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Croatia – Foreigners Unwelcome?

Local Council in Sibenik targets British house owner

(Extract from the blog of Jonty C. Entwistle, UK-based Estate Agent, 29/07/2011)

As we have often said in this blog, buying houses in Croatia has been simplified considerably in the last few years and many of our clients have benefited. We expect even more interest after Croatia joins the EU next year. However, investing in Croatia might still have to come with a small health warning, it seems. Not all regions of the country appear to be as welcoming as others.

Acting, they say, as a result of continual complaints from a neighbour concerning a small metal awning frame attached to the front of a house owned by an Englishman on the central Dalmatian island of Krapanj, Sibenik municipality recently despatched a team of contractors, accompanied by two large policemen, to remove it. A small occurrence of minor significance, you may think, but it appears there are circumstances surrounding this which deserve somewhat closer attention.

The house owner, Mr. *****, informed the delegation when they arrived unannounced that the matter of the awning had been extensively discussed in the past and that he had direct approval from top officials at Mayoral level both from Sibenik and the island of Krapanj itself for such an awning. This failed to prevent the delegation from taking action by removing the metal frame and confiscating it. The Municipality representative apparently even told Mr ***** that he should consider himself lucky that they were not going to confiscate his small flower pots containing geranium shrubs because his neighbour had complained about them as well.

I am perhaps not aware of all details but, from what I have heard, this action appears clearly to be yet another over the top response from local officials in central Dalmatia. The awning structure was apparently there for a good reason. Since Sibenik Council itself undertook construction work to raise the level of the Krapanj port, the house entrance now lies below ground level and some kind of awning is necessary to deflect rainwater from flowing into the house through the front door. One has to question the motivations of a local Council which could reasonably expect someone to let their house be flooded every time it rains as a direct result of their own construction decisions? A closer look at the incident reveals even more disturbing circumstances.

I discover that identical structures, which are locally made, exist over front doors all over the island, many or most of them there for similar reasons. This, I am told, was pointed out and, indeed, demonstrated to officials by indicating the very house next door to Mr. ***** on the other side. Nevertheless, it seems only Mr. *****’s house was targeted for such action on behalf of the municipality.

From our perspective as an organisation dealing with clients interested in finding property in Croatia, this is worrying. It is clear that Mr. ***** was made a victim of this heavy-handed action simply because he is a foreigner. No other obvious explanation exists if no one else on the island has been targeted. It furthermore seems obvious that the original complainants, a certain Dr Frane Boko and his wife, are displaying and have previously displayed, an undeniable measure of prejudice towards their neighbour, almost certainly because he is foreign. Sad to say, such anti-foreigner sentiment does still occasionally exist in Croatia, particularly amongst older people, though one hopes the forthcoming accession into the EU and the passing of time might eventually render this insignificant.

Whatever their motives, they have obviously used their influence within the Sibenik Municipality to bring about this unreasonable action against Mr ***** in spite of reassurances given by the Mayor himself. It is therefore, sadly, clear that the once hospitable reputation of Sibenik in the eyes of foreign visitors and investors is under threat.

Reluctantly, and genuinely so, we will no longer feel able to recommend to prospective overseas buyers that they seek out houses in the Sibenik area. As regular followers of this blog will know, this is not the first case we have come across where local officials have acted unreasonably towards overseas buyers. Whilst the municipality is staffed by such ‘politicised’ personnel who choose, for whatever motives, to discriminate against foreign investors, the risk is just too great. Far better, at least for the time being, to seek out investments in the northern Adriatic where authorities actively encourage overseas buyers by simplifying procedures and regulations and some potentially excellent property investments are regularly hitting the market. We stand ready, naturally, to advise…

The web development industry

Since the mid-1990s, web development has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In 1995 there were fewer than 1,000 web development companies in the United States, but by 2005 there were over 30,000 such companies in the U.S. alone.  The web development industry is expected to grow over 25% by 2010. The growth of this industry is being pushed by large businesses wishing to sell products and services to their customers and to automate business workflow.

The Swebinet founder has been in this industry since the mid-1980’s

In addition, cost of Web site development and hosting has dropped dramatically during this time. Instead of costing tens of thousands of dollars, as was the case for early websites, one can now develop a simple web site for less than a thousand dollars, depending on the complexity and amount of content. Smaller Web site development companies are now able to make web design accessible to both smaller companies and individuals further fueling the growth of the web development industry. As far as web development tools and platforms are concerned, there are many systems available to the public free of charge to aid in development. A popular example is the LAMP (Linux), Apache, MySQL, PHP, which is usually distributed free of charge. This fact alone has manifested into many people around the globe setting up new Web sites daily and thus contributing to increase in web development popularity. Another contributing factor has been the rise of easy to use WYSIWYG web development software, most prominently WebDev, Adobe Dreamweaver, Netbeans or Microsoft Expression Studio. Using such software, virtually anyone can develop a Web page in a matter of minutes. Knowledge of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), or other programming languages is not required, but recommended for professional results.

