Magento email configuration pain and how to solve it

It's nice to setup a magento shop, but one particular task is painful and time consuming : the modification  of automatic email templates . By defautl, email tempaltes in Magento are well designed as a sample given out to the developer, but when you expect to have your shop running in a few hours  time, it is really a pain to go through all emails jsut to change phone numbers, shop name, and opening times especially when this information could be centralized in the database.  The subject is not new and here a few hacks to let you work faster when setting up a shop

Work with images, faster than speed of light with skitch

skitch is the application I dreamed of when blogging or managing web site content. The idea is simple and it was just waiting to be developped : skitch is a light picture / image processing software and webservice that does the save, screen grab and gives you a few tools to work on the image, and finally upload the result to your ftp or an online host on skitch.com, while loading your desktop cut/paste buffer with the url : the final task you have to perform now is to go back to your favourite online cms and place the image. I know that sounds long but beleive me this is much faster than working with Photoshop, saving the immage locally and uploading it via your administration. Oh, detail : skitch is available for mac only.

5 Opensource applications built around Zend Framework

a lot of expereiences are currently being performed on the Zend Framework platform, but a few are really usable in production environement.

  • Magento is obviously the best example of how Zend Framework can bring power and ease  of development via a PHP enabled template system. The most popular opensource ecommerce application has been downloaded more that a million times and is still considered  a revolutionnary project after 2 years of production.
  • Digitalus CMS is a Zend framework based Content Management System. We covered it a while ago
  • Joobsbox is a job board application developped on top of Zend Framewor, not quite stable yet (nice implementation of hirearchical tree does not handle sub pages very well yet, worth the try)
  • Dodo is a perfect tutorial for starting with the Zend_Application environment, and it is also a good tasks application
  • EasyPhpApp is a CRUD generator that can save you time when working with a lot of database tables (see our previous article on Zend framework scaffolding)

and also you can try, tine 2.0, a powerful groupware application that uses extjs beautifully (covered a while ago too on this blog)

Cahaya, a cms for zend framework

Zend-cms-cayaha

At first sight, nothing really exciting comes from the newly released Cahaya CMS, built entirely around Zend Framework CMS : in fact the toolbar that switches the site to edit mode is an interesting implentation of  insite edition, that allows page building from selected and editable blocks, as illustrated below. The whole web content management interface is built with ext js widgets including drag and drop, and this looks promising, though apparently  quite complex at this early stage. I miss the hierarchical tree for page navigation in the admin, but let's hope it's coming.  go to http://cahaya-project.org/ for more.

Run multiple sites : case study with wordpress

I am  currently running 4 blogs, hosted on the same server with different installations of WordPress. On the other side, I have started running multiple site on a single installation of Silvesrtripe, my favourite Content Management System. The conclusion is evident : running multiple sites on a single installation is a technical challenge but saves a lot of hours  on regular tasks of securing, maintaining and developping on a specific platform. Of course, this kind of exercise comes with its own risks  : you can get all your sites down in a single error or successful hack attack. But on the other hand, restoring backups would be a single click affair. With WordPress, the MU version enables the devlopment of multiple sites, and we have a full case study, published by WordPressPublisher, inspired by work from Tierra Innovation and WNET.ORG (Channel Thirteen in New York) , who achieved  multiple site development  WordPress MU as a CMS for WNET.ORG’s. The two companies also publish a white paper : How a Non-Profit Media Company Profits from Building Open Source Online Publishing Platform (PDF). Magento, the new and revolutionnary opensource  ecommerce soft, also allows some level of multiple site building : again, we have a technical challenge here but the few days learning curve is worth the effort.

ixedit : Jquery development without coding

IxEdit is a JavaScript-based interaction design tool for the web taht gives designers and developers a few ready to use jquery tools, such as animation, form enhancements (date picker), and DOM manipulation, all designed within a web based interface. It uses GEARS, a tool developed by google that interfaces browsers with desktop, and the only requirement to start working on a web page is to include the ixedit javascript, plus the jquery libraries.

http://www.ixedit.com/

Prestashop, how to transfer cart to order manually

Prestashop has a nice feature that allows administrator to view a customer's shopping cart : while the shopping cart is relatively easy to use for novices, the number of steps involved in completing the transaction can discourage some users, who might be tempted to ask you for help. What can you do apart from helpinog the guy to fill in forms ? The technique below illustrates how to simulate a payment using the Cheque payment type, via the creation of a hard coded validation page. Be careul, this is for good PHP coders only as you have to interfere with low level classes from Prestashop.

  1. go to Modules / cheque / validation.php and duplicate the file to validationManual.php
  2. Paste the  code blow under the includes  to instanciante the shopping cart using the ID of the shopping cart you want to transfer to an order, here we have the id 9304
  3. change the currency id to reflect the currency you want to use, you'll find the currency id in the currency module of the prestashop administration interface
  4. call the module/cheque/validationManual.php from the browser, s if it was called after a valid paymen
  5. Go to Prestashop administration interface to check that the order has been created
  6. you might be wise to try to place a new order for testing that the manual process has not disturbed prestashop's database integrity
    // 1 . get currency ID
    $currency = new Currency(1);
    // 2 get cart id
    $cart = new Cart( 9304);
    $total = floatval(number_format($cart->getOrderTotal(true, 3), 2, '.', ''));
    $mailVars =    array(
    '{cheque_name}' => Configuration::get('CHEQUE_NAME'),
    '{cheque_address}' => Configuration::get('CHEQUE_ADDRESS'),
    '{cheque_address_html}' => nl2br(Configuration::get('CHEQUE_ADDRESS')));
    
    $cm = new Cheque();
    $cm->validateOrder($cart->id, _PS_OS_CHEQUE_, $total, $cm->displayName, NULL, $mailVars, $currency->id);
    $order = new Order($cm->currentOrder);