Posted on Multi-channel Sales Dashboard for Magento, Amazon and Shopify

There’s been a distinct lack of new Magento content here for the last few months. That’s because I’ve been busily beavering away on our latest internal project which I’d like to share with you. It’s only partly Magento related, so bear with me. We’ve created a multi-channel mobile sales dashboard on Google App Engine called OrderPipe, and it’s now been made publicly available. It aggregates order data from multiple online sales channels for consumption on mobile and desktop. screenshot

We launched a private beta trial at the end of September, and are nearing a point where we’ll be making it generally available (albeit initially free) to everyone.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about it, what it does (technically), and why it may interest you.
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Clustering WordPress on Amazon EC2 micro instances

If you are reading this, you are an unwitting participant in my latest experiment: clustering my blog on Amazon EC2 – thanks! You will be connecting to my blog on one of several Amazon EC2 micro instances, cobbled together in a quick and dirty solution that was more knee-jerk reaction to some downtime, than well thought out project.

This post serves as a chance for me to test if the cluster works, and a summary of the architecture I have set up using several EC2 micro instances and WordPress. It’s a quick and dirty little WordPress cluster using spot-request micro instances at $0.007/hour – how fun!
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Magento and Amazon’s CloudFront CDN – The Easy Way

In this post I will cover a simple way to configure Magento to use the Amazon CloudFront CDN service and to create a CloudFront distrubution that mirrors the static files in your site. This method relies on the custom origin functionality announced late last year when CloudFront came out of beta. But first, a little background.

A CDN (content distribution network) is a network of servers that puts your files and content closer to the user requesting them, and thus they can get the quicker. Using a CDN has a nice side effect of offloading some work from your own server too – which if you use Apache means less processes on your server for each customer.

When Amazon first announced CloudFront I got very excited about the prospect of writing an extension to automatically sync a Magento store’s media with an S3 bucket, to enable this simple, affordable CDN solution. Alas, it turned out to be quite hairy dealing with the subtle race conditions that can occur when first accessing a specific media file that may not be available on the CDN yet.

With the introduction of custom origin functionality there is no situation where the CDN won’t have the file. If the CDN doesn’t have the file, it gets it from the underlying source server, if it already has it, it serves it. This means the first request for a file will be a bit slower, but after that it’ll be quick.

So to make a CloudFront distribution work in Magento it only takes two steps.
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