Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

GangPlank – And then there were many n3rds!

“Making Phoenix Awesome-er!”

Just wanted to spread the word about GangPlankHQ in Phoenix, AZ (ok, so it’s Chandler…whatev).  I’ve worked out of the offices a few times…good group of people, and heck, where else can you go to work amongst a large group of n3rds, and get all the CSS help from April you could ever want???  Speaking of which…I think I’m gonna work there tomorrow……………………….maybe…if Sunny is lucky!

Read up about it…and I’ll see you there!

Dealing with XML in PHP5

Recently, I’ve had a few projects come up dealing with XML.  I’m a PHP programmer, and I run PHP5 on my server, so my first choice to attack XML in PHP is by using the SimpleXML object in PHP.  This has got to be one of gods gifts to PHP programmers…all you have to do is give the SimpleXML object a valid XML file/stream and it’ll put it into an object that you can easily reference like this:

$xml->customer[0]->emailaddresses[0]->emailaddress;

Makes life WAY easier by having that, however, I am currently struggling with an XML issue using SimpleXML and the XML data I am working on out of a Highrise account.  The thing is, in PHP, a valid variable can not have a hyphen in it, so if you come across an XML element named “first-name”, you can’t directly reference it using the method above.

What I’m thinking I’m going to have to do here is some PHP magic via old school PHP4 programming.  I wrote a quick and dirty XML parsing app for Brent (@iboughtamac) a few weeks back…I think I may use some of that code to scan through the elements and rewrite the element names w/o the hyphens.

Anyone else experience this issue when using SimpleXML?  Any ideas you can throw my way?

Header Image SEO – is it trickery?

Ok, so I have this client, which will remain nameless, but he’s currently attending a SEO seminar in CA and apparently there is some guy from Google there. Well, my client starts asking him about different SEO topics, one of them being SEO spam – or basically just trying to trick the search engines.

I did some SEO work on his site a few months back, and one of the main changes was to switch up his header so that when CSS was disabled, there would still be descriptive text read by crawlers because the hidden span would then be shown – as it was hidden using CSS. He asked the Google guy if this considered spam and sure enough, Google guy says yes, but Chuck believes different – hell, I know of several other sites that are developed this way, are they doing it wrong too?

Google says no to text behind an image or text hidden by CSS – but I’m describing the image – so am I wrong?

Can I have some support here? Basically its like this – an H2 tag with a background image set via CSS, within the H2 tag, there is a span with a class tagged to it to hide the text – that’s it. When the CSS is turned off, the hidden text appears – thus a web crawler can read it as it contains valuable information describing the content of the site and is basically a textual representation of the image. Can someone put up some supporting links to information to support either side (mine or Google guy)? I know Google is great and all, but that doesn’t mean all their employees know everything – for all I know, Google guy could be the receptionist for the kid center…