Under the Hood of Robert Reedy

Posted by: Ashley Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Robert_headshotRobert Reedy is Project Coordinator at Creatuity, a web development firm that specializes in Magento, PHP and WordPress. With offices in Dallas and Europe, the company has been able to work with over 100 clients throughout the US and abroad. Creatuity is a Magento Silver Solutions Partner that provides top of the line Magento solutions to clients of all sizes and with customizable services, has been successful in a variety of industries.

Robert took time out of his busy day to explain what life is like as Project Coordinator at Creatuity. Within our interview, we got to know Robert in a personal and professional sense as he shared how he balances his work and personal life, his thoughts on the future of eCommerce and much more!

Can you describe what you really do at work?

I am a Project Coordinator. This means that I am a project manager, creative director, sales rep, psychiatrist, and friend/ally to all Creatuity clients. I work closely with our clients to make sure that their project requirements are completed on time and within budget. I have several clients that I have worked with for years, and have developed close business relationships with these clients.

If money was no object, what would you spend your days doing?

If money was no object, or rather I had unlimited financial funding, I would spend my days traveling around the world, making art, starting hippy communes, feeding the hungry, curing disease, and ending war.

In your spare time what do you get up to, and how do you balance this with your workload?

In my spare time I make abstract sound art, abstract paintings, concrete sculptures, and woodworking (turning wood bowls). I do this mostly in the evenings after work and on the weekends.

How do you see the future evolving for Magento and the eCommerce space in general?

I believe that the eCommerce space will continue to grow and expand, and I believe that Magento itself will become the dominant platform for most businesses.

What is usually your last thought before falling asleep?

My last thought before I fall asleep is usually related to gratitude for the day, and hopes for a better tomorrow.

Who is your role model, and why?

I look up to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I have always admired how they promoted peace and understanding in their collaborations of music and visual art. Martin Luther King Jr. has always been a role model – no need for explanations there. Also, lately I have been reading and following Tim Ferriss a lot; I like many of his thoughts and recommendations and have been working to incorporate them into my business and personal life.

What motivates you?


What is the most played song on your MP3 player or phone?

Maxence Cyrin’s acoustic (piano) cover of the Pixie’s song titled “Where Is My Mind”


Would you like to plug anything?

World Peace. But also the new Buyable Pin Extension on Pinterest for Magento merchants that was recently announced. Buyable Pins let Pinterest users buy products right on the app – and in only a couple of clicks! We are proud to have partnered with two huge brands, Pinterest and Magento, to build this integration! You can find out more information and details about it here.

Building against Magento 2 – My Thoughts So far

Posted by: Karen Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Over the past couple of months in between my day job of running WebShopApps/ShipperHQ (which keeps me more than busy) I’ve been writing Magento 2 extensions. For fun? No not exactly, we were asked to write them by Magento for the Merchant Beta, the rest of my team is maxed so I get the short straw.

I wanted to jot down some of my experiences so far, and my conclusions at this point in time. I realise you will not all agree, in fact far from it. But someone needs to raise these issues. Because many of them are valid I’m sure.

Magento 2 is a total rewrite of all our code

What I’ve found is that pretty much without exception we need to rewrite all our extension code.  In the most part I have no issue with this. Its a chance to refresh, do things differently, regroup. But where I do have an issue is where I have code written in the last year and I’m finding that very little can be re-used due to the changes in Magento 2. And worse, if I do take the code and copy into Magento 2 extension I then have hours of painstakingly boring and meticulous work pulling out all the objects into the constructors, creating the factories, adding namespaces, switching around the way many many mechanisms work.  The IDE is not helpful, coming from using IntelliJ on Java in the past 2 years I find PHPStorm is just utterly frustrating on every level. And its written by the same company, so clearly many of the isues are actually with the PHP language. Hopefully Magicento can help us!

Magento 2 is changing

It’s clear from looking at the Magento 2 codebase that not all of it has been fully refactored.  In between Merchant Beta and a release just 3 weeks later my Magento 2 extn broke because of changes to the core code.  The code is inconsistent, e.g. the use and non-use of underscores for variable names is frankly totally frustrating, as if you try to adhere to not using underscores (as seems to be recommended) you then find you are either repeating variable definitions in parent classes or have this rather odd mix of underscore and non-underscore in your own code (which looks awful). I get its in beta.  We are being asked for code for ‘free’ against beta. Its frustrating.

There are many other examples around this area, for instance there was a full-on debate the other day raised by myself on whether Observers still are valid or are replaced by Plugins. TBH I felt like I was a leper even questioning the concept, and I was shouted down initially with a very firm argument against me saying that Observers were dead (which in my mind went against core computing principles around the use of interceptors). In fact they aren’t, as became apparent later. What if I hadn’t have questioned this (and if Alan Storm didn’t raise many of the very valid questions around Magento 2)?. In my mind these basic principles of the Magento framework should be fully decided, documented, and ideally adhered to throughout the codebase so we have examples (especially when there is a lack of clear documentation).

