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Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world.

For under $30 per month, Shopify offers everything your store needs from products and variations to payments and shipping.

We've just published a free, hour-long introduction to Shopify. Rod Martin shows you how to build your store in just one hour. This video is free to watch on YouTube!

Special offer: If you're starting a new shop, get a .STORE domain name for your Shopify site! It's the perfect TLD for your eCommerce site. Use the coupon "OSTSTORE" and you'll pay just $4.99/year. Get started here.

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A few weeks ago, WPEngine purchased StudioPress. This was a major move in the WordPress space. This also seemed like a simple move. One of the biggest hosting companies was taking over biggest theme developer. More customers, more money, more growth.

But I'm part of a popular Slack channel for WordPress developers and I saw was confusion. WPEngine said they purchased StudioPress to become a "DXP". That was unexpected. Lots of the terminology used to describe the deal was new to the developers:

What is a DXP? A DXP appears inside a magic quadrant?!?

In this guide, I'll try and explain DXPs, magic quadrants, WCMs and more. What does this jargon mean? How do these phrases help explain WPEngine's acquisition of StudioPress, and other big moves made by open source companies?

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Do you need to build an eCommerce site with Magento? 

Today, we're delighted to say that the "Magento 2 Explained" book is here.

This step-by-step guide will get you up-and-running quickly with Magento 2.

Magento has a reputation for being a complex platform, but we've successfully explained similar software before with Drupal, Joomla and MySQL. This 300-page book is a fun and straightforward beginners guide to Magento 2.

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How are Open Source Projects Planning to Comply With the GDPR Law?

We've just seen the launch of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law in Europe.

If you need some general background on the GDPR itself, this podcast from a16z is a great introduction.

With the law in action, open source projects are finally talking more about how their getting ready for the new law. One thing most people can agree on is that compliance will not be easy and changes will be needed.

After looking into the approach of different projects, I can divide them into three different groups.

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Adobe Are the New Owners of Magento

Adobe has just purchased Magento for $1.68 billion.

This deal is not a big surprise. People were predicting it a couple years ago, when Magento started partnering with Adobe. Karen Baker, a figurehead in the Magneto Community, wrote that the community had been expecting something like this.

This also isn't the first time Magento has been sold. Back in 2011, Magento was sold to eBay. That deal is generally considered to be a failure, and eBay sold Magento in 2015. Hopefully, Adobe will turn out to be better owners of Magento than eBay. 

Let's look at this deal from several angles ...

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ospam a not

In 2014 here at OSTraining.com, we decided to stop the flood of spambots sending spam via forms on our site.

We tried one particular unobtrusive technique on some of our forms. (PS. We're big fans of Shack Forms here at OSTraining).

This method worked out much better than we could have expected. So, we decided to turn this into a Joomla plugin. This is how OSpam-a-not was born.

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10 Options for Multi-Vendor Shopping Carts

Multi-vendor e-commerce sites are really popular.

Sites such as eBay, Etsy and AliBaba have enormous reach and support with 100,000's of sellers on just one site.

However, multi-vendor sites are also really difficult to build and maintain. E-commerce itself is difficult enough, but when you multiply the number of transactions and vendors, you multiply all of the potential issues.

Still, we often get asked how to set up a multi-vendor site. For our members and our readers, here are options for building a multi-vendor site with open source software.

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Free Tickets for the Merge Show in Orlando

Lots of conferences follow a very standard format that you've seen many times before.

That is absolutely not true of the Merge Show in Orlando, Florida this month.

The Merge Show is a group of conferences that covers domain names, blockchain technology, CMS platforms, doing business in China, and multiple other topics. If you get a ticket for the Merge Show, you can wander between all these conferences.

The organizers hope this format will allow attendees to learn about lots of new technology, and also network with entirely new groups of people.

We have some free tickets to give away too!

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React All the Things on All the Platforms

Throughout 2017, the WordPress team has been building key new features using React, a Javascript framework developed by Facebook.

However, React has suffered from licensing complications. In mid-September, Matt Mullenweg announced that the WordPress team, and Automattic, were dropping the React framework:

the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year

This was big news, and a notable set-back for WordPress's development.

Then everything changed again.

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High Signal, Low Noise News for Your Favorite Software

All of us are busy. All of us have over-flowing email inboxes.

It can be difficult to find sources of news that are high on signal and low on noise.

I'm going to recommend some ways that you can keep up-to-date with news about your favorite platform. These newsletters and RSS feeds contain a lots of useful news and few useless ads.

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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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 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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The Most Interesting Year in the History of WordPress and Drupal

That title sounds like clickbait, but I'm 110% convinced that it's true.  

Even in just the last 7 days, we've seen major changes.

In the Drupal world, Dries Buytaert reversed a fundamental Drupal principle. For 15 years, each new Drupal version has involved massive changes. No longer. Each version will now be backwards compatible. I'm often wrong, but I'm going to claim this one as an accurate prediction. This is absolutely the correct decision: huge, breaking updates are as out-of-date as punchcards in 2017.

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Working as web developer from home

If you specialize in web design and development, then you probably know that the job outlook for this type of work is promising.

The US Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates that by 2024, there will be a 27% increase in the job prospects for this kind of expertise, due to the increasing use of mobile devices and e-commerce.

Many web developers are also able to work from home, which makes it an attractive career option for some.

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Firebug Has Been Discontinued

For many years, Firebug was one of the most helpful tools available to web developers and designers.

Firebug, launched back in 2006, was an add-on that integrated with the Firefox browser. It helped you to inspect HTML elements and modify your designs directly in the browser.

