The Whole Banner Fiasco

So, this morning, for some odd reason, I got this great idea. "I know!", I said... "I'll put up a random link to some other comic I read on the Blue Neon site!".

Knowing just about zilch about php, which I decided would be the best way to implement the scripting without using that nasty old javascript I've seen used for the same purpose (which requires the entire list of possible links to be pushed to the client... bah!), I went out and looked for something that'd do this for me.

Oh wow, but did I ever find a wide variety of php software designed for managing random ads. Out of the list, I chose, for no particular reason (aside from it being free), phpAdsNew. The features looked impressive, for a person addicted to looking at pretty numbers; I could see just how much traffic was going to any given site, not that I really have a use for that data... but... gee, it's cool.

Then I get to schlepping the whole thing into my home directory on xidus.net via my signature "scp -r and go get a soda" method. I get back from finding that there is no soda, but rather an Arizona Plum Green Tea (very good, and comes in a really neat looking bottle, too!), and... hey wait, scp's still running. I do a quick du -h on the source directory. Gag.... it's 7.2 megs. I cancel scp and clean out the directory. Looks like all those cool features come at a price... massiveness.

Don't get me wrong, it looks like phpAdsNew is a great piece of software, but I was really looking for something far more lightweight. I figured, heck, I could do without all the other stuff... I just needed random text links...

Eventually, I got back to looking around, and found randomad. Looked good, but the use of an iframe tag in the example code on its homepage made me wonder if I'd have to hack it a bit. The answer, fortunately, was no. It consists of a php script that simply reads a random line out of a file, ads.txt, and spits it out. Ludicrously simple! All I have to do is use a php include() to stick its output into the appropriate location, and voila, random links. Why didn't I think of that? Well... I would have if I knew how to code in php, but I don't yet. I'm going to learn. Honest! Please, call off the penguins! AIEEEEE...

So, in the end, all is well. I have my random text links. Yeah, perhaps I don't have a nice web interface for managing links, or statistics, but it works. And, if it works for me, well, it works for me.

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