The biggest point here is that I don’t believe Magento really appreciate the knock-on effect of constant fiddling with the Magento 2 code. Agile is good, quicksand is not. They are asking us to write extensions on Magento 2. This is not a quick job, its tens of thousands of dollars worth of investment. And then if Magento go change everything we need to rewrite. This is why I personally stopped coding in Magento 2 between Feb and July, it just seemed that it was changing far too much to justify my investment of time.

Documentation is Sparse

There is an extreme lack of documentation to help us.  The DevDocs area is non-searchable (yep I know the reasons why) and from my perspective its not adding value. Alan Kent and Alan Storm blogs are what I’m looking at most, apart from that I’m reading core code (hello 2008).  I just hoped we would be further along by now, I don’t want to be investing my time in debugging the core or searching google, I just want to get a job done and fast.

Yes, I hear you say, write some docs for it. I have updated some docs. I’d do more but I have my own docs to deal with. I’d love to have hours to spend on writing Magento 2 docs but I have my own business to run. Magento is not my life, its a platform I integrate onto.

Design Pattern Overdose

It feels like some programmers swallowed some books on design patterns when I look at Magento 2.  I get that architecture on such a large system needs to move towards standards and in an ideal world I’m sure we would all love to be using SOLID principles and never write an else statement, it seems to me that the resulting code is:

  1. Bulky, difficult to navigate and frankly overly verbose
  2. Written with unit testing as its primary goal
  3. Inconsistent in its use of computer science techniques

What Magento does is great, and I have the utmost respect for the Ukrainian development team that largely put this together.

I think whats bothering me is that as a company I’m being forced to write in this new way too. And actually whilst I think they have some great ideas I don’t agree with all of them (e.g. lets dependency inject the world even if we will never ever ever mock/change that), and they just added a ton of dev time to my projects.

I should say that I’m familiar with design patterns, have used them recently and in the past. I’ve read GoF many times, and variations of it. Do I live my life by it – no. I’m not trying to be the best programmer in the world, I’m not interested in winning the award for anything. I’m trying to deliver quality timely solutions to my customers within a reasonable budget such that I can pay staff wages and my mortgage. I have nothing to prove academically.


We all want to do test driven development (in theory). In reality few do. I’ve done pair programming, I’ve done TDD, in various languages, and its very hard to make that the way you function.  There are many articles on TDD. Personally I think that unit tests are extremely useful, especially when it comes to refactoring and regression testing code, and I push all my staff to create.

But writing tests when you don’t understand the framework you are using is nigh on impossible, so following TDD when you start writing Magento 2 code IMO is very hard.

TDD is also time consuming. And unfortunately we don’t all have massive budgets or unlimited resources.  Its  a massive re-pivot to ask a company to follow a TDD approach, especially initially.  I have no doubt it will happen, and it will be a good thing, but I’m just not sure automated unit tests will be there from day 1, and by enforcing it you are saying that companies need to have more funds (i.e. its becoming an enterprise product).

As a FYI we use automated unit testing very successfully in ShipperHQ, we also have automated unit tests on several of our Magento 1.x extensions. I’m not against unit testing at all (and I believe in the long run it will improve the quality of extension codebase massively).

Do we need Magento 2?

This is the biggest thing I’ve been struggling with. I know we need Magento 2 in theory, I totally get that we need higher quality, more testable code, and we need to bring the technologies upto date.

But – you know what we are all busy. And I have a team that is trained in Magento 1.  Yes there are issues in 1, do I want to throw away a years worth of work at this time – frankly no.  And it’s not just a years worth of work, because what I’ve found is that you end up just refreshing everything.

Add to this the fact that everyone is busy. We are all earning money right now and need to keep up with that. Do we have the time to invest in Magento 2?  It is not 2008, there are many alternatives (including 1.x), maybe as businesses we decide not to invest in it.

Personally I do think we need Magento 2, well we need a replacement. I’m just not looking forward to the pain of what it is!

Integrating as a Technology Partner

From my experience thus far in Magento 1.x and 2.x our base investment in Magento is at least 100 times what we are investing to plugin into other eCommerce platforms. The ongoing investment for supporting an existing extn is massively more (though hopefully some of this will be alleviated with the introduction of service contracts and clear interfaces when they are completed).

Personally I think technology partners just want to worry about their own area of expertise, whether thats email, ERP, shipping, payment, or whatever. And they just want to plug in to Magento as easily and quickly as possible. With other platforms we don’t have our codebase under anywhere near the level of scrutiny as we are having to go thro with Magento. And it actually just works, nowhere near the level of site issues (in fact there are no site integration issues due to the way platforms such as Bigcommerce/Shopify define their apis).


