“The use of APACHE SI HTML Tags is an ingenious approach to any coding or digital marketing predicament!”

That’s what creative coding author David Moores calls it… 

I’m not sure why I’ve taken so long to post this blog, frankly it’s long over due in terms of what I deem worthy enough to spend my time writing about.  It’s just that I find myself reusing the same coding concept I discovered three and a half years ago, again and again.  This “discovery”, as I’m going to call it, happened in February 2013 when I stumbled upon a coding concept that would allow PHP scripting to execute and render within the ProvideX programming language environment with the help of certain Apache Modules (mod_filter, mod_include & mod_substitute).  I was searching for a way to solve numerous SEO (Search Engine Optimization) deficiencies; including other technology limitations I was handcuffed with using antiquated e-commerce software.  I still remember the awesome feeling, it was a big deal and the positive implications would dramatically change my approach to future digital challenges.  It has since become my primary coding resource for solving various complicated front-end development limitations and e-commerce software short-comings.  I’ve never been sure what to call my discovery because in technical terms it’s a bit exhausting and you tend to lose people when explaining exactly what it does, so I call it “Apache SI HTML Tags“.  It is so important that this Apache configuration module knowledge has resurrected and re-purposed the antiquated e-Commerce (EC) module under the PointForce Enterprise e-Commerce brand name.

Here is a little history on the story of how “Apache SI HTML Tags” saved a struggling, underdeveloped e-commerce platform from certain “Digital Demise”, please read on…

There are two web servers that administer this particular website, basically the ProvideX (Web Server 1.3.17) executes dynamic e-commerce content through an Apache driven CGI (Common Gateway Interface) script that displays “Search” and “Cart” pages using Port Monitors (individual web servers up to 100 per base launcher) and Task Handlers (applications that process the requests) and Apache (Web Server 2.4.10) which handles requests, sends responses and translates all non-PVXPlus (ProvideX) exceptions, you know Apache stuff.  In a nutshell, the ProvideX HTM and XML source files are encrypted and require the ProvideX Interpreter to decode and execute PVX programs that render the dynamic e-commerce related webpages.  So the PointForce Enterprise e-Commerce module is a CMS (Content Management System) driven by Key Blocks that build HTML Page Templates out of Objects (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) and Code (ProvideX programming language) including PVX programs written with XML character content in mind.

Hit the lights, Apache takes center stage and now the magic of Apache SI HTML Tags begins…

…by configuring an Apache LocationMatch directive within a VirtualHosts configuration file, an Apache SI HTML Tag coded as “<example>” can be inserted into the HTML file Key Block.  Any Apache SI HTML Tags identified by the Apache LocationMatch directive in the configuration file are then filtered and substitutions are included using the include virtual element.   This allows for minimal coding changes without the need to repeat programming across various duplicate web page containers.  Prior to this discovery, rendering the PHP programming language was only possible using the <iframe> (inline frame) tag, which is limited in its use.  The ProvideX Web Server isn’t very forgiving in terms of introducing, what it would interpret as, a non-compliant data stream, it’s only able to interpret its own ProvideX programming language, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  So the idea of rendering PHP scripts that display downstream of the ProvideX Interpreter was genius.

Elvis Presley

Thank you, thank you very much!

Since that time I’ve implemented Apache SI HTML Tags on numerous occasions for specific digital marketing purposes; for example:

  • Language translation variances (Canadian French & English).
  • Geo-location marketing campaigns.
  • A/B multivariate testing.
  • Banner advertisements i.e. Holiday greeting messages and landing page promotions.
  • Strike-through pricing functionality, etc.

In late August of 2016, I was able to leverage Apache SI HTML Tags to completely transform the outdated HTML Table coded PointForce  e-Commerce site into a mobile-friendly Responsive Web Design (RWD) experience.  I  spent three months rewriting the existing ProvideX code/wireframe using the PxPlus Utilities Integrated Toolkit application to replace HTML <table> tags references with <div> tag elements within the PVX file for the website;  I was, and still am, ecstatic with the outcome!

In my humble yet experienced opinion, the Apache web server is without a doubt a digital marketing person’s greatest asset and resource.  Apache SI HTML Tags have helped me to simply my coding; Apache is my secret weapon and I’m not afraid to use it!

Now – I can’t take all the credit, as inspiration can come from anywhere, and I’d like to acknowledge Ben Schwartz (Digital Diary of Ben Schwartz) for his influence in helping me develop an approach to a very specific situation that ended up applying to a gamut of other very useful front-end web development scenarios, thank you Ben!

Oh yeah, here’s a simple “ example ” of an Apache SI HTML Tag working its magic, to see the code reference click here

Intention + Action = Magic


David Moores @ NYC

At moorescode, our objectives are to build “first in class” digital experiences that focus on perfecting the customers’ journey.  Our strengths lie in digital analytics, metric components and the implementation of data tracking methods for mining interpretation.  These mechanisms provide the necessary insight to ensure your company’s branding message maintains a unified voice across all touch-points.  With our advanced knowledge of web server deployment, database management systems, and server-side scripting languages we’ve earned a reputation as experts in the web technology sector.

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