Dev Talk

Improve your development time

If you are developer working on a open source technologies then most likely you are using open source or some freeware tools. Since I’m a PHP developer this post will show examples in context of PHP. Developing for PHP can be quite a fun, or sometimes quite painful.

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UPS API Quest

I got one fairly simple request to develop a custom shipping calculation for Magento that will use some special calculation using UPS API. Right now, Magento only calculates weight and the client needs something more advanced. I worked on similar stuff before, so I guessed this will not be much different. First step was to find an API for UPS. Well, this post is all about the search for API. I’ll update it when I manage to find it.

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Figuring out Magento object context

One of the problems working under the hood of the Magento CMS is determining the context of $this. If you are about to do any advanced stuff with your template, besides layout changes, you need to get familiar with Magento’s objects (classes).

Let’s have a look at the /app/design/frontend/default/default/template/catalog/product/view.phtml file. If you open this file and execute var_dump($this) your browser will return empty page after a short period of delay. By page I mean on the product view page; the one you see when you click on Magetno product. Experienced users will open PHP error log and notice the error message caused by var_dump().

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Website Launch Flowchart

Did you ever wonder what does it take to build a successful website? Bob Misita from Virante helps us visualize the process. He made a flowchart of 40 steps that need to be completed before actual website launch. Although the list is quite comprehensive, this steps really occur even in medium sized projects.

I hope this will help all of you who want to build a self-money-generation sites with the deadline of 3 weeks. Look at the flowchart, analyze it and don’t start the development until you planned at least 80% of this boxes.

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WordPress: advantages and disadvantages?

Couple of days ago I posted a question to LinkedIn Q&A. It was for those individuals/companies who use WordPress to run their main site. I was interested to know why do they find WordPress to be their chosen one CMS. The users were supposed to name top 3 key elements in WP that they find most important for your site.  That was the easy part to most of them. Harder part was to name top 3 key elements they miss in WP, but have a feeling it would be important for their site.

There were some really interesting replies.

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FogBugz – Project Management Tool

Working on a project as only developer having direct contact with the client gives you the freedom not to think too much of a communication tool you will use. Couple of meetings, phone calls and an email will be just fine. After 3-4 weeks, you deliver the project and the communication is over. If that is your common scenario, than skip evaluation of this tool.

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