I love Magento, and all its about. The merchants, the code, the community, the ecosystem.  Magento 2 promises us many things, reduced conflicts between extensions, better performance, higher quality, to name but a few.

But I feel like no-one is flagging these very real concerns, and they should be flagged. Because it will affect us all directly or indirectly. If this blog makes one of the Magento developers sit down and write more developer documentation or helps push Magento publish a functional roadmap outside of github then my job here will be done.

If Magento 2 is hard to learn and does result in longer more expensive projects then I’m not actually sure companies will move to it. I think agencies might try one project, find out that it costs them a fortune and revert back to 1.x.   I think extension companies will write basic extensions, see what the uptake is before investing significant money in building out more.

What I see is that Magento 2 today is destined to be an Enterprise solution. For definite anyone with a Magento site < 1million in revenue (and a decent profit) should really be looking at other solutions for their needs. You are going to see design agencies disappear, extn agencies disappear. And you will see new ones enter. But I’d be very surprised if the agency prices on Magento 2 implementations don’t rise dramatically. A big reason within this is that Magento developer salaries will rise further, because many will struggle with it.

What I’d like is for Magento to tell us where Magento 2 is pitched. And be clear about that. So that thousands of agencies/developers/merchants dont invest in this and then find that all their hard earned cash is sucked up in a money pit with no return.

And actually I’d love to be proved wrong on all of the above. Because personally the thought of this community become a small cliche of elite programmers and gold solution agencies just doesn’t appeal.

Under The Hood of Andy Crathorne

Posted by: Ashley Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Andy CrathorneAndy Crathorne (@andycrathorne) is Magento Project Manager at Media Lounge (@Media_Lounge), a Magento eCommerce website design, development and optimisation agency. Media Lounge is dedicated to helping their clients stand out by providing a total online solution, which has led them to be an award winning agency.

Within our interview with Andy, we were able to get a better understanding of what a Magento Project Manager at Media Lounge does. We also got a sense of what Andy’s personal life is like. He shares how he spends his free time engaging in activities that help him to stay healthy mentally and physically, along with many other details on his life in and out of work.

Can you describe what you really do at work?

My main role at Media Lounge is managing Magento projects from inception to launch, working with in-house design and development teams as well as third-party developers, such as WebShopApps. This covers scoping technical and functional requirements, wire framing, managing the design process, putting together technical instructions for the development teams, testing, amends, and of course client training and support at the end.

If money was no object, what would you spend your days doing?

Working with designers and developers, I would spend my day oozing out every last bit of conversion, trying different things (no matter how small) to see if I can get the most out of the traffic you already get. That, and plenty of exercise with a healthy mix of food and drink!

I’m a firm believer that a healthy body = healthy mind. I have a very healthy diet and make sure what goes in my body is natural and organic as best as possible. This certainly helps to keep me going and focused.

In your spare time what do you get up to, and how do you balance this with your workload?

I run an eCommerce store myself in my spare time (also on Magento) so apart from working in the ‘eCommercesphere’ I try to keep as fit and healthy as possible. Playing squash, football, cycling and running are my favourites and I snowboard each year.

How do you see the future evolving for Magento and the eCommerce space in general?

I’m looking forward to Magento 2 to see how that changes things. Mobile is clearly taking over but I’ve yet to see a real boost in mobile conversion. In my experience people are browsing and researching on their mobiles but actually purchasing on their tablet or desktop. I’m looking forward to seeing a really slick mobile payment method built into devices become mainstream.

The subscription model is exciting but I think it needs work to become the norm. To be really successful I think we need to address the delivery side of the process. If you’re not in at the time of delivery and you have to collect it from the depot or arrange a re-delivery you may as well just pop to the shops yourself.

What is usually your last thought before falling asleep?

As soon as I hit the pillow I’m gone so it’s hard to say! My last thoughts usually revolve around what I’m up to in the morning and the next day.

Who is your role model, and why?

There are a few people I follow and look up to for their achievements and ideas. To name a few, Michael Dubin, Elon Musk, and Timothy Ferriss.

What motivates you?

Working with clients that have the drive and skills to really take their business forward, with support from me along the way. These are the clients that I learn from the most and are usually the most fun to work with.

What is the most played song on your MP3 player or phone?

We’ve started listening to classical music in the office after a convincing study on the effect on concentration when listening to classical music. So far it seems to work!

Would you like to plug anything?

Media Lounge (www.medialounge.co.uk) is a specialist Magento agency in Bournemouth, UK. We’ve been working with Magento for 7 years and have built some really nice sites in that time. In my spare time, I also run a Magento store for Car Camera Shop (www.carcamerashop.co.uk).

