Thursday, August 28, 2008

Transfering Websites

I have transferred a few websites and domain names lately. Here are two tips that I think are worth writing down for now.

First, do things in the right order. If you are switching both the web host and domain name service, doing things in the right order will eliminate any downtime. Begin by starting your new hosting service and transferring your site's data there from the old host. Next, change your DNS to point to your new host. Then you can initiate the transfer of your domain. Doing it in this order will cause the switch to be seamless. I learned this the hard way. I found that after you initiate a transfer of a domain name it takes 5 business days and the DNS is locked during the period--no updates or changes allowed.

Second, there is a great tool that can help you change a site's script code from ASP to PHP. For instance, I had a site hosted on Windows Server and wanted to transfer it to a Linux server. The tool is free and it is called ASP2PHP. I have used it a bit and had some good successes. There are a few bugs, but it is a lot better than hand coding everything all over again.

That's all for now...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Image Editors

There are some good, free image editors out there. If you are on a short budget but want to produce some top quality images, check these out:

  • Picasa2 - This is a really easy program to use and it is great for basic photograph edits. It handles some otherwise intensive tasks with easy (like shrinking and emailing images, exporting at reduced sizes, creating HTML photo albums). I also noticed that its file type compatibility is impressive (it was able to open a raw image file from my SLR).

  • Paint.NET - This is a more advanced image editor that is really easy to learn. It has a lot of features, is constantly being updated by its creator, is pretty powerful, and anyone can learn to use it. There is also an online library with extensions if you want even more graphics tools. When I first got into web design, this is the program I used.

  • GIMP - Now this is my favorite. It is even more powerful than Paint.NET and can create some amazing pictures. It rivals Photoshop in many ways. And, just like the others above, this one is free! There is a drawback, however. It is a hard to learn. It took me some real quality time before I felt comfortable with it. I suggest going to YouTube to watch some free tutorials on how to use it. This will give you a much needed head start on the learning curve and reduce some of the frustration that many experience. This is the only image editor I use now for web and graphic design.