The next generation of web development tools uses the strong growth in LAMP, Java Platform, Enterprise Edition technologies and Microsoft .NET technologies to provide the Web as a way to run applications online. Web developers now help to deliver applications as Web services which were traditionally only available as applications on a desk based computer.

Instead of running executable code on a local computer, users are interacting with online applications to create new content. This has created new methods in communication and allowed for many opportunities to decentralize information and media distribution. Users are now able to interact with applications from many locations, instead of being tied to a specific workstation for their application environment.

Examples of dramatic transformation in communication and commerce led by web development include e-commerce. Online auction sites such as eBay have changed the way consumers consume and purchase goods and services. Online resellers such as and (among many, many others) have transformed the shopping and bargain hunting experience for many consumers. Another good example of transformative communication led by web development is the blog. Web applications such as MovableType and WordPress have created easily implemented blog environments for individual Web sites. Open source content systems such as Alfresco, Typo3, Xoops, Joomla!, and Drupal have extended web development into new modes of interaction and communication.

In addition, web development has moved to a new phase of Internet communication. Computer web sites are no longer simply tools for work or commerce but used most for communication. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter provide users a platform to freely communicate. This new form of web communication is also changing e-commerce through the number of hits and online advertisement.


Typical Areas

Web Development can be split into many areas and a typical and basic web development hierarchy might consist of:

Client Side Coding

  • AJAX Provides new methods of using JavaScript, (eg ASP.Net or PHP) and other languages to improve the user experience.
  • Flash Adobe Flash Player is a ubiquitous client-side platform ready for RIA’s. Flex2 is also deployed to the Flash Player (version 9+).
  • Javascript Formally called ECMAScript, JavaScript is a ubiquitous client side programming tool.
  • JavaFX is a software platform for creating and delivering rich Web applications that can also run across a wide variety of devices.
  • Microsoft Silverlight Microsoft’s browser plugin that enables animation, vector graphics and high-definition video playback, programmed using XAML and .NET programming languages.

 Server Side Coding

  • ASP (Microsoft proprietary)
  • ColdFusion (Adobe proprietary, formerly Macromedia)
  • CGI and/or Perl (open source)
  • C Server Scripts (TrustLeap G-WAN, freeware)
  • Java, e.g. Java EE or WebObjects
  • Lotus Domino
  • PHP (open source)
  • Python, e.g. Django (web framework) (open source)
  • Ruby, e.g. Ruby on Rails (open source)
  • Smalltalk e.g. Seaside, AIDA/Web
  • SSJS Server-Side JavaScript, e.g. Aptana Jaxer, Mozilla Rhino
  • Websphere (IBM proprietary)
  • .NET (Microsoft proprietary)

Client Side + Server Side

  • Google Web Toolkit provides tools to create and maintain complex JavaScript front-end applications in Java.
  • Pyjamas is a tool and framework for developing AJAX applications and Rich Internet Applications in python.
  • Tersus is a platform for the development of rich web applications by visually defining user interface, client side behavior and server side processing. (open source)

However lesser known languages like Ruby and Python are often paired with database servers other than MySQL (the M in LAMP). Below are example of other databases currently in wide use on the web. For instance some developers prefer a LAPR(Linux/Apache/PostgreSQL/Ruby on Rails) setup for development.

Database Technology

  • Apache Derby
  • DB2 (IBM proprietary)
  • Firebird
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL
  • SQLite
  • Sybase

In practice, many web developers will also have interdisciplinary skills / roles, including:

  • Graphic design / web design
  • Information architecture and copywriting/copyediting with web usability, accessibility and search engine optimization in mind
  • Project management, QA and other aspects common to IT development in general

The above list is a simple website development hierarchy and can be extended to include all client side and server side aspects. It is still important to remember that web development is generally split up into client side coding covering aspects such as the layout and design, then server side coding, which covers the website’s functionality and back end systems.

Looking at these items from an “umbrella approach”, client side coding such as XHTML is executed and stored on a local client (in a web browser) whereas server side code is not available to a client and is executed on a web server which generates the appropriate XHTML which is then sent to the client. As the nature of client side coding allows you to alter the HTML on a local client and refresh the pages with updated content (locally), web designers must bear in mind the importance and relevance to security with their server side scripts. If a server side script accepts content from a locally modified client side script, the web development of that page shows poor sanitization with relation to security.
For the full article visit Wikipedia.

WordPress Muti-Domain Update

If you have parked domains, a simple mod to the wp-config.php file can make everything work.

You can find a few plugins to do this, but it really isn’t necessary .

You can simply add a couple of lines of code to the top of your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_SITEURL','http://'.$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'].'/wp' );
define( 'WP_HOME','http://'.$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'] );

Then – to make sure your links work, set the Permalinks to Custom:


Press Save to save the new permalink structure, and everything should work great.

I have no problems with plugins, this mod works with most plugins without any modification.