April may bring May flowers, but it also brings a healthy new crop of WordPress, Magento, and ExpressionEngine content that we are thrilled to share with you. So, without further ado, here’s the most informative and interesting content that we came across during the last month.
WordPress and Blogging
- Responsive, Real-Time Graphs in WordPress: Dealing with Data - This is a special post that I made just to help out those who are struggling to get your graphs working properly. I start off with a discussion of PHP and MySQL. If you really struggled through those parts of this series, take some time to review this section. Some of it’s repeating older sections, but now that you’ve actually done this, you will likely have some epiphanies about how and why this process works. Continue reading
Transactional email are the emails that a WordPress site sends out to its users in response to some action they have taken. Newsletters and other promotional emails are considered to be bulk mail rather than transactional mail. Transactional email includes responses to users submitting their email addresses, commenting or getting a reply to a comment, registering on a site, and various other automatic responses. It’s one of the most important ways that a site communicates with its visitors.
Most bloggers put a lot of work into getting their bulk email looking good. The newsletter is one of the major marketing tools for a lot of sites. However, they don’t tend to give such careful attention to their transactional email; they rely on the standard WordPress functionality for notifications, which, while adequate, can lead to missed marketing and engagement opportunities.
Customizing transactional email to add a bit of personality is a powerful step towards making a site appear professional and giving it a cohesive brand message. Transactional emails can also be used to publicize calls to action or marketing messages for premium content and other monetization strategies, as well as to just make users aware of content on the site that they may not have previously come across. Continue reading
Earlier this month, 1,500 developers and merchants traveled from both the USA and around the world to the M Resort in Las Vegas. The event was the third annual Imagine eCommerce Conference. Magento merchants, Solution Partners, Industry, and Hosting Partners gathered to share their ideas on new innovations and best eCommerce practices. It was filled with three days of networking, keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and tons of fun with the Magento community.
The first day included networking with partners and merchants in the Marketplace, with Nexcess as featured sponsors (alongside PayPal, SignatureLink, the many Solution and Industry Partners). The community was together once again. So many companies in one room, all of which are working to make incredible improvements to the Magento community.
We enjoyed meeting everyone, and were very happy to unload so much swag at the event. Thanks again to Poken for the great networking tool – they were a hit (or should I say bump?! Continue reading
Accuracy, resolution, and precision are easily confused parameters used to describe the performance a system is capable of. While working on a recent temperature monitoring network using digital temperature sensors made by Texas Instruments, I had several choices on how much accuracy I wanted the system to have. Upon further reading I had realized I could control the accuracy of the system to some extent, it was resolution that was out of my control. Resolution and accuracy seemed synonymous at first glance, but are actually very different things.
Resolution is simply the smallest change that can be measured. In the case of my temperature sensors, their resolution would be how small of an increment of temperature change can be detected by the sensor. When choosing a temperature sensor for an application, the needed resolution would need to be considered when selecting the actual component. In the case of simple ambient air temperature monitoring, ±.5°C would be more than adequate, but most modern sensors can far exceed this specification. Continue reading
WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform and eventually grew into the comprehensively featured content management system we know and love today. It was never intended to be used as a platform for retail. For serious online retailers, the open source Magento platform, which occupies the same preeminent position in eCommerce that WordPress has in the CMS world, is far better suited, with a range of features that WordPress can’t hope to replicate in full.
However, for small scale retail ventures that don’t require the level of professional features that Magento offers, WordPress is amply capable. There are a number of eCommerce WordPress plugins that range from the very simple to the quite well featured.
Sometimes I want view a file and see all the tabs replaced with a tab character and see line endings clearly marked. This might be because I’m trying to parse the file somehow, writing a regex to match something, or I might be debugging some problem with special characters.
For example, I’ve had to deal with the output of a program looking like:
id domain name
1 foobar.com John Doe
2 longest-domain-you-can-possibly-imagine-even-if-it-violates-rfc-1035.com John Q. Public
I was trying to process it with awk but, when looking at the output in a terminal, it wasn’t clear if spaces or tabs were seperating the different fields. So, I fonud a few ways to print something out and show all the special characters.
cat has flags that will control showing non-printable and other special characters. If you want to see it all, just use ‘-A’.
This is a guest post by Steve Shaw. Steve is Head of Digital at leading SEO & Digital agency http://www.branded3.com/.
Since starting to use Magento for our clients from version 1.2, there are a number features that we all wish were inbuilt to the platform. With each new release of Magento we get to see some of these features realised which means we no longer need to write custom code or look to third party plugins to provide.
Here we take a look at some of the more recent features that can offer efficiencies along with cost savings from plugins and scalability for customer groups and personalised catalogue pricing.
1. Customer Group based pricing
The latest release offers the ability to specify a base catalogue price per customer group, this means that you can offer different prices for groups such as Trade, Professionals or Premium customers. This can be a great way to build customer loyalty and an easy implementation.
Catalog -> Manage Products -> Edit Product -> Prices Continue reading
WordPress sites across the Internet are currently under attack from a botnet that is carrying out a brute force dictionary attack against the WordPress login page in the hope of finding correct username/password combinations.
This attack is unusually large, with over 80,000 bot clients participating. Although the attack is large, it isn’t particularly sophisticated. The attackers aren’t exploiting a known weakness in WordPress or the software stack it runs on, but are attempting to find WordPress installations with weak authentication configurations. Dictionary attacks essentially throw a lot of guesses at the the WordPress login page until they find the right combination. Continue reading
Winter is drawing to a close and soon spring will be in full swing. It’s a great time to take a look at your WordPress, Magento, and ExpressionEngine sites and consider if they need some spring cleaning to speed them up or give them a new look for a new season.
Here are few of this month’s best articles to give you some inspiration.
Southfield, MI, April 8, 2013 – Nexcess, a provider of optimized Magento hosting and Magento Platinum Hosting Partner, has published “Magento Hosting: Best Practices for Optimum Performance”, a free white paper that contains guidance and analysis regarding the best configuration of Magento Enterprise Edition and the applications it relies on.
Based on extensive testing, the white paper makes a number of suggestions for configuring Magento for optimum performance. Nexcess found that Apache and Nginx, when configured properly, produce roughly equivalent performance, that full page caching with a Redis backend produces significant performance enhancements, and that using Varnish in front of the HTTP server with the Nexcess-developed Turpentine plugin can increase transaction per second throughput by as much as 1,000%.
“Magento is very capable and relatively quick out of the box, but eCommerce requires the best possible performance; reduced performance leads directly to lost sales,” commented Chris Wells, President and CEO of Nexcess, “This white paper, based on our long experience with Magento and careful empirical testing, sets the standard for highly performant Magento deployments.” Continue reading