UPS Web Service Security Updates

Posted by: Genevieve Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

UPS has announced they are moving to more updated security protocols on their web services. They will be moving from VeriSign SHA-1 to VeriSign SHA-2 256 certificate as SHA-2 256 provides a more secure digital authentication for UPS customers.

The changes will not require you to apply any patches to core Magento code or any WebShopApps shipping extensions. You may have to make configuration changes to your hosting environments, or ask your hosting provider to verify if changes are required.

  • UPS Customer Integration Environment will support SHA-2 256 URL from August 11th 2015
  • As yet, UPS have not released an official date when their live URLs will no longer support SHA-1
  • You can determine which protocol the certificate on your site is using at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/.
  • If your certificate is SHA-1 you will need to update this on your site.
These changes could affect anyone using the standard UPS carrier in Magento, WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping, UPS Calendar extension, Delivery Options for UPS extension, UPS Freight and our Address Validation extension.


FedEx’s Web Service Updates

Posted by: Genevieve Thursday, August 6th, 2015

FedEx is moving to more updated security protocols on their web services to increase the security level and remove known issues with the existing protocols used. There are a number of phases to these changes across their test and live environments.

The changes will not require you to apply any patches to core Magento code or any WebShopApps shipping extensions. You may have to make configuration changes to your hosting environments, or ask your hosting provider to verify if changes are required.

  • SSL3 support is being removed from FedEx web services. SSL3 is a common protocol used to support secure communication between web service providers and clients
  • Since July 20 2015, SSL3 has been disabled on FedEx’s development environment. Starting September 5 2015, it will be disabled on their production web services.
  • The protocol used for the secure communication between Fedex and Magento is determined by your web server hosting your Magento site.
  • You should contact your host to determine which protocol is currently used. If SSL3 is being used, ask your host to disable it
  • FedEx is also migrating from SHA-1 certifcates to SHA-256 (SHA-2).
  • You can determine which protocol the certificate on your site is using at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/.
  • If your certificate is SHA-1 you will need to update this on your site.
  • SHA-1 certificates are no longer supported on FedEx development environment from August 3 2015, and on production from September 19 2015.
These changes could affect anyone using the standard FedEx carrier in Magento, WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping and our legacy Address Validation extension, using FedEx.

Under the Hood of Matt MacDougall

Posted by: Ashley Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Matt MacDougall owns Rocket Web (@rocketweb), an award-winning Magento Solution partner and is the Founder and CEO of Xtension Galaxy (@xtensiongalaxy). Xtension Galaxy is a marketplace that provides its users with what they need to discover, test and purchase Magento extensions.

Within our interview with Matt, we got a sense of what his work life and personal life entail. He keeps a healthy work/life balance, with some help from his kids, by keeping the two separate even while working from home. Matt goes into detail on his thoughts of the future of Magento, how he would spend his time if money was no object and much more!

Can you describe what you really do at work?

I do a little bit of everything. If I touch the code though, I get yelled at.

If money was no object, what would you spend your days doing?

I’d putter around the house doing random stuff for a few weeks. Hopefully I’d get better on the piano/keyboard. And then, inevitably, I’d come up with some crazy web project to build.

In your spare time what do you get up to, and how do you balance this with your workload?

We just bought a new house north of Indianapolis, so my spare time is devoted to home improvement and family. I work from home most of the time now. The kids have been good about staying out of the office during working hours. Fortunately I’ve been able to stay out of the office outside of business hours.

How do you see the future evolving for Magento and the eCommerce space in general?

The potential of Magento standing on its own again is exciting. I’m also excited to see what becomes of OroCommerce for B2B. B2B is an exciting space to break into with a slick open source product. Both Magento and Oro are making strides in this direction. I anticipate an exciting future.

What is usually your last thought before falling asleep?

Yes, the cat is inside.

Who is your role model, and why?

I look up to qualities in a bunch of different folks. Professionally, I appreciate anyone who contributes to open source, particularly the one person shops where time is more valuable. I look up to my wife who manages our three kids every day. If I had to do it I’d probably end up building cages after the first couple weeks.

Whats the worst thing you have to do as part of your job role?

Fire someone.

What motivates you?

Insecurity. I think it’s an important quality of an entrepreneur, never feeling that things are good enough.

What is the most played song on your MP3 player or phone?

Ugh, it looks like iTunes is aggregating plays across devices now, Take You to Rio by Ester Dean. And now it’s in my head. Great. Thanks.

Would you like to plug anything?

xtensiongalaxy.com is our marketplace where you can test out and buy extensions from nearly any version of Magento, both Community and Enterprise. We also have versions of Nucleus from the Nucleus Commerce guys, and in the future, if it makes sense we can pretty easily add other platforms and extensions like OroCommerce.


