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After Years of Decline, Magento is Spending and Growing

A couple of years ago, Magento appeared to be a dying platform lost inside eBay's corporate ownership. The software was being poorly developed, and their approach to security releases was absolutely awful. Community members were worried.

In 2017, things are very different. Magento was sold to a private equity company, and then Magento 2 was released after several years of delays. On the back of those changes, they raised $250 million. That money is burning a hole in their pocket. Their CEO publicly announced an acquisition spree, and recent purchases include:

  • RJMetrics, an e-commerce analytics platform, which is now "Magento Business Intelligence Essentials".
  • Shopial, which turns your store into a Facebook shop. This will be used in a new service called "Magento Social".
  • Bluefoot, a Page Builder module, which Magento has rebranded as "Magento Advanced CMS".

Read more ...

| General
Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Selling Subscriptions

We first launched a website selling subscriptions in 2007. In the five years since then, we've sold subscriptions to tens of thousands of people. During those years, we've learned a lot of tough lessons about subscriptions.

What's the most important lesson we've learned? Selling subscriptions is really, really hard.

The idea of selling subscription sites is great ... sit back and earn automatic, recurring revenue while you sleep. The truth is that this is one of the hardest ways to earn a living in e-commerce.

Dealing with customers and keeping them interested over the long haul is part of the problem, but there are also technical hurdles.

Because many of our students want to sell subscriptions, I've sat down to write the best advice I have for setting up the technical side of your subscription site.

Note: clairification for some people who were asking ... this advice only applies to renewing subscriptions. One-off subscriptions are no different from regular e-commerce and need to special treatment.

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drupalcon baltimore

Yes, this is a bumpy time for Drupal. The Drupal controversy continues to rumble on with plenty community posts, and articles in major publications like Inc and Techcrunch.

Still, we'd love to see you at DrupalCon Baltimore next week.

This year's conference really has much to recommend it.

The location is great. Baltimore is one of the most intriguing and underrated cities in the US. Most people know it for "The Wire", but the downtown is really a lively and walkable waterfront location.

The conference seems like it will be really popular. Our training has sold out. Three times over. That's very abnormal. We've done DrupalCon for nearly 10 years and have often scrambled to fill seats at the last minute.

Why is this year's DrupalCon doing so well? Perhaps it's because Baltimore is so close to Washington DC. The training rosters are full of attendees from government organizations like the IRS and the EPA. The last time DrupalCon was in this area was 2009. In retrospect, that was perhaps the best year in Drupal's history with the launch of WhiteHouse.gov, Acquia's first year in business, and the rapid growth of DrupalCon attendance. Hopefully, some of that 2009 magic will rub off on this year's event.

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| Web Design
Introduction to Bootstrap for Absolute Beginners

Bootstrap is the best HTML, CSS and JavaScript framework for any web developer. It will help you quickly produce responsive, clean looking websites. It does this simply by providing you with a ton of pre-built CSS and JavaScript for lists, navigation bars, forms and lots of other web elements.

With Bootstrap you can focus more on the website you wanted, and spend less time wrestling with some of the CSS issues, media queries, and cross-browser compatibility.

| General
 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Video Hosting

One of the features that our members most often want is to host videos on their site.

As it happens, we've learned a little about how to do that over the years.

We've been hosting video for 10 years, and the technology is almost unrecognizable. In it's infancy 10 years ago, today's video technology is truly amazing.

Here are our four recommendations if you want to host video yourself:

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| Joomla
The Beginners Guide to Joomla Cache Options

Some of our members are trying to make their Joomla sites run more quickly. They've seen caching options, which promise to help speed up their sites. But, there are several caching options available.

This blog post explains what options are available and how you can enable them.

This tutorial borrows from this article by Klas Berlič. All of the detailed technical explanations and image are from Klas, so a big thank you to him.

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| Drupal
PHP Notices, Warnings and Errors on Your Drupal Site

Websites will run into problems. Whether you're using Drupal or any other software, there will be problems at some point.

Drupal runs on PHP and when PHP has problems, it reports them to you. 

However, often these errors will appear on your site and will be visible to visitors, as in the image below:

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| WordPress
Find the Page ID or Post ID in WordPress

Although WordPress is quite intuitive in most cases, there are some things that are not as obvious, such as:

"Where do you find the the page ID in WordPress?"

This is especially useful if you're trying to exclude by Page ID certain pages that appear in the Pages Widget.

This tutorial will show you how to quickly find the hidden Page ID or Post ID in WordPress.

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| Drupal
The Bigger Picture Surrounding the Drupal Controversy

This has not been a fun couple of weeks in the Drupal community.

If you've missed the events, you can catch up with this list of links. There's dozens of articles in that list, plus hundreds more think-pieces, tweets and Reddit posts.

You don't need me to add to another opinion on what happened.

Instead, I'd like to try and situate this controversy into the broader flow of recent events.

Read more ...

| Drupal
Opening the Gates For Drupal.org Code Contributions

Proposals to improve the Drupal contribution process have been heavily debated for the last few years. 

Until now, the only thing everyone could agree on was the current process was broken.

Currently, many submitted modules are hung out to dry, because very few people have time or energy to fight through the submission process. You are lucky if you get your module accepted within 6 months. Many developers have waited much longer.

We were astonished to learn that our theme, called Breeze, was the first theme project to complete the approval process in 2016. And it was published in September! There were no new theme contributors for the vast majority of 2016. 

Fortunately, big changes have come to the approval process for code on Drupal.org.

Read more ...

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