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Why Magento is still number 1 e-commerce platform in 2015

Published by on March 23, 2015
Magento Cart Logo

Over the past four years, Magento has found itself among stiff competition. Companies like ZenCart, Volusion, and Shopify to name a few progressively becoming advanced as their developers work hard to offer commerce solutions.

Magento has seen an astounding growth in the e-commerce market as more online stores are adopting their popular software and dominates the e-commerce market with 26% share. With more than thousands of modules to download – more than 1,900 themes with unparalleled customizability – no wonder that the reputable competitors are eating the dust of Magento Commerce.

Magento is still the number 1 e-commerce platform in the world for the following reasons:

Familiar brand names Samsung, Fox Connect, Lenovo, Men’s Health, and Vizio with million other small to mid-sized e-commerce companies around the world use the Magento platform to sell their top brands.

They are an open source, free, and can use the edition in any manner you prefer – always offering you with new features and functionality with their extensions made available through Magento Connect.

They have excellent community support consisting of a large community of developer’s worldwide working on the platform on a daily basis to make sure that the e-commerce platforms secure, fast, and up to date with help available at all times.

Magento platforms built for E-Commerce comes preloaded with specs and features to provide a functional e-commerce website. Above being one of the best platforms, they are highly scalable – provide high performance – flexible – multi tenant – easy to integrate – SEO friendly – and the most important of all supports mobile commerce.

As technology changes towards more people using their mobiles to pay accounts they are also moving towards buying products online with their mobile devices. Both enterprise and community editions of Magento e-commerce CMS incorporated with multiple HTML5 abilities making sure you receive a greater mobile shopping experience. Making them still the number 1 e-commerce platform in the world.

Categories: Ecommerce

Responsive Web Design – it’s more important than ever with the new Google algorithm change

Published by on March 15, 2015

Have you been delaying investing in a responsive web design? Well now is the time to ensure your website is mobile friendly.

Google have announced a change to their algorithm to enhance the results of sites which are responsive, this launches on 21st April, 2015

What are the effects of the algorithm?

The new responsive algorithm will boost the rankings at an individual page level as each page will be assessed for mobile friendliness. The algorithm is implemented real-time, so as Google sees a mobile-friendly site it will receive the benefits immediately.

Google have labelled this as an enhancement to pages which are responsive rather than a punishment for pages which aren’t. Whatever way you look at it – a penalty or not it’s best to buy a responsive website solution ASAP.

responsive web design

Implement a responsive web design solution, it pays to be mobile-friendly

Image Source

What if my website isn’t responsive by 21st April?

As the algorithm is assessed real-time a page/site will benefit immediately responsive design is implemented. So even if you’re reading this article post 21st April it’s still advisable to implement a responsive web design solution.

Experts in responsive web design

When implementing a responsive web solution trust the experts, like us here at Online Media Direct. Call us today on 01706 830 965 to discuss your current situation and we will create a solution for you to become mobile-friendly in no time at all!

Image credit: Zerge Violator

Categories: SEO

5 Of The Best IDEs You Should Consider For Drupal Development

Published by on March 11, 2015
drupal_logo

As a developer, you’ll certainly want to be more productive. Being productive means making fewer mistakes and writing quality code. Needless to say, that all depends on you, but using IDEs (integrated development environments) can help you accomplish those goals in an easier and quicker manner. However, choosing the right IDE can be a daunting proposition, as you need to consider a lot of aspects before making the final choice.
For instance, if you’re a developer and searching for a suitable IDE for your Drupal project, then selecting a PHP based IDE can significantly alleviate speed and quality of development. More importantly, a PHP IDE helps to avoid some of the most common programming mistakes, developers often make when carrying out development using the Drupal CMS.  The IDE provides several benefits such as:

Highlights syntax for great readability

Offers support for code hinting for classes and functions used in your project

Helps debug the code and more..

Through this post, I intend to help you provide a compiled list of some of the popular and most widely used Integrated Development Environments for Drupal (and PHP) development.

1. Eclipse PDT

Perhaps the most popular IDE for Drupal is the Eclipse PDT. As the name implies, Eclipse PDT provides a PHP IDE framework for the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment. It provides support for Drupal development. It is an open source IDE and thus is available for free.

Pros

It’s easy to configure and allows to adjust everything.

It comes with a powerful source code editor that contains a rich set of features including code folding, configurable syntax colouring, etc.