Why the Split from eBay will be the success of Magento

Posted by: Karen Thursday, July 16th, 2015

There is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. Last year eBay was pushed into a corner by their major investor Carl Icahn around splitting up the monolith.  In January a split of Paypal/eBay was announced and as an almost footnote there was mention that eBay Enterprise was also to be sold/spun off. And Magento? Well that wasn’t even mentioned in the earnings call.

Since then we have seen more action in the Magento space than since it was acquired in 2011.  Just yesterday (15th July) the Merchant Beta 1.0.0 of Magento2 dropped on our laps). Never before have we seen such engagement of the management at eBay Enterprise/Magento as we have these last few months.  We are a powerful ecosystem, and Team X realised that we needed them to step up and play an active part in this ecosystem. Why? Because it benefits them. By working together we can achieve so much more than alone. They realised the power and they embraced it.

But Team X also realised they needed to form this cohesive team, because they were getting sold off. And that provides focus. I’m sure they have had to live in a kind of ‘startup’ mentality much like Roy and Yoav were in with Magento in the early days – to justify their decisions, to pitch, to inspect, to clear out the dead wood, to have an agile robust and forward-thinking strategy.  The monolith of eBay was no longer there to protect them – they were allowed to think freely, to dream, to imagine what could be and to act upon that.

The Monolith that is being left behind

When I worked at Reuters (which incidentally became Thomson Reuters whilst future @ebay CEO Devin Wenig was on the senior team) it was pretty easy to just be a number. To clock in, do your work, go home and forget about it. The amount of influence you had was minimal. And projects could be canned on the spin of a coin, if the management changed then you almost stopped working until you had the ‘town hall’ meeting, as you knew it meant priorities had shifted.  People came in with great ideas and great plans, the red tape often prevented those ideas from ever being a reality. The managers moved on/around and as an employee you were left wondering what the next quarterly call would result in, and often were more concerned with the share price than you were with your actual workload.  Now I’m not sure thats how it has been at Magento, because clearly its a very different beast, but I’d assume some of that has gone on, and its evident that there have been periods of time where the ecosystem has been advancing a damn sight faster than the machine that fuels it.

The Hidden Gem

eBay Enterprise actually has a few little gems. And one of those little gems is Magento.  Forget the news around Toys’R’Us, go take a look at the sites that Magento is propping up, it’s some of the largest online sites in the world.  And there are lots of them, lots and lots and lots.  Plus we don’t deal with that heavy stuff like warehousing, order management, customer support, Magento is all about technology. From my experience its a lot easier being about technology and not having to worry about the physical tangibles. Because it scales. You can see that in the reach that Magento has over eBay Enterprise.

We know there is a potential for massive profit – go take a look at Shopify. This is an ecommerce platform that (with all due respect) mainly powers Etsy sellers who decide to go for it.  It floated with a $2Bn valuation on its first day. $2Bn. All Magento need to figure out is how to monetise on both sides of the coin, not just the Magento Enterprise licenses, but what I call the ‘back side’ – the per transaction revenue that’s entirely doable (a look at the Shopify filing reveals 38% of their revenue was in non-subscription, most of it via their payment gateway).  Magento is a true gem in the eBay Enterprise crown.

The Sale Price

Just want to address this. The stats are that GSI sold for 2.4 billion, Magento for around 180M. And now the rumour is that its going for 900M.  Why so low?  Well a big chunk of GSI got sold off to Kynetic, so GSI is not as it once was. And I get impression its been resting on it’s laurels a bit since the eBay acquisition, as, let’s be truthful, so has Magento for a while.  Ultimately these are just figures on a balance sheet, whats 1.5billion between friends ;). What investors, shareholders, boards look at is whats the next 6 months, the next year, the next 3 years going to be like. And if they see its a good price on both sides then its a sale. Thats where we are here. Nothing more, nothing less.

What Really Makes Magento Special

Someone asked me this the other day. Whats the unique thing about Magento? I think there are 2 fundamental things:

1) You could not put a team of developers in a room and produce something better than what Magento and it’s ecosystem has today – because its not just about Magento the product, its what the ecosystem has added to that which makes this solution so powerful.  As long as Magento the company/platform continues to innovate and developers choose not to switch to a new system then its always ahead

2) Magento is very very interesting to developers, because of its extensibility, flexibility and open source nature.  Personally I get bored with technology pretty easily, but Magento has kept me in it for the last 6 years. And I still find it fascinating to play with (although I gotta admit its pretty damn frustrating sometimes aswell!)

Magento is not the “be all and end all”, I’m not that naive to think so. It has its place, and if its not careful it will get eroded by the likes of innovative, agile and ultimately easier to configure platforms such as Bigcommerce, and also pushed on from the top by the likes of Demandware, Hybris and Oracle.  Right now tho Magento has pretty big momentum tho, its the #1 IR500 platform in Europe, growing globally faster than Hybris and Demandware combined.

