We’ve moved our storefront from Jigoshop to WooCommerce

Hey there WordPress e-Commerce community, we’ve completed our in-house storefront migration from Jigoshop to WooCommerce and other than taking a lot longer to complete than initially planned it’s done without a hitch!

We are now proudly running WooCommere on our storefront for the sale and distribution of our free and Premium WordPress e-Commerce Plugins!

A little bit of history

We cut our teeth on WordPress e-Commerce store migrations back in 2013 moving our storefront from WP e-Commerce to Jigoshop, Product, Coupons and Orders came over but we screwed up download permissions which meant customers could see their purchase but couldn’t download Plugins… *head smack*

Fast forward a year and we’re stuck with an e-Commerce platform that we had hard-coded changes into Jigoshop core making updates harder and harder to maintain. In hindsight we should have never, ever, ever made core Plugin changes and instead raised queries with the Jigoshop team so we could maintain custom WordPress Plugins to extend Jigoshop.

From July 2014 plans were drawn up, we were moving to WooCommerce. We announced this in our end of year address but had no idea what was involved.

Migrating to WooCommerce

While the explosion of Plugin development riding the popularity wave of WooTheme’s WooCommerce has produced hundreds, if not thousands, of e-Commerce extensions store migration between platforms is a niche point with few options available, in our case none supported migrating Order download authorisations which is critical to our store needs as a Plugin distributor.

We had two options:

  1. use the Jigoshop to WooCommerce extension to migrate our Products over to WooCommerce and start over with a fresh WooCommerce instance with no existing Orders, or
  2. build a custom WordPress Plugin to take all that is Jigoshop and paint it WooCommerce

After all the hard work generating thousands of Orders, developing our Plugin distribution platform to extend Jigoshop to deliver Plugin updates it was clear we weren’t starting over. Had we gone with a fresh WooCommerce instance we would have been killed resource wise re-building existing Orders and download permissions for over 10,000+ existing Orders, our customer base would have been pissed. We needed to migrate everything and make sure it worked.

We teamed up with Gaetan Ouandja in November 2014 and went to work on migrating each detail from Jigoshop to WooCommerce on a per feature basis, starting small with basic Product details that used simple custom Post meta (e.g. Price, Sale Price, Sale Price Dates) before moving onto Custom Term Taxonomies (e.g. Product Types) and when we were confident moving onto the heavy stuff (Jigoshop custom tables, Product Attributes, Order Items, Download authorisations).

The migrator Plugin was built so that it could run in the background while the new WooCommerce storefront continued to operate and could accept new Orders, another important aspect of the Plugin was that it would continue running as a server process even if the browser session timed out. Having the migration process running as a server process was a life saver as we regularly hit browser time outs running some migration processes and had the process ceased midway through a step it would poison that portion of the WordPress database and require us to take the storefront down while we restore the backup database.

Migration Day

Ater testing and testing and testing on staging sites and local development instances of our storefront it finally was time to to do it on the live site. After a full backup and short notice of scheduled maintenance it was go time.

As of midnight the Jigoshop to WooCommerce migrator has successfully migrated:

  • 10,000+ Orders
  • 105,000+ Order Items
  • 10,000+ download permissions assigned to Orders
  • 50+ Products with Variations, electronic download files assigned to both Simple and Variable Product Types
  • 50+ Coupons with usage

To say this has been hard work is an understatement but it was so worth it!

The future

We will add a friendly wizard UI as well as an advanced view to the migration Plugin with a goal to distribute this Plugin as a free basic offering on the WordPress Plugins repository and as a Premium Plugin in the next quarter.

For our storefront we will continue to tweak our VLShop Theme to optimise it for WooCommerce as it was originally developed for Jigoshop. With the move to WooCommerce we can offer a better experience to customers by enabling PDF invoicing, multiple currency support, affiliate opportunities, the list goes on… 🙂

Introducing Commission King for WP e-Commerce!

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We’re very pleased to announce the release of Commission King for WP e-Commerce.

