SitePoint Podcast #150: The Vendor Prefix Kerfuffle

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Episode 150 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Kevin Dees (@kevindees), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves) and Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy).

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  • SitePoint Podcast #150: The Vendor Prefix Kerfuffle (MP3, 38:29, 35.3MB)

Episode Summary

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Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Louis: Hello and welcome to another episode of the SitePoint Podcast, I think it’s episode 150, is it not?

Stephan: It is 150, I believe.

Patrick: Everyone believes, no one knows, that’s how all opt-in we are (laughter).

Louis: That’s how organized we are. So we’ve got a panel show this week; Patrick, Kevin and Stephan are all on the line, hi guys.

Kevin: Howdy, howdy.

Patrick: Hello.

Louis: How you guys been?

Stephan: Busy.

Patrick: Pretty good; last show I was down in Orlando to record it with Kevin on his couch, and spend some time in Atlanta, spoke at CNN, and I’m actually drinking a Coke from a glass bottle right now, so, there’s that, I got it from the World of Coke in Atlanta. Which if you know me you know I love soda, and I love the World of Coke where you can drink over 60 different soft drinks from around the world, but also the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine which dispenses another 100+, so, yes, it’s a great place.

Kevin: I absolutely hate those Coke dispensers because they are not as carbonated as they should be, and it feels like a mixed drink that hasn’t been mixed thoroughly, so, you know, and you don’t want to mix a coke because then you lose all your carbonation, so it’s like you don’t have enough carbonation and then you mix it and they don’t have any carbonation anymore, so now you’re drinking a flat soda. Cool idea, bad implementation.

Louis: (Laughs)

Patrick: And then it turned into the soda show (laughter). No, I love the Freestyle, I love the Coca-Cola Freestyle, but I will say that there are some sodas, and it’s really like one or two that I prefer the standard mix versus the Freestyle, but the Freestyle is actually kind of new and kind of cool technology that our audience might appreciate because it dispenses the syrup and the carbonation and the water in like a precise formula so that the restaurant can’t change that and mess it up, so this is how it’s supposed to actually taste, so, I thought that was interesting.

Louis: Years ago when I was traveling through the U.S. I was in a, um, I think it was a McDonald’s, and they served I think it was a Sprite where it was too much syrup, where they’d messed up the mix, and it was just like — it was just like liquid sugar with a little bit of water and a little bit of carbonation, it was awful.

Patrick: Yeah.

Louis: Anyway, I don’t do soda anymore, not because of that (laughter).

Patrick: You came to America and America totally turned him off to soda because of that McDonald’s, shame on you.

Louis: Yeah, no, that’s not how it happened. Anyway, so we should talk about things other than soda because I’m sure that, you know, that’s not what brings our audience to the SitePoint Podcast, although it may in the future; if you like hearing soda-related tidbits come back next week.

Kevin: Soda-cast!

Patrick: Yes!

Louis: We should make a soda-cast. Anyway, so the major story this week, at least that crossed my radar, has been an ongoing kerfuffle, let’s call it that, at the CSS Working Group and W3C. So this all sort of came to light on Thursday of last week when Daniel Glassman, I hope I’m pronouncing that name correctly, wrote this blog post describing some of the goings on at the latest meetings of the CSS Working Group. And basically the rundown of the situation is that as many of you will know, recently as new CSS features make their way into browsers, a lot of browsers sort of testing the waters with their implementations, and they’re not exactly sure how — or the spec isn’t finalized yet, for example, so they’ve been using vendor prefixes, you’ll be familiar with a -webkit- property name, so like WebKit box shadow or a WebKit border radius, the Mozilla one is Moz, and the Opera one is just an O, so obviously developers have been using these pretty extensively; Kevin and Stephan you guys write some code, have you guys done a lot of work with vendor prefixes?

Kevin: Too much.

Louis: (Laughs)

Kevin: To sum it up.

