Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Way to Go Tectite!

On other websites I run I use Tectite's PHP formmail program. Just recently inspiration came to me and am looking for implementing two anti-spam solutions.

The first one is captcha. You probably have come across captchas where a picture is presented with scrambled & obfusticated letters and you are asked to fill in a form field telling the computer what those letters are.

The other idea I have had was to replace target e-mails (even mangled e-mails do not work the best by mangled I mean: me_REPLACE_THIS_WITH_THE_@_SYMBOL_someserver.com) in the form with a database lookup key. The formmail program uses the key to look up the e-mail in a database. Makes sense, I can not believe e-mail mangling is too hard to defeat, make a couple of different attempts at demangling the e-mail and if none work write the e-mail to a file to be gone through later.

Well, Tectite has implemented both of those ideas. In fact, they go a little farther. They now allow the webmaster to create a server-side ini file where you can specify the e-mail addresses to send the form to and place lookup keys in the client-side form (client-side is what the person using the browser sees). In addition to completely hiding form target e-mail addresses one can also shield further functionality from spam bots (e.g. specifying what fields are and are not mandatory). I have just started looking at this increased functionality, I can not wait till I get through it to the end!

The forms can also perform captcha-spam blocking. Previously, I was looking at using outside software to create captchas (and in certain instances, it may be called for) but I was having difficulty getting the captcha software to work on all of my websites except for one.

I really want to give a high-five to Tectite for adding this functionality to their formmail program!

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