Zen Cart custom software development, Zen Cart modules, Zen Cart Expert eCommerce with Zen Cart!

2006 January to June

Checkout Candy

(12/2006) Why do grocers put candy in the checkout aisle? Because people buy it!
You can apply the same principle to your Zen Cart store using my Checkout Candy extension.

What the heck is Zen Cart?

(12/2006) A friend of mine asked me this question the other day, so I thought I'd write a brief article on e-commerce fundamentals.

Offering Gift Wrapping Services in your Zen Cart Shop

(12/2006) Merry Christmas! It's easy to add gift wrapping to your service offering - just follow these instructions to learn how to offer gift wrapping as a product option in Zen Cart. But if you want a more comprehensive gift wrapping solution, take a look at my Zencart Giftwrap Contribution.

Zen Cart Better Together now has Buy One Get One Free

(12/2006) Better Together has proven to be a very popular Zen Cart contribution - it allows an Amazon-like linking of products (buy this product, get this other product at a discount). But many people wanted something a bit more specific - a true buy one, get one free for the same item. So I added this capability in version 1.2 of Better Together.

Zen Cart Precheckout Validity Screen

(11/2006) Lots of people have precheckout considerations (tires must be purchased in pairs; these items only available to customers in group 4, you must have at least $50 in your cart to complete an order). Until now, there was no way to enforce these prior to checkout. My Zen Cart Valid Cart Extension permits you to do this. It is difficult to give an advance price for a piece of software that necessarily involves custom programming, but most validations can be done for $30.

Zen Cart Better Together Multicategory Extension

(11/2006) When I created the Zen Cart Better Together Contribution, I imagined simple shops with categories at the top level and products underneath that - a relatively flat hierarchy. Well, along came a client from Europe selling audio equipment who had literally hundreds of subcategories along functional and manufacturer lines. I realized I something much more comprehensive was needed for larger shops - so I created the Better Together Multicategory Extension. (Note: This is no longer available; it has been superseded by Combination Discounts.)

The Zen Cart Discount Preview Extension

(10/2006) A lot of people have bemoaned the fact that order total discounts in Zen Cart (such as Group Pricing, Quantity Discounts and Better Together) are not visible until checkout time. I had always resisted adding code to compute them on the shopping cart page, until I realized that it could be done without all the overhead of the order total module. Take a look at Discount Preview.

Social Bookmarking Zen Cart Interface

(10/2006) I wrote a social bookmarking contribution to Zen Cart which uses The Socializer. The Socializer was kind enough to mention it and create a backlink.

That PMP Guy?

(10/2006) I've been studying to take the PMP exam. Now I'm not saying the material is dull, but ...

So to make it more fun, I thought I'd build a website to help prepare for the PMP exam. I was surprised by the paucity of free exam preparation sites on the Web; we'll see if mine gains traction.
Note: I received a takedown notice from the nice people at the Project Management Institute, so this site is no longer available.

New Logo!

(07/2006) When I launched That Software Guy, Inc. back in 2003, I had a very limited budget, so rather than get a custom logo, I simply bought a small graphic from Ron and Joe, whose art I had used in prior projects. This logo served me well, but business has been strong enough in the last year for me to finally break down, pry open the checkbook, and get a custom logo made by The Logo Loft. I was very pleased by their workmanship!

I Sold DoubtSourcing.com!

(07/2006) Outsourcing is a hot topic that's only getting hotter. That's why I pounced on a number of outsourcing related domain names. Doubtsourcing.com was purchased by the developer of Badmash, a comic strip about South Asian culture. I'll be interested to see what he does with it. Here's the sales notice.

George Soros Back in the News

(06/2006) George Soros is once again back in the news, writing that the chief threat to the world is not North Korea, Islamic extremism or Chinese militarism, it's the USA. Google Trends even shows a slight uptick in news volume about the zany Hungarian.

My interest in all of this is pecuniary, of course. I just happen to own soroswatch.com and georgesoroswatch.com, as well as a number of other fine domain names.

Graphics on a Higher Plane!

(03/2006) A former colleague of mine opened an aviation decal business called Higher Graphics, and I set up his shopping cart using Zen Cart. Zen Cart is a fantastic open source product with an extremely active user (and contributor) base that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to open an online store.

Some of the additions that I made to Zen Cart for Higher Graphics were:
  • Dynamic price calculation based on attributes
  • Linking attributes for validation purposes (dependent attributes)
  • Extra image display
I have put together my own Zen Cart page to show some of the modifications I have made that others might find useful.