Show hidden files on Lion

To enable hidden files/folders in finder windows:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Open the Utilities folder
  3. Open a terminal window
  4. Copy and paste the following line in
  5. Press return
  6. Now hold ‘alt’ on the keyboard and right click on the Finder icon
  7. Click on Relaunch

You should find you will now be able to see any hidden files or folders. To revert:

Taking Screenshots in Mac OS X

Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop

Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop

Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop

Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard

Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard

Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard

In Leopard and later, the following keys can be held down while selecting an area (via Command-Shift-4 or Command-Control-Shift-4):

  • Space, to lock the size of the selected region and instead move it when the mouse moves
  • Shift, to resize only one edge of the selected region
  • Option, to resize the selected region with its center as the anchor point

Drupal – How to install Drush

What is Drush?

It’s a command line shell and scripting interface for Drupal. The Drush Package Manager allows you to download, enable, disable, uninstall, update modules/themes/profiles/translations from the command line in a very simple way (apt-get style) – just type,

and

in a Drupal directory to install the Views project! Additionally, the Drush Package Manager also allows you to update all your modules and even Drupal core with just one command,

How to install Drush

  1. Download the current version of the Drush Package from the Drupal website.
  2. Upload the folder to the root directory of your server. I did this on a shared environment.
  3. Login to your server via shell.
  4. Make the ‘drush’ command executable:
  5. create an alias to drush:
  6. Now, you must log out and then log back in again or re-load your bash configuration file to apply your changes to your current session:
  7. Start using drush by running “drush” from your Drupal root directory.

5 ways to test the Usability of your E-commerce Site

Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a product, service or website by testing it on users and it’s good practice to perform tests in combination with Split testing. Having an e-commerce site myself, I had to pay special attention to the elements on pages and where my products are positioned in relation to the page. There are so many variables involved in optimizing the usability of page such as dimensions, colors, copy, etc. If users cannot find your product, then they cannot buy it either.

There are many methods for studying usability, but the most basic and useful is done through user testing. Here are some tools to help you in studying if your missing out on sales, and what you can do to improve conversions.

FiveSecondTest.com

Fivesecondtest helps you fine tune your landing pages and calls to action by analyzing the most prominent elements of your design. Here’s how it works:

  1. Upload a screenshot or mockup, set some questions you want answered and wait for the feedback to roll in!
  2. Testers have five seconds to view your image and must then answer the questions you have set.
  3. We collect all of the responses for you, extract the frequent keywords and then present the data with beautiful graphs.

UserTesting.com

UserTesting.com’s discount usability testing helps website owners discover why people leave their website, without the hassle and expense of traditional usability testing. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign Up in 3 Minutes.
  2. We Notify our User Panel.
  3. Get Results in as Little as an Hour.

Usabilla.com

Whether you’re looking to test out an experimental layout, a full-fledged mock-up or a working website, Usabilla’s usability testing platform combines power with simplicity, offering insight minus manual labor. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a test.
  2. Select your pages.
  3. Select questions.
  4. Invite your users.
  5. Analyze feedback.

Userfly.com

Run instant usability studies for your website using your real users. Watch movies of your users’ browsing sessions to analyze their behavior and optimize your forms, landing pages, and conversion rates. Web usability testing just got cheap, simple, and instantaneous!. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Install script seconds with one line of code.
  3. Watch videos of your real users!

FeedbackArmy.com

Feedback Army is a cheap website usability testing service built on Mechanical Turk. Submit your questions and get feedback from 10 people for $15. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Request Feedback.
  3. See Results!