Louis: Right. So, anyway, the goings on at the Working Group were that the other browser makers, that is to say not Google and Apple, have said, look, everyone’s just implementing the WebKit ones, web developers, that is to say, are writing sort of WebKit-only pages to sort of test these experimental features, even when those features are available in prefixed form, or even in non-prefixed form, you know, the browsers including mostly Firefox and Opera, but also for some properties I guess Internet Explorer. And what happened is that Firefox, or the makers of Firefox just sort of said, look, we are gonna start supporting the WebKit prefixed one, and that’s what everyone’s doing, and people don’t seem to know that in the case of some stable features they can just drop the prefixes, and in the case of other features there is a Mozilla equivalent; people are just writing the WebKit ones because they’re trying to support mainly IOS and Android on mobile, and also Chrome and Safari on the desktop; WebKit has a pretty big market share at the moment. So obviously this caused a bit of uproar, and Glazman wrote this big, I guess, call for action is what he calls it, saying look if we let this happen it’s pretty much the return to the days of proprietary features in IE6, and then everybody came out sort of in support of that. So, I wanted to get your guys’ read on this, maybe Kevin especially because you do a bit more front-end stuff.

Kevin: Yeah, so, I mean prefixes are kind of the cola wars of browsers, in my opinion, you know it’s not as flamboyant as it was back in the IE5, IE6 days where everybody was just kind of up in arms, you know the Firefox one day just, well, just, you know, everything coming to a head, and the invention of Ajax and all that, so all those things were good, though, right, I mean that’s what brought us to the Web where are today. So, like I said, we have Ajax where we can do asynchronous calls to XML files, even JSON, you know, any kind of document we want. Now today it’s the prefix, right, and it’s been a big topic because it’s kind of a valid way of doing this because it’s in the CSS specification where you can — it’s basically set out that you can use vendor prefixes. And so to me that’s what makes it more of a cold war, right, because it’s legal everybody’s just kind of doing it under the table, doing their own thing. And so to other vendors picking up other vendors’ prefixes seems a little scary to me because that’s stepping outside of what the W3C had set out to do with these which was prevent that very thing from happening, like you had with the filter element in Internet Explorer, right. And so, yeah, you know, this doesn’t give me a good feeling, I like the idea of vendor prefixes, I think it’s great for expanding on ideas and trying out new things without effecting the way things can be implemented in the future, but at this point it looks like I think this is really a problem that’s been designer related, right; designers and developers have created this demand for these features, and since the W3C can’t move fast enough to feed the designers what they want, and the developers as well, I’m not trying to make this a one-sided argument or anything, I think that’s kind of what’s causing this issue is the impatience of developers, and that kind of thing. And so the only solution that browser makers can do, because nobody’s going to pitch their browser if they’re behind, right, I mean you can see there are a lot of things in play here, and so, yeah, I think it’s just a big, crazy mess, and the W3C has to figure something out to work with all these browsers, I mean it’s nothing — it’s hard to just make a small comment on because it’s so complex.

Louis: Yeah. So, a couple of things related to some of what you just said, one of them is saying that developers are impatient for these features, and that’s true to some extent, and there are cases that are more similar to filter, in the case of, for example, WebKit Text Size Adjust is a property that was created in WebKit, and it’s used on IOS and Android but was never in the CSS specifications, but a lot of these things are properties that were in the specifications and either, well, first of all the CSS3 spec is still in progress, the browser didn’t want to lock down —

Kevin: Exactly.

