How to create a sandbox PayPal Payflow account

I’ve been working with PayPal PayFlow Pro a lot lately. But before I got the hang of it, I couldn’t figure out how to create a sandbox account for Payflow.

As it goes, it’s different than setting up a standard sandbox account. To set up a Payflow account for testing, you would walk through the sign up process as if you were signing up for a live Payflow account.

Once you get to the section in the sign up process where it is asking for the billing information, just cancel out of the process. This creates a test account for you at this point, which you can access by signing into PayPal Manager with the login and password that you created. The partner will be PayPal.

Creating an .htaccess file on Windows

Everyone who has tried creating a .htaccess on windows knows that Windows Explorer does not accept the ‘.’ character as the first character of a file. For most of you this may be old stuff, but for the newbies, the quick way to create a file that starts with a ‘.’ is actually pretty simple.

Open notepad and save the document with file name .htaccess with the ‘save as type’ set to ‘All Files’; or save the document with file name as “.htaccess” including the quotes. Hope this helps someone!

htaccess – How to redirect all http (port 80) requests to https (port 443)

Sometimes you may need to redirect http requests on port 80 to (https) on port 443. This can easily be accomplished with .htaccess.


Magento – How to run a SQL query against the database

In order to run a SQL query against the Magento database, you first need a resource model then a database connection.


Magento – Database Repair Tool

The Magento Database Repair Tool compares 2 databases (reference and target), and updates the target database so it has the same structure as the reference database by doing the following:

  • Adds missing tables, or repairs them to have the same engine type and char-set.
  • Adds missing fields or repairs them.
  • Removes inconsistent data from tables that have broken foreign key references.
  • Adds missing foreign keys and indexes.

You can download it here. For a full list of features and instructions, you can refer to this wiki post.

Magento – Add additional fields to the Contact Form

If you need to add additional fields to Magento’s default contact form, read on! First open the form.phtml file located in your /magento_root/app/design/frontend/YOUR_INTERFACE/YOUR_THEME/template/contacts/form.phtml. So, we are going to add a subject field to this contact form so that customers tell us the subject of their email. Open the file for editing in your favorite editor.

Find this section in the file below (this should be around line 39):

We are going to add another field above this one for the subject of the email. Copy and paste this code above the block of code (name field) referenced above.

As far as Magento is concerned, it doesn’t care what fields we add to this form. It is written in such a way that it accepts all of the field posted for processing and send that out to the transactional e-mail form that you create. Now, go to System->Transactional E-mails in the Magento Admin section. Click “Add New Template” and from the “Template” dropdown box select “Contact Form” then “Load Template”. Under template content you will see:

Add your new field before Name: {{var}} so that now it should looks like this:

Enter a new name under “Template Name” to save your new Template and click on “Save Template”. Now we need to tell Magento to use this new template for the Contact form. Go to System->Configuration and select “Contacts”. Under “Email Options”, select your new template under the “Email Template” dropdown box. Click on “Save Config”.

That’s it! 😉

Magento – The best Magento Extensions

Here are some of the best Magento extensions that I’ve come across.

  • Magento Live ChatThis free module will provide LiveChat support in Magento.
  • Fontis WYSIWYG EditorThis extension gives you the option to enable a JavaScript WYSIWYG editor to specified admin pages. Currently available editors are: TinyMCE and FCKeditor.
  • Lazzymonks TwitterDisplays Twitter updates in the menu and allows updates from within the admin panel.
  • Events CalendarWith this extension, you can display an events calendar on your website. Events are stored in the database. You can also display the upcoming list of events quickly by calling a block in your template.
  • BlogFull featured blog extension for Magento.
  • RaffleThis module gives you basic functionality to run your own raffles.
  • Customer Groups Configurable CatalogThis extension enables you to hide categories and products from customers depending on the customer group.
  • Exploded MenuReplaces the standard single column drop down with a multi-column dropdown featuring 2nd and 3rd level menu items.
  • Velite Magento SuperstageFunctionality, intuitive interaction and product presentation with really high detailed images are the main features.
  • Magento EasyLightboxThis small extension will help to install Lightbox widget. Installation and configuration will take approximately 5 minutes. No files are replaced and no codding experience needed to install!
  • Magento Exploded MenuReplaces the standard Magento menu with a multi-column drop down menu system.

Drupal – The Best and my Favorite Modules

I’ve worked with Drupal in the past for several projects and have come across some modules that have become my favorites. Here they are:

  • Tiny MCEThis module was the first to integrate Moxiecode’s popular TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor into a Drupal site for editing advance site content.
  • Simple NewsSimplenews publishes and sends newsletters to lists of subscribers. Both anonymous and authenticated users can opt-in to different mailing lists. HTML email can be send by adding Mime Mail module.
  • ViewsThe Views module provides a flexible method for Drupal site designers to control how lists and tables of content (nodes in Views 1, almost anything in Views 2) are presented. Traditionally, Drupal has hard-coded most of this, particularly in how taxonomy and tracker lists are formatted.
  • PanelsThe Panels module allows a site administrator to create customized layouts for multiple uses. At its core it is a drag and drop content manager that lets you visually design a layout and place content within that layout.
  • Content Construction Kit (CCK)The Content Construction Kit allows you to add custom fields to nodes using a web browser.
  • Path AutoThe Pathauto module automatically generates path aliases for various kinds of content (nodes, categories, users) without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias. This allows you to get aliases like /category/my-node-title.html instead of /node/123.
  • Five StarThe Five Star voting module adds a clean, attractive voting widget to nodes in Drupal
  • Poor Mans CronA module which runs the Drupal cron operations without needing the cron application.
  • Node WordsThis module allows you to set some meta tags for each node, view or panels page.
  • Global RedirectChecks the current URL for an alias and does a 301 redirect to it if it is not being used.
  • Page TitleThis module gives you granular control over the page title. You can specify patterns for how the title should be structured and, on content creation pages, specify the page title separately to the content’s title.
  • XML SitemapThe XML sitemap module creates a sitemap that conforms to the specification. The sitemap created by the module can be automatically submitted to Ask, Google, Bing (formerly Windows Live Search), and Yahoo! search engines.
  • PrintThis module allows you to generate page, email and PDFprinter-friendly versions of any node.
  • Username CheckThis very simple module allows visitors to check username originality quickly using AJAX request during registration (completing registration form).
  • Node HierarchyNode Hierarchy allows nodes to be children of other nodes creating a tree-like hierarchy of content.
  • Custom BreadcrumbsAllows administrators to set up parametrized breadcrumb trails for any node type.
  • Nice MenusNice Menus enables drop-down/right/left expandable menus.
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