However, Firebug has reached the end of the road after 10 years. Go to the Firebug website and you'll see this message:

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A WordPress Developer Who Added SaaS to His Plugin

Back in 2007, there was a lot of controversy over the GPL. Some developers wanted to make money selling GPL-licensed products. However, a lot of angry people insisted it shouldn't be done and that commercialisation was against the spirit of the license. I interviewed a group of those developers to understand their thinking.

Now in 2016, I think we're approaching a similar time of change. More and more developers are going to start using a hybrid SaaS and open source model. Large companies such as Automattic and Acquia are leading the way. but smaller companies will follow.

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Image Recycle Optimizes Images in Joomla, WordPress and Magento

Many websites have images that much larger and much slower-loading than neccessary.

With the right tool, you can optimize your images so they still look good, but also load much more quickly.

Image Recycle is one of those tools, but it sits directly inside your CMS and makes it really, really easy to optimize images. Here's how it works ...

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WooCommerce and the New SaaS Era in Open Source

For many years, WooThemes was the biggest brand name in WordPress.

Last month, they killed that brand and redirected everything to WooCommerce.com. Was there shock in the WordPress world? Absolutely not. The general reaction was, "What took them so long?"

So, how did we get to the point where the end of such a famous brand was inevitable?

I think it's because we're entering a new era. Major open source companies are becoming SaaS companies.

The WooCommerce story seems like a miniature version of a larger story:

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How to Use Rochen Vault to Save Your Site

We're often asked to help people who have caused an issue with their site.

After changing a file, they have taken their site offline or caused an obvious error to show.

Fortunately, if you host with Rochen, there's always an easy solution available. We use and recommend Rochen hosting and this is one of our favorite features. Rochen has a Vault that stores daily backups. With just a couple of clicks, you can restore any files and get your site back online.

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Customize your Site's Design on Real iOS Devices with BrowserStack

BrowserStack is a tool that we constantly rely on at OSTraining. It's an online service that makes it easy to do cross-browser compatibility testing.

Whenever we update our site design or test a new feature, we can easily troubleshoot issues in major browsers and on mobile devices.

When we're customizing our designs, we use Browserstack to play with the CSS. One key feature is the ability to use developer tools to preview possible design changes.

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How to Take Screenshots with BrowserStack

BrowserStack is a tool that we constantly rely on at OSTraining. It's an online service that makes it easy to do cross-browser compatibility testing. 

When we're developing sites, we use Browserstack to test our work. One key feature is the ability to take screenshots and add annotations.

This is really useful for when you find a design issue in a specific browser and want to report it to the designer in charge. 

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template monster

A lot of OSTraining readers are looking for a good theme for their site.

So we've partnered with Template Monster, one of the world’s leading sources of CMS themes.

Having been around for over 13 years, Template Monster offers an extensive collection of WordPress themes, Joomla templates and Drupal themes.

Now you can get a 30% discount on all purchases from Template Monster.

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Easily Create QR Codes For Any Site or Purpose

An OSTraining member asked us how to add QR codes to their website.

When used correctly, QR codes can provide a fast alternative for users to find exactly what they want, without searching or typing.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to use the QR Code Generator to easily create codes.explain how you can use QR code generator for just about anything.

The QR Code Generator allows you to embed all sorts of different information inside a QR code:

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How to Opt-Out of Disqus Reveal

We use Disqus to power the comments on several sites.

This week, Disqus sent a friendly email:

"Congratulations! After careful review, we’ve approved your site OSTaining for Reveal—Disqus’ monetization solution for publishers."

Congratulations? I didn't even know what Reveal was until that moment.

Then a few days later, on Friday, another email arrived to say that Reveal would be automatically enabled in 4 days time, unless we opted out.

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Check if your Site's URLs Can Be Indexed or Not with Robots.txt Tester

By default, all the URLs on your site can be crawled by Google. However, if we don't want Google to index some specific pages, you can use a robots.txt file.

In your Robots.txt file, you can request that Google not index certain pages by using this "disallow" rule:

Disallow: /dont-scan-this-url/

In this post, I'll show you how to use Google Search Console to check whether you have successfully blocked Google from indexing a particular URL.

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copyscape

Copyscape is a great tool to know if other websites copied your content.

For SEO purposes, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on whether your content is being ripped off.

In this short post, I'll share with you how to use Copyscape to look for duplicated content on other sites. 

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Test your Site in Real iOS Devices with Browserstack

BrowserStack is a tool that we constantly rely on at OSTraining. It's an online service that makes it easy to do cross-browser compatibility testing. Whenever we update our site design or test a new feature, we can easily troubleshoot issues in major browsers and on mobile devices.

As developers and designers, we often make the mistake of testing our responsive design on a desktop computer. Resizing the browser can emulate the screen size of mobile device, however it doesn't provide a truly accurate result.

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Use Firebug Console to Catch Errors

UPDATE: Firebug is not supported anymore. Please try Dev Tools in Firefox, or Developer Tools in Chrome instead.

We've regularly written about the Firebug add-on for Firebox because it is a great way to troubleshoot CSS issues.

Did you know that Firebug can also help to detect Javascript errors that may break your site?

In this post, I'll share with you how to catch errors by using Firebug's console feature. 

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Create a Database with cPanel and phpMyAdmin

Creating a database is one of the common tasks before building a new site with WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

Luckily, phpMyAdmin and cPanel make this process easier than ever.

In this post, I'm going to show you how to create a new database and link to a database user. Let's start...

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