The newer versions keep growing in terms of features and performance.

Cons

Cannot run PHPUnit tests from within the integrated development environments.

Eclipse PDT performance is slow, especially when you need to refresh a page or source code.

Eclipse PDT supports Xdebug and Zend Debugger tools, but setting them up can be very painful. Even though, you can configure Eclipse PDT in the same exact manner as you want, but you’ll have to perform a lot of configuration work.

It has a steep learning curve.

2. NetBeans

In case you’re looking for a full-fledged IDE with a good version control, then NetBeans is exactly what you need. This IDE is free to use. It comes with several great features including syntax highlighting, refactoring, and many more.

Pros

It has a slick and functional UI (user interface) compared to Eclipse PDT.

Provides help and suggestions for code completion.

It comes with unit testing capability.

It provides debugging support, allowing you to set breakpoints and steps throughout your code.

Cons

It is slow in terms of autocompletion, project browsing, etc.

In order to use advanced tools of the NetBeans IDE, you need proper training.

3. PHPStorm

PHPStorm is a Drupal friendly PHP based Integrated Development Environment and one of the best IDE with excellent support for speed and functionality. And, the best part! PhpStorm’s provides powerful Drupal support. In addition, it even offers open source collaboration tools that help to make the Drupal development and code review process easier, and conformed to Drupal’s coding standards.

Pros

Can run PHPUnit tests from within the Integrated Development Environment.

PHPStorm is ideal for developers seeking to use an IDE with fast performance. This is because this IDE features a fast UI and the filesystem gets refreshed automatically after a few seconds.

Offers an easy to implement debugging solution in the form of “Listen for debug connection” button.

Cons

One major downside to using PHPStorm is that the bugs are not yet resolved while new features gets added to it.

4. Codelobster PHP Edition

CodeLobster PHP Edition IDE simplifies and streamlines PHP development process. Besides this, it comes with a Drupal plugin that helps in developing any type of Drupal sites and offers special abilities for Drupal. It’s free.

Pros

The Drupal plugin that the Codelobster IDE offers comes with several benefits:

It provides ability to organize files into a project that automatically installs components of the Drupal CMS (including Drupal 7).

It provides auto-complete and tooltips for Drupal’s module hooks and function theme.

It comes with Drupal search feature.

It contains a feature that helps you acquire all necessary information about Drupal functions and constants.

Cons

One trouble you may face while using this IDE is that Drupal functions don’t show up using the auto-complete feature.

5. Komodo Edit

This open source IDE helps to keep Drupal coding clean via its syntax checking feature. It is a free, cross-platform IDE that comes with great features such as code-intelligence, version control, unit testing, code refactoring, adds-on and customization to name a few.

Pros

It comes with one of the best syntax checker.

It offers extensive auto-completion for standard PHP and Drupal functions.

It offers much better function and variable completion tools than Eclipse PDT.

Faster code navigation with code browser.

It supports debugging tool Xdebug.

Cons

Works slowly when you need to load a new file system.

Working with Komodo Edit can be complex in comparison to other lightweight IDEs, and requires training.

Let’s Sum It All Up!

Choosing an IDE for your PHP and Drupal development can help you significantly cut down a lot of your development time. But, picking the right IDE can be difficult. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best IDEs for Drupal that comes with astounding features and capabilities. Each of the aforementioned IDEs has a few advantages and disadvantages, and so make sure to choose one that best suit your needs.

PHPStorm 8 is gaining wide popularity as one of the best IDE for Drupal, but if you’re looking for a free alternative for PHPStorm 8, then NetBeans is the right choice you. Apart from these two IDEs, Eclipse with PDT, Codelobster and Komodo Edit are other popular choices as IDEs that are worth a try

About the Author:  As a offshore PHP developer by profession, Amanda Cline has already   helped several enterprises scale new heights of success with each passing   day. She is currently working for Xicom Technologies Ltd, a leading   software development company. You can hire her for successful execution   of varied web development projects, both simple as well as complex ones. Get in touch with her via Twitter or Facebook.

Categories: drupal

Snapcash – a Handy New Feature from Snapchat

Published by on November 21, 2014
snapchat payments

Earlier this week Snapchat announced that it would be launching a brand new service that allows users to send money to other users of the messaging app. The new feature, known as ‘Snapcash’ has been created in partnership with the payment-processing company Square, which offers it’s very own stand-alone payment app called Square Cash.