Magento – Get the Total Price of items currently in the Cart

Ever wanted to get the total price of items in your Magento cart? Here you go:

 

Magento – Contact Form Not Submitting Bug

Since the new release of Magento, people have been encountering a lot of problems. One of them in particular, seem to be the contact form. The error is, “Unable to submit your request. Please, try again later.” If you’re on Magento 1.4 and get this error when submitting the contact form, that’s because your template (theme) is not fully compatible with 1.4. Your Magento theme is overriding the form.phtml file with its own version, which doesn’t have the new line in it. Here’s what you’ll need to do to quickly fix this error:

Open this file in your theme folder:

And add the following hidden field somewhere before the submit button:

 

Google Analytics – How to manually Track Clicks on Outbound Links

You can use Google Analytics to track clicks on links that lead away from your site. Because links that lead away from your site are not automatically tracked, you will need to manually tag all outbound links you want to track. To do this, you’ll add some JavaScript customizations to your page and to the links you want to track.

  1. Set up Event Tracking in your Analytics Tracking code. This is a simple matter of adding the following line to the tracking code for your pages after the page tracking object is set up:
  2. Add a JavaScript method in the head of your document to delay the outbound click by a fraction of a second. This delay will hardly be noticeable by the user, but it will provide the browser more time load the tracking code. Without this method, it’s possible that a user can click on the outbound link before the tracking code loads, in which case the event will not be recorded. Here’s what the JavaScript code in the section should look like (assuming you will use your own tracking code ID):
  3. Update your outbound links to call the new function without first following the link. For example, to log every click on a particular link to www.example.com, you would use the _trackEvent() method in the link’s tag:

    The example above uses the category label Outbound Links. This is a useful way to categorize all outbound links in the Event Tracking reports. It sets the specific name of the website as the second parameter in the call. With this structure in place, you could then see Outbound Links as one of the event categories and drill down to see which particular outbound links are the most popular. Be sure to use return false for the onClick handler, because without that statement the browser will follow the link before the recordOutboundLink method has a chance to execute.

    For more information on using event tracking, see the Event Tracking Guide on Google Code.

    Article Reference URL:
    http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55527&cbid=-wlhzojb6oodb&src=cb&lev=index

Magento extensions and modern e-commerce

For an online retailer, choosing an e-commerce software platform is one of the most important decisions. Depending on the size of the business, the key requirements could vary from robustness and scalability critical for large retailers to the need for simplicity and flexibility for small store owners. Perhaps it is the ability to effortlessly meet the diverse needs of disparate audiences that has made Magento one of the fastest growing e-commerce applications globally. Already, the Magento e-commerce suite has carried out over US$25 billion in transactions via the 30,000+ merchants who rely on this platform, including some from the Internet Retailer Top 500 list. No wonder then that the platform continues to receive international acclaim, most recently from well known research organization Forrester Research which highlighted Magento as ‘unique’ among various e-commerce technology providers.

One of the key contributors to Magento’s rising popularity as the platform of choice is its ‘flexibility’ and the control that it puts in the hands of the online merchant. Unlike some of the other ‘closed’ or even open source e-commerce platforms, Magento does not place restrictions on business flows and processes. With over 1700 Magento extensions already available (and counting..), technology complements the business rather than business being shaped by the limits posed by technology.

Possibilities galore with Magento extensions

As the e-commerce and online marketing landscape evolves at frenetic pace, resulting in newer business models and novel marketing opportunities, online store owners need their technology to be as dynamic or risk being left behind. This is where the continuously expanding range of Magento extensions becomes invaluable.

Developers continue to enrich the application with powerful add-ons to fulfill even the not-so-obvious requirements of store owners. Presenting irrefutable proof of the value of the open source paradigm in e-commerce, these extensions help automate and optimize different business processes.

Characteristics of truly valuable Magento extensions

While new add-ons for the different Magento modules become available very regularly, some fundamental and seemingly obvious characteristics differentiate the really valuable extensions from the just OK ones. If you are looking for extensions for your business, run this simple 4-factor test.