Louis: — and create a version of that that might then be not backwards compatible. A good example of that is the original gradients and syntax that existed in WebKit is not the syntax that’s currently used in the W3C spec, and it’s not the syntax that was used by the other browsers. So currently if you do WebKit gradient that does something entirely different from the linear gradient and radial gradient properties, and the fact that it was boxed away into a vendor prefix form sort of protects us because we can now use the standardized form, and it won’t break on those older versions of Chrome and Safari, of which obviously there are a few because the browser upgrade cycles have improved as well. And then putting it back on the W3C, as you said, they have to come up with something; I don’t think it’s necessarily up to the Working Group and up to the browser makers, there’s not a lot they can do, and Eric Meyer wrote a good blog post sort of summing up what he sees as the browser makers positions here, so I’ll just quote briefly from his blog post, “As a vendor it may be the least bad choice available in every competitive marketplace, after all, if there were a few million sites that you could render as intended if only the authors used your prefix instead of just one, which would you rather: A) embark on a protracted massive awareness campaign that would probably be contradicted to death by people with their own axes to grind, or just support the prefix that people are using and move on with life?” So in this case he’s saying if you’re Mozilla, yes, the correct thing to do is to keep pushing the -moz- prefix and supporting a standardized non-prefixed form once the thing is stable and you feel like you’ve got a solid implementation, but if there are a million sites out there on the Web that look broken because they’ve only used WebKit, then for user browser makers your main prerogative is to serve your users and make the sties that they visit not look broken, right. I think it’s largely up to developers to really not be lazy about this, if you want to make a cool demo and you use Chrome and you have an iPhone that’s great, you can make a cool demo, but take the time to find out whether the property that you’re demoing actually exists in Firefox and exists in Opera, and chances are it probably does, and if it does don’t just do the WebKit one, right — right?

Stephan: Right. (Laughter)

Kevin: You know sometimes you have to stop and think about these kinds of things for a second, it’s hard to — because I mean it is a complex situation; you know right when you think web standards has won, you know, something like this comes out and happens and it’s a little scary, and something you have to be watchful of, it’s good that people are talking about it, you know, but at the end of the day web standards are just that, they’re standards, and you’re trying to create a unified language for everyone to use that way when, like you said, a browser gets updated your site doesn’t break. And so the danger that I see in this is, yeah, you’re gonna go and adopt this other prefix, let’s say you’re at Firefox, right, and you adopt the WebKit prefix, you go and do this but it doesn’t change people’s code, you know what I mean, it’s like it doesn’t help standards at all, it only hurts them.

Louis: Absolutely. I’m not saying that this is a good thing for Mozilla to be doing, it’s a terrible, terrible idea, but from the perspective of a browser maker, like what Eric’s article was trying to say, is that it seems like it’s the logical thing for them to do, even though it’s the wrong thing objectively for the Web and for web standards going forward. I mean the last thing we want is for these WebKit properties to wind up in all browsers, and that sort of circumvents the W3C entirely, right, then it’s just whatever WebKit does other browsers decide to support if they like it, if they don’t they don’t, I guess, and then you don’t have a standards process, then you just have one browser maker controlled by a few ginormous companies that — or, to be clear, WebKit is open source but a large percentage of the contributions come from Google and Apple, you know, that’s definitely not the way we want to go.

Kevin: You know because there are so many platforms in place, I mean you have Windows, Linux and Apple, right, right now, and those are kind of the big-time, I mean you have other proprietary operating systems, but those are like server software and that kind of thing, so you don’t really have browsers on them. But, uh, it’s something where I mea I know they’ve been fighting for this for a long time and we’re probably pulling this out, this conversation out a little bit, but it would be nice if everyone could just get together and say here is our one rendering engine, and I know this isn’t gonna happen because there is a certain amount of control that you need on an operating system to please, I mean it’s a business. At the end of the day what I’m trying to say is it’s a business, and whether you’re Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google your business is getting people to see your brand, and since everybody surfs the Web, the browser’s an excellent way to do that, and I think until that goes away we’re always going to have standard problems.

Louis: Okay. So first of all I don’t think that’s a fair call because at least one of the rendering engines out there, which is to say Firefox from Mozilla, is not a business, it’s an open source project put out by a non-profit.

Kevin: This is true.

Louis: And to some extend WebKit also sort of falls in that realm, even though it’s championed by two very large companies, and those two very large companies another valid point is that they’re often at each other’s throats, so saying that they’re trying to push the browser engine WebKit to try and advance through an agenda is valid, but they’re also helping their competitor, right, so it doesn’t — it’s not just business, I don’t think that’s the only reason why the standards process is difficult, and I think it was actually kind of working, I mean these vendor prefixes were effective. One of the suggestions people have made is that the experimental ones shouldn’t still be there after the property is stabilized, so that means if you support box shadow in an un-prefixed form in your browser then there’s no reason to still support WebKit box shadow because you want to push developers towards using the standard form, right; these are only sort of an interim stopgap solution while you’re testing things.

