‘j’ is converted into ‘j ‘. If you take a look at the source of this page in your browser you will see the difference which looks quite normal on the screen, but is in fact much different in the source.

Is this 100% effective?

No. Obfuscation as the definition states, just makes it more confusing. If an evil spammer was willing to invest the energy into checking all ASCII characters for an email address, then they would be able to get the one you added. However, with the ease of collecting the non-obfuscated email addresses, the vast majority of spam bots will likely not bother. To put everything into perspective, think of the obfuscate plugin as a condom, perhaps not 100% effective against the spread of STDs and unplanned pregnancy, but much safer than unprotected sex.

How do I install Obfuscate?

Download the Obfuscate Version 1.2 ZIP file, unzip it, then upload the obfuscate folder into you wp-content/plugins directory. Now login to your blog and Select Plugins, find Obfuscate and click Activate. WordPress makes it pretty simple.

What if I still have questions?

If you have any question send me an email at jeremy@designoahu.com or just add a comment below.

Update:
Obfuscate Version 1.2 is now available. If you are using an older version, please upgrade. Upgrading is simple, just unzip and overwrite the obfuscate.php file.

Change Log:
Version 1.2 created a str_split function for compatibility with PHP4.
Version 1.1 has added a higher priority which should solve some compatibility issues when using obfuscate with other plugins. Obfuscate Version 1.1 now obfuscates email address in the content, excerpt, comments, and rss feeds.

Top 50 Websites – Disappointing Validation Report

I found out today that my web site did not validate as valid (x)html markup (I had mistakently left out a closing “a” tag). I fixed the issue and am now validating properly. I then started to get curious about how many other bigger websites fail in validation. I went over to the Alexa Global Top Sites list and took notes on how many of the top 50 sites validate. Granted Google dominates a large portion of this list with their sites for specific countries, however I noticed that different errors were presenting themselves on different sites, so I just played along. So, how were the results? Extremely disappointing! Only five out of the top fifty site’s home pages were valid html or valid xhtml (that is just 10%). Sina, Imageshack, and Dailymotion.com were not even able to report how many errors there were to complete the test as some of the characters used were not even found in their specified text encoding. The sites that passed are MSN, Wikipedia, Skyrocket, Yandex, and Craigslist.

  1. Yahoo! – Failed validation, 34 Errors
  2. Google – Failed validation, 30 Errors
  3. YouTube – Failed validation, 78 Errors
  4. Windows Live – Failed validation, 64 Errors
  5. MSN – Passed validation
  6. Myspace – Failed validation, 123 Errors
  7. Facebook – Failed validation, 37 Errors
  8. Wikipedia – Passed validation
  9. Hi5 – Failed validation, 297 Errors
  10. Orkut – Failed validation, 16 Errors
  11. Rapidshare.com – Failed validation, 122 Errors
  12. Blogger.com – Failed validation, 19 Errors
  13. Megaupload – Failed validation, 86 Errors
  14. Baidu.com – Failed validation, 38 Errors
  15. Friendster – Failed validation, 93 Errors
  16. Yahoo! Japan – Failed validation, 457 Errors
  17. Microsoft – Failed validation, 31 Errors
  18. Fotolog.com – Failed validation, 95 Errors
  19. QQ.com – Failed validation, 345 Errors
  20. Google France – Failed validation, 41 Errors
  21. Ebay – Failed validation, 181 Errors
  22. @Mail.ru – Failed validation, 525 Errors
  23. Google Brazil – Failed validation, 39 Errors
  24. Skyrock – Passed validation
  25. Sina – Failed validation (Unable to complete test due to character encoding issue)
  26. Google Germany – Failed validation, 43 Errors
  27. Google Chile – Failed validation, 44 Errors
  28. Google UK – Failed validation, 45 Errors
  29. Google Spain – Failed validation, 49 Errors
  30. Flickr – Failed validation, 30 Errors
  31. Seznam – Failed validation, 1 Error
  32. Google Poland – Failed validation, 45 Errors
  33. Amazon.com – Failed validation, 1588 Errors
  34. IMDB – Failed validation, 211 Errors
  35. Photobucket – Failed validation, 122 Errors
  36. Megarotic.com – Failed validation, 6 Errors
  37. Imageshack – Failed validation (Unable to complete test due to character encoding issue)
  38. Wretch – Failed validation, 541 Errors
  39. Google Mexico – Failed validation, 39 Errors
  40. Youporn.com – Failed validation, 4 Errors
  41. Yandex – Passed validation, 3 warnings
  42. Onet.pl – Failed validation, 302 Errors
  43. Dailymotion.com – Failed validation (Unable to complete test due to character encoding issue)
  44. Go.com – Failed validation, 172 Errors
  45. Universo Online – Failed validation, 1276 Errors
  46. Imagevenue.com – Failed validation, 32 Errors
  47. BBC – Failed validation, 35 Errors
  48. Megavideo.com – Failed validation, 224 Errors
  49. Allegro – Failed validation, 61 Errors
  50. Craigslist – Passed validation

WordPress Tutorial: How to style author comments

I have seen several wordpress blogs recently that uniquely style the author’s comments. This is a great usability technique, so that you can easily distinguish their posts. This comes in handy when visiting a new blog that perhaps you do not know the author’s name. All you do is simply compare the comment author’s email address with your own. This little snippet of code does just that, and specifies a class of “authorcomment” within the opening list item tag of the comment. You will want to place this code in your comments.php file. The code should go within the foreach comment loop and just before the end of the opening list item tag. If you have the default unmodified WordPress theme this will be on line 29. The finished product should like something like this:

<li <?php echo $oddcomment; ?>id=”comment-<?php comment_ID() ?>”

<?php if($comment->comment_author_email == ‘email@example.com’) : ?>

class=”authorcomment”

<?php endif; ?>>

Now all you have to do is add the look you want for your comments. I currently modified my style to have a light gray background by adding this to my style.css file:

.authorcomment{
background-color:#f5edd6;
}

You can now make your posts stand out from the crowd. To make it even easier to read the comments try moving the trackbacks out of the comments.

WordPress Tutorial: How to put your trackbacks in their own section

On Design Oahu the trackbacks have been separated from the comments. I felt that the trackbacks were a bit of a distraction. WordPress bloggers are most likely used to seeing the trackbacks within the comments section and skip right over them, however I would be willing to bet that new readers get a bit confused when they are trying to read the comments. For the sake of usability and readability I will provide you with some code snippets to move your trackbacks. Read the rest of this entry »

Wordpress Beer Theme

Beer Theme for Wordpress

I have just released my Wordpress theme “Beer”. The beer theme uses widgets and is compatible with Wordpress version 2.3 and above. It has not been tested on earlier version, but it should work just fine on Wordpress versions 2.1 and above. If you have any bugs or feature requests please let me know by commenting below. You can view the theme in action over at Team Sea Donkey. You can download the zip file here. Installation is simple. Just unzip the downloaded file and upload the beer folder to your wp-content/themes directory. After you have done this log into your blog and select Presentation then select Themes. Now click on the Beer theme, pretty simple right?