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How to prevent theft of your source code.
December 11, 2002 12:34 PM   Subscribe

How to prevent theft of your source code. From Frequent Questions Answered, a list of useful tips in web development. I'm thinking of trying a few of these, especially the <INVISIBLE> tags.
posted by jonah (33 comments total)

 
Hard to say, so PSA:

a. If you did NOT know that was a joke (the latter), it is. Read all the way down the page on the second link.

b. If you DID know the latter link was a joke, the former link at least has a number of actively useful tips, albeit arranged in one of the most singularly aggravating "mystery-Q" fashions I've ever seen.
posted by babylon at 12:47 PM on December 11, 2002


3. Ftp to your server, select all files and directories, hit "Delete".
4. Put every existing copy of every file on floppies, place them in a shoebox and bury them in the backyard. There is another version of this method which involves placing the floppies in a plastic bag and hiding them in a different sort of hole. Both are equally effective.
5. Password protect your entire site and make sure no one has the password, not even you.
6. Employ a small but fanatically loyal and well-armed band of mercenaries to guard your site.
7. Start>Run>format C: 8. Attack dogs, preferably rabid.
9. Use any version of Microsoft Frontpage to create your site. (This won't prevent people from viewing your source, but no one will want to steal it.)
10. Don't put your pages on the web.


Heh.
posted by jokeefe at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2002


That second link is like friggin' Jeopardy.
posted by PenDevil at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2002


good point babylon, it's not wise to assume that everyone will realize that the first part of the article is a joke. If you scroll down, there are some real tips on securing your code. It does point out that there is no way to completely prevent the theft of your code.
posted by jonah at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2002


I though the second link was more like Carnac the Magnificent.
posted by jonah at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2002


"If you did NOT know that was a joke (the latter), it is."

Oh, now you tell me.

Anyone know how to get my files back after using method 3?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:04 PM on December 11, 2002


that bitch stole my html not safe for work
posted by madamjujujive at 1:10 PM on December 11, 2002


Well, if you bring back your files, someone is going to be able to steal them. What a conundrum.
posted by jonah at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2002


"It has been suggested that using javascript to disable right-click or encrypting the HTML may be effective. It is far more likely that employing these easily circumvented techniques will only encourage people to "steal" your code. In all probability, they don't want it until you tell them they can't have it."

Couldn't agree more.
posted by lucien at 1:15 PM on December 11, 2002


/me misses the good ol' days when people were proud to have their code copied.
posted by rushmc at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2002


Sorry if I was stating the obvious....just that even the way Jonah initially phrased the post, I could see junior coders reading down to tip #2, and then barraging the authors with furious emails asking why the tag doesn't work...although come to think of it, one could really keep oneself occupied for hours of amusement answering those sorts of emails.

And, upon re-reviewing things, I realize that I got the links backwards re: former/latter. Sorry bout that. Former's a joke, latter's not.

posted by babylon at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2002


I would never have had a webpage if I hadn't "liberated" some initial code from Ernie two and a half years ago.
posted by jonah at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2002


Only an incredibly conceited fool would want to protect their source. If someone doesn't know how to implement HTML they see on another site, they're probably not going to know what to do with the code anyway.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2002


Rush: No shit. I've learned so much from looking at other people's code, especially when they've done something unconventional with it.
It's always neat to see somebody do something a new way.

And then steal the idea.
posted by Su at 2:03 PM on December 11, 2002


marry me, rushmc.
posted by quonsar at 2:33 PM on December 11, 2002


My favorite right-click disabled site. Enjoy.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:26 PM on December 11, 2002


I once ran into a website that had something like this show up in "view source":
<!--    OH NO YOU DON'T!   -->
<!--    THIS WEBSITE IS    -->
<!--     PROTECTED BY      -->
<!--  MIRACLE CODE-B-GONE  -->
The webside code was offset by 100 carrage returns and 100 spaces. Although I'm certain it was a joke it actually worked against me (for about five minutes anyway).
posted by wobh at 3:31 PM on December 11, 2002


This is great. Good Post!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:34 PM on December 11, 2002


I HATE right click disable with a "cute" message that says "please don't steal my code". I use right click alot to open a new window, and I know I can hold down shift and do the same thing, but I want to surf one handed! Most of the time the code isn't "worth" stealing and I'm sure that at least 50% of it has been appropriated from someone else anyway.