Kevin: Right. That still kind of breaks the Web in a way, though, because you lose future compatibility versus backward compatibility.

Louis: Yeah. Another suggestion that I read that I really liked, I don’t remember who suggested this, but someone had mentioned that a good idea might be to have the vendor prefixed properties only exist in develop versions of the browsers. So if I’m using the nightly builds of WebKit then I can test around with these WebKit ones, but as soon as it goes to a full release where it’s pushed out into Chrome and Safari either you support the property or you don’t.

Kevin: It’s an interesting idea.

Louis: If you do then there’s no prefix, and if you don’t then it’s just out, which I think is probably — it seems on the surface of it like a good idea, I haven’t given it a whole bunch of thought, but it seems like it might sort of solve some of these problems where people are making websites out in the wild using these experimental properties and sort of tying their sites to one browser or one rendering engine.

Kevin: Right. Yeah, I like that idea because at the end of the day what a lot of browser makers need is feedback from implementers, right, and so that would be an excellent way to do that, I think. Now, you wouldn’t get as many implementers because not everybody runs develop builds, but you would still get a good many.

Louis: Yeah, and without necessarily running the risk of people developing production websites with experimental properties. Anyway, I just — it’s good to get a bit of a read on this, it’s been obviously a huge outroar on the Web, there have been blog post far and wide, SitePoint, long time SitePoint friend Rachel Andrew wrote a blog post decrying this action on the part of Mozilla and other — well, basically just saying look we’ve got to fix this, so people have come up with — there’s a petition and a pledge telling browser makers not to implement WebKit vendor prefix and promising to update the sites that you do control, so if you do feel like this is something that matters and you don’t want the other browser vendors to start standardizing around the WebKit form then there’s that option, there’s also a project started by Christian Heilmann, who’s of Mozilla, which is called Prefix The Web, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes, and that is people going around finding open source projects on GitHub and demos of CSS3 functionality that people have put on GitHub, and just patching that code to support other browsers where possible, so there’s a whole list of those of projects people have found and updated to be more cross-browser compliant, so a lot of things that, you know, a lot of people are jumping into this bandwagon and trying to get people up and angry about this, so that’s good, we’ll have to wait and see what happens though.

Kevin: Yeah, it’s the nature of the Web, right, there’s always something crazy going on, it really is.

Louis: Yeah, cool. Well, I guess that wraps that if someone wants to jump in with the next story.

Kevin: So, I have an interesting article to get off the CSS train for a second and talk about the Kickstarter.

Patrick: Yay. (Laughter)

Louis: Yeah, what happened to the train, we haven’t heard the train yet today Kevin?

Kevin: Yeah, yeah,

Patrick: whoo whoo (laughs)

Kevin: I’m sure it’ll be around later, I think it comes at 7:30, but maybe 7:45 today, we’ll see.

Patrick: It’s running late from Albuquerque.

Kevin: So, there’s a blog post up, it was posted on February 10th, about the last 24 hours, of course then, of Kickstarter and how they’ve made some giant leaps and bounds in what they’re doing. And I think Kickstarter is a worthy company and project to talk about because it helps other people work together to finance ideas and projects and that kind of thing. Basically what they have going on is basically a timeline on this blog post of all the things that have happened over 24 hours, it was a big day for Kickstarter and just all the different things between political efforts and some very large projects that they have going on; I believe Elevation Doc saw close to a million dollars for their project. And so I was wondering maybe if you guys had thoughts on a project like this that kind of takes off, like your opinions and stuff on maybe what other people could do to get involved in a project like this. Like how — I think, Patrick, you would probably have some opinions on this, but, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard of Kickstarter, but how would somebody go about getting involved not only in like one of these good projects, but also starting their own project. Like because I think on the cusp of something like this it’s good to kick into the imagination; I know I’m stumbling all over my words here, but, interesting I would say.