As it currently stands, the new payment service will only be available to Snapchat users in the United States who are over eighteen years old.

Snapchat has recently unveiled plans to offer a new payment service with the help of Square Cash to users over the age of 18 in the United States.

How will Snapcash work?

If you have used Snapchat before you will know that it is a messaging app that allows you to share videos and images for a few seconds, after which they ‘disappear.’ The new Snapcash service will allow users to enter their banking information into Square Cash’s severs so they can send payments to their friends via private messages on Snapchat.

In order to send a payment, users will simply need to type the dollar sign into a private message and then follow it up with the amount they would like to send. The app will then recognise that the users want to send a payment and identify the amount they would like to send. From here, a green payment button will appear which users can tap to complete the payment.

The payment system is relatively similar to other mobile payment services on the market including Venmo and PayPal.

Watch the video below to see the Snapcash service in action.

Snapcash security concerns

Despite the fact that Snapchat has said that users personal financial information will not be stored on Snapchat’s servers, the new service has already sparked a number of security concerns.

Recently Snapchat has experienced a number of high profile security breaches, so it is understandable that users are wary of this new service. First the app had over 4.6 million of its user accounts compromised by hackers and then in May they had to settle a case with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations that the company misled users over data collection.

With this in mind, Snapchat has been quick to address security concerns, explaining that users who sign up for the payment service will be required to create a Square Cash account and that they will be working closely with the Square team, who have years of experience in this area.

Getting a better picture of users

Media experts believe that this new payment service offered by Snapchat and Square Cash is their way of forming a more complete picture of the app’s users. Previously, Snapchat was only able to gather basic data about its users such as their username, contacts, IP location, age (voluntary), phone number and the people they follow. Snapchat can only hold this information for a limited time, making it difficult for them to monetise the messaging service.

However by partnering with Square Cash and offering this new service they will be able to get a better idea of who their users are and will therefore be able to created better-targeted ads that are relevant to their users and help advertisers to achieve a better ROI.

Conclusion

It will certainly be interesting to see how Snapcash goes down with Snapchat users and whether the brand will decide to roll-out the app further afield to the UK or elsewhere in the world. What is clear is that Snapchat is working hard to expand the app beyond its core in an aim of branching out into advertising and live events.

Categories: Social Media

Is Snapchat introducing adverts to its app ?

Published by on October 16, 2014
snapchat advertising

It’s only been a few weeks since Instagram introduced adverts into the feeds of its British users and now it looks like another app is jumping on the bandwagon !

Snapchat will soon be using adverts on its app to generate revenue.

Yes this week CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the Snapchat messaging app would soon be using advertising to pay the bills.

Before you start panicking about interruptions to your messaging service, we have some good news. Snapchat will not be including the ads as part of its core ’10-second’ messaging service. Instead there are plans to integrate the adverts into Snapchat’s Stories section. This is the service that allows users to string together multiple messages and turn them into a thread that lasts for a maximum of twenty four hours.

Whilst some brands including Taco Bell in the US have already been utilising Snapchat’s Stories for free, their advertisements currently only reach users who willingly follow the brands. The introduction of paid adverts in the Stories section will therefore allow brands to target a much wider audience.

The company is also rumoured to be working on a new promotional service called ‘Discovery.’ This service would allow users to view stories from major media companies and is likely to include some form of advertising, though Spiegel was reluctant to give away too much too soon.

This is a bold move for Snapchat, which reportedly turned down a three billion dollar acquisition deal from Facebook last year. A decision that suggested they had their own aspirations for growing the app. Of course with growth comes the need to generate revenue and up until now the start-up has yet to launch any revenue-generating schemes to make it a sustainable business.

Whilst news of possible advertising on Snapchat in the near future will allow the company to make money, they will have to tread carefully, ensuring it is not at the expense of their audiences’ enjoyment of using the app.

Image credit: Lucasmf23Image source

Categories: Social Media

Magento Owner eBay Announces Separation from PayPal

Published by on October 3, 2014
Magento and ebay partnership

Introduction

In what was a surprise move to many eBay have announced that they will split as a business from PayPal in late 2015. We examine the implications of this corporate split in this article, with its impact on Magento on our minds in particular.

eBay Ownership of PayPal

eBay acquired PayPal on 3rd October, 2002 in what at the time was a controversial move. Over the years eBay have tried to force (“encourage”) users to manage online payments through PayPal but over the years more payments options have been introduced due to demand from consumers.