Coinciding with the 3.8.10 release of WP e-Commerce, this release has been tested with lots of help from the team at GetShopped.org. They have made some updates in their latest WPEC release especially for Commission King – so you’ll need to be running this latest version.

To celebrate the release, we’re offering $20 off the normal price for the rest of the month – so get it while it’s hot!

Commission King allows you to set up and pay commissions on your WP e-Commerce store.

Once a commission value is assigned to a Product, Commission King tracks all Orders made through your store and prepares a list of pending payments. Commission King is even flexible enough to handle fixed or percentage based commissions.

Integrated with the front-end WP e-Commerce Accounts page, Commission King enables your commission recipients to view their product, commissions, commission history, and update their preferred payment details.

Based on your store’s terms of sale (e.g. non-refundable after 30 days), the commission process can be easily tracked through Pending, Payable, Overdue, Paid and Cancelled. You can even pay commissions directly from Commission King, via cheque, bank transfer, or PayPal!

You can read more about Commission King here.

Brisbane Bar Scene Website Development

One of my favourite bars in Brisbane has no website, I find that a joke in todays online society! So, to kick things off not only am I going to build a website about the bar, I’m going to look into the possibility of a website dedicated to daily specials at each bar in and around Brisbane. This is going to be a big win for the bar as well as Brisbane’s night scene as I envision increased foot traffic from visits to the sites.

If this works out for the first bar I’m going to move onto the next…

Australian Web Industry Association

Out of chance I stumbled upon the Port80 Forums, an active and highly informed community of Australian web developers pulling the Web development’s socks up so to speak.

Formerly Port 80 Inc, the Australian Web Industry Association represents businesses, individuals and students involved in the web industry and aims to:

  • Further the advancement of the web industry within Australia;
  • Educate the general public about the role of professionals in the web industry;
  • Foster greater ties with like-minded organisations.

AWIA go further in detail by detailing defined goals and ways to achieve them.

Through the monthly Port 80 Meetings & Mini Talks, Online Forums, WA Web Awards, Ideas Seminar Series and the Web Industry Index, The Australian Web Industry Association is bringing together web professionals across Australia, promoting the Australian web industry and recognising the great work being produced by local developers.

This is great news for anyone interested in advancing their own commercial or personal website, my only criticism is why the message hasn’t been spread further!

I am actively contributing within this community and hope more will use this resource.

Creating a New cPanel Addon Site


This is the second part in an ongoing series on creating your own kick ass website using available online tools and learning how it all works as we go. Get on board, subscribe to the full feed and tell your friends!

Overview

Covered in the first part, Registering and Setup of a New Domain (to be published shortly), we have already covered:

  1. what makes a popular domain
  2. purchasing and registering our very own domain
  3. purchasing our very own hosting account
  4. updating our domain record to point to our hosting account

An ‘addon domain’ allows you to host additional domains from a single hosting account. In my case this means I can host michaelvisser.com.au, redblock.com.au, 87purpleelephants.com… all on the same server. This saves you money – by not purchasing individual hosting accounts – and makes for dead simple site maintenance!

Logging into cPanel

Let’s start by logging into cPanel, the back-end administration software for our hosting account. Put simply, cPanel is our interface to the server, instead of dealing with difficult Apache configuration files and managed services cPanel harnesses this through an easy-to-use and robust web engine! This means less headaches for us and more time doing other cool stuff. Pretty sweet hey, let’s get to it!

Connect to cPanel by typing in your domain and appending the port 2082 to the domain address. This is typed as “:2082?, so for my site this is “http://michaelvisser.com.au:2082?.

You’ll be prompted for a username and password, this is to stop anyone else from modifying your domain. Refer to your hosting confirmation email for account details.