Patrick: Kickstarter’s awesome, I mean I think I love the idea of it, it’s not like a complex idea, it’s a pretty simple idea, it’s a simple concept, and they’ve got the community and the traffic to make it a successful venture, and that’s really what it’s about, not necessarily the idea but the execution. And I think it’s great for them to hit this mark and to have projects that go over a million dollars, it really makes me think creatively about what I could do with the platform myself if I have different ideas for different projects that I want to fund, and to be able to get that funding before laying out the investment. Not that it really disrupts venture capital so much, I think that space is still kind of its own sort of country and has it’s own sort of norms and principles, but definitely this is a case where people can go out there and more simply get funding and maybe maintain more control of their idea by delivering it directly to the people who want their product or want to see them release whatever it is they are interested in putting out. So, to me it’s a great idea and it’s great to see them be successful, and it’s great to see so many different content creators and product developers look to Kickstarter to put out something; I notice a lot of web video channels, a lot of successful — YouTube channels especially, putting out Kickstarter campaigns or similar campaigns to fund their next big thing, or maybe they’ll want to do a movie or a longer feature, and so they’re using Kickstarter or something similar to fund it, mentioning people in their videos, having people pick elements of the video; there is a series called Beer and Board Games from Blame Society Films that is a lot of fun, and they have people who you can pick the beer, you can pick the game they play, and so they get the funding but then they make the people a part of the project as well, and I think that’s a lot of fun.

Louis: Yeah, it’s an awesome thing, and it’s great for people who have ideas to be able to just kick it directly to their fans, especially if they’ve already got a following and just want to, like you said, do something a bit bigger and more ambitious. I have to say — I’m just gonna nerd this up a little bit; I was kind of disappointed because when I see these like, oh, we had this crazy 24 hours blog on a startup website I’m hoping for like our servers were getting hammered and here’s what we had to do, and all the nerdy technical details. And just so the listeners aren’t disappointed, there’s none of that, it’s all about successful and just how it blew up on social media, not about how they weathered the storm of all the increased traffic.

Patrick: Right, no, none of that (laughter). It’s a mainstream blog post; we’ll put it that way.

Louis: Yeah, maybe they have a technical blog as well; maybe I’m just not looking at the right place.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s possible.

Kevin: I think I’m a little biased to Kickstarter in a way because it’s such a good site, right, I mean I’ve seen really good things come out of it, there’s projects for like WordPress plugins, and that kind of thing, and I think even some iPad gear came out from this, and these are all just individuals who have an idea and want to get other people who like that idea, or have similar interests, to get involved so you can help create things that aren’t just blah, if you know what I mean, like it’s a quality product, right, because there is some investment, and you can put time behind the things, and I just love it, I think it’s great.

Patrick: Yeah, it is, and have you funded anything, Kevin?

Kevin: Yes, I have. So, one of my friends, he works with a lady and they do music albums, and so I supported them, it’s the Hannah Miller, you can look them up, I love that music, it’s good.

Patrick: Okay, yeah, I haven’t funded anything myself, not yet anyway.

Kevin: Right.

Patrick: I want to, though, I will one day, I’m sure. Put your money where your mouth is, Patrick.

Louis: That’s right. Yeah, let’s do it. Speaking of money, that’s a perfect segue.

Patrick: So, speaking of money, I picked up a story on TechCrunch by Rip Empson, and he reported on the sale of two domain names, not your everyday sale, though, because it was and, and was sold for $500,000.00, while was sold for $325,000.00 to a company named Visalus Sciences, I believe. And that story linked me to bigger lists of the biggest domain name sales of 2011, so last year’s top 100 domain name sales by the actual cost of the domain name. So the number one domain name last year sold, the most expensive one was, which was sold for 2.6 million dollars, then, and, I assume that means something to someone or in some other language, both sold for a million dollar each, and there’s this long list of names, jumps out to me for $500,000.00, and for the kind of web dev technical audience that we have, sold for $352,500.00, and sold for $92,000.00, so, yeah, I’m always curious of what domain names are worth, so this helps to guide me; not that I have any that are worth half a million, of course.

Louis: Yeah, I mean that stuff is kind of crazy, it’s really surprising to me to look at this because — and so what did you say sold for, sorry?

Patrick: 2.6 million. It was the most expensive by far, like the closest one was for a million.

