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Shipwire Tracking API – Mapping API carrier codes in Tracking updates within Magento

This is just a quick note that might save someone some time/effort. I’ve been working with the Shipwire Tracking API and Magento lately and although I think their API is good, it’s lacking in certain areas. Namely utility for customer facing applications.

The Shipwire tracking API returns short codes for carrier and service, which doesn’t really make it very useful for customer facing communication, nobody wants to know their parcel shipped on “RM FCLR“, instead of Royal Mail First Class Large Letter – Recorded Signed For. I contacted Shipwire support about it and they provided the comprehensive list of carriers and codes (thanks Gene!).
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New Version of Magento Cloud Backup Available: bug fixes, stability and self testing.

Big mistake, big face palm

-			// TESTING
-			$files = array("js", "media");

Please get the latest version on Magento Connect as soon as you can…

And sign up to be notified of future bug fixes/features – I’ll aim for more of the latter and fewer of the former.

PS: Big Thanks Oren for bringing this to my attention.

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A New Theme, A WP 3.0 Upgrade, Flickr, Tumblr – But No Actual Content

If you’ve visited my site in the last 9 months you’ll notice it looks a bit different now. I just upgraded the site to the latest version of WordPress, and have installed a WooTheme called Unite. I haven’t tried a Woo Theme before, but they’re pretty slick, well coded, I’d probably buy another one.

I also moved my photos over to Flickr from Picasa (mainly because I was too lazy to rework the Picasa integration and the theme supported Flickr out-of-the-box).

I liked Unite because it looks a bit like Tumblr, which all the cool kids seem to be getting into. I like the _idea_ of Tumblr, but have been put off by a few things they don’t support as a platform (comments being one). Plus the task of trying to migrate my blog with all it’s comments and posts to Tumblr is a non-startr.

As a side effect of buying this theme, I have two others available to me, so if you fancy a particular WooTheme, let me know, I’d share one for a good cause.

One last thing – this update will mean the IE6/7 people who visit (albeit not many of you) should now see a reasonable site. Speaking of which does anyone use IE6/7 because they want to or is it symptomatic of a lack-lustre corporate IT department?

I’d appreciate any feedback you have on the theme, particularly if you are visiting on a weird platform/browser.

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Magento and Google Checkout: Tax on Shipping incorrect in Merchant Calculated callback

I’ve had a love/hate/hate/hate relationship with Google Checkout and Magento for a long long time. Today marks a new low in our relationship. I’ve wasted so much time on this bug that I have made up a pie graph that illustrates the situation using Google’s charting API:

too much time with fucking Magento bugs

I’ve been on a journey to the bowels of the Magento Tax system and having spent the better part of 6 hours debugging through my issue I can safely say I will not do that again. The issue is that the totals are only collected once per address so depending on how many addresses you have and whether they are shippable or not, you get all sorts of weird results out of the shipping tax calculation. My issue was the calculated VAT amount on merchant calculated shipping in Google Checkout was wrong by a factor of tax % on shipping. So for £10 shipping in the UK, £1.75. Annoyingly it meant that Google would charge less than Magento recorded the order as being worth so now I have all sorts of mismatched order totals to deal with too. The issue could manifest itself as shipping tax being charged in Magento but not in Google Checkout too, if the tax was calculated on paid method, but the customer chooses a free method, for example.

I’ve reported the bug, so I really really hope it gets fixed soon – if someone else goes through what I just did, it would be a travesty.
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New in Cloud Backup: Platform Independent Magento Backups

This is just a quick note to say there is a new version of the Cloud Backup extension now available on Magento Connect and also for direct download and manual installation – it is version 0.2.2. Our Magento Offsite backup beta progam has been great so far with many participants offering useful feedback and being very willing to help us debug issues.

In the first week we have been able to determine that:

  • Different hosts have very different security settings that make taking full tar archive backups quite tricky.
  • Windows hosting users cannot rely on a command-line tar application. If you are a WAMP or WIMP user please try it out and let me know if it works ok on your host.

As a result I have changed from a system call to tar to using the PHP class Archive_Tar to tar the files in a what will hopefully prove to be a platform independent manner.

I have also added the ability to exclude certain root directories from the backup. This is mainly as a way for users where web server permissions prevent access to certain Apache owned files by the user. For example you could exclude var if all of the session and cache files are Apache owned and unreadable.

The way to exclude files is to list them comma-separated in the exclude text field. Leave it blank to exclude nothing. If you notice backups failing due to files in a certain directory, try excluding it. You could always petition your web host for relaxed permissions in order to include the directory again. (Or move to a better Magento host!).

As always please feel free to let me know if you have any ideas for the development and report any issues – we’re happy to look into them. If you’re not already backing up your Magento store, why not try our cloud backup?