Welcome to cPanel. Your window should look something like this…

cPanel back-end web hosting interface

Creating an Addon Domain

Under the group Domains click on Addon Domains. Exemplar below…

Addon Domains cPanel

Within Create an Addon Domain fill in your new addon domain details, this means:

  • New Domain Name – The name of your domain (eg. michaelvisser.com.au)
  • Subdomain/Ftp Username – Your new addon domain’s FTP username, this field is auto-filled (eg. michaelvisser)
  • Document Root – Where within your hosting account the addon domain will reside, this field is auto-filled (eg. /public_html/michaelvisser.com.au
  • Password – The FTP password for your new FTP user account
  • Password (Again) – You guessed it, confirmation of your new FTP user account password

Check you entered the correct details and are happy with them then click Add Domain!

If all went as planned, you should see the following. If not, follow the instructions laid out in Registering and Setup of a New Domain (to be published shortly), if that fails you let me know through the comment section at the end of this article.

Addon Domains cPanel complete

You can now go to your domain address (eg. michaelvisser.com.au) and it will be redirected to your new empty addon domain.

Addon Domains empty folder

Connect to your addon domain using FTP

This parts dead easy, download an FTP program to manage your hosted files. I use SmartFTP Client, it’s what I live by. I’ll elaborate more about this software soon, it’s smokin’!

Connect to your host by entering your domain address in the Address field, followed by the addon domain’s FTP username and password. If you have forgotten these details – I know, it happens… – go back to cPanel and create a new FTP user account through FTP Accounts.

Addon Domains SmartFTP Client

You are now able to create new files, folders and most importantly host files on your new addon domain. Refresh your domain address in your browser, very cool!

Addon Domains files

Conclusion

That’s it, we’re done! In the next part of this series in making your own website we’ll be exploring Content Management Systems, how to manage Apache hosting accounts and how PHP websites work. Stay tuned, subscribe to the full feed so you know when the third addition is available.

I’m eager to hear how everyone went! Join you again very soon.

Visser

Defining the Semantic Web across Industry Roles

The term ’semantic web’ is little understood and as an emerging technology is widely applied such like the explosion of interest expressed towards the ‘Web 2.0? phenomenon.

In simplest understanding the semantic web is:

…an extension of the current Web that will allow you to find, share, and combine information more easily. It relies on machine-readable information and meta data…
Extract from Metadata Glossary at Noise Between Stations

This can be further explained by contributing related disciplines:

The semantic web relies on ontology mark-up languages that enable [the creation of] knowledge…
Extract from Glossary at Genomics and Proteomics

This new model impacts Internet industry roles in vastly different ways. For Web Developers, Content Writers and Information Architects this means taking a user-centric approach to client projects.

For Web Developers this means:

  • adhering to W3C development mark-up recommendations
  • providing extensive content search with suggestive technology
  • developing extensive UGC systems
  • implementing micro formats where possible

For Content Writers this means:

  • writing exclusively for your readers
  • conveying as much product information as commercially viable
  • integrating search keywords and phrases into content
  • providing valuable interlinked content

For Information Architects this means:

  • designing with user focused UID standards in mind
  • providing the simplest user experience

If you yourself work in any of these industries recommend tips and your own experiences to help better understand the changes ‘Web 2.0? means to you.

Cascading Content

– How the content is structured

Humans are impressionable, we are able to take on a very basic visual process to standardise the Internet, we’re not too fussed how a page is presented as long as content is of an appropriate height and style.

Headers are given emphasis, be this a colour or increased font weight – bold – we do this as this is how we are taught early on to read. The Internet is no exception to this media rule. Copyright text is de-emphasised as it is not important. This would also hold for the date of a article or the poster of said article.

In visual presentation of content your unique page title is critical. It needs emphasis in style for human readers and to be wrapped within an H1 tag for robots. The content immediately following the page title is expected to be of more importance than that of content half way down the page. Consider grouping content into related topics beneath the page title, this makes content easy to read and easy for a robot to accurately index.

Micro formats – sets of specific catalogued data – are a great idea rapidly being supported by search engines, consider adding your company address, contact details and other important visitor data in a hCard format, it’s quite a simple exercise.

This collection of SEO articles will boost awareness as well as the satisfaction of your inbound traffic. Looking for more ways to boost your site, comments?