Louis: Yeah, but I mean even let’s go with $500,000.00 and up, I find it difficult to imagine other than, you know, if it’s your brand, if it’s like or then obviously the value of that to you as a company could reach that kind of number, but I can’t possibly imagine anything that you could do with that would reach anywhere near that level of investment that you couldn’t do with a different domain. Increasingly it seems like the domain name is less and less relevant in web ventures because everyone finds things via Google, or you’ve got a Facebook page or Twitter, I mean it’s easy to find anything. I think even as recent goings on with like, for example, Facebook login being the most commonly searched thing in Google, right, or it was at some point, or it was in the top ten of searches, right; people aren’t even entering to go to Facebook, so it seems like the domain name is kind of irrelevant, and especially something like where it doesn’t have a strong branding, it’s just sort of this random word, it kind of baffles me.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean I can understand that. There are two, you know, there’s a couple thoughts, domain names, branding, it can have an impact on getting funded, I’ve heard multiple people say this before that if you have a great pitch and great domain name you’ll go a lot farther than if you just have a great pitch. Is that fair? Is that vanity or cosmetic? Perhaps, but it is something that I’ve seen repeated multiple times, and so you do have as far as, like you said, people go to Google, the domain name does impact searches and results, what’s in the domain name. So, for example, might have a decent chance at ranking for the search term domain name if you were starting now versus starting as eNom, let’s say eNom has built up links and they’ll get credit for that, but if you are one of those right now and you’re targeting that term, is gonna put you head and shoulders above generic branding. But I can understand your point because that’s a point a lot of people make is that if you have a million to spend on a domain name then you have a million to spend on something else.

Louis: It just seems to me like if you’ve got — let’s say I’ve got an idea for a website that is gonna be the next social network, right, I can either spend 2.6 million dollars hiring developers and designers and making a product, or I can buy and then spend a thousand dollars hiring designers and developers making a product. And if feels to me, like my gut feeling is that the better product is a more worthwhile investment of my time, whether or not it’ll be more successful, and you mentioned funding, I mean the funding thing is crazy too, right, because that’s not an indication of actual success, as we’ve seen recently with Groupon and things like that, you know, getting funding isn’t an end in itself, right, it’s just another step along the way, and if you don’t have a business model or if you can’t turn a profit or if you don’t have a product then that’s not getting you any further than a good domain name is.

Patrick: Yeah, and one thing that you might throw out there is that if you have the money to pay developers and you have the money to get a great domain name, then it’s maybe better to have both instead of one. But if you have to choose one then you want to be careful where you invest it.

Louis: You know up to a point, I can understand if you’re starting a new venture that domain names you want aren’t necessarily available, right, or if somebody’s got them and you can get them for two or seven or even ten thousand dollars, if it’s part of a big business venture and you say this is the domain name, and I’m not expecting you to be able to start — I’m not saying that people can ‘I want to start a new website about whatever’ and the domain name is just gonna cost me the ten dollar registration, I don’t think that’s very common anymore because a lot of domain names are taken or squatted, right. So you might have to pay something for them, but it just seems to me like paying that much for them is kind of crazy. Again, part of it is coming from the perspective that I come from working at Flippa where we do a lot of sales of websites, established websites, and not a lot of sales of domains like Sedo, which is mentioned in this article, do more domain sales, but for us we’re seeing like when you’re looking at a website it’s all about traffic and links and even revenue, because these are real businesses, right, you’re buying something, not just a property, which is hard to quantify anything about other than it’s a dictionary word and it’s short and so it’s worth two million dollars, I don’t know, it baffles me. Clearly it doesn’t baffle people who have two million dollars, and maybe they’re smarter than me because that’s why they have two million dollars.

Patrick: I don’t know if that’s the case, but domain names do have value, I think, at the end of the day, so that it’s kind of like that — the address or the real estate of the Web, there’s value there, and there’s different examples, like I could say Flippa, for example, if you search websites for sale Flippa is number one right now,, and that’s a great place to be. Of course Flippa has the SitePoint —

Louis: The SitePoint bump.

