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September 28, 2020
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A 'Funky' SurgeMenu Sample Menu

November 24, 2007

SurgeMenu funky menu example illustrating partially-transparent menu

The above is a screenshot of one SurgeMenu Cascading Menu implementation, a neat little menu that demonstrates dynamically changing menu styles, highlight styles and icons, background, etc.

The demo menu above was intended to show off its high level of customizability. Menu transparency - got it. Customizable size - check. We have icons to highlight the item that currently has focus, and icons to indicate submenus. We can highlighting items by color and background color, by font, bold or italic, etc.

All of these changes are real-time reconfigurations by the SurgeMenu code - this funky menu example shows off some of the many possible Javascripted actions, as well.

Simple web site navigation menu using the SurgeMenu cascading menu system

November 24, 2007

The screenshot is of part of the site navigation menu from my Grow'Em Plant Propagation Database:

SurgeMenu web site navigation menu

The SurgeMenu system features Javascripted pop-up menus that permit rapid and targeted browsing of a large site. The Grow'Em site's navigation menu contains 14 discrete menus, but loads very quickly.

Also, notably: if Javascript is not enabled, the base page navigation menu still works. The fancy menus aren't there, but the page links that trigger them work either way. When a user clicks over to the new page, the related pages are presented as well. This isn't as quick, perhaps, but the site is still easily and logically navigated.

That's just good design. [ Read more ... ]

The Ars Informatica SurgeMenu DHTML Cascading Menu System

November 23, 2007

This project started with the search for a simple, clean, cascading menu system I could use for a web site I was working on.

I found a few, but none that had everything I needed.

I needed a flexible, customizable, Javascripted menu that could cascade down three or four tiers of information. One that was easily configured, and that was fast, no matter how complex. One that was compatible with all popular browsers and browser versions.

And thus, SurgeMenu was born.

SurgeMenu deeply-nested menu example: 289-item menu of medical subjects

The above screenshot is of an eleven-item menu, each with second-tier submenus containing from 6-10 items, twenty-five third-tier menus, and five fourth-tier menus. Grand total: 289 selectable menu items. It meets the requirements above, and more. It is easily configured, using standard CSS and simple PHP calls.

It's lean - run-time Javascript comes in at under 6K - and it's mean. I've built 471-item menus that loaded and ran as fast as a 4-item menu ...

[ Read more ... ]

Contact Form to E-mail script validates e-mails and checks against e-mail header injection

November 23, 2006

Contact forms aren't hard to code, and the PHP mail() function is pretty simple - and yet, implementing such a form, handling the POSTed information, error-checking, and providing basic security, can quickly seem a daunting task.

Many people still provide e-mail addresses directly on their web pages. This is rarely necessary, looks dated, and malicious web-scouring spambots are getting better and better at plucking e-mail addresses from a page. You can munge the e-mail address, you encrypt it via javascript, provide it in image format ...

and still, sometimes, the spambots win.

Ars Informatica provides a very simple, easy-to-modify script to generate your own feedback form. It provides all the functionality mentioned in the opening sentence.

You provide two lines of code, total, and you're off. Though you may wish, and are free, to change this code as much as you like.

[ Read more ... ]

PHP Script Timer finds the code that's choking you ...

May 17, 2006

Code choking your server's CPU? Site visitors clicking away because your page is taking too long to respond? Do you know?

Some code just plods. Retrieving and parsing remote files, image manipulations, multiple complex SQL queries, etc. grind down your site. Our PHP Script Timer identifies these bottlenecks.

For example, you want to retrieve and parse a remote RSS news feed. Do you use a locally cached file copy if it's current enough? Do you not bother, and just use the remote feed each time? Does it matter? Using our walRuSS.php RSS feed reader gives us the following script execution times:

xml_parser-based RSS feed reader, non-cached: 1.554 secs
xml_parser based feed reader, cached: 0.0444 secs

[ Read more ... ]

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