Use HTML5 Input Types to Make Users Happy

If you are like me, you get annoyed when they have to switch your mobile keyboard over to the number pad each time they have to enter a phone number in a web form. Or flip to symbols to find the @ sign for email addresses.  With some very simple HTML5 code you can enhance someones user experience with your web forms so the right keyboard for the job shows up automatically.

HTML5 has introduced a property for the type attribute for input elements. The new values are for contact details and include:

an email address (type=’email’)
a website addres (type=’url’)
telephone number (type=’tel’)

For example “<input name=”email” id=”email” type=”email” />”

You’re not going to see any difference when viewing on your desktop HTML5 compatible browsers however if you view the forms with Mobile Safari browser (on IOS) it will automatically use the appropriate keyboard for the job.

The iOS keyboards

The image below shows the different types of keyboards you will see for each of the HTML5 type attributed fields.



Its a very simple enhancement that is sure to pleasantly enhance your users web experience! So coders, don’t be lazy, consider the end user and create for them.  And me.  🙂

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Major SSL bug called ‘Heartbleed’ exposes your data

Get ready for a new interruption in your work day. A newly discovered security bug nicknamed Heartbleed has exposed millions of usernames, passwords and reportedly credit card numbers — a major problem that hackers could have exploited during the more than two years it went undetected.

This one is unlike most of the breaches over the past few years, in which a Web site got hacked or let its guard down. This flaw is in the SSL (HTTPS) code designed to keep servers secure — tens of thousands of servers on which data is stored for thousands of sites. The bug was found in SSL certificates using a common form of OpenSSL, which is used on servers to encrypt sensitive information to protect people’s privacy. At least 500,000 servers were reportedly vulnerable and I bet thats a low number.  It primarily affects NGinx and Apache servers which by some accounts is more than 60% of web servers in use today.

Server admins are checking and testing to see if their SSL certificates are using the vulnerable version of OpenSSL and reissuing the SSL certificates using non-affected versions.  You should change passwords only AFTER the new SSL certs have been issued.

OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols. The core library, written in the C programming language, implements the basic cryptographic functions and provides various utility functions. The beauty of OpenSSL is that it is primarily an open platform.  So that when a vulnerability is discovered it is quickly announced and fixed.  With proprietary systems, a bug could exist and only a handful of people are responsible for policing it.  And if found, they may not tell anyone for fear of repercussions.  Open source is a double edged sword for sure, but it slices both ways and that is a good thing IMHO.

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Dynamically Generating PDF Files with dotNET.

We recently completed a project that needed to have a rather robust tool for dynamically creating and saving reports as PDF files. We’ve done similar things in the past but always wrestled with the dynamic pdf creation tool we were using. We decided to look around at what other tools people were recommending and settled on using ABCpdf from webSupergoo.

Installing it on the server was a breeze, our developers had an easier time getting things working, files sizes were about 10% smaller, and load times seemed slightly faster than our previous tool.

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Fix for WordPress 2.6 permalink bug

When we upgraded from 2.5.1 to 2.6 links to the individual posts started throwing 404 errors. After a little digging around we found this fix on

If you need/want the index.php to be there, then on the Settings->Permalinks screen, add some values in for the category and tag bases. The words “category” and “tag” will do just fine. As long as they are not blank, this should work around the bug.

I hope this helps some other people out there who were gnashing their teeth like I was 5 minutes ago.