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Our latest posts and rants

Importance of Content on the Web

“Content is king.”

This statement has floated around industry for years but what does it truly mean for content to be king? Let’s dive into a few of the reasons as to why content-rich sites bring in revenue and how content plays a roll in this success.

In relation to a website, a vital part of maintaining a successful web presence, the look and feel of a site can make or break visitors’ satisfaction with there experience. As important as any other aspects, the visuals of a site must be appealing, easy to navigate and must supply solutions to problems. Content is about creating solutions tailored to consumer needs.

Consumers need to be understood. Understanding what they need and how your product can satisfy their need is vital. A site rich with relative content, which focuses on a niche industry or audience, builds a level of confidence and trust with your consumers. With their high level of comfort and overall satisfaction, consumers are inclined to contribute to long-term sales. Content is about finding and satisfying consumer needs.

Many online shoppers research products online prior to purchase. With that in mind, how can we define and use rich content to entice them to complete their purchase?

Rich content revolves around supplying consumers with what they need and more. The more useful information you can present to your site visitors, the more understanding they become of the products offered. With a greater understanding of product specs, products offered and how to complete their purchase, consumers with the right information will confidently complete their purchase and will likely, and happily, return for future business. Content is about over-delivering what consumers need.

In closing, creating solutions tailored to a specific audience is vital for consumers as well as business profit. Finding and satisfying the needs of consumers through rich content builds confidence and trust with users, in turn likely turning them into long-term customers. Through over-delivering content, you can empower consumers to confidently complete their purchase and return for business.

Thanks for reading. Look for another blog post in March, where we will discuss a new subject.

the Visual Construction logo

Google AdWords Certification

I got my Google AdWords certification last week.

Having a party

In the words suggested by Google, “Google has recognized me as an AdWords certified professional, meaning that I’ve passed multiple exams that assess my product expertise. I’m qualified to help you grow your business on the web using Google AdWords.”

Feel free to contact us with any questions about AdWords, the certification process, or anything else you think we might be able to help you with.

Rockwell Automation logo

Rockwell Factory Talk Transaction Manager Name Length Limits

Here are a couple basic length limitations on names in Rockwell’s Factory Talk Transaction Manager, version 10.10. Maybe it will save someone else some time. These are probably documented somewhere but I didn’t find them.

How to measure a fish

The longest transaction name allowed is 255 characters.

The longest enterprise connector (data object) name it allows is 32 characters.

Very long configuration names seem to be supported.

I know this is a very short, small contribution but perhaps it will save someone else a couple minutes. Maybe even my future self.

On Java Web Start with Netbeans…

With the current versions of Java, Web Start (JNLP) has become a more difficult proposition.  Signing is required for anything non-trivial and self-signed certificates are unwieldy due to the new trust requirements.  It’s rather unfortunate, since so much use of Java is internal Enterprise applications that truly don’t *need* to be signed for security purposes, yet they’re caught up in the consumer security net.  A further difficulty is the fact that Netbeans’ web start support is stuck back in the past (7.x for sure, 8.0 has come out since I started writing this and is a little better, but still does not appear to be complete), from when all the new requirements were not in place.

Before we do any of the certificate work, go ahead and do a clean/build of the project with JNLP and self-signed selected.  This is purely so we can get an auto-generated JNLP file as a template.  Put that into your deployment location and tweak as necessary (server info almost always needs to be adjusted manually).  Once that’s done, turn off the option to build for JNLP.  We’ll be doing the signing another way from here on out.  Do a clean/build again to get a non-signed version.  Now we can move on to the certificate portion.

The first step of getting the certificate is commonly described on the web, so I won’t duplicate that effort here.  The problem comes in that you’re likely to get a “.p12” file delivered to you, which Netbeans 7.x fails to read properly.  So, we need to have a special command for that.  Using jarsigner with the right storetype and keystore parameters in place we can deploy and run our app trusted!  Sort of…  Once you’re past the initial thrill of the app starting and happen to watch a Java console at startup, you’ll find out that Netbeans also doesn’t generate a proper manifest (8.0 also failed at this for me, hence *still* needing special handling despite now having p12 certificate support).  So, now we need to create our own manifest addendum and tack that onto our jar file *before* signing.  Once that’s done, you’re going to be all happy until you get the next console startup error about TSA…  So, we need to throw a “-tsa” line into our script…  Luckily I found a blog entry awhile back (unfortunately I lost the link or I’d give credit here) that pointed out that geotrust.com is kind enough to have an open public tsa server.  End result we have the following (sample code, you’ll need to do some light editing to both for your specific situation, especially if you’re on a Mac or *nix machine or use non-embedded libraries) files to run manually from a command prompt in our project directory after a full build is done:

  • Sign.bat

“c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_51\bin\jar.exe” ufm ..\dist\application.jar manifest.txt
“c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_51\bin\jarsigner.exe” -storetype pkcs12 -keystore cert.p12 -tsa https://timestamp.geotrust.com/tsa ..\dist\application.jar “certificate name here”

  • Manifest.txt

Permissions: all-permissions
Codebase: http://destination.example.com
Application-Name: application

That’s it, you may now deploy your application and revel in an error AND warning free startup!  If you’re the adventurous type that likes modifying the Netbeans build scripts, this can be dumped into there as well.  Personally, I prefer to not mess with those and just run this script afterwards since I occasionally have had need to blow away and recreate the build scripts.  Another thing is that you may choose to permanently convert the certificate to another type.  I’ve not bothered with that because I still need to script the manifest entries anyways.

Happy coding!

SQL Server

MCSE: Data Platform

On a personal note, last week I earned Microsoft’s MCSE: Data Platform certification. That requires passing 5 tests covering various aspects of Microsoft SQL Server.

Having a party

If anyone else is interested in Microsoft certification, most exams are 20% off and include a free retake until May 31. In the USA that means each exam costs $120 instead of the usual $150.

20% off exams and free retake

That’s just one example of this company’s commitment to continuing education. Maybe I’ll get a chance to blog about our 3D printing, the 3Doodler pen we are trying out, etc.