Patrick: — party limited. Yeah, the SitePoint bump, but if you go to the third site there, Websites for Sales, plural, is the third site listed there. And the site that I go to is nothing particularly nice let me tell ya. So, there is something to be said for that, but I do agree with you, and, you know, I think it’s an interesting discussion, and also one thing I wanted to point out also was country code domain names, the most expensive country code domain names, so, .net, .org, specific countries, was at which is stocks in German, that sold for $725,000.00, and on the web development note, or at least the Web note, sold for $40,000.00, sold for $18,500.00, and addserver.d sold for $18,000 and $17,940 respectively.

Louis: You know, of that I would have to say that sounds like that was a bargain, like it sounds like you would expect to pay more than $18,000 for that given the sort of explosion of SEO. So, in is India, right, I’m not getting that wrong?

Patrick: I believe that is the case, yeah.

Louis: Yeah, anyway, I think someone got a steal with that one, but, again, I don’t know anything because I don’t have two million dollars.

Patrick: I wish I had lots of money. I would have many beautiful domain names. With that said, I think it’s time to talk about spotlights, and I will go first with my patented offbeat spotlight, Patrick’s offbeat spotlight corner, a regular series here on the SitePoint Podcast.

Louis: Is available? (Laughter)

Patrick: It might be.

Louis: Is that worth $18,000.00?

Patrick: I think it’s worth the registration fee; might not even be worth that. But, so my spotlight is a commercial from the Superbowl called Man’s Best Friend, it was part of Doritos Crash the Superbowl website where people can submit different commercials, this one was by Jonathan Friedman, and the description is: while working in his yard a man observes a crime being covered up, but the culprit has a unique way of keeping the two witnesses quiet, and I kind of don’t want to talk about it because it’s 30 seconds, so if I describe it it’s ruined, so just check out the link and enjoy the commercial.

Louis: Right. And the Superbowl is an American football competition, if I understand correctly.

Patrick: Yes, yes, and assuming — it’s inconsequential to what we’re discussing here. Now, the one thing is, though, I’m hoping that people beyond U.S. will be able to see the commercial. I can’t guarantee that for sure, but hopefully that is the case.

Louis: We’ll find out. Yep, I just tested it and it works here, so most likely it is available in all countries, or at least most countries.

Patrick: That’s what they say about Australia, right, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere, isn’t that Australia?

Louis: (Laughs) if you can see it here you can see it anywhere, that’s what they say about Australia on the Internet.

Patrick: There we go. Down to the last minute. Stephan, what do you got?

Stephan: I can go next. I’ve got this website called yourls, it’s, and it’s a custom short URL creator, and it has a plugin for WordPress, so it’s a set of PHP scripts to create your own short URLs. I know we love those on this show, so I figured why not.

Louis: Yeah, I mean I think we have talked about this before, and it is definitely cool to be able to have your URL shortner on a server you control so you have it in your own database, and it also does click tracking and statistics like does, yeah, it looks really cool.

Stephan: Yeah, simple.

Patrick: Do you use this, Stephan?

Stephan: No, I don’t, I just found it today, so I thought it would be neat to share.

Patrick: Yeah, I’m familiar with it, I just haven’t made the decision of what I want to use, like, and if I want to even do it, because I have, so ifroggy but, and I’m not sure if I want to put it on or if I want to use this, or what; if anyone has a recommendation leave it in the comments.

Louis: What’s gy?

Stephan: I think it’s Guyana.

Patrick: That’s correct, Stephan, it is. Gee-yana, Guyana, something like that.

Louis: Was Guyana fairly easy to deal with registration.

Patrick: I paid via carrier pigeon.

Louis: Like some of them you have to fax something in, some of them you have to prove you’re a business.

Patrick: No, it’s a bad joke, but yeah, I mean it was a slow process, I had to register, like wait a month and wait for it to go through and them to email me, because the site that I registered through,, they’re a pretty well-known registrar, but I guess it was the actual person who manages the registry in that country that takes a long time, but once it’s set up and on the server I mean my assumption is that it should be okay, but that is part of my hesitation.

Louis: Yeah, a friend of mine was trying to register at .ie, a domain name, which is Ireland, and apparently they just said, no, that’s not a website devoted to an Irish business, like you really have to demonstrate that you’re making an Ireland-related website or you’re an Irish business.

