HTML Email in osCommerce … professional

So, there are some older (and new!) addons that support the use of HTML in outgoing emails. All are outdated or just half thought out in terms of function.

Introducing the ultimate in HTML Emails capability…

With just one tiny change…here’s the type of emails your shop could be sending to your customers…how professional does this make your site look…

Click the images to see larger versions

welcome_large
Welcome Email

order_large
Order Email

As you can see, this gives a level of professionalism unseen in any osCommerce shop before now.

This system also allows you to track clicks and opens of your emails, as well as have unlimited templating capability so that you can easily change the look of your emails (it can even be made to work with multiple languages!).

Interested to learn more? Get in touch to see (and test) the system.

Tiny Investment … to optimise your osCommerce shop

For a tiny investment of £19 (approx $25, approx Euro 22), you can optimise your (bootstrapped) osCommerce shop in the following ways;

1. All new Social Icon system
Proven system that replaces the stock Social Icons. Speeds up your site.

2. Popup Boxes
Two versions of Popup boxes (uses Bootstrap Modal).
Exit box (ask why people are bailing out of your site? give them an offer to complete checkout?)
Pageload box (popup after X many pageloads).

3. Formatting UK postcodes
Hook in create_account and a shipping module for postcode delivery

4. Googles Address Autocomplete
Use googles technology to allow address finding in create_account.php

5. Facebook Dynamic Ads
Utilise the power of Facebook for promotion.
Full system.

6. A bunch more modules
Navbar, Content, Header Tags

Read more here.

Getting ready for 2.4

2.4 will be based on the excellent Community Responsive version, with a few extra changes to accomodate todays needs in terms of codebase. It is not going to be a full OOP codebase, that is coming in v3.

Put simply;

LOOK/THEME
You can expect v2.4 to LOOK just like the Community Responsive.

UNDERLYING CODE
There are changes that developers will have to comply with, not least the use of namespaces and PDO (to replace MYSQL(i)).

What this means (for example) is that a simple call to install a module that used to look like this http://pastebin.com/HfAiC2qY

Would instead look like this
http://pastebin.com/vEU6U1tb

In addition the module (in this case the GTIN product_info module) would also need to access the Registry namespace in order to link to the database.

Why are these changes being made?

PHP7 advises to use PDO to access a SQL database. MySQL commands are deprecated. MySQL(i) will still work, but PDO gives the option of more easily swapping from MySQL to another database system…

Namespaces are introduced to allow Developers to write code without the fear of breaking other parts of the code…

More on the new 2.4 to follow…

Better Social Icons

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed the Social Share box on a standard osCommerce, it looks like this:

2.3.4

share_234

2.3.4 Responsive

share_234bs

With the ability in Admin to turn on and off share links, which I’ll call “widgets”. So far so good.

What you probably don’t realise is that these “widgets” also load a lot of javascript. Which is OK, except for shoppers who are on a slow connection. Loading all that javascript does make an impact on site speed.

With zero widgets (tested on Samsung Galaxy product on a standard install of Responsive):

before_widgets

And with all widgets loaded (same product page):

after_widgets

Obviously that’s not a *massive* difference, but every single speed point matters in my opinion and so I set out to change things…first a little bit of history. Back in Feb 2015 I made this post at the osCommerce Forum in the hope it would kickstart a little project to make an alternative (better?) system for Social Sharing. Nothing came out of it – no surprise really as there are very few people who are pro-active left in that community – the only one who was a bit interested was user “Mort Lemur” who steered the conversation away from its intended target and onto “add this” which then toyicebear got involved in the discussion…

Back from history and into the present day…I revisited the idea…

Introducing the all new Social Sharing system…

widgets_new

It’s just like the existing system, but loads no crap. This means it has a downside “potentially less user friendly” but an upside “should be faster to load”. Let’s see – prior to writing this post I have not tested the speed – here is the result, compare this to the first speed test of 100/65/76 …

widgets_new_speed

What can we learn from the speed results?

Mobile Friendliness drops from 100 to 97
This is due to the “tap targets” being too close to each other. Not a big deal and could easily be solved by spacing the widgets out using .css

Mobile Speed stays static at 65 and Desktop Speed stays static at 76
This is really really good, it means the new system is not sucking speed away from any users no matter which device they use to browse.

Conclusion

I’m very pleased that I was able to build up a system that saves a few points on speed compared to the official system of Social Bookmarking. In my opinion, the new system is far better looking than the official system and has as much usability. In addition, shop-owner can choose to have these links as a side-box as shown above, or as a product_info module…

And the best bit of all this: the whole system has no Core Changes! Just upload, and turn on!

So just what did it take to code all this?

1 new Box Module, can be put into the left or right column
1 new Product_Info Module obviously goes onto the product_info page
10 new Widget Modules; Digg, Email, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twitter

BOOM!

To back this up, I also tested via GT Metrix, which is a tool that is far from perfect but gives an indication of how the page is with regards to speed and loading…

With No Widgets loaded:

widgets_none_gt

With the old Widgets system:

widgets_old_gt

With the new Widgets system:

widgets_new_gt

Look at the similarity between “none” and “new”.
Then look at the difference between “none” and “old”…

The widgets (old style with javascript etc) loads two whole seconds slower and costs an extra 0.5 megabytes of code!

Hold on a moment, let’s get a sense of perspective…

Most shops won’t load all the Widget modules. I suspect that if shops use the system, they use the following; Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.

Even so, by changing to the new system…you can easily shave off a second per page load and a few hundred bytes…it is worth it, isn’t it?

