Archives For Other Stuff

On 2013

December 29, 2013

It’s that time of the year, the end, when I tend to get a bit introspective and think about the big things that happened and the milestones reached, and not reached, in these past 12 months. So here it is, more for my own sake than yours, the year-end reflections of aschroder.com.

On Magento

I’ve felt a bit out-of-the-loop within the Magento ecosystem this year, missing the Imagine conference, and not keeping abreast of developments with Magento 2. My involvement has been constrained to working on my own products and services, and periodic blog posts and tweets. As an outsider looking in, I see Magento maturing as a company, the ecosystem is growing. I think the challenge will be maintaining the wonderful developer community around the product as the open source edition takes a back seat to the enterprise sales machine that is ebay/paypal.

2013 has been a year of milestone near misses. This little blog has racked up not quite 1 million pageviews since it’s inception. My new Magento extension MageSend has had nearly 100 sales.

Although it’d have been great to hit these nice round numbers, it’s still a satisfying result on both counts and I’ll elaborate more on my experiences with both below. At the same time, there’s been a lot of good things happening with business, and personal achievements this year, 2013 has been good to me.

November 2013 was the 5 year anniversary, birthday if you will, of aschroder.com. I can say categorically that starting a blog has been the best move I’ve ever made professionally. If you haven’t started one, go do it, right now.
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In this post I’ll quickly run through accessing the Xero API using Java and the super simple, elegant Scribe library. There’s a support page dedicated to Java + Xero API but I found it a bit light on help for those setting up a public application for the first time in Java, so the below steps should help others wanting to get up and running. For the actual access to Xero we’ll be using Ross Jourdain’s excellent Xero library, which handles mapping the XML into Java objects for you. I’ve made a couple of tweaks to it to support App Engine, and Scribe. I have also set up a XeroApi and XeroExample in the Srcibe format, for use with the library.

The other reason you might like these instructions rather than the default, is that we run our apps on Google App Engine for Java and so we had to make a few changes to the way we access Xero in order to meet the GAE requirements. The Scribe library supports GAE out of the box.

Why am I mucking about with the Xero API, anyway? We’re working on an app that connects Xero with Amazon for merchants to import accounting data automatically. I’m not quite ready to tell the world about it, but if you’re interested in trying it, get in touch.

Let’s get started with the Xero API, a public application, and Java!

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This past weekend I entered the Auckland Startup Weekend. It was an excellent experience and I wanted to share it here, because if you have an opportunity to do a start-up weekend, in Auckland or anywhere else, you should – you will not regret it.

The whole event would make an interesting social experiment, as complete strangers are thrust together around a half-baked idea and given 50-something hours to turn it into a pitch-able, feasible business. I’m going to share my experience of the weekend here, so if you’re interested in what a Startup Weekend is like, and what happens, read on…

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What if money were no object?

December 18, 2012

I saw this really thoughtful YouTube clip a while back, and wanted to record it here, so I can refer people to it in the future. If you haven’t seen it yet, take 3 minutes and watch it. It makes me feel very fortunate, I love writing software.

In non-software-development news, I’m very proud of our recent Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star award and wanted to share the video with you all. Paul does a much much better job of explaining what exactly it is we do, than I do. So if you’ve ever been a bit baffled, now’s a chance to get a 2 minute overview.

You get to see OrderPipe on the iPad in the video, chuffed to see software I’ve written getting some attention.

Normal (geeky) service will resume now – I’ve been trying out the Nexcess Turpentine extension for Magento Varnish, and will report on results soon. Initial impression is positive.