Tag: Free

Angular + Jamstack! (Free Webinar)

(This is a sponsored post.)

It’s easy to think that working with Jamstack means working with some specific set of technologies. That’s how it’s traditionally been packaged for us. Think LAMP stack, where Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are explicit tools and languages. or MEAN or MERN or whatever. With Jamstack, the original JAM meant JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. That’s not specific technologies so much as a loose philosophy.

That’s cool, because it means we can bring our own set of favorite technologies, and then figure out how to use that philosophy for the most benefit. That can mean bringing our favorite CMS, favorite build tools, and even favorite front-end frameworks.

That’s the crux of Netlify’s upcoming webinar on using Angular in the Jamstack. They’ll walk through where Angular fits into the Jamstack architecture, how to develop with Angular in the stack, and the benefits of working this way. Plus you get to hang with Tara Z. Manicsic, which is worth it right there.

The webinar is free and scheduled for May 13 at 9:00am Pacific Time.

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Is Having an RSS Feed Just Giving Content Away for Free?

I mean, kinda.

I was just asked this question the other day so I’m answering here because blogging is cool.

The point of an RSS feed is for people to read your content elsewhere (hence the last part of the acronym, Syndication, as in, broadcasting elsewhere). Probably an RSS reader. But RSS is XML, so in a sense, it’s a limited API to your content as well, which people can use to do other programmatic things (e.g. show a list of recent posts on some other site).

If you hate the idea of people seeing your work outside of your website, then don’t have an RSS feed. It doesn’t prevent your site from being scraped (nothing really does), but it isn’t inviting people to your content the way RSS does.


Don’t you want people to read your stuff? Having an RSS feed is saying, “I’m happy to meet you where you are. If you like reading stuff over there, then great, read it over there. I just like it when you read my stuff.”

It’s hard enough to get people to care about your work anyway. Being extra protective over it isn’t going to help that.

Who’s comic book are you more likely to buy? The webcomic you read and laugh at every day because they make it so easy and free to read? Or the comic that you can’t see because you have to pay for to get a peek and have to roll the dice on whether you’re going to like it or not?

What consultant are you more likely to hire? The one that shares a ton of knowledge about their skills and has firmly established themselves as a publicly verifiable expert? Or a consultant with a homepage that’s just a pricing sheet and phone number?

What blog are you more likely to trust a recommendation from? One that you subscribe to on purpose because you like their content and writers? Or some site you randomly landed on?

What web do you want to exist? One with fun interoperable possibilities? Or walled gardens?

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Free Website Builder + Free CRM + Free Live Chat = Bitrix24

(This is a sponsored post.)

You may know Bitrix24 as the world’s most popular free CRM and sales management system, used by over 6 million businesses. But the free website builder available inside Bitrix24 is worthy of your attention, too.

Why do I need another free website/landing page builder?

There are many ways to create free websites — Wix, Squarepage, WordPress, etc. And if you need a blog — Medium, Tumblr and others are at your disposal. Bitrix24 is geared toward businesses that need websites to generate leads, sell online, issue invoices or accept payments. And there’s a world of difference between regular website builders and the ones that are designed with specific business needs in mind.

What does a good business website builder do? First, it creates websites that engage visitors so that they start interacting. This is done with the help of tools like website live chat, contact form or a call back request widget. Second, it comes with a landing page designer, because business websites are all about conversion rates, and increasing conversion rates requires endless tweaking and repeated testing. Third, integration between a website and a CRM system is crucial. It’s difficult to attract traffic to websites and advertising expensive. So, it makes sense that every prospect from the website as logged into CRM automatically and that you sell your goods and services to clients not only once but on a regular basis. This is why Bitrix24 comes with email and SMS marketing and advertising ROI calculator.

Another critical requirement for many business websites is ability to accept payments online and function as an ecommerce store, with order processing and inventory management. Bitrix24 does that too. Importantly, unlike other ecommerce platforms, Bitrix24 doesn’t charge any transaction fees or come with sales volume limits.