  • Usefulness: An extension has to either help contribute to greater sales (revenues), build long-term customer engagement or improve operational efficiencies and effectiveness. Does the extension offer the features and functionality that will help you address your unique business needs or problems?
  • Cost-effectiveness: Is the price you pay for the add-on worth the value you expect to generate from using the extension?
  • Customizability: Can you customize your extension easily both in terms of front-end design as well as functionality to suit your specific needs?
  • User-friendliness: Is the extension easy to configure and use so that a store owner can focus on the business side of things? It should ultimately help save time, not add more work.

Epitomizing the above characteristics is the portfolio of extensions from aheadWorks, one of the largest Magento extensions development companies. The company’s range of free and paid-for add-ons, covers every aspect of the e-commerce process – back-end store administration, user experience, marketing and other operational aspects of the business.

Below, we briefly touch upon some of the most well-received Magento add-ons developed by the company:

Help Desk Ultimate: Deliver unmatched customer support

What do you do to score over your competition when they offer equally good products? Simple: you offer unmatched Customer Support. And that is best done using an extension like ‘Help Desk Ultimate’. Developed after incorporating key lessons learned about online shopper behavior, this extension is a proven customer care and support solution for Magento-based e-commerce sites.

Help Desk Ultimate helps store owners manage workflow better by assigning work quickly through unlimited departments; ensures speedy resolution of customer issues using two-way email parsing; keeps track of the issue’s entire thread and close tickets automatically. The user-friendly interface helps customers log issues and the customer support team to process them with ease and speed.

Help Desk Ultimate is certainly a must-have for store owners who recognize the competitive advantages of superior customer support systems.

Z-Blocks: Excellent content presentation

Static content blocks on the pages of an e-commerce site can help deliver important messages to customers at various stages of the purchase. The ‘Z-Blocks’ Magento extension is loaded with features to maximize the utility of static blocks on the store; and it now comes with a graphic interface too.

A sampling of the features:

  • Predefined positions on each page
  • Flexible block positioning by altering CMS page layout
  • Blocks can be scheduled to appear on certain days/dates
  • Easy enabling/disabling of blocks and items within blocks

Follow Up Email: More power to e-mail marketing

‘Follow up Email’ Magento extension helps store owners to effectively communicate with their customers. The advanced features offered by Follow Up Email extension not only allow them to automatically respond to any customers’ action, but also to always keep customers on their radar. In short, one never loses sight of the customer even if they have abandoned their carts.

Key features of the extension include the ability to:

  • View all information about items before the shopper abandoned the cart
  • Track and send notifications to users with abandoned carts
  • Restore their carts with just one click on the link sent in the email
  • Track customers who placed orders by clicking on the emailed link
  • Get a detailed analysis of selling activity – helps improve sales
  • Access a mail log from the admin area with the ability to preview and manually send/delete emails

Advanced Reports: Intelligent analytics

Successful businesses have a sound information/ intelligence system based on which key decisions are made. Contributing to this need amongst Magento-based online merchants is the Advanced Reports extension that allows businesses to obtain significantly more sales information than before. Advanced Reports is a valuable tool to understand store users and formulate the right merchandising strategy.

Some of the reports that this extension will help generate are:

  • Bestsellers Report: information on products frequently bought over a period of time
  • User Activity Report: gives data on new accounts, number of reviews and number of orders
  • Products by Customer: shows how many products have been bought at a time by the majority/minority of customers

Reports can be segmented by country, by days of the week, by month and by several other criteria.

On Sale: Special product promotions

The ‘On Sale’ extension is designed to capitalize on the inherent human tendency to be lured by items that are marked on ‘sale’. This add-on allows Magento store owners to add visually attractive labels to any product image, which can be displayed in both the individual product view as well as the catalog view.

On Sale comes loaded with several customization options. For example, store administrators can choose from the software’s pre-packaged labels or upload their own and then add text using predefined variables. It is a great tool for driving customers to make a purchase right away.