Product Info Modules

In the latest osCommerce incarnation, it is very simple to create standalone modules which are installable and editable from within the Admin section, this means no core code changes to install addons that add “flavour” to a page. Let’s take a closer look at some modules that are available for the product_info (p_i) page – and remember…NO CORE CODE CHANGES!

1. Social Icons
Adds in a new system of Social Icons, that require no javascript, and is therefore stunningly fast-loading. Modules include: digg, email, facebook, g+, linkedin, pinterest, reddit, stumbleupon, tumblr, twitter.

2. Stock
Shows the product stock in a really nice layout.

3. Products Xsell
Dedicated admin page to set up Xsell products. These show on the relevant p_i page.

4. MP3 Player
Add MP3 tracks to your products, show a MP3 player in your p_i page.

5. Product Tabs
Tabbed layout for extra product data

6. Product Compare
Adds a button that powers a product comparison page.

7. Extra Product Fields
Shows product data on p_i page

8. Linked Products
Shows a link to any linked products

9. Facebook Comments
Allow people to comment on your products

10. Multi Tier Xsell
Same as #3, but supercharged – get 3 levels of Xselling!

11. FAQ System
Get lots of questions about your products? Solve that with this module.

12. Public Tagging
Aka Folksonomy. This is the way to create a faceted search system, with no work on your part!

13. Link to Parent Category
Ever needed a “show more in this range of products” link? You got it!

14. MRRP
Show the Manufacturers Recommended Price

15. Product URL
Missing the old functionality? Bring it back, sing it back…

16. Related Products
Maybe #13 doesn’t cut it? Instead show the products from the category…

17. Slaves
Set up slaves. Show them.

18. Personal Page
Link to a page that allows shoppers to save products into a wishlist

As you can see, with just 1 piece of extra code in product_info.php (included in Responsive osCommerce) it is simple to supercharge your product_info page. The possibilities are endless, and are only limited by your lack of imagination.

If you have an idea for a module that shows on the product_info page, comment below.

Pizza Shop – Collection of Modules

Although osCommerce is usually used for selling products which are then sent to the buyer by post, it is possible to use osCommerce for establishments such as Pizza Shops or restaurants.

If we think about a Pizza Shop, which allows online ordering, we see a few features that most other shops don’t want or need;

1. ability to close down online ordering when the physical Pizza parlour is closed
– how about a Header Tag module that does this?

2. ability to charge the correct rate for deliveries
– how about a Shipping module that links into Google Maps and works out the exact distance from the Pizza Shop to the Customer in miles or kilometers, the shipping module then charges per km/mile.

3. ability to add in a Tip for the delivery driver
– how about a Order Total module that allows the buyer to add in a Tip.

Can you think of any more needs for a Restaurant?

29 Days Of Code, Rocking osCommerce AGAIN!

 

What is it?

At least 29 scripts or modules for osCommerce.

How does it work?

Just like last year, a bunch of modules released day by day at pocket money prices.

On February 1st, a module is released at a cost of £1.00.
On February 2nd, another module is released at a cost of £2.00.  Module from the 1st rises in price to £2.00
On February 3rd, another module is released at a cost of £3.00.  Modules from the previous days increase to £3.00

And so on, all the way to 29th February when a module is released at £29, and all previous days modules rise in price to £29.00.

So, it is wise to purchase the module you like on the day you see it as that is when it is most cost-effective.

Take a look

Check it out at 29 Days Of Code.  Feel free to let me know what you think of the idea of bring well coded modules at very little cost.

Want to know what’s upcoming?

Haha…NO.

Silktide Cookie Consent Plugin for osCommerce

If you are using it, you need to make a code change as per this link.

Find:


<script type="text/javascript">window.cookieconsent_options = {"message":"{$message}", "dismiss":"{$dismiss}", "learnMore":"{$more}", "link":"{$link}", "theme":"{$theme}"};</script">
<script type="text/javascript"> src="//s3.amazonaws.com/cc.silktide.com/cookieconsent.latest.min.js"></script">

Change to:


<script>window.cookieconsent_options = {"message":"{$message}", "dismiss":"{$dismiss}", "learnMore":"{$more}", "link":"{$link}", "theme":"{$theme}"};</script>
<script src="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/cookieconsent2/1.0.9/cookieconsent.min.js"></script>

That’s all folks.

Order Status Messages … Admin Change

I was approached by a long standing customer who uses the inbuilt “Order Status” system a lot (eg change from processing to delivered and so on). A nuisance of the system is that he had to copy and paste the same message multiple times per day when updating.

I know there are at least a couple of addons that can do the job, but they are all old, broken, tired, crap. So I set up to code up an integrated system that allows the shopowner to attach a message to each order status;

– took about 10 lines of code in orders_status.php file

Now when the status dropdown is changed, the system finds the relevant message and inserts into the comments box.

– 1 new block of code in orders.php

Non-invasive (although obviously as it is Admin side, there are core code changes), easy to use and solid.

Another 28 Days Of Code ?

During February 2015, some of you will remember I coded up some cool modules and released then day by day. 28 Days of Code was sort of a last minute idea which stemmed from an idea that dear old John made while in a chat with me…as it was last minute it was very stressful to get modules coded and ready each day during February.

Another 28 Days Of Code ?

To save the incredible stress of last year, I’m presently putting together some more modules and things for “Another 28 Days Of Code” ready for drip feed release in February 2016 – as of right now I am pretty much 9 days completed, and have ideas for another 2…

Sign up for “Another” Mailing List

Click here to go to the subscription form. If you were signed up for the 2015 version, perfect…you don’t need to sign up again. I guarantee no emails until February 1st 2016.