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November 28, 2012 - Forms, Captchas, and Site Sucking

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:02 am
by raw10


This week's WW was brought to you by the <select> element, which kicked off a discussion of what forms are and how they should be used. Things got a bit dicey there for a bit, as we went through what forms are and they whys and wherefores of their use on the web.

Captchas

I don't know about you, but I hate captchas. Why should I have to prove that I'm a human? Why can't there be some technology that tricks computer programs into doing something that a human would never do?

Wait, you say that there's already such a thing?

Enter, the honey pot. Here's an introduction to what honey pots are, along with a bit of PHP code to implement one on a contact form:

http://devgrow.com/simple-php-honey-pot/

Project Honey Pot exists to help promote this technique and also gather information on IP addresses that get lured into honey pots on various sites. Check it out when you get a chance, and together we can all make the web a better place.

Site Sucker

If you need to pull down a static version of a website for some reason (say, the customer lost their info or the former web designer went on a permanent vacation to Fiji), you can always use WGET, CURL, or a variant to pull the site down. If you have a Mac you can download and install the command line version here, or use a GUI program like SiteSucker. For the PC, there are web tools like HTTrack (thanks, Jeff) or WinWGet.

Just a quick note about putting stuff up on the web. First off, you can see how easy it is to just clone a website. Using WGET I can create a clone of just about any page on the web, so the content, design, graphics, scripts, and so on are all pretty much available to all. On one hand this is good, since that's how search engines work. On the other hand it can be bad because scammers use this technique to set up phishing sites, and other shady characters will rip off your entire design and use it as their own.

Basically, if you don't want something to be available, don't put it up publicly on your website.

Rainbows and Unicorns

But the web is really a happy place, I swear! Most people are great, and a little bit of common sense goes a long way. So join us next time (Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time) for another installment of Web Wednesday as we all work to make the web a better place, one hangout at a time.