Why will the Split Help?

Because now its all about us :).

eBay Enteprise and Magento are no longer a footnote in a long eBay call. We are about to leave our famous older siblings and go off alone and make our own future. The news is on us. And it is us, this product is not just owned by eBay, its owned by all of us in this ecosystem. Because we are so heavily invested in it, many of us have relied and still rely on the Magento product for a large percentage of our income.

Additionally, I see Private Equity group acquisition just punching a bit of fresh air into the proceedings. Yep there will be change, and yes the equity group need to learn a lot fast, and realise what they have on their hands here, but I hope they will trust the management team that has lead so well in this last year, and really just enable this bird to fly. Because its ready to, and it needs to break free as technology is not waiting, customers buying online are not waiting, and merchants are not waiting. Keep the meetings short, listen to the ecosystem, work out your monetization strategy, trust the management and watch it fly.

What can go Wrong?

Well probably a lot. Could have some idiot who decides to turn it into some weird ‘Magento Go’ (or as I used to say ‘Go Go Go away’) like product. Good luck with that one.  Everyone could leave from the management team and that in itself would provide instability – but I’m guessing as part of the deal they have locked in the key players for a certain period.  There could be a disagreement about strategy. There could be an arrogance around ownership. There could be a lack of appreciation for what Magento is all about.  But actually I trust the likes of Craig Hayman and Mark Lavelle to have spelled this out pretty plainly to the future purchasers.

And if it goes wrong, well there is a bloody great big ecosystem that probably won’t let that happen. And hey always github forks if the worst comes to the worst (I’m kidding guys, honest!).

For me, personally, I think its a very exciting time for us all. Bring on the next chapter I say.

When will it happen?

Well according to WSJ its pretty imminent.  UPDATE: It has been confirmed this morning that an investment consortium is purchasing for 925M. I’m assuming this includes Magento in the sale!


As always all thoughts are my own opinion/perspective and should be read as such ;).

About WebShopApps

WebShopApps is a Gold Technology Partner specializing in shipping extensions around rate calculating and manipulation. They have the most popular shipping extension on Magento Connect, the most intelligent rate management software in the world on ShipperHQ.com, and recently announced their UPS Ready status, making them the only UPS Ready rating focused company within the Magento ecosystem.



Magento SUPEE-6285 Patch and WebShopApps

Posted by: Josh Friday, July 10th, 2015

Magento have released a important security patch called SUPEE-6285. We recommend you apply this patch right away which is available directly from Magento.

We’ve analyzed the impact of this patch against our extensions and some will require updates in order to work correctly when accessing their admin menus. There’s absolutely no impact to their functionality on the front end or around rating.

What Should You Do Next?

If you’re using any of the below extensions, you will need to either contact us for the latest version or apply the fix yourself. The process is outlined below for each extension.


You should download the latest version and install it on your site.

CSV Based Extensions

(ProductMatrix, Premium MatrixRate, Shipping Override, Handling Fees Matrix)

Some users are reporting issues exporting CSV files after patching their site. This particularly affects Magento CE1.7/EE1.12 users.

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Wsacommon/controllers/System/ConfigController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return true;

Dimensional Shipping

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Boxmenu/controllers/Adminhtml/BoxmenuController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->isAllowed('catalog/boxmenu');

DropShip/Ship Manager

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Dropcommon/controllers/Adminhtml/DropshipController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->isAllowed('dropcommon');

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Dropcommon/controllers/Adminhtml/ShipmethodsController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->isAllowed('dropcommon');

Shipping Insurance

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Insurance/controllers/Adminhtml/InsuranceController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->isAllowed('catalog/insurance');

Store Pickup

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Wsastorepickup/controllers/Adminhtml/WsastorepickupController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')

Shipping Calendar

Find this file on your servers file system: app/code/community/Webshopapps/Timegrid/controllers/Adminhtml/TimegridController.php

Add this function to the bottom of the file before the last bracket:

protected function _isAllowed()
    return Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->isAllowed('catalog/timegrid');


WebShopApps Logger currently uses the permissions of “Notifications” which can be found under “System->Notification” in the Roles Resources tab of user permissions in Magento.

The latest version moves WebShopApps logger into its own permissions area. If you’d like the latest version, please contact us and we can send it over to you as part of your extension update.

Under The Hood of Joe McFerrin

Posted by: Ashley Friday, July 10th, 2015

Joe McFarrin is eCommerce Expert and CEO at IWD Agency (@IWDWeb), an eCommerce Agency that specializes in Magento development, graphic design and marketing solutions for online brands. This award winning development firm focuses on helping its clients profit and succeed online.

McFerrin has no problem with keeping busy throughout the day. When at work, he moves from one area to the next taking on as many tasks as he can to keep business moving.  To add to his versatility, he engages in various outdoor activities outside of work. Within our interview, we had the chance to get an up close look into the exciting life of Joe McFerrin.

