Building a Better Woot! Checker: Comparison is Key

The famous “one item per day” e-commerce store Woot! periodically holds a “woot-off”, where multiple different items are sold in quick succession, each item appearing as soon as the previous one sells out completely. The quick succession of potentially interesting items selling for steep discounts has created a proliferation of scripts and programs called “Woot checkers”, and has even lead to the creation of an official list of Woot-off checkers. All of this because of the potential of missing out on the opportunity to buy something great and get a great deal on it.

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Fixing IE7 Z-Index Issues with jQuery

For some reason, Internet Explorer 7 does some pretty funky things, and has several known bugs with it’s rendering engine that drive web developers like me crazy.  While most of the known bugs occur in relatively obscure situations and go largely unnoticed, there are a few that really stick out and cause web developers to waste many hours trying to fix them.  The way IE7 renders z-index stacking orders is one of them.

One way to fix many of the issues with IE7 is to dynamically reverse the default z-index stacking order of the elements on your page. This will ensure the elements higher in your HTML source will also have a higher z-index order on your page, solving most of the IE stacking issues. more If you’re using jQuery (the best Javascript library there is), here’s the quick fix:

$(function() {
     var zIndexNumber = 1000;
     $('div').each(function() {
         $(this).css('zIndex', zIndexNumber);
         zIndexNumber -= 10;
     });
});

This code will start with a z-index of 1000, and decrement the z-index for each DIV element of the page by 10, giving the first DIV a z-index of 1000, the second, 990, the third 980, and so on. Notice that the selector will find all DIV elements with the code “$(‘div’)”, using the same syntax as CSS selectors. If your HTML code has different requirements, feel free to change the code or the selector to suit your needs by following jQuery’s documentation on selectors.

Update for MooTools

(04/14/2009):

A generous commenter has posted the code for fixing z-index issues with MooTools 1.2:

if (Browser.Engine.trident){
     var zIndexNumber = 1000;
     $$('div').each(function(el,i){
         el.setStyle('z-index',zIndexNumber);
         zIndexNumber -= 10;
     });
};

What’s In a Name – Does Your Domain Name Really Matter?

Last week while listing to the TechCrunch50 conference live broadcast, I noticed an interesting trend that seemed to concern VC’s on the judging panel that were asking questions and evaluating the presentations of the participating startups. Several times during the feedback and commentary the panel would give to the startups that just presented, concern about the chosen name for the company was raised. This was most evident when listing to the Yammer presentation, and highlighted at the end of TechCrunch’s post about Yammer with this quote from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: “The name is not very corporate. It reminded me of what I’m having for Thanksgiving. Maybe you could use a Yam for a logo.”

And during the presentation of FootNote, a sort of social network for remembering the lives of the deceased, panelist Jeff Weiner made the comment:

I don’t know if anyone wants to be remembered as a footnote.

But you have to ask yourself – does the name really matter? Would Google or Yahoo! really have been any more successful if they had launched with the name “Web Search” instead? moreDo you even know anyone who has ever been to the domain search.com? I can’t think of even one instance where I would type in the domain name of the service I want instead of a memorized company name that’s offering the service. Do you go to pizza.com to find pizza in your area, or go to a useful service you know instead, like Google Maps or Yellowpages?

These panelists seem like they’re the type that would have also recommend that Flickr, now one of the most popular photo sharing sites in the world, change it’s name to something like “Photo Sharing” instead while it too was in the early startup stages. The idea that a more generic name can have any kind of profound impact on your startup is preposterous. The name or domain name of your business or startup generally doesn’t matter. The only cases I can think of where changing the company name would really matter is if the original name was offensive or incredibly hard for the average person to spell.

So in short, no – the name of your company or the domain name you choose to launch your products and/or services on doesn’t really matter at all. And the puzzling part about all of this is that you would think that Venture Capitalists and other investors in startups would understand this concept most. If your product and/or service is good, people will flock to it, no matter the name.

New Blog, Design – Finally Getting Started

After a long time sitting on the sidelines of the whole blogging/social media trend, I finally decided to jump in headfirst with a new Twitter account and this blog. I’ve been watching the new trends carefully and building websites and writing code for them, but up until now, hadn’t actually jumped on the bandwagon to start blogging myself. A big thanks goes out to my local RefreshOKC group and to Dustin Brewer, a co-worker with a CSS/Design blog for pushing me over the edge to actually hop on the blogging train.

The primary focus of this blog will be on my daily adventures in advanced PHP coding, Javascript, and general web development. The goal will be to supply code, resources, and helpful articles to those who are also coding or learning object-oriented PHP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, or other web technologies. And of course, there may be occasional deviance from the main focus, though my posts will still be web-related and relevant to anyone in the Internet industry. My adventures in blogging begin… Now.