Patrick: Yeah, yeah.

Louis: You can’t just use it as part of a word like people do with ly or gy in your case.

Patrick: Yeah, different countries have different restrictions as far as what you can do, and many of them do require you to at least maintain a presence in the country or in some cases even stricter than that.

Louis: I’d maintain a presence in Guyana, I could get a little beach house.

Patrick: (Laughs) I don’t know.

Kevin: Carrier pigeon.

Louis: Just for the domain name, of course.

Patrick: Yeah, I’m looking at the Wikipedia page for a list of Internet top-level domains, and like Finland requires you to be a company or organization registered in Finland, or be a Finnish national, Guinea requires a local contact, so, yeah, it seems like — I don’t know how common that is or how restricted they are, but in some cases it definitely is the case. I mean they make less money, but I guess they maintain a more, how do I want to put this, pure domain pool, I don’t know.

Louis: Yeah.

Patrick: Kevin! What do you got?

Kevin: I have an excellent article on SSH, since SSH is super exciting.

Patrick: Yay.

Louis: I’m really excited by SSH, I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t even take that sarcastically. (Laughter)

Kevin: It actually is a very cool thing, in fact, it can be more cool for you if you’re using it for just secure — connecting to your server securely, connecting to a server; you can use it for a lot more, and this article covers just that, and so they cover why you should use SSH, and then also maybe executing remote commands, copying files, you know, so there’s a lot of really cool stuff in here you need to check out if you use SSH. I use SSH for everything; I use it to connect MySQL databases, I use it to — I mean if it has to do with a server I use SSH, and I think this is an excellent article on the topic.

Louis: Yeah, I spend pretty much ten hours a day everyday shuffling through SSH because I develop on a virtual machine and I SSH to the terminal.

Patrick: Ouch!

Louis: Any little tips and tricks I definitely appreciate. Speaking of tips and tricks, see segue, man, we’re all about segues this week; my spotlight is a series of screencasts created by a guy called Gary Bernhardt, and they are called Destroy All Software. So, he bills it as screencasts for serious developers, they are not free, they’re a nine dollar a month subscription, but they’re great, we’ve collectively bought a subscription here at Flippa for our dev team, and I’ve been powering through them in the last couple of days, and they’re really good. So they’re kind of more advanced developer topics, so either UNIX command line stuff, test driven development, a lot of stuff about VIM and using VIM effectively, and Git for version control. The bits that are about development and software tend to focus on Ruby, but there are little tidbits and design patterns sort of useful in any language. But it’s one of those things where you’re watching them, and they’re very, very dense, he does a lot of stuff in 10 to 15 minutes per screencast, but just being blown away by how fast and how effective the guy is using his tools and understanding the code that he’s writing, and it really gives you a good insight into the stuff. So if you use any of these tools I recommend checking it out, there’s one of them that is available for free as a demo, and it is the one about avoiding nil or nul values in your code, why that’s important and how to do it, so I’ll put a link to the one that’s free as well in the show notes.

Kevin: Interesting. See now you have me excited.

Louis: Awesome (laughs).

Kevin: It’s a good trade, it’s a good trade.

Louis: That’s what we aim for. Alright, so that wraps it up for this week, and let’s just go around the table.

Kevin: I’m Kevin Dees and you can find me at, and on Twitter as @kevindees.

Patrick: I’m Patrick O’Keefe for the iFroggy Network; I blog at, on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y.

Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves, you can find me on Twitter @ssegraves, and I blog at

Louis: And you can follow SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, that’s sitepointd-o-t-c-o-m, you can email us at, and course you can go to to find all of our show, subscribe to the RSS, leave a comment, anything you want to do with the podcast will be at Thanks for listening, next week I hope to have maybe a little mini-panel of interviewees talking about the whole vendor prefix kerfuffle, so tune in next week; we should have a great show of some experts being able to comment on that.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

Louis SimoneauLouis Simoneau
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Louis joined SitePoint in 2009 as a technical editor, and has since moved over into a web developer role at Flippa. He enjoys hip-hop, spicy food, and all things geeky.

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