Separation Announcement

eBay announced on September 30th:

“following a strategic review of the company’s growth strategies and structure, has approved a plan to separate the company’s eBay and PayPal businesses into independent publicly traded companies in 2015, subject to customary conditions. Creating two standalone businesses best positions eBay and PayPal to capitalize on their respective growth opportunities in the rapidly changing global commerce and payments landscape, and is the best path for creating sustainable shareholder value, the company said.”

Magento and eBay are still very much strategically aligned following eBay’s split with PayPal

Future Impact on eBay and PayPal

The idea behind the separation is to make both companies stronger by allowing them to focus on their core markets, namely commerce and payments. The two companies trading together has caused claims of “conflict of interest” in the market over the years and a confusion at times as to the distinct product offerings.

What Effect will this have on Magento?

Magento is also owned by eBay following its outright purchase back in 2011. Magento was bought strategically to work with eBay on their xCommerce initiative.

Magento offer the enterprise commerce offering within eBay’s commerce business and their future looks safe in the hands of eBay.

Image Credit: National Retail Federation  Image Source

Categories: Magento

Microsoft Windows 10 Announcement

Published by on October 1, 2014

Earlier this week it was announced that Microsoft are developing a new operating system, known as Windows 10. They have decided to skip straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10 to mark a new era for the software.

windows new version

It is expected that Windows 10 will launch before the end of 2015.

Image source

This isn’t going to be your average OS update. No, Microsoft is planning big things for Windows 10, with hopes of it being the most intuitive and powerful operating system to date.

Moving on from Windows 8

A recent study by NetMarketShare found that just 13.4% of users were currently running their PCs on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Compare that to the 51.2% of people using Windows 7 and 23.9% of people still using Windows XP and it is clear that Microsoft’s most recent operating system has been largely unpopular.

One of the likely reasons behind users reluctance to use Windows 8 is due to its unique interface. The use of touch screen friendly tiles suggested that Microsoft were concentrating more on smartphone and tablet users and less on PC users. Despite the fact the new user interface was supposed to be intuitive and easy to use, many users found it to be complicated and difficult to navigate using a mouse and keyboard.

The great thing about Microsoft is that they listen to their customers. When they get things wrong, they consult with consumers, find out what they need and deliver it. With this in mind, it is looking like Windows 10 is going to be their most collaboratively designed OS to date.

Windows 10 an OS with the wow factor

The new operating system is packed with a wide range of new features for users to enjoy. It has also welcomed back some of the existing features that were previously scrapped for Windows 8. One of these features is the start button. Microsoft removed the ‘start’ button from Windows 8, but it was clearly missed. It is believed that many users were put off from upgrading to Windows 8 because the start button and menu functionality they were familiar with was no longer there to use.

Another feature that Windows 10 will keep is the resizable tiles used in Windows 8. These tiles will be used in the start menu to provide users with quick notifications from relevant apps (email, social media etc.)

new windows

Windows 10 will work across all devices, including two-in-one laptop tablets.

Image source

Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 has been designed to dynamically adjust to the device it is being viewed on. The layout will change to be more desktop or touch screen friendly depending on the device you are using. It will also be able to recognise if a two-in-one device (the next big trend according to Microsoft) is being used. This means that if a user detaches their laptop screen to use it as a tablet, the operating system will be able to adjust itself accordingly.

A more unified approach

Microsoft is planning a more unified approach with the launch of Windows 10. The software will be available to run across all devices from smartphones and tablets to PCs, laptops and even Xbox game consoles. All of the applications will be available to download from a single store and there are also plans to introduce universal apps in the near future.

Winning back business users

One of the main reasons why Microsoft is overhauling its operating system is to win back the business users it lost through the Windows 8 era. What Microsoft have realised is that even though we are seeing an increase in the use of digital tablets and smartphones, PCs are still predominantly used in the work place. There is still a great need for the OS interface to offer easy navigation with a mouse and keyboard.

The company is keen to get enterprise users on board with Windows 10 and will be giving them an early look at the new operating system, before the public, so they can get used to using it before it officially launches.

Offering the best of both worlds

Microsoft’s aim for the new Windows 10 system is to offer the best of both Windows 7 and 8, making it familiar and beneficial to all users, everywhere, no matter what devices they are using. Windows 10 is expected to be released before the end of 2015 and will mark a new era for the OS brand.

Image credits: mj0310 and intelfreepress