Tip: Use Unicode When Developing Your Web App

If you have the dream of writing the next big Web application that takes the world by storm, I have a tip for you.  Use Unicode.  Make sure that every aspect of your Web infrastructure for your application supports the free flow of Unicode data.

What is Unicode? It is a type of character encoding that supports the widest variety of characters. If you you want your Web app to have a chance of correctly taking in English, Chinese, and Arabic characters, you want to use Unicode.

You may have seen the meta tag in your HTML tag with a reference to UTF-8.  Yep that’s setting the character encoding to your page.

<meta http-equiv=“Content-Type” content=“text/html; charset=UTF-8” />

Unfortunately, there is soooooooo much more to the process and I don’t have the time to write about it all right now.

For now just trust me,  make sure that you’re using Unicode (utf-8, a type of Unicode) everywhere. When I mean everywhere, I mean your browser, HTML, PHP, server, your database… everywhere.   Ultimately, doing this now will save you a whole lot of time down the road.

Too Many Web Pages Load Too Slowly… Use Yahoo’s YSlow

My internet connection in my apartment isn’t great so it seems like some Web pages load really slowly.  I’m also frequently in coffee shops sharing sharing wifi with 20 people.

The boys at Yahoo! have developed YSlow, an add-on to the Mozilla Firefox Extension Firebug.  It tests a Web page against a set of performance heuristics that they’ve developed to see if a Web page will load quickly.

I’m really impressed.  I’m adding this tool to my development toolbox.

(thanks Nate K.)

Dan Benjamin has the best Ruby On Rails Setup Instructions

Yesterday I picked up a new white Apple MacBook. My 12 inch Apple PowerBook was getting a little old. Different features were starting not to work. I figured it was time for a change.

I knew that one of the first things that I wanted to do was install Ruby on Rails and MySQL.

Dan Benjamin has the BEST instructions for how to setup Ruby on Rails and MySQL.

I’m somewhat command line phobic. All you have to do is copy and paste the instructions that Dan has written out and it just works.

Go check it out.