I'm sooo itching to post examples of this, but it would probably come across as mean spirited.
posted by jonah at 3:50 PM on December 11, 2002


...but I want to surf one handed!

So do I, Jonah, so do I... :)
posted by stet at 4:01 PM on December 11, 2002


but I want to surf one handed!

Wow. I just can't. Too easy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:06 PM on December 11, 2002


D'oh! Too slow, as well!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:07 PM on December 11, 2002


we all have needs
posted by jonah at 4:11 PM on December 11, 2002


I HATE right click disable with a "cute" message that says "please don't steal my code".

No-right-click just says "never visit my site again" to me. I usually add sites that utilize it to my hosts file along with all the ad servers.
posted by bargle at 5:53 PM on December 11, 2002


/me misses the good ol' days when people were proud to have their code copied.

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. While I do understand the need - with modern, n-tier sites (in banking, brokerage, or eCommerce, for instance) to hide the business logic layers for security reasons, to this day I see no reason for anyone to hide presentation layer HTML.

I do remember the days when coders took it as the highest form of compliment to see their code used elsewhere. In fact, remember the days when people who had (for instance) come up with a particularly clever JavaScript function (or something) would actually add comments in the code - only visible to people doing a viewsource - inviting the code to be taken, and only asking that the comments with their names be included.

The really funny thing about those who try to disable the ability to take code is that they are quite often barely past the stage of beginner, and virtually never actually have any code worth taking in the first place.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:38 PM on December 11, 2002


I have never had a problem with code being stolen.

Oh, that's right all my code sucks and has been adapted from stuff I borrowed anyway :-)

It is incredibly annoying when the right-click is disabled - having a slow connection, I often open links in a new window to load while I continue to read the page.
posted by dg at 12:48 AM on December 12, 2002


Disabling a right-click smacks of the inexperienced developer showing off how clever he is. "Look what happens when you right click Mum. That stops hackers that does".

However, it's ironic that the 2nd link purports to answer FAQs for Wed Developers yet has one of the clunkiest most annoying formats I have ever seen. Good stuff in there though.
posted by jontyjago at 1:06 AM on December 12, 2002


Uh, Jonah, I hope you now realise that putting the CSS invisible tag around your entire document makes the entire document [gasp] invisible. You just get a BLANK document when you go to your page.
posted by timyang at 1:23 AM on December 12, 2002


I don't see the reason why people want to protect their html. It's another matter with copying design and layout but html, come on.

I always used a < if you copy this you're lame>tag, but then found out that's really lame in itself...
posted by sebas at 4:09 AM on December 12, 2002


When I try and view source on a MeFi page, I get nothing...any explanation?
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:00 AM on December 12, 2002


I HATE right click disable with a "cute" message that says "please don't steal my code".

1: Hold down right mouse button.
2: Press return key to dismiss dumb-ass alert.
3: Release right mouse button.
4: View source.
5: Laugh at code that was invariably not worth stealing. I mean, are they trying to hide it out of shame?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2002


Javascript = Evil.
Animated GIFs = EVIL.
Flash = (usually) EVIL.
Frames = EVIL.

If you have to do something fancy in HTML to do something it's probably not worth doing.
posted by Veritron at 1:52 PM on December 12, 2002


Hrm, in a sort of similar way I figured out a really cool way to compress html using javascript the other day. I'd never seen anything like it, but I don't really follow the Web development world that much.

Check out the basic idea at http://hatori42.com/a.htm
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on December 12, 2002


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