What else does Bitrix24 offer free of charge?

The only practical limit of the free plan is 12 users inside the account. You can use your own domain free of charge, the bandwidth is free and unlimited and there’s only a technical limit on the number of free pages allowed (around 100) in order to prevent misusing Bitrix24 for SEO-spam pages. In addition to offering free cloud service, Bitrix24 has on-premise editions with open source code access that can be purchased. This means that you can migrate your cloud Bitrix24 account to your own server at any moment, if necessary.

To register your free Bitrix24 account, simply click here. And if you have a public Facebook or Twitter profile and share this post, you’ll be automatically entered into a contest, in which the winner gets a 24-month subscription for the Bitrix24 Professional plan ($ 3,336 value).

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Get Geographic Information from an IP Address for Free

Say you need to know what country someone visiting your website is from, because you have an internationalized site and display different things based on that country. You could ask the user. You might want to have that functionality anyway to make sure your visitors have control, but surely they will appreciate it just being correct out of the gate, to the best of your ability.

There are no native web technologies that have this information. JavaScript has geolocation, but users would have to approve that, and even then you’d have to use some library to convert the coordinates into a more usable country. Even back-end languages, which have access to the IP address in a way that JavaScript doesn’t, don’t just automatically know the country of origin.


You have to ask some kind of service that knows this. The IP Geolocation API is that service, and it’s free.

You perform a GET against the API. You can do it right in the browser if you want to test it:


But you don’t just get the country. You get a whole pile of information you might need to use. I happen to be sitting in Canada and this is what I get for my IP:

{     "continent":"North America",    "address_format":"{{recipient}}\n{{street}}\n{{city}} {{region_short}} {{postalcode}}\n{{country}}",    "alpha2":"CA",    "alpha3":"CAN",    "country_code":"1",    "international_prefix":"011",    "ioc":"CAN",    "gec":"CA",    "name":"Canada",    "national_destination_code_lengths":[        3    ],    "national_number_lengths":[        10    ],    "national_prefix":"1",    "number":"124",    "region":"Americas",    "subregion":"Northern America",    "world_region":"AMER",    "un_locode":"CA",    "nationality":"Canadian",    "postal_code":true,    "unofficial_names":[        "Canada",       "Kanada",       "Canadá",       "カナダ"    ],    "languages_official":[        "en",       "fr"    ],    "languages_spoken":[        "en",       "fr"    ],    "geo":{        "latitude":56.130366,       "latitude_dec":"62.832908630371094",       "longitude":-106.346771,       "longitude_dec":"-95.91332244873047",       "max_latitude":83.6381,       "max_longitude":-50.9766,       "min_latitude":41.6765559,       "min_longitude":-141.00187,       "bounds":{           "northeast":{              "lat":83.6381,             "lng":-50.9766          },          "southwest":{              "lat":41.6765559,             "lng":-141.00187          }       }    },    "currency_code":"CAD",    "start_of_week":"sunday" }

With that information, I could easily decide to redirect to the Canadian version of my website, if I have one, or show prices in CAD, or offer a French translation, or whatever else I can think of.

Say you were in PHP. You could get the IP like…

function getUserIpAddr() {   if (!empty($  _SERVER['HTTP_CLIENT_IP'])) {     $  ip = $  _SERVER['HTTP_CLIENT_IP'];   } elseif (!empty($  _SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR'])) {     $  ip = $  _SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR'];   } else {     $  ip = $  _SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];   }   return $  ip; }

The cURL to get the information:

$  url = "https://api.ipgeolocationapi.com/geolocate/";  $  ch = curl_init();   curl_setopt($  ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);  curl_setopt($  ch, CURLOPT_URL, $  url);  $  result = curl_exec($  ch); 

It comes back as JSON, so:

$  json = json_decode($  result);

And then $ json->{'name'}; will be “Canada” if I’m in Canada.

So I can do like:

if ($  json->{'name'} == "Canada") {   // serve index-ca.php } else {   // server index.php }

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