Interesting morning. Fell asleep at my keyboard this morning. Opened my eyes groggily and it was 45 minutes later. Then I pinged Zach and had an expansive, hour long Skype chat.
Midway through, I said that our conversation would make for a decent podcast. Well, in lieu of the podcast-that-wasn’t, I want to let you in on our conversation.
Zach Atkinson is a programmer-slash-consultant in Whitby, just east of Toronto. He is getting paid zippo-nada-nothing for all the heart-and-soul that he is pouring into LaSalleMart, including the first LaSalleMart Canada live site install (http://KearnsOptical.com). Zach’s sweat equity in LaSalleMart is tremendous.
The pressure today is to fix the existing PayPal Pro payment method.
Reminder: LaSalleMart is a fork of Tienda 0.8.2. At this point LaSalleMart is virtually all Tienda. There are differences, which are more overt now.
PayPal Pro is something that is pure Tienda, and something is fucking up. How else to say it? Not on Zach’s site, but on my old Tienda Distro site at h2oAudio.ca. This site is slated to migrate to LaSalleMart, but before we Press Da Button on that, we have to fix PPPRo. I suspect the problem is really the interaction between the plugin and the component. I’ve already made cosmetic changes to this plugin. Oh well.
We also have an urgent need to create a brand new Canada Post shipping plugin. We can’t wait any longer. The h2o site, and a local client I’ve had since my early Joomla days, need PPPro and Canada Post. Zach has graciously answered my call for help, and has refused offers of $$. Remember that when you talk to Zach. Like Cab Calloway said, he’s got the heart as big as a whale.
Zach started complaining about checkout. Hey, take a number! He said we should go through the Amazon checkout to get ideas. I started laughing, I’ve done this how many times already? I said Amazon has Conditional Branching in checkout. If you do X, Amazon’s checkout will respond with Y. Furthermore, we need LaSalleMart to handle a matrix of rules. Such as special checkout pathways for certain classes of customers, location of buyers, etc. LaSalleMart is absolutely, completely inadequate to the task. To cut to the chase, to achieve the Amazonian/Magentonian features that are so often expressed to me, we must avail ourselves to all of Joomla, not just confine ourselves to the component-module-plugin paradigm.
We talked about busting up the LaSalleMart admin for the 2.5 conversion. Discrete components let’s us know that we finished a piece of the admin. Don’t want to do it in one fell swoop. Also, gives us the freedom to stick to the original Tienda code, or start refactoring. Or both! So, looks like we’ll have com_lm_adminconfig, com_lm_adminorder, com_lm_adminproducts, etc instead of just /administrator/components/com_lasallemart for Joomla 2.5.
At first we’re gonna have to install each component individually, and Live Update each one individually. Absolutely irritating and infuriating! However, we are on a road to somewhere, and that somewhere is called “Package Management” — which is yet another reason why Club Commerce should embrace the Square One project, by contributing labour and money to it. We’ll get there!
Not that I pontificated to Zach about this during our call, but I will in this post (!) that the conventional way we perceive Joomla — “we” being my target Club Commerce Members of consultants and site owners — is positively medieval. Owning/running the websites, and vertically integrating into software development opens up wide vistas of opportunities.
We both agree that steering LaSalleMart into mobile is critical. However, first things first: we have to convert to Joomla 2.5. Mobile is where Club Commerce as a funding model is so important. We’re (“we” = Members) going to have to do all this stuff within my Club and not depend on the emergence of components or technologies to ease our burden. Responsive design is only the beginning. We have to understand buyer behaviour with the different mobile devices, and align our sites to these behaviours. Club Commerce has an incredible potential to blaze the trail with Joomla ecomm on mobile. To me, the first step is to understand the different behaviours people exhibit on different mobile devices. The idea of treating mobile devices like the desktop is wrong wrong wrong!
In the same breath, I suggested embedding media into LaSalleMart. Why not put video into the admin at pressure points where people get frustrated. Why not put video into checkout! What about the advent of Internet TV? Yes, I’m thinking ahead.
Zach asked me pointed questions about builds. Look, there’s something y’all have to understand about Club Commerce: it’s a place where the Members have BOTH the websites AND the software. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Having BOTH the sites & the software is EXPLOSIVE for our online businesses. I’m in the same boat as Zach, because I have clients too! If Zach has 100 sites under his wing, and I have 100 sites under my wing, then how to do we manage the upgrades? How do we do backups/disaster recovery? 100 sites that have weekly updates of 20 separate comoponents needs a management solution beyond “initiate Live update 2,000 times per week”. The solution: we build an pipeline. What will end up happening is all the sites under our wing will be managed as custom Software-as-a-Service sites rather than as traditional Joomla sites –> WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT.
Something else Zach brought up was doing seminars. Old fashioned seminars where attendees even pay to get in and then sign up as clients on the way out. Members-only classroom style get-togethers. Joint JUGSWO and JUGT events that Club Commerce sponsors. I’m all for trying out the first, especially if people are vetted. Extremely excited about the second two. Joint events is not pie-in-the-sky shit, both are Very Real possibilities.
I said that the Toronto area could end up being one of the world’s hotbeds of Joomla ecommerce, given that we are here and so can do physical meet-ups. If a third to half of my Club Commerce Members end up being from an expanded GTA area, we could blaze quite a trail to the benefit of my Members, and the broader worldwide Joomla community. And you thought I lacked ambition!