2008 January to June
Boilerplate HTML in Product Descriptions
A question came up on the Zen Cart forum about including HTML Files
in the product description.
When I first worked on this problem a couple of years ago, the
person who needed it just needed a few sentences here and there,
so I developed
a tip describing adding
boilerplate strings to the Zen Cart product description.
But this person wanted to replace the entire product description
with an HTML file, so I developed
a tip describing including
HTML files to the Zen Cart product description.
This is particularly useful if there
is boilerplate text you want to include in a number of products,
but the text is more than just a sentence or two.
Better Together Roadmap
What's next for Zen Cart Better Together
- add_cat_to_prod() will be added.
The semantics of "category" will be changed so you can use a top level category or a category with
subcategories instead of just one with products underneath it.
(This is how Zen Cart Big Chooser, Zen Cart Big Spender and
Zen Cart Combination Discounts work.)
This change will affect add_prod_to_cat, add_twoforone_cat, and add_cat_to_cat (as well as the new
add_cat_to_prod linkage, if that is available at the time). (I later decided against doing this. It
reduces the usability of Better Together Admin.)
If you are using other related software
(Zen Cart Promotional Pages
Zen Cart Buy Both Now
Zen Cart Discount Preview
Cart Checkout Candy
, Zen Cart Better Together Admin
you may need to upgrade; you will be advised at that time what to do, and everything will be available at once so
upgrading won't break your site.
Look for these changes in the third quarter of this year.
Better Together Admin Panel
The Zen Cart Better Together
contribution has been well received by the Zen Cart community, but
a persistent complaint is that you have to edit a file to set
up discounts. Well, no more - the
Zen Cart Better Together Admin Panel
is now generally available. You can do all the usual linkages:
- product to product
- category to category
- product to category
- two for one (products)
- two for one (categories)
and because it uses AJAX, getting the product and category lists is
super fast. Show your support for Better Together - get the
Zen Cart Better Together Admin Panel
Looking to add fresh content to your Zen Cart site? Take a look
Zen Cart Blog Integration
It can take your blog (or any RSS feed) and display it on a page
in your Zen Cart shop.
Newsletter Discount Updates
The Zen Cart Newsletter Discount
contribution has been updated to use
the new MailChimp API
In addition, two user exits have been added to the contribution
to allow the exclusion of products or categories from the
Zen Cart Hosting Recommendations
The question of which host to choose
comes up often enough that I thought I'd write a
blog post with
my Zen Cart Hosting Recommendations
Issue with Discount Preview of Group Pricing in 1.3.8
Users of Discount Preview in Zen Cart
1.3.8 who use Group Pricing should make the fix identified
Discount Preview Help Page
Quantity Discounts by Dollars Spent
I have released the changes required to make the
Zen Cart Quantity Discounts Contribution
perform discounting on the basis of dollars spent, rather
than units purchased as is typically done.
There is no longer any need to use the
Zen Cart Price Sensitive Discount
using Quantity Discounts has the following advantages:
- Extensive support for automatically created
- Automatically created
Zen Cart Promotional Page for your discounts
- Support for including/excluding products/categories from the spend computation
- Support for unlimited numbers of spend levels
- It works with Discount Preview
- It was written by me ... so of course it's insanely great.
Download it. Do it.
You know you want to.
Beginner's Guide to Mod Installation
Installing a mod to Zen Cart can seem daunting the first time you
do it. I wrote up a few notes to walk first-timers through the process
Guide to Mod Installation on Zen Cart
. Hope it's useful!
Dymo Label Printing for Zen Cart now for Firefox
Well, I finally got my
Dymo Labels for Zen Cart
contribution working with
It's available now in the Zen Cart downloads area,
with instructions for installation on XP and Vista.
Newsletter Discount for Zen Cart
(04/2008) I've added a discounting module to Zen Cart which allows you
to offer a discount to newsletter subscribers, whether you use
or the native Zen Cart newsletter system.
It's called Newsletter Discount
(04/2008) A couple of small documentation enhancements so far this month:
- The instructions for the SMS on Sale mod have been
enhanced to describe using this mod in conjunction with
Twitter. This might be a desirable option for Zen Cart operators outside
the US who do not have an SMS to email gateway,
but still want SMS notification when a sale is made.
- A set of instructions has been written up to describe how to date-constrain your discounts when using
Better Together, Combination Discounts, Big Spender or Big Chooser.
Using just a small amount of PHP code, you can start and/or stop
your discount offers at dates of your choosing.
See Timing Discounts for details.
Dymo Label Printing for Zen Cart
(03/2008) It's no secret that
I'm crazy about my Dymo
I've wanted to add Dymo printing to Zen Cart for a while, but
I was discouraged by the fact that the Dymo interface logic was
so tightly coupled to Internet Explorer (it uses an
an Active X interface to a COM driver). Then I read that
some smart guy wrote an XPI to make it work with
Well, what the heck, right? I rolled up my sleeves, I got it to
work with Win/IE (XP, Vista),
but I'm still trying to make it play nice with
Win/FF. Of course, since this talks directly to the driver, it's
a real science project to get it going on other platforms.
Check out Dymo Labels for Zen Cart
Big Upsell for Big Chooser and Big Spender
(02/2008) Since the release of
people have been asking for
functionality (display the discounts on the shopping cart page
and the first page of checkout to tempt shoppers with upselling offers).
users wanted the same thing.
The wait is over.
Check out Big Upsell
Extending the power of coupons
(02/2008) If you're trying to measure advertising effectiveness,
a common mechanism is to require a coupon code for a discount.
But Zen Cart coupons can only do so much.
Now you can create complex discounts with the
configurability of Big Chooser and add a coupon dependency.
Or you can use Big Chooser to allow a coupon to provide free
shipping as well as a discount (by default, coupons can only do
a discount or
free shipping). Check out version 1.0.4 of
(02/2008) The most common questions I get about my discounting modules
are questions about category handling and category problems.
I wrote a brief FAQ about
how this works and the problems you might encounter
A Podcast with That Software Guy, Inc.
(01/2008) I spent some time talking with the folks over at Alpha
, and they released
it as a podcast
All Discounts Integrated on a Single Promotional Page
(01/2008) Are you using my
Zen Cart Promotional Pages
show off your discounts? Are you using multiple discounting modules?
Would you like to show your discounts on a single page?
You're in luck! A single page showing all discounts called the
Integrated Promotional Page
is now available.
Here's what it looks
Using Sandy with Zen Cart
(01/2008) If you enjoy using the electronic assistant
you can use Sandy to remind you to follow up with your
Zen Cart customers a few days after a sale. Just use
the SMS on Sale mod
instructions are provided.
External Polling Sidebox
(01/2008) The External Polling Sidebox, which allows you to more
easily integrate with hosted polling services, has been made
available in the Zen Cart Download area.
For more information on using this contribution to engage your
customers through polls, see
External Polling Sidebox
Big Chooser Released
(01/2008) Big Chooser is finally ready for general release.
If you need something more powerful than Combination Discounts
to fully realize your marketing plan, check out the
Zen Cart discounting possibilities
that Big Chooser provides.
Blogging Release Notices
(1/2008) Starting this year, I'm going to add release notices to
If you use the URL
you can get a feed of only these release notices, which you can
add to your iGoogle page or to your RSS Reader.
Gift Wrap at Checkout Updated
(1/2008) My Gift Wrap
module has been updated to Zen Cart 1.3.8, and is now available in the
Zen Cart downloads area.
Search Helper Released
(1/2008) My Search Helper
module is now available in the
Zen Cart downloads area.