Upgrading Better Together for OpenCart

Better Together is a BOGO discounting module I created for Zen Cart.  I have ported the logic to a few other carts (osCommerce, Prestashop, and OpenCart), and this post pertains to the OpenCart port.

The first release of the Better Together for OpenCart module was for OpenCart 1.5.  Then I made a handful of tweaks for compatibility with version 2.0.  Now I knew I had to upgrade for 2.3 compatibility, but since the version 2 changes were pretty easy, I honestly thought upgrading for version of OpenCart would be trivial.  I was wrong!  There were a few tricky things, and I’ll share them here in case other software developers are working on upgrading their pre-2.3 extensions.

  1. The file paths are different.  All file paths now include “extension” directories.  So instead of catalog/model/total/better_together.php, the file path becomes catalog/model/extension/total/better_together.php.
  2. The inheritance hierarchy is different.  So instead of declaring your model class as ModelYourClass, it’s ModelExtensionYourClass, which extends Model.
  3. This is what really tripped me up.  Because the 2.3 base class overrides getters and setters, you have to be sure to declare all your class variables so that magic methods won’t be used to access them(*).  If you came out of PHP4, this is a bit of an adjustment, but there you are.  The positive thing is that it makes your code more self-documenting.

(*) If you don’t do this, you’ll get the “Indirect modification of overloaded property has no effect” fatal error.

Marketing Text Improvements Free Gift Chooser, Free Gift Spender for Zen Cart

The Zen Cart Free Gift Chooser Marketing Text and Zen Cart Free Gift Spender Marketing Text have both been improved. In the old format, they would simply indicate the category and product IDs, as is done in the admin panel. This wasn’t very customer friendly, so I updated them to use links instead.

So now, instead of

Spend $50.00 in any category, Get 1 Comedy (CAT 12) free.
Free Gift Spender marketing text looks like this:

Spend $50.00 in any category, Get 1 Comedy free.

and instead of

Buy 1 from category DVD Movies (CAT 3) , Get 1 from category DVD Movies (CAT 3) free.
Free Gift Chooser marketing text looks like this:

Buy 1 from category DVD Movies, Get 1 from category DVD Movies free.

Capturing and Filtering on Interests in Mailchimp

If you are willing to send multiple newsletters every month (I think the minimum cadence should be monthly), and you want to do some market segmentation, you may want to try this technique.   It assumes you have already installed my Mailchimp Integration for Zen Cart.

  1. Login to Mailchimp and click the Lists menu at the top.  Then on the right, click the Stats dropdown and select Signup forms.
  2. Click the Select button on Embedded Forms.
  3. Under Manage Contacts, click Groups.
  4. Click the Create Groups button, and add Checkboxes and Radio buttons as need be.  You can add many Groups, so don’t be afraid to partition your questions.
  5. Click Signup Forms and Embedded Forms again.  The code for the form shown in the preview is right below the preview window.  Copy this code and paste it into a new page (or sidebox) on your site.

You can read more about creating groups on the Mailchimp Getting Started with Groups page.

So after a while you’ll (hopefully!) have some newsletter signups, with people identifying as being part of one group or another. How do you utilize this data?

  1. Select Campaigns, name the campaign and make it a regular campaign.
  2. You will be prompted to select Recipients.  Select Group or New Segment.
  3. Use the query-by-example form to select the target group for your campaign.

You can read more about this on the Mailchimp Sending to Groups page.

As a convincer, see the email signup form we are using on keylessentrylocks.com:

Static Site Generators and Github Pages

I told you a while ago about my experience building a static site with Hugo.  I was updating the page to show a few changes (notably to my book group website, but also to update the year in the footer).  I stumbled upon a small bug in Hugo’s date reporting, but the real issue that caused me to waste a ton of time was that in my aggravation, I wound up deleting the public folder to ensure a clean start.  But in a Github Pages based site, the public folder should really be a separate Github repo pointing to your target site!

So now I do a quick check in my deployment script to make sure I haven’t accidentally done this again.  Be sure you do something similar!

Note: If you are using Jekyll instead of Hugo, the same advice applies, but you’ll want to check _site instead of public.