Archive for the ‘Web’ Category
Working for a health information website has some disadvantages – you must take greater than normal care to ensure user privacy. One of the requirements is to pop up an interstitial message before going to another website, because the new website might have different terms and conditions.
With the new blogs at WebMD, we’re tying into social networking sites like Technorati and del.icio.us, plus linking to other blogs, so we have a lot of external links.
Previously this meant manually modifying each link so it passes through a special page on WebMD then redirects to the target URL. But I thought that was a lot of work, plus very error prone and hard to maintain.
Instead I used Ben Nolan’s behavior.js, a wonderful library for attaching behaviors to page elements, to add an onclick behavior to every external link. I used regular expressions to determine which links should be considered “internal” links that shouldn’t be modified.
You can go to a the WebMD heart disease blog and click a Technorati link to check it out.
Here’s the code: behavior-external-linkify.js
I tried the scenario you listed in your blog (go to WebMD and then
click a Technorati link) in Firefox 1.5 and it didn’t work: the popup
Yes, I noticed that as well; unfortunately the actual part of the
process that displays the interstitial is not under my control – all I
can do is redirect the user to the WebMD page that does the rest.
I need to notify them about this difficulty – they could probably
change that page to display an alert box if the popup did not open.
Alternatively, if you didn’t care about redirecting through another
instead of redirecting the page.
Update 2006-03-09: Here is another implementation using Yahoo!’s libraries instead of Behavior.js
The last couple months have been extremely busy – here are some of the projects I have been working on at WebMD:
The whole site has been given a new look. One of my contributions was a DHTML slideshow prominently featured on the home page:
Blogging comes to WebMD
And finally, to earn my title “Development Manager, New Media and Syndication”, we need some new media! So we launched the WebMD daily video. It took a great team of people to pull this off, and the ongoing challenge of a daily video is tremendous!
So… that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you?
I’ve been using a nice piece of free software called Wink to make Flash tutorials for my web applications. It’s missing some features that you might want in a Flash tutorial, but it’s free and easy to use.
A producer at WebMD thought we should use Wink to create a tutorial for the upcoming Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder. Considering Medicare’s target audience, and the complexity of their web application (yeah, it’s pretty confusing), I thought this was a great idea.
Here’s what we came up with: Tutorial for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder
Considering our budget, timeline, and file size limitations, I think it turned out nicely.
When I read the article Microsoft buys FolderShare, I jumped over to FolderShare.com to check it out. I wondered if it had any restrictions for sharing music files, so I searched their site for “music” and found a reference to a page “How do I sync my iTunes music files?”
But when I clicked the link, the page had been altered to remove the section about iTunes.
Hmmm… did they remove that because they are now affiliated with Micro$oft?
They didn’t do a very good job, because their search is provided by MSN, and you can see the following in the cached page:
How do I sync my iTunes music files?
When syncing iTunes, it is important to sync only the actual music files located in the iTunes Music folder in the iTunes directory. Syncing the entire My Music or iTunes folder can result in the accidental deletion of the iTunes .xml file which contains track and playlist information.
To sync iTunes: With your devices online and running FolderShare, select “Sync My Folders” on the My FolderShare page. On each device, select the iTunes Music folder – the default location on Windows is:
C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes Music
Once the sync is complete, you will need to tell iTunes to add that folder into the iTunes library to update the listing with any new songs. Open iTunes, select File => Add Folder to Library.
…when you type “exit” into the address field of your web browser in an attempt to close the window.
I’ve been enduring a storm of comment and trackback spam on my blog the last few days. Some chuckelhead has been trying to post links to his online poker website – it’s almost enough to make me swear off playing texas hold’em. Hundreds of posts have been caught in my moderation stream since I don’t automatically post comments if they have links, and it’s a pain to sort through and delete them all, because they keep coming.
Luckily I have a solution for fighting automated comment spam attacks – I just run a script that moves the comment submission forms to a new, random URL. I do it manually right now, but it looks like I’m going to have to set it up to run on a daily basis. That way I only have to deal with a limited number of automated spams before they are nipped in the bud.