Can you describe what you really do at work?

I still do a little of everything to make sure all areas of the business run smoothly. Even though I touch all areas of the business, my primary day to day task are dealing with client relations, R&D, marketing and project management. I also do accounting, HR, and continuous improvement task. But really what I spend most of my time on, I hate to admit, are EMAILS!

If money was no object, what would you spend your days doing?

Probably never look at another EMAIL again 😉

But really, I enjoy outdoor sports like hiking, surfing, skiing, kayaking, fishing, biking hunting, and so on. So I would probably go on a couple excursions to do more of this kind of stuff. I also still enjoy geeky stuff and building cool products. So I would imagine I’d still want to be apart of a company building awesome online gizmos, at least as a hobby.

In you spare time what do you get upto, and how do you balance this with your workload?

As mentioned in the above question, I enjoy outdoor sports so I do this as much as I can. Having a desk job for most of my waking hours I am conscious I need to get moving for part of the day. So, I do make an effort to take some time out everyday to do some kind of sport or physically activity. I feel like when I do not do this I am in a little more cranky mood.

How do you see the future evolving for Magento and the eCommerce space in general?

I’ve been working with Magento since their inception. I have seen them grow with excitement then slowly taper off with not as great of a reputation. I think coming up soon is a possible turning point. I think a lot will ride on their Magento 2.0 implementation. Will customers really want to re-platform on this or this might be a time where they decided to jump ship and go to another platform. Time will only tell on this.

Regarding eCommerce, I think this space has just started and will rapidly evolve. I am excited to see the future and changes. I can’t wait to have drones delivering freshly cooked breakfast to me every morning 😉

What is usually your last thought before falling asleep?

Usually just telling myself to shut up so I can fall asleep. Many times I’ll read a magazine or local publication as reading generally puts me to sleep.

Who is your role model, and why?

I have different role models for different areas in life but for business I do admire Steve Jobs. He was of course able to build a great company with awesome products that people love. Also, Elon Musk is doing some pretty incredible stuff as well.

Whats the worst thing you have to do as part of your job role?

Emails!!! 😉

What motivates you?

Building stuff people love that makes their life easier and that our team can be proud of.

What is the most played song on your MP3 player or phone?

I’m really all over the place. I switch between types of music and playlist all the time depending on my mood. Recently while working I have been playing a playlist on Spotify called ESM (Electronic Study Music). It doesn’t distract me but overall good upbeat tone.

Would you like to plug anything?

Yes, we always have something new coming out 😉

Weeetail is our newest product. It is a Magento hosted solution on steroids. You can design, manage, and modify a Magento solution without any coding knowledge or technical skills. It is very feature rich already and we are rapidly coming out with new features / enhancements. It is a new product line of ours, so we would be thrilled to hear any feedback. You can see it at: http://iwdagency.com/weeetail

Magento Live UK 2015

Posted by: Karen Monday, June 29th, 2015

Understated, Confident, Collaborative, and Effective

That’s how I’d describe Magento Live UK and here is why. Actually no, let me first discuss Magento 2 as thats far more interesting! 😉

Magento 2

The Magento 2 discussions were great, this is a reality. I saw someone comment on twitter about Magento may miss the launch date at Christmas. Seriously I dont see it at all, they will hit it come what may. This is not the same team from 2011, this team listens and it delivers.

Magento 2 is now a reality and its definitely time to start learning it as I suspect it will fly pretty quickly in early 2016. A lot of developers are enjoying working with it and won’t be keen on working on Magento 1 projects, I’d expect a bit of movement of staff, so as an agency you want to get behind it really. There are still some question marks about the complexity and length of time to bring a site up, I suspect the first couple will be painful.

And it’s a rewrite of the code, most agencies will have a toolbox of extensions both internal and external that they use, shortcuts, helper tools, etc. Most will need to be re-written. It will be interesting to watch. As we have had 6 years of advancement in technology.

For WebShopApps its a great opportunity, with Magento 2 we are able to start afresh, and we have had our own ‘magento 2’ project going on the last couple of years with ShipperHQ.com so we are more than ready for the future.

I wonder how other agencies will find it, especially with the higher quality standards from Magento Connect and need for unit testing. I suspect we will lose some of the lower quality market, deeper development skills required and less around for them to copy you see ;).  And there are a number of extensions where the original developer has gone, I suspect some of those companies will struggle.

In my mind no bad thing, we should not tolerate crap, and its usually those who it hurts most financially who are the victim.

What’s clear is that UK agencies have very much grown up, they are serving high quality merchants, and they need high quality solutions. The bottom of the market is going towards solutions such as Pixafy (and/or off to other platforms such as rapidly upcoming player Enteprise player Bigcommerce), both of which incidentally support the ShipperHQ solution (need to get a plug in there or my Marketing Director Daniel flips at me!).