AJAX Cart Pro: Create more usable sites

It’s been proven time and again- a good user experience will boost conversions and customer retention. The ‘AJAX Cart Pro’ Magento extension takes a website’s usability a few notches higher by removing the annoying page reloads that often take place when users click “add to cart” and “delete from cart” options. Instead of reloading, items are added instantly with appealing animation effects. This cuts down on customer frustrations and makes shopping at the site quick and smooth.

Refer a Friend: Benefit from ‘viral’

Independent research reports show that online shoppers trust referrals or recommendations from friends than customer reviews posted on a website. The ‘Refer a Friend’ viral marketing Magento module helps store owners make the most of this reality.

Not only does the extension help stimulate store visitors to invite their friends to the store, but it also helps them referral reward programs too. It’s a must-have module in this era of incentive marketing, when customers want to earn discounts, while at the same time ensuring they and their friends get a product that is completely reliable.

aheadWorks Magento extensions are bound to make a difference to any e-commerce business operating on a Magento platform. The popularity of these extensions among e-commerce site owners demonstrates the value addition of these extensions to businesses and the quick return on investment that they offer.

Enable cURL with XAMPP

cURL is disabled by default in your XAMPP installation. To enable it, you have to modify the php.ini files in your XAMPP folder. Follow the steps below to get it up and running.

  1. Locate the following files:
  2. Uncomment the following line on your php.ini file by removing the semicolon.
  3. Restart your Apache server.
  4. Check your phpinfo if curl was properly enabled.

How to setup a local web server on your computer using XAMPP

Web development work should always be done locally. When developing a website, all the development work should be done on a local LAMP Stack environment installed on your computer. That way, the production time is greatly reduced and you can fully test your work before launching.

When you are completely done developing your project, the migration to the live server is seamless. Here are the simple steps to install a local server on your PC to easily develop websites.

This article applies to the installation on Windows 98, NT, 2000, 2003, XP and Vista, of Apache, MySQL, PHP + PEAR, Perl, mod_php, mod_perl, mod_ssl, OpenSSL, phpMyAdmin, Webalizer, Mercury Mail Transport System for Win32 and NetWare Systems v3.32, Ming, JpGraph, FileZilla FTP Server, mcrypt, eAccelerator, SQLite, and WEB-DAV + mod_auth_mysql.

Installing XAMPP on your computer

  1. First, download XAMPP for Windows Installer
  2. Then run the installer on your computer and make sure that your Windows firewall unblocks Apache.
  3. Run the Apache administrator.
  4. Open your browser and go to http://127.0.0.1 – If all went well, a screen will appear where you can choose your language.
  5. Go to http://127.0.0.1/security/xamppsecurity.php and setup a password (it ill be used for your databases), and click on “Password Changing”.

Congratulations! You’re done! Now put your website’s files in a new directory under C:\xampp\htdocs\ (if you installed xampp in C:\xampp). For example: C:\xampp\htdocs\myproject\; and setup your databases using PHPMyAdmin located here http://127.0.0.1/phpmyadmin/.

Configuring Mod Rewrite

To finalize your installation, and make your development work much easier, go through the following steps to enable Mod Rewrite. This enables you to use fancy permalinks without the index.php appendage.

  1. Navigate to C:\xampp\apache\conf\httpd.conf
  2. Open up httpd.conf in notepad and look for this line:
  3. Uncomment it so that it reads:
  4. Next, search for AllowOverride None and change it to AllowOverride All.
  5. Restart Apache by typing services.msc in either the command prompt or Start Search prompt in Vista.

Personalized Domain for your Local Environment

I’ve set my local environment to mimic my live environment as much as possible. For example, to access the local environment for my blog, I type this in my browser (http://www.richardcastera.com). Here is how to set that up for each project:

  1. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ and open the host file in a notepad editor. Make sure the following lines are written in the file:
  2. Now add the following line to access your website locally via the URL myproject.dev (or any other URL you’d like):
  3. Finally, open the file C:\xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-vhosts.conf in a notepad editor, and add the following lines:

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed the post!