Michael Burke

Zen Cart 2.0

This post on the Zen Cart forums about Zen Cart 2.0 has me both excited and crapping my pants a little. Excited because lots of the listed improvements are things I’ve been harping on since I first started using the software. In particular, the improvements to the template system have the potential to save me hours and hours of work in the future (assuming they do it right, that is). Long have I struggled with the table-based layout and the ubiquitous, hellishly ugly inline PHP. If the development team delivers on half the promises they’ve made, I’ll be a happy developer.

Of course, all that work on the part of the ZC developers means a whole lot more work for those of us that write software for us. By completely gutting a lot of their systems, he ZC team has put third-party developers in the uncomfortable position of re-writing a significant portion of their own work. The teams has already announced that all templates will need to be completely re-implemented for Zen Cart 2.0. I have no doubt that Snap Affiliates will need similar attention.

Of course, I don’t mind too much. After all the time I’ve invested in it, I’m dedicated to the platform. Now that some of the bigger problems are being addressed, I can actually start to believe in it too. As long as the database layout doesn’t change, the transition shouldn’t be difficult. I look forward to the eventual release.

March 26th, 2009

Firebug is Pretty Rad

I don’t know why I resisted adopting it for so long, but Firebug is pretty spectacular for a free web development tool. I remember trying it a couple times in the past and being unimpressed with the interface. I remember it as ugly, unintuitive, and fragile. My latest impression is almost entirely positive, though.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some quirks. For example, try refreshing a page when the Javascript debugger is in the middle of stepping through code. On my Mac using Firefox 3.0.7, it’ll make the window stop running Javascript entirely. Breakpoints are quirky and frequently don’t work right. I also regularly get it into a state where it doesn’t completely load my Javascript files into the code preview pane.

Those flaws are more easily overlooked now. Sure, I’m wasting some time working around the bugs. That’s being made up for in spades though by not having to constantly resort to alert-based debugging. Anyone that’s done a hardcore, asynchronous, event-based Javascript app will understand what a blessing that is. I know I’m thankful for it. Given the attention Firefox is getting these days, I can only assume Firebug will improve as it gets more exposure. I’ll be looking forward to better releases.

March 19th, 2009

Announcement Module for Zen Cart Released.

My wife hated bugging me to update the Clementine NW homepage.

I hated getting bugged to update the Clementine NW homepage.

I wrote this module so neither of us would be bothered by it again. Enjoy!

March 17th, 2009

Where Does the Zen Cart Community Hang Out?

Even though I’ve been at this for a year now, I don’t really consider myself a member of the Zen Cart community. Most of the work I’ve done has been in isolation. The gnashing of teeth, the triumphs, the wringing of hands, the discovery; all shared only by a grumpy cat and the Clementine owner/CEO (aka, my wife).

Now that Snap Affiliates is out though, I’ve got the itch to participate; to share some of the hard work I’ve been doing. The problem is, I can’t really find a place to do it. Obviously, there’s the official Zen Cart forums. But for crying out loud, Google reports 9,260,000 hits for “Zen Cart.” Surely they can’t all be template sites and tutorials. Where are the communities supporting open source e-commerce?

I think it’s probably the case that I’m simply not looking hard enough. So, where do Zen Cart store owners and developers hang out? Somebody help me out so we can all make some more money.

March 12th, 2009

Snap Affiliates 1.0 is Live and Ready for Download

Download it here:

/downloads/code/snap-affiliates/SnapAffiliates.1.0.zip

Please post all comments, questions, and problems in the comments. I’m looking forward to reading them!

March 9th, 2009
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Michael Burke
beau@filterswept.com