Personally I’m excited about Magento 2. I see this as a solid high quality platform that will serve us over the next 4-5 years. Its extensible, open source, future thinking and robust. The performance figures are looking good, and I’m sure there is more to come on that front especially as we get input from the community such as great developers like Brendan Falkowski. The sky is the limit with Magento 2, with this ecosystem and the solid Magento management wow what a team!

Anyhow enough of that, back to my keywords about Magento Live UK!


With the backdrop of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben the Magento Live conference doesn’t have to try too hard with the stage or the venue, its there already.  Unlike Vegas the Magento Live UK event is much more low key, and I’d argue they toned it down some more this year, Magento made it not an event about them, but an event for and around the Magento ecosystem across the UK (and with a fair amount of european attendance which was lovely to see). The attendee really set the tone and the tone was typical english understated, polite and welcoming.

Ben Pressley did a great job residing over the keynotes, he has a genuine charm about him, and after his reference to Back to the Future a few of us were referring to him as the new Marty McFly! But he didn’t turn on the spin, he is a realist and different from the Bob Schwartz’s and Gary Forman type approach.  It was all pretty calm, no craziness (well apart from the Axa guy who well…).


Craig Hayman (President, eBay Enterprise) continues to impress me, and I believe also his fellow colleagues. He is in no way arrogant, but he is confident. He has a path defined and he is walking pretty firmly down it.  He states the facts,

Magento is the #1 eCommerce platform, and its reach is unbelievable. Some quick stats:

  • It powers 28% of the top Alexa 100K sites in the world – 28%!!
  • 43% in the UK, 41% in Germany, the list goes on

And this is right from the mom and pop store all the way upto major enterprise sites. Just walking around Magento Live I was bumping into diverse merchants from across the country such as Smythson, Mothercare, Boohoo, Paul Smith, the RSPB even. Over 300 merchants were in attendance, thats nearly half the audience.  Fantastic, I remember the days when it was just developers. How things have moved on.

Other people that are growing in stature and confidence are Ted Pietrzak (who refers to himself just as a humble engineer, but actually is Head of Technology), Ryan Thompson (Head of Small Business but seems to be the ‘glue man’), and Anton Kril (Magento 2 Senior Software Engineer, and a whole lot more).  Different people, very different skills, but you can see working extremely well as a team.


I love seeing different agencies talking to each other, Magento truly is a welcoming and unique community.  There were lots of new faces, and quite a few of us ‘old hands’ aswell. I would reckon maybe 40-50% were first time attendees. At 800 people it was almost the same size as the first Magento Imagine. Personally I spent some time with new developers in the community and upcoming offerings such as ShopGoMe which promises to be a great cloud offering for Magento in the MENA region. It was great to share ideas, discuss new opportunities and colloborate with this wonderfully diverse community. I met developers that were coming over from WordPress, working in London but on the low end of the market, and shared with them details of the meetups, the great resources such as Stack Exchange and the Magento Forums, discussed how we began, and encouraged them to just ‘go for it’.

It’s my strong belief that together we are much stronger than apart and I would encourage everyone in this community to reach out to your peers, whatever your level and share because together we will succeed so much more.

From our side lovely to see agencies in the ‘flesh’ such as Screen Pages, Red Box Digital, Yoma, Creare, Webtise, Session, Williams Commerce, Space48, to name just a few! Apologies to those I’ve missed, there were too many to mention! My conclusions from talking to these agencies was that they are laser focused, passionate and ready.


Its clear Magento has ‘top drawer’ customers in the UK and Europe and that they dominate the ecommerce market here.  This isn’t a new product, its a maturing product with a new twist about to be thrown in. At Magento Live UK there wasnt a great amount of new announcements but as Craig Hayman said

Just look at the potential, we haven’t even released Magento 2 yet! Where will we be in a year from now?

This message was highly effective. We sit back and look where we were and where we are. Who would believe that an open source piece of software really that was developed mainly in 2007/2008 would still have such relevance today?  And the reasons are because its not legacy, this ecosystem has pushed and pushed, the merchants have demanded more and we have responded. The worlds most innovative retailers are choosing Magento, and there are a 1000 reasons why that is working.


Great conference, as always Keren Aminia and her team did a fantastic job with the event coordination. Bring on next year! Thanks for having me back London, now time to relocate the US WebShopApps team to Austin, Texas!!

About WebShopApps

WebShopApps is a Gold Technology Partner specializing in shipping extensions around rate calculating and manipulation. They have the most popular shipping extension on Magento Connect, the most intelligent rate management software in the world on ShipperHQ.com, and recently announced their UPS Ready status, making them the only UPS Ready rating focused company within the Magento ecosystem.